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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2021, 10:03 am 

Joined: November 1st, 2018, 8:11 am
Posts: 6
:rofl: Hi.

Its time to pick up the planning of my NWT canoe adventure, who has been corona-postponed for 2 + years. Hopefully 2022 will be a better year for traveling.

As this will be my first time in NWT I have a ton of questions. Hopefully someone here have som answers :)

I am struggling to find information regarding logistics, transportation etc.
I will fly to Yellowknife, but from there I’m pretty much stuck.

- I will need air transportation in, and possibly out.
Not decided on the exact route yet, but starting at Whitefish lake, paddling west, through Eileen River towards Snowdrift might be an option. I do not intend to paddle the entire Snowdrift, but some of it is an option. Especially if it means the I don’t need air-out-transport.
I’m thinking 3 weeks.

- is this area pretty much remote? Don’t want to meet guided tours etc. Good fishing?

- Any idea who I may contact to organize Air Charter?
Plane must take 2 persons with gear and a packable canoe (ally). Prices?

- Is it a “Outfitter” located in Yellowknife who can provide me with equipment for bear / wildlife protection, ammunition, fishing gears etc?

- Where can I find information regarding fishing license and hunting license (small game hunting), dates and restrictions?

- where can buy map? I’m not a Canadian resident and want to order map online if possible.

All help is appreciated

PostPosted: September 23rd, 2021, 12:42 pm 

Joined: September 29th, 2005, 5:57 pm
Posts: 674
Hi Norsk -

Here are some thoughts that may help you along.

Going west from Whitefish to the Eileen. I'm not sure exactly what route you may have in mind. Do you mean the portage route from the long SW bay of Whitefish? I reached the Eileen from Whitefish by going through Lynx, Timberhill, and various ponds to Sled Lake, then down Sled Creek. There is a trip report on this route in the NWT section if you are interested.

The area is quite remote. The late Alex Hall ("Canoe Arctic") ran one trip a year in the Sled Creek / Upper Eileen area. Now Jack Pine Paddle, out of Yellowknife, offers that trip. It is generally a late August - September date: you could check their website for 2022 dates. You may have a better idea of why it is infrequently traveled after you check air charter quotes.

Air charter out of Yellowknife - I would suggest contacting Ahmic Air. They have a Beaver which would easily handle your load. The most recent quote on their site (2018) for a flight to Whitefish Lake was about $4200. Given you have a folding canoe, they also have a Cessna 185 which might be suitable and less expensive - it would depend on your load.

I flew out of Yellowknife for years to canoe with Air Tindi: but now the smallest plane they have on floats is a Cessna Caravan, which would be overkill for you.

Whitefish Lake is almost equidistant from Yellowknife and Fort Smith. NWAL in Ft. Smith have a Cessna 185 which might suit you. They also have a turbine Otter but it would be considerably more expensive than Ahmic's Beaver.

Another approach might be to continue your scheduled flights past Yellowknife. You could fly from Yellowknife to Lutsel'ke on the Air Tindi scheduled flight, then have Dave Oleson ("Hoarfrost River Huskies') pick you up there and fly you to Whitefish. This would significantly reduce your charter flying miles and costs. Exiting via Lutsel'ke could also be an option depending where you end up.

You can certainly obtain bear spray and bangers at a number of locations in Yellowknife, as well as ammunition. For any questions about bringing firearms or ammunition into Canada, check the Government of Canada web site.

You can buy NWT fishing licenses on line, just google it.

The NWT hunting/trapping information is here: ... en-web.pdf

The small game information is near the back. Note upland game birds season doesn't open until September and migratory birds (ducks, geese) are subject to federal regulation and also not open in the summer. Unless you like squirrels and porcupine, I really wouldn't bother.

All Canadian topographic maps are available on line for free. ... pographic/

Once you figure out which ones you need, you can either cut out the sections you need and print at home on 8x11 paper (what I usually do) or take the files to someone with a large format printer and have the maps printed out full size.

Well , that's a start. Look through this and get back to me if you have more questions.


PostPosted: September 23rd, 2021, 1:52 pm 

Joined: November 1st, 2018, 8:11 am
Posts: 6

Thanks a lot. This is really helpful.

The route from whitefish is far from written in stone. Haven’t decided 100 % on starting point either, but after studying the online map I came up with reaching Eileen going south and then west. I found your trip report update (with the map and pictures, is there another report?), and it looks like you found a good route?
Did you find it struggling, a lot of portages?

I can see from your report that you didn’t paddle snowdrift to the end, but went through different lakes, ended up in great slave lake. How did that work out for you? Looks like some long portages?
Is it possible to arrange an inexpensive pickup from this part of great slave lake?
Going down snowdrift to Lutselk’e is an option and would save me some $, but I really don’t want to spend my limited time canoeing snowdrift for this trip.

Is 20 days ok for this kind of route?

Thank you for the hunting document. I might go in late august/ late September (trying to avoid the horders of mosquitoes. I can’t find the regulation for ducks l, geese etc?

PostPosted: September 23rd, 2021, 10:58 pm 

Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 2217
Location: Manitoba
Exciting plans.

jmc already provided much information.

In my 20 years of far north canoe trips I seldom meet others groups and if I do it's usually just in passing and then I don't seeing them again.

If travelling from outside of Canada, flying into Yellowknife might be easier than Fort Smith but you can figure out which place works best for your plans.

As for wildlife protection bear spray is common and readily available in Yellowknife. You could ask the air charter company if they have bear spray that they can lend you. The vast majority of canoeists travel without firearms. If you were headed to the coast/into polar country I would suggest an electric fence and motion alarm, as well as bear spray, bear bangers, an air horn, a defender shot gun with rubber bullets and rifled slugs.

Most wilderness canoe trippers pack all the food they require for them trip.

Some paddlers would fish, either for sport (catch and release) or to eat, but fish would supplement their food. In general, the fishing is good in the NWT but there is no guarantee as many factors come into play.

Fishing information is here, ... ng-licence
You would be a non-resident, $40 Canadian funds.
The link includes information and links such as the NWT Sport Fishing Regulations Guide, Information on fish species, daily catch and possession limits, Important tips, etc.

I think duck/geese season opens in September but again, canoeists don't hunt while on canoe trips in northern Canada.

Re topo maps, if you an online source, mytopo is good.

Most northern canoe trips are in July and August. As far as bugs go, seek out the wind, wear long sleeves and long pants. Light coloured clothes are better than dark blue. I don't use any bug repellent. Bugs are part of northern Canada.



PostPosted: September 24th, 2021, 12:46 pm 

Joined: September 29th, 2005, 5:57 pm
Posts: 674
Norsk -

Migratory birds information is here: ... itory.html

Looking at my trip notes from that route, I see it took me 9 travel days from the south end of Whitefish via Lynx , Timberhill, Sled Lake, etc. to reach the junction of the Eileen and the Snowdrift. From there, it is about 100 km down the Snowdrift to Siltaza Lake, which would be a good pick up spot for an air charter. This stretch of the Snowdrift is very easy - only one (easily run) rapid and a helpful current. It is easily done in 3 days , so paddling this part of the river would not eat up much of your trip time.

So 20 days should give you lots of time to explore the very attractive upper reaches of a Whitefish to Siltaza (or Austin) lake route. The ""Y" shaped lake branching east from the Eileen between Eileen Lake and Tent Lake is reputed to be a very attractive area for exploration.

Going down to Great Slave is a possibility but does involve some significant portaging, with trails either indistinct or non-existent. This would be true whether you followed my route down to Meridian or chose to portage the last canyon on the Snowdrift where it drops down to Stark Lake.

I recall a video a few years ago on you tube by a pair of Norwegians who did follow the Snowdrift all the way down, but I couldn't find it in a quick search. It might be worth looking for, if you can find it you might try contacting them directly. If I recall correctly, their trip was Sled Lake to Lutselk'e, so they might be a good source of information for you.

Good luck with your planning.

PostPosted: January 17th, 2022, 8:04 am 

Joined: January 27th, 2018, 11:14 am
Posts: 6
"I recall a video a few years ago on you tube by a pair of Norwegians who did follow the Snowdrift all the way down, but I couldn't find it in a quick search. It might be worth looking for, if you can find it you might try contacting them directly. If I recall correctly, their trip was Sled Lake to Lutselk'e, so they might be a good source of information for you"

This is it:
Done upper part doing it again 2022

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