Length of Trip: 170 kilometres
Time Required to Complete Trip: Five to six days
Number of Portages: 15
Pelican Narrows is an alternate starting point for a shortened version of this trip (shortened by 65 kilometres). The community of Pelican Narrows is located on Highway 135, 51 kilometres north of its junction with Highway 106.
The remainder of the trip between Pelican Narrows and Sandy Bay calls for much more portaging and navigational expertise. This part of the trip can only be recommended for canoeists of intermediate or advanced skills.
This trip offers excellent fishing opportunities below rapids and falls and at points where streams enter lakes. Attractive natural campsites are common along the entire route of travel.
Highway 135 crosses the Mukoman River at Mile 27 and again comes close to the river at Mile 29 just before emptying into Sokatisewin Lake. Either of these highway access points could be used as ending points for a shortened version of this trip.
Because the force of river currents is not great during the river travel portions of this trip, parts or even all of this trip could be made in a reverse direction. For this reason portage locations will be described as they would occur in the normal direction of travel and secondly, described from their opposite end, as they would be encountered if the trip were made in reverse.
The end point of this trip is the community of Sandy Bay which lies 70 kilometres northeast of Pelican Narrows at the end of Highway 135. There are two general stores in Sandy Bay, a Saskatchewan government office, radio and telephone services, but no motels, or hotels.
There is a choice of two short or one long portage to reach South Arm of Pelican Lake. Generally speaking, the two short portages are easier to make than the one long one.
These portages start from a small baylet about six kilometres north of the falls shown at the southeast corner of Deschambault Lake.
The actual portage trails are shown on the older editions of map 63L, but not on the newer editions. Another description of the location of the baylet from which the portages start is that it is about three kilometres north-northeast of the north end of McIntyre Island and has a sharp angular bend in it extending to the southeast.
From the southeast shores of the small baylet this portage starts about 18 metres north of the outlet stream. There is a pole ramp at this spot, built in 1984.
From the small pond approach, this portage starts at its southwest end at the north side of the inflowing stream.
From the north shore of the small pond this portage starts near the outlet on the east side at an inconspicuous break in the willows.
From the most westerly part of South Arm this portage starts at the south end 23 metres east of the inflowing stream.
From the northeast shore of the baylet at the east side of Deschambault Lake this portage starts at an inconspicuous break in the willows.
From the most westerly part of South Arm, Pelican Lake, this portage starts on the west side 75 metres north of the base of the inflowing stream at a break in the poplar shoreline.
After completing the portaging, paddle north on South Arm, past Sandy Narrows and along the shores of the more exposed part of Pelican Lake to the community of Pelican Narrows.
Pelican Narrows has several general stores, Saskatchewan government office, R.C.M.P. detachment, and radio and telephone services.
From Pelican Narrows paddle east through Opawikusehikan Narrows under the highway bridge to the north end of Mirond Lake. Travel north and then east on Mirond Lake to the east side of Wunehikun Bay.
Enter the very narrow and hard-to-find outlet stream on the east central shore of Wunehikun Bay leading the Meggisi Rapids. Travel south down the east side of this small bay and enter the meandering, reed-filled channel leading to the small lake west of Meggisi Rapids.
From above Meggisi Rapids this portage shows as a small break in the willows and alders about 80 metres above the start of the rapids on the north side of the river.
After about 1,200 metres of quiet paddling, more rapids occur.
From the downstream side this portage starts 30 metres from the base of the rapids on the north side at a break in the willows and alders. If water levels are low, make the full portage. If water levels are high, portage only 65 to 75 metres to shores of a small pool, paddle on and then haul or lift over the ledge on the north side.
From the upstream side (outlet of Waskwei Lake) this portage starts 20 metres above the ledge on the north shore at a break in the willows and alders.
At the narrows separating the northwest part of Waskwei Lake from the main body of the lake there is a small island. Haul up or line up the more easterly channel past the island. There are some outpost fishing cabins on Waskwei Lake shortly after hauling up through the narrows.
Paddle to the east end of Waskwei Lake and into a meandering, reed-bordered stream against a slight current. Travel on to the base of a beautiful little fall. Outfitters have built a dock below the fall at the start of the portage.
From below the falls the start of this portage is obvious at the dock on the north side.
From above the falls this portage starts at a dock on the north side.
Canoeists must paddle up through one fast riffle a few hundred metres above the falls and then out onto the quiet waters of Attitti Lake.
There is a large outfitters camp on the east side of Attitti Lake at the central narrows.
Paddle in a north-northwest direction on Attitti Lake to the extreme north end. Wade or line canoes up through the rock-free channel against the current or make an optional portage.
From the north end of Attitti Lake this portage starts on the east shore at an obvious grassy patch below the inflowing waters.
From the south end of Belcher Lake this portage starts at an old log dock on the east side 20 metres above the rocky outlet channel.
There are attractive sand beaches on the south shore of Belcher Lake. Paddle up through the central narrows of Belcher Lake to the northeast shore in the area of the portage to the southwest end of Mukoman Lake (see map 63M).
From the end of a bay along the northeast shore of Belcher Lake this portage starts at a grassy patch in alders and willows at the approximate location indicated on map 63M.
From the southwest end of Mukoman Lake the start of this portage is obvious and at the location indicated on the map.
Paddle up Mukoman Lake and enter the long narrow arm on the east central shore leading to rapids at the outlet of the lake.
Approaching from above the rocky rapids on the Mukoman Lake side this portage starts on the northwest shore of the outlet opposite the start of the rapids.
From below these rapids the portage starts on the west side at the base of the rapids on a sloping rock landing.
Paddle on downstream and haul over a beaver dam and small rock obstruction. Travel on downstream to within approximately 180 metres of the next obstructing dam and rapids.
From the upstream approach this portage starts on the east side of the stream at a few blazed trees back from a wet, grassy, brushy shoreline. The start is hard to find and appears little used. This portage does not start at the side of the rapids, but starts 160 to 180 metres above the start of the rapids. The reason for the unexpected location of the starts of this portage is that the stream turns sharply to the southeast at the rapids. There is also an obstructing rock ridge near the rapids.
From the downstream approach this portage starts at the base of the rapids on the southwest side.
Continue to paddle downstream to the next dam and rock obstruction.
From the upstream approach the start of this portage is indefinite. Canoeists should land on the grassy shore on the northeast side of the dam. Look for old blazes and scout out a passable route through to the shores of Ohoo Lake.
From the Ohoo Lake this portage is hard to find. The outlet stream from Mukoman Lake enters the southwest shore of Ohoo Lake at the location shown on the map. This stream at this point is in fact only a trickle down a densely overgrown rocky slope and therefore is easily overlooked. The actual portage begins north of the stream entrance, but has no definite start. The trail is vague.
Paddle to the outlet of Ohoo Lake at its northwest end and enter the outlet stream.
From the upstream approach, this portage starts vaguely in the shore grass on the west side above the small rapids.
From the downstream side this portage starts on the west side at the base of a small falls and rapids.
Travel on the downstream hauling over one or two beaver dams and down a short rocky channel until the start of a long set of rapids is reached.
From the upstream approach the start of this portage is obvious at a landing on the northwest side at the start of the rapids.
From the downstream side this portage starts on the northwest side opposite the base of the rapids.
Paddle on down river towards the highway and haul over the obstructing beaver dam.
Below the highway crossing the Mukoman River opens out into a small lake. Below this lake there may be several beaver dams to haul over. The river comes very close to the highway again at Mile 29 and rapids obstruct canoe travel.
From the upstream approach this portage starts on the south side at the start of the rapids and is partially over a bull-dozed trail.
From the southwest bay of Sokatisewin Lake where the Mukoman River flows into the lake, this portage starts on the south side of the mouth of the river at the base of the rapids. There is an outfitter's cabin nearby.
Travel on Sokatisewin Lake to its outlet at the northeast end in the general area of the dam and powerhouse.
From the Sokatisewin Lake side this portage starts from a small bay about 400 metres north of the dam and powerhouse. The start of the portage is marked by the decaying hulls of two old barges.
From below the dam this portage starts on the west shore about 400 metres below the powerhouse at a break in the shore vegetation between rock outcroppings.
There is minor fast water below this portage enroute to the community of Sandy Bay.
Sandy Bay is the end point of this trip.
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