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Saskatchewan Documented Canoe Route

Canoe Trip 31


McLennan Lake - McLean Lake - Versailles Lake - Davis Lake - McLennan Lake

Length of Trip: 41 to 48 kilometres (25 to 30 miles)
Time Required to Complete Trip: 2 to 3 days
Number of Portages: 8 or 9


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 may be launched on the west side of McLennan Lake from the Saskatchewan Government campground on Highway 102 about 135 kilometres (84 miles) north of La Ronge (Grid location 468988 - Map 73-P/16). An alternate starting is the private fishing camp on the west side of McLennan Lake about 131 kilometres (81 miles)north of La Ronge on Highway 102 (Grid location 435975 - Map 73-P/16).

Arrangements could most likely be made with the fishing camp operator for the safe parking of vehicles for the duration of the trip.


Maps:

73-P/16 Settee Lake

About the Trip:

This short trip is suitable for the relatively inexperienced canoeist as there are no rapids to run, and no large expanses of unprotected water to cross.

Although the illusion of remoteness exists, the canoeist is never really far from help should an emergency arise.

This is a loop trip which can be made in either direction as no stream currents are involved. For this reason, portage locations are given from both direction.

Fishing for northern pike is good throughout this trip, especially at the base of rapids. Lake trout can also be found in some of the lakes.


The Canoe Trip:

Starting from the Government campground on the west shore of McLennan Lake, near its north end, the canoeist should travel northeast to Cratty Lake.

An alternate route involves travelling east to the eastern limit of Earl Bay on McLennan Lake (Grid location 485980 - Map 73-P/16). A short lift-over of a few metres (yards) can then be made into Cratty Lake.

Portage Number 1:

Connecting Cratty Lake with McLean Lake. 164 metres (179 yards) long and in good condition.

From the Cratty Lake end, this portage starts on the southeast shore of Gray Bay 75 metres (82 yards) northeast of the small inflowing stream. A slightly shorter version of this portage starts a short way up the inflowing stream after it becomes too shallow to navigate.

From the McLean Lake end, this portage starts at a conspicuous break in the shoreline vegetation 140 metres (153 yards) east of the outlet stream. This stream is in the western end of a small bay on the west-central portion of the lake (Grid location 482963 - Map 73-P/16).

Portage Number 2:

Connecting McLean Lake with a small nameless lake. 134 metres (147 yards) long and in fair condition.

From the McLean Lake end, this portage starts at a break in the shoreline spruce on the western side of the southern tip of a small bay (Grid location 474936 - Map 73-P/16).

From the small nameless lake, this portage starts at an obvious break in the shoreline vegetation on the northeast shoreline.

There are excellent campsite possibilities along the rocky south shore of this small nameless lake.

Portage Number 3:

Connecting the small nameless lake with Hutchings Lake. 21 metres (23 yards) long and over bare rock. From the southwest end of the small nameless lake, this portage starts 10 metres (11 yards) west of a beaver dam on the small outlet stream (Grid location 466933 - Map 73-P/16).

From the northern end of Hutchings Lake, this portage starts from a large rock immediately to the west of the inconspicuous inflowing stream.

Portage Number 4:

Connecting Hutchings Lake with a small nameless lake. 360 metres (394 yards) long and in poor condition.

From the southwest end of Hutchings Lake, this portage starts from the middle of a beaver dam in the small outlet stream (Grid location 447907 - Map 73-P/16). The portage trail is mainly east of the stream.

From the small nameless lake, this portage starts 20 metres (22 yards) east of the small inflowing stream (Grid location 446905 - Map 73-P/16).

Portage Number 5:

Connecting the small nameless lake with Versailles Lake. 156 metres (171 yards) long and in poor condition.

From the most southerly bay of the small nameless lake, this portage starts 5 metres (6 yards) west of the small outlet stream.

From the north end of Versailles Lake, this portage starts immediately west of the small inflowing stream (Grid location 436893 - Map 73-P/16).

After paddling southwest to the end of Versailles Lake, two routes lead through Minuhik Lake to Davis Lake. The longer route involves two portages - numbers 6 and 7. The shorter route involves three portages - numbers 6A, 6B and 7.

Portage Number 6:

Connecting Versailles Lake with Minuhik Lake. 51 metres (56 yards) long and in good condition.

From a small bay near the southwest end of Versailles Lake, this portage starts on the north shore opposite a prominent rock face (Grid location 371822 - Map 73-P/16).

From a small bay along the east-central shore of Minuhik Lake, this portage starts on the south side of the bay (Grid location 371823 - Map 73-P/16).

Portage Number 6A:

Connecting Versailles Lake with Minuhik Lake. 46 metres (50 yards) long and in poor condition.

From a small bay near the southwest end of Versailles Lake, this portage starts on the south side of the small outflowing stream (Grid location 385845 - Map 73-P/16).

From a small bay along the east-central shore of Minuhik Lake, this portage starts on the south side of the small inflowing stream (Grid location 384845 - Map 73-P/16).

Portage Number 6B:

Across the narrow base of a peninsula on Minuhik Lake (Grid location 370848 - Map 73-P/16). 37 metres (40 yards) long and in good condition.

After completing either of these alternate routes, paddle west and north on Minuhik Lake.

Portage Number 7:

Connecting Minuhik Lake with Davis Lake. 133 metres (145 yards) long and in good condition.

From the northwest arm of Minuhik Lake, this portage starts 70 metres (77 yards) west of the base of rapids in the inflowing stream (Grid location 367867 - Map 73-P/16). There is good fishing at the base of these lovely but impassable rapids.

From the southern end of Davis Lake, this portage starts 140 metres (153 yards) west of the outlet stream (Grid location 367869 - Map 73-P/16).

Paddle up the northwest shore of Davis Lake for 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 kilometres (3 1/2 to 4 miles) where two different and well used portages to McLennan Lake are found.

Portage Number 8:

Connecting Davis Lake with McLennan Lake. 233 metres (255 yards) long and in good condition.

From Davis Lake, this portage starts at a conspicuous clearing in a small bay on the northwest shore (Grid location 396915 - Map 73-P/16).

From McLennan Lake, this portage starts at a conspicuous clearing along the southeast shore (Grid location 395917 - Map 73-P/16).

Portage Number 8A:

Connecting Davis Lake with McLennan Lake. 184 metres (201 yards) long and in good condition.

From Davis Lake, this portage starts at a conspicuous clearing along the northwest shore (Grid location 402923 - Map 73-P/16). From McLennan Lake, this portage starts at a conspicuous clearing in a small bay east of the central narrows on the southeast shore (Grid location 400923 - Map 73-P/16).

After completing either of these portages to McLennan Lake, canoeists should travel about 10 kilometres (6 1/4 miles) northeast along the shores of the lake to the end point of the trip at the Government campground (Grid location 468988 - Map 73-P/16).


WRITTEN BY: Original script by Northrock Canoe Trail Surveys, field reviewed in 1989 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