Canadian Canoe Routes

Any experience with La Verendrye Circuit 15?
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Author:  chouilste [ August 13th, 2018, 11:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Any experience with La Verendrye Circuit 15?

Three buddies of mine and myself are going to do the Poulter in Verendrye on the 24th of August. We are pretty psyched! Prospector16, I read through the thread and I saw that you guys did that circuit very recently (in July if I'm not mistaken). I was wondering if you had any pointers, good camping spots (we will have 2 tents), cool things to see, good fishing spots (don’t know If you got to fish a bit? We’ll be going for walleye of course). I’m also curious about the portages, I’ve read that the first series of 3 portages (linking Jean-Péré to Poulter) can be trickier, especially the first leg that is sort of a bog? What was your experience with that? Also, we are planning to make the portage from Baie Kearney to Baie Ménard on our way back to Le Domaine. Is it worth it? Is that portage hard ? Seems quite long, almost 500m.
Thanks for the info and happy paddling!

Author:  Prospector16 [ August 13th, 2018, 11:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Any experience with La Verendrye Circuit 15?

Hmmm I could have sworn I'd posted an updated in the forums after our trip but clearly that was not in this thread. We never got to complete the loop because on our 2nd night a severe thunderstorm came across Poulter and wreaked havoc on our camp - trashing several tents, swamping just about everthing, and sending several canoes airborn (!!!). It was quite a hectic situation as you can imagine. Luckily nobody got hurt, and because of good planning and good emergency supplies we were able to get things back into order within a few hours and all was fine after that. Except that on Day 3 the winds were coming pretty strong down Poulter and there was no way with so many inexperienced paddlers that we could proceed on our route. So we hung tight on the site all day - the winds persisted until about 6pm and by then it was too late to move. When that night's occupants arrived we explained the situation and they totally understood, so we cohabitated for the night.

So basically we only made it through the 3 portages and just onto Poulter. We stayed there a whole day then went back through the portages and up Jean-Pere to the site we had booked for Night 4. We missed a pretty big part of the loop.

The portages were not that bad - not very muddy. If you do the route clockwise like we did then the first portage is the worst one and it is boggy at the take out. And only room for 2 canoes at several of the put-ins and take-outs but that won't be an issue for you. But really they were not that bad at all.

We did do some fishing but basically got skunked sadly. So I can't give any advice there.

Regarding good camping spots since we were a large group we used the bookable spots so I can't really comment. You won't have that option with only 4 of you.

We did go out the same way you are suggesting and it is a pretty easy portage compared to the 3 other ones which are quite a bit hillier. Just a lot of roots on that portage I guess that is the only real hazard there. Whether it is worth it I guess is up to you - not sure what you expect from it. In my view avoiding portages is the way to go - we did not have that option because of the winds when we were going out. I would have preferred to go the other way.

Please report back when you are done - would love to hear more on the whole route.

Author:  chouilste [ August 13th, 2018, 11:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Any experience with La Verendrye Circuit 15?

Ok thanks a lot! I will report back. Hopefully Mother Nature will be in a better mood for us.

Just to clarify, I understand from your post that we won't be able to reserve camping spots ahead ? Is that only for larger groups? My understanding was that it is mandatory to use designated camping spots (i.e. not camp anywhere you want), but that could be a big annoying if we can't reserve ahead. Maybe I'll try and call Canot-Camping Verendrye and see what's up with that. We also don't have maps yet, as we can only buy them there...I used some of the info I found online to plan our route and make our campsites match with existing sites reported by other paddlers.

Thanks again for the info!

Author:  Prospector16 [ August 13th, 2018, 12:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Any experience with La Verendrye Circuit 15?

Yes you won't be able to reserve specific spots but you should call ahead an reserve a spot. That only guarantees you a spot somewhere on the lake. And yes you have to use designated spots.

Have you seen my map?

Author:  chouilste [ August 13th, 2018, 3:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Any experience with La Verendrye Circuit 15?

Wow! That is incredibly useful! I'm going to take a good look at it tonight.
Many thanks, I was really missing that info to plan ahead!

Author:  Prospector16 [ August 13th, 2018, 8:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Any experience with La Verendrye Circuit 15?

Just make sure to take an actual map with you! You can order from World of Maps here in Ottawa.

You should be able to easily download my map and load the whole thing into your GPS unit if you use one. Or if you rely on google maps make sure you offline the content before you leave. At the south end of Poulter and in several other places there was next to no cell service.

Author:  chouilste [ August 28th, 2018, 10:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Any experience with La Verendrye Circuit 15?

Hi guys!

Reporting back on our trip. We had a blast, it was amazing!
First day on Jean-Péré was not so easy as there was quite a bit of wind and the waters were rough. We still made our way nicely towards camping spot 10-67, which was a very nice spot but with little to no landing area. You basically have to haul your canoe up on a rock ledge, after emptying it from the ''shore''.

The next day we paddled a bit towards the 3 portages linking Jean-Péré and Poulter through Lac Bamières. The first portage (400m) was definitely the hardest. They did build a new landing on the shore when you arrive at the first portage so it was not so mucky to get off. The portage itself is very hilly with a lot of muddy holes and loads of stumps and roots sticking out. The 2 following portages were a breeze compared to the first one. Poulter was much easier to paddle, even with some wind. We stopped on island spot no. 15-20 for lunch and it was a good spot but finding wood for an overnight stay would probably be difficult as the island is small. We then made our way towards spot 15-52, which was my favorite spot. The firepit area is on a high rocky formation that drops towards the water, offering a nice view over the narrow part of the lake. It rained a lot that evening and night, but we had prepared accordingly and we were able to shelter ourselves from the start while still enjoying a warm campfire. We had previously thought to stay at spot 15-53 on the beach, but the lack of larger trees there would have made it much harder to set up a shelter from the rain.

The third day, we hit the Rivières-des-Rapides. We hadn't been successful until then with fishing, but that river proved to offer great fishing! We caught pikes in the river not far from spot 15-59, and we got 2 good sized walleyes in the little lake right before the rapids (there is a creek, coming from Lac Robin, that flows towards that lake which probably brings in nutrients on which the fish feed there. There was about 10 to 12 feet of water only.

The rapids were the highlight of the day, of course. We went through the R1 and the following R2 without much problem. The R1 was actually the one that was most hazardous with rocks, even though the water speed wasn't so high. Then, we stopped at the R3 and we were hesitating. In the end, we decided to portage our gear at the other end of the R3, and then go back to the canoes and go down the rapids. They are only 80 meters long but it was so much fun. We almost flipped but recovered with about 5 inches of water in the boat. We liked it so much that we picked the canoes up, and went back up the trail to go down the rapids again! If you stayed pretty much in the middle of the rapids, rocks were not a problem. We hit absolutely nothing. Right after the rapids, we were hit by a huge storm that lasted about 20 minutes, but we were already soaked so who cares?

We fished again at the exit of the river when you get back on Jean-Péré, and it was pretty good there too. Walleye, pike, some mullet fish. We did mostly catch and release there as we already had the fish we needed for our night meal. We set up camp on 15-81. The spot itself is really nice, but I have to say that finding wood there is almost impossible, as it is surrounded by a swamp. We actually had to canoe away from there, find firewood elsewhere on the shore, and come back to the spot with it.
We had a nice fried fish meal with rice and mushrooms. Wine too, don't forget the wine! We had a wonderful moon rise (full moon!) with a many loons singing for us. It was the perfect day!

The last day, we paddled towards the Baie Kearney and did the portage in Baie Ménard. It's about 320m and its mostly on flat terrain, but watch out for the roots, there are many. Because of the storms from the previous day, there were also some muddy holes but nothing too bad.

We fished a bit in Baie Ménard, trying for trout as it is quite deep (up to 80 feet deep in some places), but we had no luck. We had lunch at spot 10-27 just out of Baie Ménard, and I have to say the view there is wonderful. There is only room for 1 tent though. After lunch, we paddled straight back to Le Domaine and that was the end of our trip!

It was amazing, and even though the weather wasn't perfect (we had a bit of everything), it just added to the experience.

Something worthy of mention: we had little to no cell signal all the time, from 3 different carriers, except around 6 PM every night. The cell signal is magically strong when you are about 4-5 kms away from Le Domaine.

Hopefully our story helps someone else plan a memorable trip!

Author:  Prospector16 [ August 28th, 2018, 6:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Any experience with La Verendrye Circuit 15?

Wow thanks for the update - I appreciate it! I knew that river would be good fishing - dangit that we never got to paddle it!

If you happen to post some photos online somewhere please share the link - would love to see them.

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