View topic - Kawashkagama River Not on Route Section but Nice Trip

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PostPosted: September 27th, 2011, 6:04 pm 
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Joined: October 21st, 2004, 7:22 pm
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Location: Kitchener,Ontario
Just entering this trip report now but thought some might enjoy it.

Info :

Kawashkagama River
Location- Aroland Ontario
Put in- Fleming Lake
Take out- Ogaki Rd
Trip distance-@ 120k
Portages- 5-7 depending on water levels
Duration- 6 days
River Travel- novice to intermediate
Lake Travel- novice
Portages- intermediate
Average Portage-200m
Longest Portage- 900m
No Loop
No Handicap access

My tripping buddy John and I leave KW @ 4pm on Friday for the drive to Geraldton where we are going to meet up with a local resident who is going to arrange our shuttle. As on any of out longer trips a must stop for dinner at Danny's Pasta House in Sundridge is on the itinerary. We arrive about 1/2 hour before they close and dinner and service were excellent as usual.
Our appetite sated we hit the road again but are meet by a deluge. Rained so hard it slowed us right down to 60 k for a long period of time.
Despite all this we still make it to our destination in time to meet up with Rob. We all hop in our truck and drive to Fleming lake about a half hour out of town.
Rob is a great guy and a very giving and dedicated individual who helps run a local canoe club and without him this trip would be impossible. Not only because he shuttled us but because he went in and cleared the portages the year before.
We load all our gear in the Dagger and set off on our adventure.

Day 1

Fleming Lake to Portage into Kawashkagama River.


Winds are pretty strong and we have to deal with 3 foot swells and whitecaps quartering across our stern until we can get to the far side of the lake and get it square to our rear. We are exhausted after a long drive and battling mother nature isn't helping matters any. Despite that the day is sunny and the scenery is beautiful. We spot several bald eagles and never tire of seeing them. We take a break on a spit of sand and John finds a bald eagle feather which he quickly claims as a souvenir. After 5 hours and lots of water over the gunwales we reach the port at the end of the lake.
First portage is always the worst and the best. Best because you have lots of energy and are pumped worst because you haven't eaten anything yet and your packs and barrel are as heavy as they are going to be. This portage is relatively level but wet and swampy in places. All the portages on this trip except the last one are narrow and rough. Basically a moose trail. We do this portage in about an hour.
Done like dinner we set up camp at the end of the portage on river left. The put in is jammed with flotsam so we put on our waders and spend some time clearing it out so when Rob does the trip in a couple of weeks with his high school kids it won't be as bad.
Now with plenty of daylight still left we head out on the river for some fishing. While not the largest of pike the fishing was absolutely incredible. Fish were caught on every single cast.



A word of caution after talking with the locals we found out our site is a frequent haunt for bears but we didn't have any issues.
Dinner was Noodles and Sauce with sausage and 8 beer between the two of us although we skipped having a campfire because even though it had rained alot up there the surrounding area was really dry.

Day 2

Kawashkagama River-Kawashkagama Lake-Kawashkagama River-Rupert Falls

We woke up early and struck camp. Quickly caught two pike for lunch and headed downstream winds were not as severe as the day before and sunny skies still ruled the day. The river here is pretty flat around lunch we stopped on the west bank of Kawashkagama Lake and I quickly cleaned the pike which were sweet and delicious. Back into the river and reach the next port which is runnable in high water which we are definitely in. My buddy doesn't have a lot of experience running rapids(I finally convinced him to run his first set the year before(Whiskey Rapids,Oxtongue River) in prep for this trip) We miscommunicate and are swept into a submerged boulder pretty hard but thankfully the canoe is packed very well with a low center of gravity and we don't tip.
Excitement behind us we continue to Rupert Falls the first of 3 big falls on the river. Portage is river left about 200 meters of downhill. We make camp again and decide to try our luck fishing again.
Big difference. All the rain has finally gotten into the system and the water is high and muddy and we couldn't get a hit which would be the story for the rest of the trip.

Day 3

Rupert Falls to Lucy Lake RD

Water is very high and dirty and it's drizzly all day. We call it an early one and make camp at an old bridge site. See three different bears in an hour of setting up camp. We decide to eat cold smoked sausage and cheese and forgoe cooking smells. Instead we get plastered on vodka and river water lemonade so that if we get attacked at least we won't feel anything.

Day 4

Lucy Lake RD to Howard Falls

We run some more rapids without incident.
Reach the huge logjam on the river and try speck fishing as we are told this is a hot spot for them but the river is pretty chocolaty and we have no luck. Portage around the logjam is river right about 100 meters and was cut of by overflow from high water. We build a bridge from blown down trees and floated our empty canoe across. The put in was nasty steep and very slippery but we made it without incident. Arrived at Howard falls were the portage is river left and completed the portage before making camp.

Day 5

Howard Falls to Albert Falls.

Making great progress we try fishing this stretch harder but just can't manage anything run some more rapids but nothing to big and make Albert Falls with plenty of daylight. Portage is river left about 40m and downhill.

Day 5

Albert Falls to Ogaki Rd

Pouring rain and temps at 5 degrees we put our heads down and just paddle.

Conclusions

Not a river I would recommend. The surrounding topography is pretty boring and the campsites are few and far between.
Lots of wildlife we saw 13 bears and 8 moose(first time I've ever seen more bears than moose)
The fishing I believe would be great but river conditions for us were terrible. Talking to locals what we experienced the first day is more the norm. With lots of pike and walleye to be caught with big specks in certain locations.

Thanks again to Rob for all his info and time


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PostPosted: September 28th, 2011, 6:17 am 
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Joined: August 27th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2558
Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
Nice report, and thanks for the help with the ports. A couple of weeks can make a big difference, we had beautiful weather and excellent fishing. Lots of pics here
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set= ... 76b&type=1


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PostPosted: September 28th, 2011, 9:50 am 
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Joined: October 21st, 2004, 7:22 pm
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Location: Kitchener,Ontario
Yes we knew we were early but it was the only time we could do the trip. And thanks again for the help.

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PostPosted: October 3rd, 2011, 10:07 pm 
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Joined: September 8th, 2009, 8:29 am
Posts: 318
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Nice report and video. Sounds like great opportunities for fishing. It is amazing that you saw 13 bears and 8 moose. With all of the trips that I have done, I have only seen 4 bears in the backcountry.

Take care,
Cousin Pete

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PostPosted: October 4th, 2011, 1:38 pm 
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Joined: October 21st, 2004, 7:22 pm
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Location: Kitchener,Ontario
A lot of it was mothers and cubs. Although the big bruiser we caught mid evacuation at Lucy Lake Rd was enough to make us very apprehensive about sleeping that evening.

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