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PostPosted: June 2nd, 2013, 12:35 pm 

Joined: September 24th, 2011, 4:38 pm
Posts: 14
Our family paddled this route September 2012.
We were looking for a 2-3 week trip in the middle part of the province. Stuart Lake near Fort St James is only 3hrs from Smithers and has some great pioneer history that added to our desire to see this area.
We chose a route that took us up the W side of Stuart Lake to the tip of the N arm.
From there we had a 10km portage to the W end of Trembleur Lake.
We then paddle down/East on Trembleur following the S shore to the Tachie River.
25km down the class 1-2 Tachie River brought us back to the village of Tachie on the East shore of Stuart Lake.
Camping on Stuart Lake consisted of Sowchea Bay Prov Park, Whitefish Bay Rec Site and numerous lake side wilderness camps.
Trembleur Lake and Tachie River were all wilderness camps.
We had planned on paddling back to Fort St James on the E side of Stuart Lake after paddling down the Tachie River. But as we reached the village of Tachie the weather changed from high to low pressure with strong winds and swells coming South down the lake. The East side of the lake is much steeper than the West with Mt Pope (good rock climbing here) being one of the lake side features.

We had planned to walk the 10 km portage between Stuart and Trembleur Lake along an old logging road. Our back up plan (which we ended up using) was to get a shuttle over the 10km from Ruby Rock Lodge (a remote hunting/fishing camp). The road was in rougher shape than we thought and hauling 3 weeks worth of gear and kids over this distance was not practical.
Trembleur Lake was like paradise. A few cabins around but otherwise splendid wilderness. The W end of the lake is a definite highlight with a huge beach and estuary for exploring. The shoreline of this lake is beautiful with unique rock and old growth fir timber stands to explore. Camping along this lake was also plentiful with great beaches to explore.
The Tachie River was 25km long and generally class 1 with a few class two rock gardens and current to navigate through.
Tachie village is at the outflow of Tachie river into the E side of Stuart Lake. We had planned to paddle the 55km back to FSJ but were turned back by the weather and easily got a 30min ride into town to retrieve our truck.

We ended up paddling for 14 days and covered 160km. Bugs were non existent this time of year. Camping was easy to come by. Abandoned and seasonal cabins were scattered throughout the route but we saw very little boat traffic and no other canoes or kayaks. Prevailing winds on Stuart Lake seemed to flow back down the lake to FSJ. The W shore is generally more protected than the E. Prevailing winds on Trembleur are from W to E with the E end at the Tachie River in-flow being shallow and susceptible to big swells. Wildlife was in abundance with many black bear, wolf (tracks), moose, eagle and beaver sightings. We did see some huge grizzly tracks in the estuary behind the W end of Trembleur Lake but never saw the bear... Fire wood was plentiful and so were the Saskatoon and blue berries at every campsite...YUM!

Learnings from this trip:

* a canoe spray deck is a must for big lakes
* fall sure is nice with no bugs around and water levels low for lots of camping access
* swallowing pride/trip plan is ok when faced with a 3 day walking portage or a 3 hour quad shuttle...
* fresh berries are great kid snack food and in morning pancakes...


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L&B Smithers BC

PostPosted: June 2nd, 2013, 12:48 pm 

Joined: March 23rd, 2006, 11:21 pm
Posts: 1303
Location: Burns Lake, BC
Again some awesome info!

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