Spanish River West Branch

CanadaOntarioNorth Channel
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Trip Date : 
Route Author: 
Additional Route Information
66 km
3 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
2 m
Longest Portage: 
500 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

The following description was prepared after a trip on July 25 to July 27, 1998. The water levels were low and whenever rapids were paddled, it was by the forgiving grace of Ed's Oldtown Penobscot ABS canoe... The trip continued past the forks and where the water levels were a bit better, partly because INCO let water out of Lake Pogomasing.

Day 1:

Train leaves Cartier at 11:35, arrives at Biscotasing at 1:30.
Paddle up Biscotasi Lake about 10 km (plenty of camp sites up the way), then
turn west and south around Wind Point to paddle 12 km down the lake (no camp
sites) to the dam at the south end.
A large camp site (4 tents) on the shore about 1 km NW of the dam.

1. KM 23: Dam at Biscotasi Lake: portage left, 150 m at low water. There is somewhere a shorter lift-over, we heard.
Paddle 1 km.

2. KM 24: Low falls: portage over island in centre 30 m, drop of 4 ft.
Paddle 2 km.

3. KM 26: Falls and Rapids: portage right 500 m (lower third could be lined or paddled at
higher water).
Paddle 2 km.

4. KM 28: Rapids, portage right 120 m or line left. Good camp site at bottom of rapids (2+
Paddle 3 km.

5. KM 31: Wspanish_rapids2.jpg (194601 bytes)Rapids in canyon with large boulders, portage left 500 m. Pretty camp site
with good view at middle of trail (2 tents)
paddle 3 km

6. KM 34: mouth of Dead River, cottage on right
Here, the rivers widens to a lake. Paddle 4 km
(This lake has small camp site at north end and another small campsite on west

7. KM 38: Rapids at outflow, paddle or line on left
paddle .2 km across pond

8. KM 39: Rapids, portage on right, 100 m. Trail crosses logging road. The rapids could be
paddled with ABS canoes, and can be easily scouted from bridge
Paddle .3 km across small lake

9. KM 39: Rapids, portage 70 m right or line right
paddle 3 km to junction with Snake River.

10. KM 42: Wspanish_narrows.jpg (88836 bytes)The river here widens to a lake
with low shores and there is little camping. A small site is at the
junction of the two rivers, on the point just south of a cottage.
Paddle 4 km to end of lake.

11. KM 46: There is a camp site is on the lake's left
shore, about half way down lake (3+ tents). One more camp site where river
leaves the lake, small, on right shore. Pretty.
Paddle 2 km through the channel with steep rocky shores and the lake
with large round island.

12. KM 48: At end of lake, there is a dock on right which is
the start of portage trail (300m and steep incline), but rapids can be run
after scouting. Boy's camp on right, supplied via Sinker Creek which enters
on right.
Paddle 1 km to end of lake (small camp site on left)

13. KM 50: Rapids, run on right.
Paddle .3 km

14. KM 51: Rapids, Portage right 100m, with camp site (3+ tents).
Paddle .2 km

15. KM 51: Rapids, line left then run,
then paddle .5 km across still water

16. KM 52: Set of rapids, total length of about .4 km: first line on left,
then paddle or line.
You are now crossing Lebell Lake to proceed southward.

17. KM 56: Rapids, portage left 380 m, short paddle, then line left.
Paddle 1.2 km

18. KM 58: Portage left 240 m to bypass rapids and falls,
then cross 100 m pool

19. KM 58: Portage left 450m to bypass rapids.

Paddle 8 km to Forks of the Spanish. The next campsite is on an island at the fork itself: it is small and has a steep landing. A large campsite is at the next set of rapids, about 4 km downstream.

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
The Chrismar map of the Spanish River is adequate. Topos - if so desired - are Biscotasing 41-O-08 Westree 41-P-05 Low-Water-Lake 41-P-04
Other Maps: 
Chrismar Map: Spanish River (can be ordered on this website)
Special Comments: 

The river rating is meant for low water. The water level cannot be predicted before the trip since a dam on Biscotasi is opened at will. Even the INCO water level information is meaningless for the West Branch since it is taken 100kms further downstream and reflects the sum flow of a total of three dams in this watershed.
If the water is high, assess the use of the portages as some of the rapids need advanced skills and whitewater paddling equipment.