how do i find portage-only areas?

It is my experience that, at least in my neck of the woods (WI), if you can only get there by portaging, almost no one has been there in years, which is really appealing. Is there a resource on the internet for finding such places? My state DNR website has a listing of places that HAVE boat landings… I guess i am looking for the opposite.

Maps and Air Photos

– Last Updated: Jun-17-14 11:45 AM EST –

I'm addicted to maps and online air photos. I even loved maps when I was a kid. I don't know what region of the state you are checking, but your choices will vary a lot depending where you go.

Between your listing of public access points and your perusal of maps and air photos, you can probably figure out which lakes have no public access. However, except on National Forest or State Forest land, you now have to figure out how to get permission to walk in. That's probably easier said than done, and actually finding landowners who will give you permission might be even harder.

On much of the National Forest land, as you already know if you've been doing any walking or investigating there, getting from Point A to Point B can be no easy matter without trails or roads, because so much of the north woods is full of bogs and swampy creeks. In fact, many of the isolated lakes ARE bog lakes. Chances are you can find some nice lakes here and there that can be walked to, but keep in mind that a lot of the little lakes with boat landings on National Forest land get very little use, and these might be a nice compromise between the kinds of places you ideally want to find and the kinds of places you really want to avoid.

Actually, there's another category of land to consider, other than state and national forests - public hunting land. I know of one, perhaps two lakes on public hunting land near my home, one of which I have portaged to before.

excellent, thank you!

Additional comment on maps

– Last Updated: Jun-17-14 1:39 PM EST –

If you don't have a good "book map" of Wisconsin, I suggest you get one. The "Gazetteer" by DeLorme (available at bookstores and even at convenience stores in locations that are popular with fishermen and hunters) is good, though it used to be even better, before they removed the section lines and "town and range" data that make the map comparable to USGS topographic maps. There's another book map available these days, I think published by National Geographic.

The nice thing with these book maps is that they have enough detail to see all the back roads, and they show every lake and virtually every pond, yet are far more compact and practical than a full set large-scale topographic maps. 7.5- or 15-minute topographic maps are great if you already know exactly what area you want to check out. As to where to get the more-detailed maps, I'm still living in the Dark Ages for topo maps and haven't tried any of the online sources (I bought all mine at the service window of a USGS field office that we used to have right here in town!). There's a defunct but still-functioning website called Terraserver, one branch of which has USGS maps that can be interchanged with air photos with just a mouse click, but the methods for scrolling from place to place are very crude and slow (because the website is ancient).