You have entered the Canoe Saskatchewan suite

Saskatchewan Documented Canoe Route

Canoe Trip 32


McLennan Lake - Davis Lake - Versailles Lake - Settee Lake - Mountain Lake (Guncoat Bay) - - Otter Lake

Length of Trip: 105 - 110 kilometres (65 - 68 miles)
Time Required to Complete Trip: 5 to 6 days
Number of Portages: 18 or 19


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/9 Guncoat Bay, 73-P/10 Otter Lake, 73-P/16 Settee Lake

About the Trip:

This trip starts very easily on small lakes interconnected by easy portages. South of Kemp Lake, however, the canoeist must wade down a small stream for about 550 metres (600 yards) of intermittent rapids and shallows. The last part of the trip, from Guncoat Bay on Mountain Lake to Walker Bay on Otter Lake, is over relatively large and exposed lakes. These can become quite rough at times and may tempt the less experienced canoeist to take chances instead of waiting out the bad weather.

As with most wilderness canoe trips, fishing for northern pike is excellent throughout the trip. Lake trout can also be found in some of the lakes. As well, walleye are found in the Churchill River system.


The Canoe Trip:

Starting from the Government campground on the west shore of McLennan Lake, near its north end, the canoeist should travel about 10 kilometres (6 1/4 miles) southwest where two different and well used portages to Davis Lake are found on the southwest shore.

Portage Number 1:

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

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).

Portage Number 1A:

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

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

After completing either of these portages to Davis Lake, canoeists should travel 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 kilometres (3 1/2 to 4 miles) down the southwest shore of the lake to the portage to Minuhik Lake.

Portage Number 2:

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

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) and ends in the northernmost arm of Minuhik Lake 70 metres (77 yards) west of the base of shallow rapids. There is good fishing below these lovely but impassable rapids.

After completing this portage, travel south and east on Minuhik Lake. Two routes lead through Minuhik Lake to Versailles Lake. The longer route involves one portage - number 3. The shorter route involves two portages - numbers 3A and 3B.

Portage Number 3:

Connecting Minuhik Lake with Versailles Lake. 51 metres (56 yards) long and in good condition. 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 3A:

Across the narrow base of a peninsula on Minuhik Lake (Grid location 369848 - Map 73-P/16). 37 metres (40 yards) long and in good condition.

Portage Number 3B:

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

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 385845 - Map 73-P/16).

After completing either of these alternate routes, paddle in a generally easterly direction for 3 to 5 kilometres (1 3/4 to 3 miles) across Versailles Lake to the first of the two portages to Colin Lake (Grid location 416841 - Map 73-P/16).

Portage Number 4:

Connecting Versailles Lake with a small nameless lake. 165 metres (180 yards) and in fair condition.

From the largist bay midway along the southeast shore of Versailles Lake, this portage starts at a break in the shoreline vegetation (Grid location 416841 - Map 73-P/16).

Portage Number 5:

Connecting the small nameless lake with Colin Lake. 120 metres (131 yards) long and in good condition.

This portage starts at a break in the shoreline vegetation on the south shore of the small nameless lake (Grid location 422835 - Map 73-P/16). From the southwest end of Colin Lake, canoeists may travel either north or south of Sandomirsky Island enroute to the northeastern part of the lake.

Portage Number 6:

Connecting Colin Lake with a small nameless lake. 67 metres (73 yards) long and in poor condition.

From the east end of the bay northeast of Sandomirsky Island, this portage starts at a break in the shoreline vegetation 10 metres (11 yards) north of the small inflowing stream (Grid location 506859 - Map 73-P/16).

Portage Number 7:

Connecting two small nameless lakes between Colin and Settee Lakes. 406 metres (445 yards) long and in poor condition.

From the eastern shore of the first nameless lake, this portage starts at a break in the shoreline vegetation (Grid location 512858 - Map 73-P/16).

Portage Number 8:

Connecting the second nameless lake with Settee Lake. 82 metres (90 yards) long and in good condition.

From the southeast shore of the second nameless lake, this portage starts at a break in the shoreline vegetation (Grid location 524858 - Map 73-P/16).

There are two separate portages connecting Settee Lake with Solymos Lake.

Portage Number 9:

Connecting Settee Lake with Solymos Lake. 187 metres (205 yards) long and in good condition.

From the southwest end of Settee Lake, this portage starts at a break in the shoreline vegetation (Grid location 528848 - Map 73-P/16).

Portage Number 9A:

Connecting Settee Lake with Solymos Lake. 115 metres (126 yards) long and in good condition.

From the extreme south end of Settee Lake, this portage starts on the north bank of a small inflowing stream (Grid location 542838 - Map 73-P/16).

Solymos Lake is split into three main sections. The canoe route leads, between high rocky banks, to the extreme south end of the most westerly bay to the start of the portage to Stempel Lake.

Portage Number 10:

Connecting Solymos Lake with Stempel Lake. 365 metres (399 yards) long and in good condition.

From the extreme south end of Solymos Lake, this portage starts at an obvious break in the shoreline vegetation (Grid location 522815 - Map 73-P/16).

Portage Number 11:

Connecting the south end of Stempel Lake with the north end of Luther Lake. Approximately 137 metres (150 yards) long and in fair condition.

From the south end of Stempel Lake, the start of this portage is obvious on the right, or west, side of the shallow outflowing stream (Grid location 518787 - Map 73-P/16).

Portage Number 12:

Connecting the south end of Luther Lake with the north end of a small nameless lake. Approximately 260 metres (284 yards) long and in fair condition.

From the south end of Luther Lake, the start of this portage is obvious on the right, or west, side of the shallow outflowing stream (Grid location 511769 - Map 73-P/9).

Portage Number 13:

Connecting the south end of the small nameless lake with the north end of Buchner Lake. Approximately 80 metres (87 yards) long and in fair condition.

The start of the portage is in a small cove on the west shore of the small nameless lake about 100 metres (109 yards) north of the outflowing stream (Grid location 498751 - Map 73-P/9). A campsite is located at the Buchner Lake end of the portage.

About 800 metres (875 yards) before the portage out of Buchner Lake (Grid location 483726 - Map 73-P/9), two picturesque waterfalls cascade down the high southeast shore of the lake.

The canoe route follows the outlet stream from Buchner Lake to a beaver dam over which the canoes can be pulled. A short distance below this, the portage can be seen on the right, or west, bank just above a shallow rocky rapid.

Portage Number 14:

Connecting quiet waters above shallow rapids in the stream flowing out of the south end of Buchner Lake (Grid location 475719 - Map 73-P/9) with the north end of Kemp Lake. About 55 metres (60 yards) long and in fair condition. This portage starts on the right, or west, bank immediately above shallow rocky rapids.

From this portage, the canoe route follows down Kemp Lake to the outlet stream (Grid location 434667 - Map 73-P/9).

The small river connecting Kemp Lake to the northeast corner of Hood Lake is fast-flowing and shallow.

Upon leaving Kemp Lake there are three small rapids very close together. Water conditions will determine whether or not the canoeists line down the first two. The third, which has a number of sharp ledges has a well-used portage on the north, or right, shore to a pool below.

Portage Number 15:

Around a small rapid in the river flowing out of Kemp Lake. Approximately 33 metres (36 yards) long and in fair condition.

From the foot of this portage, a channel has been cleared in the river enabling canoes to be paddled and lined approximately 550 metres (601 yards) down to quiet waters below. The river channel opens into a small bay on the northeast end of Hood Lake.

Following the river channel avoids a very difficult and poor 595 metre (650 yard) portage over ridges and through muskeg. This long portage is neither described here, nor recommended.

Canoeists should paddle to the outlet of Hood Lake at its extreme south end (Grid location 391623 - Map 73-P/9).

The narrow stream channel connecting the south end of Hood Lake to the north end of Satkowy Lake is navigable. The canoe route leaves Satkowy Lake over a winter road portage to the north end of Guncoat Bay of Mountain Lake.

Portage Number 16:

Connecting the southeast shore of Satkowy Lake with the northeast corner of Guncoat Bay. Approximately 760 metres (831 yards) long and in good condition.

This portage starts at a clearly discernable clearing in a bay on the east shore of Satkowy Lake (Grid location 385610 - Map 73-P/9) and ends at an open meadow on Guncoat Bay just south of a high rock outcropping.

The canoe route now heads southwest down the long north bay of Mountain Lake on the Churchill River, then turns (Grid location 316516 - junction of Maps 73-P/9 and 73-P/10) and heads through the northwest portion of the lake towards Otter Lake.

As the paddler approaches Mountain Portage, Twin Falls can be seen entering the lake to the right, or north, side of the portage. These are spectacular falls, the river flowing with great force through two narrow openings in the rock. A photo and fishing stop at this point is well worth the time spent.

Portage Number 17 - Mountain Portage:

Connecting the northwest end of Mountain Lake with the small lake between Twin and Robertson Falls. Approximately 275 metres (301 yards) long and in good condition. This portage by-passes a 6 metre (20 foot) fall.

The start of this portage shows as a break in the shoreline vegetation about 400 metres (437 yards) southwest of the falls. An outfitter's dock is located about midway between the falls and the portage.

Portage Number 18 - Stony Mountain Portage:

Connecting the small lake between Twin and Robertson Falls with Otter Lake. Approximately 73 metres (80 yards) long and in excellent condition. This portage by-passes a 3 metre (10 foot) fall.

The start of this portage is at an obvious landing about 10 metres (11 yards) to the east of the most easterly part of Robertson Falls.

Missinipe Townsite, the end point of this trip is located on the northwest shore of Walker Bay at the extreme west end of Otter Lake. At this point there is a Saskatchewan Government campground. There are also several fishing camps, an air charter service and a small general store. Radio, airplane, telephone and highway communications are possible with La Ronge which is situated 80 kilometres (50 miles) to the south via Highway 102.


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.

Return to Canoe Saskatchewan Home Page | Routes & Trips


Page creation by Rebecca Kennel Consulting
Send questions to the
Modified on 23 Jan 96