Canadian Canoe Routes

Moisie River (Ashuanipi Portage)
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Author:  tripping1999 [ June 2nd, 2010, 4:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Moisie River (Ashuanipi Portage)

Hello Everyone,

I will be taking a trip down the Moisie River this July with five friends. We are taking the train to Oreway, paddling across Ashuanipi Lake, and portaging over to the headwaters of the Moisie from there.

I am looking for some information on the portage from the Northwest Bay of Ashuanipi Lake to Lac Gagne or Lac du Petit Portage. Most importantly, is there an actual portage trail? and if so, where does it start and end?

I have done extensive research on this route. I have seen the previous forum discussions on myccr. I have read the Complete Wilderness Paddler portion on this route. I have looked at maps. I have emailed many people. But in the end no one seems to know if there is anything there.

I have also researched the other route possibilities (Pekans, Menistouc, fly in, etc.). For our particular trip, the Ashuanipi route is the best option.

If we do not find any additional information, we are prepared to try and find the portage when we get there, or bushwhack it.

If anyone could send me information on this portage I would truly appreciate it.



Author:  mtltrailblazer [ June 2nd, 2010, 4:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Moisie River (Ashuanipi Portage)

hey Zach,

Have you tried looking on ?

Charles Leduc is one of the creators of the website and seems to be an expert on the majority of Quebec waterways.

Good luck finding everything you need

Author:  Erhard [ June 2nd, 2010, 5:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Moisie River (Ashuanipi Portage)

CCR has a search facility you could use to find what's on its website. It yielded for that portage

And you'll probably find a few references to Charles' excellent website... :wink:

Author:  karl [ June 7th, 2010, 1:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Moisie River (Ashuanipi Portage)


Please post your findings on this portage.I was surprised to find a thread on this topic .I had logged on to make the same inquiry to this forum.Just planning ahead for another Moise adventure.

Water should up for your trip.Think about spray skirts if the gauge shows high water.


Author:  tripping1999 [ June 8th, 2010, 11:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Moisie River (Ashuanipi Portage)

Thanks for the help.

Karl, just out of curiousity, how would I know if the water level was high or low on the Moisie?


Author:  DougB [ June 8th, 2010, 1:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Moisie River (Ashuanipi Portage)

Moisie water levels are here:

I think water levels were 700 starting - 500 finishing last time we were on the river.

Why do you want to do this trip the hard way by starting on Ashuanipi, or did I just answer my own question?

Author:  tripping1999 [ June 8th, 2010, 6:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Moisie River (Ashuanipi Portage)

Part of the reason we are doing this route is the financial aspect. paying someone to truck us, or sending our cars on the train is just not within our budget.

Part of it is also the history and challenge. Reading about it in the Complete Wilderness Paddler really intriuged us. We also all grew up at a hardcore canoe tripping camp in Algonquin Park and we enjoy the challenge of the route.

Thanks again.

Author:  recped [ June 8th, 2010, 7:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Moisie River (Ashuanipi Portage)

Part of the reason we are doing this route is the financial aspect. paying someone to truck us, or sending our cars on the train is just not within our budget.

If you can get all your crap in one vehicle you can drive to Lab City and ship your vehicle to Sept-Iles for less than what you will pay to take the train (much less actually). As for the shuttle out to Lac Demille or the Pekans for next to nothing (or even nothing at all which is what it cost me in 2007) you can arrange that.

The only reason to use the Ashuanipi access is if time is a critical issue and I'm not even sure that you would cut much time off the trip as you stumble around trying to find the portage.

Not to dissuade you of course, I've done both the Pekans and the Lake routes to the Moisie so for variety sake I'd be happy to know the details about the Ashuanipi route.

Author:  karl [ June 8th, 2010, 11:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Moisie River (Ashuanipi Portage)


Will you take a GPS coordinates for the portage. Maybe add a blaze or two at the start. Hope to see them in the near future.

I think the effort it takes for difficult navigation will add to the adventure. Starting at lake DeMille to the Moise headwaters requires little navigation skill.


Author:  tripping1999 [ June 9th, 2010, 9:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Moisie River (Ashuanipi Portage)

I should have also mentioned that time is a concern for us as well. We realize it may not save us a lot of time, but it could. We are willing to take the risk.

We will certainly take gps coordinates of the portage as well as blaze it.

What would be considered high and low water level based on the link you sent me?

Author:  karl [ June 9th, 2010, 11:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Moisie River (Ashuanipi Portage)


The water level looks to be about average for the time of year.The Moise has many large rivers adding to its volume.when the rain comes it will rise over a period of days and it will rain.

The full spray skirt will be your friend on the lakes and the river.As the water rises so will your need for a skirt.You can paddle the rapids without a skirt but it gives you the freedom to paddle bigger stuff should you chose to do so.

Guessing your party will be tandem canoes? Bring lots of cameras.

A quick glance at my atlas, shows similar distance from Lac DeMille/Oreway to the headwaters.You will save time on the shorter train ride plus you will not have to wait the better part of a day for your canoes.

How much time do plan for the trip?


Author:  DougB [ June 9th, 2010, 4:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Moisie River (Ashuanipi Portage)

I thought the portage was West of Grosse Ile into Lac Opocopa or am I way off course?

I don't believe this to be the quickest route if time is important. Big body of water to cross with tricky navigation combined with uncertain portage and no distance savings..... still, if it's what you want to do go for it - I look forward to hearing about it.

Regarding water levels, 700 felt a little high on the upper river, although nothing of significant concern, and 500 on the lower river felt average or medium. We were on the river at lower levels than this too and it wasn't a significantly different trip for the most part. Really high water could present problems in the canyon around km190 (referring to Lesters maps on due to limited shoreline, as well as above the trestle (although these rapids could be bypassed on the train tracks). I'm not sure exactly at what level this would become an issue but I highly doubt you'll encounter it in July.

Author:  CDelBrocco [ June 29th, 2017, 11:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Moisie River (Ashuanipi Portage)

What worked for me: In 2014 my son and I went to NW Bay, and also found a toboggan/sled at what appeared to be a "logical" portage starting point - after slogging around with a GPS for a couple of hours we determined that 1st spot is not the place to start the walk. We camped on the flat rock on the bay which was wonderfully bug free - you will see an enormous boulder (glacial erratic?) almost on the shore of that bay. If you start at that rock and aim for stream on the topo that is west/northwest of that rock you will find that you need to thread between the small ponds which on the Quebec/Labrador border ( a really wet slog) and then it's a fairly mossy dry walk to a creek barely wide enough to float a canoe - drag and pull will get you to a larger pond, which CLEARLY had a man-made dam at its exit which would have had the water at least 2-3 feet higher, which in turn would have made that small creek floatable WAY back toward Ashuanipi - by the size of the trees growing in that larger pond, I would wager that dam was there until approx. 30-40 years ago. My guess is that water was raised to make the portage shorter some years ago..... We made it from Ashuanipi on the flat rock campsite, to the lower east shore of Opocopa that evening after that really tiring double carry which has you at time postholing in knee deep water 'on the border'. Saw the group with 3-4 red canoes on the west shore of Opocopa as we paddled south to camp - I believe they came down the lake. We found the Ashuanipi route super fun, although some big winds slowed us at times, there are some amazing campsites on that big lake. And no people......

Author:  Draveur Moderne [ November 21st, 2018, 9:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Moisie River (Ashuanipi Portage)

In the winter of 2018, after exhaustive research on this precise subject (Google Earth, MYCCR, relatives), I came to the same conclusion as CDelBrocco in 2014. NorthWest Bay-Du Petit Portage Lake is the best way to cross from Ashuapnipi Lake to the Moisie River.
So I planned my once in a lifetime 20 days SOLO expedition from the mythic Oreway Train Station on the Ashuapnipi Lake shore to the Moisie River mouth, from july 23th to August 13 2018.

The 7:00 am train from Sept-Îles let me at Oreway Station around 3:00 pm on Day 1. I reached the end of NorthWest Bay at 9 am on Day 4 after a 65 Km strech. On the Lake, orientation through the islands was tricky. Make sure to bring a clear 1/50K map and your compass. Plan to be slowed by the wind. I paddle mainly between 6:00 am and 12:00 pm to avoid strongs conter-winds.

Once at the bottom of NorthWest Bay, you face a 1,2 Km portage (cross-over the border divide) that lead to a very small, 3 km long, creek that flow toward Du Petit Portage Lake and then 15 Km of small current and flat water to the Moisie River. You reach Lake Opocopa around the Km 348 campsite.

Trailhead: N- 52* 36' 44" ; W- 66* 25' 02"
Waypoint: N- 52* 36' 46" ; W- 66* 25' 39"
Mid-Campsite GD: N- 52* 36' 43,3" ; W- 66* 25' 50,6"
Creek: N- 52* 36' 43" ; W- 66* 25' 52"
Topographic view on is the closest to reality representation.

The portage itself is flat. There is a relatively easy walk along two ponds, then a passage through bushs, then tru west all the way to "The Creek". I searched all-around for the best and shortest way to reach the Creek in a two half-day quest as I was portaging my equipements. Once I discover the good route, it turn-out to be much much easier to progress. I installed many 'long term red flag tape'. Once at The Creek, follow the water , drag and pull hard ... There is a possible GD campsite just east at the very end of the portaging stage, just few feet before the jonction with the small creek. It could be a wise plan to split this part of your journey on two different days.

In term of timming, considering that the water level was high (about 550 m3/s on the Lower Moisie Scale) when I was up there, you can reasonnably do the portage stage (a double carry) in about 3 hours and the creek's drag/pull section in 2,5 hours. Once you start the 15 Km the "paddelable" waterways, you can expect to reach the Km 348 campsite on the Moisie in an extra 5 hours that will lead you at south end of Opocopa Lake.

1) Plan to be slowed by wind on open water. You can expect normal North Backcountry Weather including, early freezes, wet moss, wet trails, lots+++ of bugs and daily showers.
2) Camp on narrow beachs before enterring N-W Bay. Last good campsite before trailhead: N- 52°34'44.32" ; W- 66°21'38.30" on a narrow beach.
3) There is no dry campsite at the trailhead itself; Suggestion: Cut your Quest (portage+creek+Opocopa) in two half-days;
4) Ground is very wet and mossy (ankle deep) from the first step to the very last. Possible GD campsite just few feet before the jonction with the small creek (N- 52* 36' 43,3" ; W- 66* 25' 50,6" ); The surroundings are very exotics and the nature is original;
5) Overall, this access to the Moisie is not shorter than the De Mille Lake road access put-in. It is more physical (portage and wind);
6) After this portage, you will have plenty of extra-hard portages in the following 12 to 14 days;
7) Choose this access to skip the need for a shuttle from Emeril Train Station to De Mille Lake standard road access put-in. The interest is to follow the path of the Montagnais in their heritage trails network part of the "Route des Montagnais".

My personnel goal in choosing this access was to retrace an ancien Montagnais' portage. I discovered traces of use of this route in the recent winter seasons. It is probably a snowmobile trail to reach hunting cabins and trap lines. The Caribous use this trail daily wich maintain a faint trace on the mossy ground. At least one nailed spruce branch marker indicated me that humans have been here before in the last 5 years. But I did not follow it further than the small creek.
At the other end of the 3 Km long creek, I notice the remains of a man made dam (the one that CDelBrocco noticed) that confirm the previous use of this route as a "paddleable" access to the Moisie by frequents users some 40-50 years ago. Probably Montagnais reaching there hunting territories and back to Oreway Train Station (open since 1954). It is probably part of the "Route des Montagnais".

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