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Saskatchewan Documented Canoe Route

Canoe Trip 21


Lynx Lake - Sulphide Lake - Freda Lake - Freestone Lake - Hebden Lake - Contact Lake - Sulphide Lake - Lynx Lake

Length of Trip: 53 kilometres (33 miles)
Time Required to Complete Trip: 2 to 4 days
Number of Portages: 19 portages


Warning:

Water levels and canoeing conditions on many Saskatchewan rivers and lakes vary from time to time, causing changes in the appearance of the various landmarks described in this booklet, as well as causing hazards not described herein. It is the canoeist's responsibility to proceed with caution and alertness, using discretion and good judgement at all times. The information in this booklet is intended to be of general assistance only, and the Government of Saskatchewan assumes no responsibility for its use. Canoeists are reminded that they travel at their own risk at all times.

Access to Starting Point:

Canoes can be launched at the Lynx Lake picnic ground which is located 43 kilometres (27 miles) north of La Ronge on highway 102, one kilometre (2/3 mile) north of the junction of highway 915 to Stanley Mission.

Vehicles can be parked at the Saskatchewan Government campground at Wadin Bay located 27 kilometres (17 miles) north of La Ronge on Highway 102. WARNING: Do not leave vehicles at Lynx Lake during your trip as this location is not supervised.


Maps:

73-P/7 Stanley

About the Trip:

This trip is a loop which has the advantage of bringing the canoeist back to the starting point by a largely different route. The route traverses spectacular chains of lakes all of which are relatively small and protected. Because portages are frequent and the trip is short, canoeists should travel light.

Although this trip is a short in distance, it can be a real test of strength and skill. One of the portages on this trip is more than one kilometre (2/3 mile) in length. There are no rapids to run on this trip.

This trip takes canoeists through an area which has been extensively prospected for gold and other base metals. Gold was first discovered on Sulphide Lake in 1937. The occasional mineral claim post will be noted by the observant canoeist.

Fishing is generally good at rocky points, narrows and weed beds along this route. Pike and walleye occur in most waters and lake trout can be found in Hebden and Contact Lakes. Rainbow trout have been stocked in Mekewap Lake.

Attractive natural campsites will be found throughout this trip.

Except for a very slight current at a few places in the Dog River, no navigable rapids are encountered.


The Canoe Trip:

Travel northeast to the portage out of Lynx Lake which is located in a small bay on the east shore of the lake.

Portage Number 1:

Connecting Lynx Lake to Duck Lake. 161 metres (176 yards) long and in good condition.

From Lynx Lake, this portage starts on the east shore of a small bay (Grid location 031346 - Map 73-P/7).

From Duck Lake, this portage starts as a small break in the shoreline vegetation on the northwest shore of the lake (Grid location 032346 - Map 73-P/7).

Portage Number 2:

Connecting Duck Lake to Sulphide Lake. 401 metres (438 yards) long and in good condition. The trail is split into upper and lower alternates, with the lower portion being better.

There are some good campsites along the lower portions of the trail.

From the Duck Lake side, this portage starts as a small break in the shoreline vegetation of a small cove on the northeast side of the lake (Grid location 042345).

From the Sulphide Lake side, this portage starts as a small break in the shoreline vegetation at the extreme southwest end of the lake (Grid location 045346 - Map 73-P/7).

Portage Number 3:

Connecting Sulphide Lake with a beaver pond below the first rapids in the Dog River. 138 metres (150 yards) long and in fair condition.

The Dog River is the outlet stream for Sulphide Lake, which it leaves from a narrow bay on the east shore. It flows into Caribou Lake.

From Sulphide Lake, this portage starts on the northwest or left shore at the end of a narrow northeastward pointing bay on the east side of the lake immediately above a beaver dam and rapids (Grid location 086361 - Map 73-P/7).

From the Dog River side, below the first rapids, this portage starts on the northwest or right shore at an indistinct opening in the shoreline vegetation (Grid location 087363 - Map 73-P/7).

Portage Number 4

: Connecting consecutive beaver ponds on the Dog River. 105 metres (115 yards) long and in fair condition.

From the southwest or upstream side, this portage starts on the right or southeast side of a beaver dam at the outlet of the pond (Grid location 091366 - Map 73-P/7).

From the northeast or downstream, side this portage starts at the head of a beaver pond on the left or southeast side of the rapids in the inflowing stream (Grid location 092367 - Map 73-P/7). The trail has no definite start and the landing spot will depend on prevailing water levels.

Portage Number 5:

Connecting a beaver pond on the Dog River with a meandering arm flowing into the south end of Caribou Lake. 24 metres (26 yards) long and in fair condition.

From the beaver pond or west side, this portage starts on the right or east side of a beaver dam at the stream outlet (Grid location 092368 - Map 73-P/7).

From the meandering arm or east side, this portage starts on the left or south side of the inflowing waters (Grid location 093368 - Map 73-P/7).

Portage Number 6:

Connecting Caribou Lake with a small beaver pond on the outlet stream to the north. 204 metres (223 yards) long and in poor condition (Very rough footing).

From the northwest arm of Caribou Lake, this portage starts on the right or east side at a beaver dam (Grid location 111381 - Map 73-P/7).

From the small beaver pond, this portage starts on the left or east side of the inflowing stream at a rocky and steep landing at the base of the fast water (Grid location 112382 - Map 73-P/7).

Portage Number 7:

Connecting the small beaver pond with Freda Lake. 120 metres (131 yards) long and in fair condition.

From the small beaver pond, this portage starts at the right or east side of a beaver dam at the outlet of the pond.

From the Freda Lake side, this portage starts at a break in the shoreline vegetation at the southern tip of Freda Lake (Grid location 116384 - Map 73-P/7).

A cabin can be seen on the west shore of Freda Lake (Grid location 134407 - Map 73-P/7).

Portage Number 8:

Connecting the south and north portions of Freda Lake. This portage involves lifting or lining canoes a few metres (Yards) over rocks (Grid location 141414 - Map 73-P/7). Beaver sometimes erect a dam at this spot.

At lower water levels a shallow rocky area may be encountered in the narrows at the extreme east end of Freda Lake (Grid location 160424 - Map 73-P/7).

Portage Number 9:

Connecting the north end of Freda Lake with a small nameless lake. 190 metres (208 yards) long and in good condition.

From Freda Lake, at the northern end, after passing through the second narrows there is a small thumb shaped bay extending northward. The portage starts on the left or west side of a broken beaver dam on the outlet stream at the north end of this bay (Grid location 160427 - Map 73-P/7). If water levels permit,canoeists may drag their canoes over this dam and start the portage at the main dam thereby shortening the portage by 100 metres (110 yards).

From the small nameless lake, this portage starts at the south end of its south arm. It appears as a break in the shoreline vegetation immediately to the right or west of the stream entering from Freda Lake (Grid location 161429 - Map 73-P/7).

Portage Number 10:

Connecting the small nameless lake with Sim Lake. 155 metres (169 yards) long and in good condition.

From the small nameless lake, this portage starts on the north shore a short distance to the right or east of the outlet stream (Grid location 164435 - Map 73-P/7).

From Sim Lake, this portage starts at the tip of the southwestern arm of the lake slightly to the left or east of the inflowing stream (Grid location 165437 - Map 73-P/7).

Portage Number 11:

Connecting Sim Lake with Freestone Lake. 666 metres (728 yards) long and in good condition.

From Sim Lake, this portage starts from the north shore of a cove situated roughly northeast of three islands in the central part of the lake (Grid location 187457 - Map 73-P/7).

From Freestone Lake, this portage starts from a small cove a few metres (yards) to the right or west of the outlet stream (Grid location 188463 - Map 73-P/7).

A lovely waterfall can be seen on the outflowing stream a short distance east from the campsite located on the Freestone end of the portage.

Portage Number 12:

Connecting Freestone Lake with Hebden Lake. 345 metres (377 yards) long and in fair condition.

From Freestone Lake, this portage starts at a break in the vegetation on the northwest shoreline along an arm on the west central part of the lake (Grid location 155455 - Map 73-P/7). There is a large blazed spruce near the water's edge at the start of the trail.

From Hebden Lake, this portage starts along the east shore of the northeast arm (Grid location 153457 - Map 73-P/7).

Portage Number 13:

Connecting Hebden Lake with a small nameless lake. 1197 metres (1309 yards) long and in good condition.

From Hebden Lake, this portage starts near the tip of the southwestern extremity of the lake in a small bay (Grid location 117432 - Map 73-P/7).

From the small nameless lake, this portage starts along the east shore of a small southeastern bay (Grid location 107427 - Map 73-P/7).

This long portage trail cuts across the old Contact Gold Mines access road 375 metres (410 yards) after leaving Hebden Lake. The portage trail is quite wide at its eastern end but it narrows considerably after crossing the gold mine road. There is good berry picking along this trail in season.

Portage Number 14:

Connecting two small nameless lakes between Hebden and Contact Lakes. 72 metres (79 yards) long and in poor condition and extremely wet at its northern end.

From the northern nameless lake, this portage starts vaguely at the southern end of the southeastern bay. The trail is very wet, but it shows as a distinct cut through the trees (Grid location 106426 - Map 73-P/7).

From the southern nameless lake, this portage starts as a straight cut through the trees at the northern end of the lake (Grid location 106425 - Map 73-P/7).

Because of the wet landing at the north end of this portage, canoeists might consider the practicality of portaging along the southeast shore of the northern nameless lake from the west end of portage number 13 and bypassing the north end of portage number 14. The total distance from Hebden Lake to the southern nameless lake would then be approximately 1600 metres (one mile).

Portage Number 15:

Connecting southern nameless lake with Contact Lake. 255 metres (279 yards) long and in fair condition but steep at the start.

From the southern nameless lake, this portage starts as a break in the shoreline vegetation on the southwest shore of the lake (Grid location 104419 - Map 73-P/7).

From Contact Lake, this portage starts from a small bay on the east central shore (Grid location 101419 - Map 73-P/7).

Portage Number 16:

Connecting Contact Lake to Mekewap Lake. 445 metres (486 yards) long and in good condition.

From Contact Lake, this portage starts at the southern tip of the southeastern portion of the lake (Grid location 092394 - Map 73-P/7). There is a break in the trees along the shoreline and the remains of an old dock.

From Mekewap Lake, this portage starts on the north shore at an easily noticeable grassy break in the shoreline trees (Grid location 089391 - Map 73-P/7).

Portage Number 17:

Connecting Mekewap Lake to Sulphide Lake. 174 metres (190 yards) long and in good condition.

From Mekewap Lake, this portage starts on the south shore and shows as a light green break in the dark green shoreline (Grid location 088382 - Map 73-P/7). Watch for a sharp left turn as one travels the trail from Mekewap Lake to Sulphide Lake.

From Sulphide Lake, this portage starts at a grassy opening on the north shore of the northernmost bay of Sulphide Lake (Grid location 088379 - Map 73-P/7).

Portage Number 18:

Connecting Sulphide Lake to Duck Lake. 401 metres (438 yards) long and in good condition. The trail is split into upper and lower alternates, with the lower portion being better.

There are some good campsites along the lower portions of the trail.

From the Sulphide Lake side, this portage starts as a small break in the shoreline vegetation at the extreme southwest end of the lake (Grid location 045346 - Map 73-P/7).

From the Duck Lake side, this portage starts as a small break in the shoreline vegetation of a small cove on the northeast side of the lake (Grid location 042345).

Portage Number 19:

Connecting Duck Lake to Lynx Lake. 161 metres (176 yards) long and in good condition.

From Duck Lake, this portage starts as a small break in the shoreline vegetation on the northwest shore of the lake (Grid location 032346 - Map 73-P/7).

From Lynx Lake, this portage starts on the east shore of a small bay (Grid location 031346 - Map 73-P/7).

This loop canoe trip ends at the picnic ground dock at the southwest end of Lynx Lake.


WRITTEN BY: Original script by Peter Gregg, field reviewed in 1991 by Historic Trails Canoe Club.
Credits: The text for the numbered canoe routes is supplied by Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management, and authorization for the use of the text is given by the same department.

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Modified on 23 Jan 96