Sturgeon River

Submitter & Author Information
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Additional Route Information
70 km
5 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
1400 m
Longest Portage: 
500 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

over 100km of driving on gravel roads but the roads are in good condition

Technical Guide: 

Take main logging road to km 137 and put in. There is a place to park there besides the road. Portage 500m to Pineneedle Lake, there are cliffs, a fishing camp and pictographs on the lake.
Pictographs are located on the north shore of the narrows 1.5 km before the creek outlet. Pictographs include: paddle, handprints, fish and a dream catcher
Paddle west on creek to Sydney Lake
3 small rapids to pull down and several beaver dams
Third rapid is nasty, overgrown, and has no portage, just drag down river bed
Paddle south on Sydney Lake to Sturgeon River outlet
Portage 50m west, class 1 tech top, class 2 tech bottom with lots of logs and rocks to hit
Paddle south on Rowdy Lake to Sturgeon River outlet
Portage 200m west, class 2 top, class 1 centre, class 3 bottom (boat killer bottom)
Paddle across small lake to River
Portage 75m east side
Portage 150m east, class 1 top, class 2-3 bottom, very rocky even in high h20
Paddle across lake (elevation 341) to River
Portage 75m east, class 2 top, class 3-4 middle, class 1 bottom
Paddle south through Right Lake
Portage 200m east, Must portage, river narrows through mini gorge and funnels over 25’ falls
Paddle down river through neat canyon and through 2 class 1 rapids
If want a shorter trip can paddle up the Confusion River to the logging road
This includes portages of 30, 50, 30, 30, and 150m
Continue South on Sturgeon
Portage 30m west or run class 1
Paddle south on Roger Lake, Roger very scenic, with cliffs and large hills all around
At end of Roger cliffs squeeze in from the west, some over 300’ high, huge slabs of rock have fallen off all along the cliff face creating a rapids that drains out of Roger, several places there are “caves” formed by the slabs of rock that lean up against the cliff. This is an area to spend a rest day. The rapids is a fun safe rapid, and the view from the cliff is fantastic. A very unique campsite above the rapids is perched 10’ above the water on a huge slab that broke off the cliff, it is a pain to get to but the view down the lake is fantastic.
Portage 150m east around rapids, class 2 or run rapids
Continue southwest to Fletcher Lake, beautiful country with huge rocky hills and soaring cliffs reminiscence of the north shore of Superior
Paddle south on Fletcher, beautiful lake with a fishing camp
Paddle south through cabin lake
Portage 150m east, top class 4 bottom rocky class 2
Paddle through west end of Salvesen and into the river again
You can end the trip at Salvesen by paddling to the east end then paddling up creek to the road, this would require several portages and leftovers at beaver dams, I advice ending the trip at Salvesen because from Salvesen down the country is loaded with people, mostly fishermen and camps and is not much to look at, also if you continue past Salvesen you will have to paddle up stream on the English River which has very strong current in places.
If Continuing downstream portage 50m south, class 2-3 rapids in high h2o a very scary takeout, which requires a land leap and grab technique
Paddle west on Sturgeon to the English
Paddle east on English River to the take out at the Separation Lake logging bridge 25km away
Will have to line or work very hard to get up 6 – 10 riffles dependent on water levels


Special Comments: 

All observations were taken in September 04 during extremely high h20. Most of the larger lakes have fishing camps so sometimes the route feels rather urbanized. During summer peak season fishing the route would be very busy. Fishing is mediocre due to all the fishing camps. The Sturgeon is a fairly easy route with short portages in decent condition. The country is fantastic with huge rocky hills and soaring cliffs. We saw many bald eagles moose, and even peregrine falcons. Once the Sturgeon dumps into the English the river is busier then ever with boats motoring up and down the English. The English is a huge system and feels rather busy for a wilderness canoe trip. IF at all possible take out at Salvesen as nothing is gained by paddling up the English, unless you are lonely. All in all a very scenic trip but a bit too busy for my liking.


Post date: Wed, 07/08/2009 - 15:04


We tried to do this route on June 27th, 2009 and were UNABLE to get to Pineneedle Lake. We drove from Winnipeg, so we were approaching Pineneedle Lake from the direction of HWY 658 (going North from Kenora). The logging road took us as far as the take out point at the creek coming out from Sulvensen Lake, but we could go no further than the creek coming out of Roger Lake, b/c the road there is COMPLETELY DESTROYED. We have also waded through that creek to verify that it is not possible to get into Roger Lake that way, as it simply takes you into a huge impassable marsh (not the kind you can canoe through).

We attempted a bypass through other logging roads (towards Conifer Lake), but were unable to complete the the 45km loop rejoining with the main logging road at the Prospect Lake airport, due to road conditions (actually, the road just disappears).

There is a larger, 110km loop that takes you to Longlegged Lake and might allow access to Pineneedle Lake from the north, but we did not have sufficient fuel to check that route and still have enough fuel for the return trip.