Portaging the Canoe - A Rite of Passage - Algonquin Provincial Park

Joe Lake Canoe Trip

Algonquin Provincial Park

August 9 - 12, 2011

Tom Thompson Memorial - Canoe Lake - Algonquin Provincial Park

Canoe Trip Reports

Joe Lake

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Photo Gallery

Video Version

Video Day 1
Video Day 2
Video Day 3
Video Day 4



Day 3 - Joe Lake to Burnt Island Lake

Little Joe Lake, Algonquin Provincial ParkI was awake by 8am this morning but Madeline was still sleeping and it was still raining off and on. There was no rush to get going so I dozed a bit longer and then read a bit until Madeline did wake up shortly after 9am. We were up for real by about quarter after 9am and got the stoves going to make coffee/hot chocolate and to cook our blueberry muffing cake for breakfast. We were Arrowhon Pines Lodgecleaned up and on the water by 10:30am today, which was an hour earlier than yesterday.

We started out heading east and were through the narrows into Little Joe Lake in less than 10 minutes. I took some pictures of the Arrowhon Pines lodge as we trolled along the northwest shore with a couple of Rapala's. We were across Little Joe Lake and Great Blue Heronstarting up the creek within another half an hour with no fish but lots of weeds. As we headed up the creek, we spotted a Great Blue Heron and stopped to take some pictures of it. Lift over at the 120m Low Water Portage on Joe Creek

The first portage on the creek is a short 120m one around a shallow rocky spot. There is a small beaver dam there at the moment but it was easy enough to lift and drag the canoe over the beaver dam to skip the portage.

The next portage from Joe Creek to Baby Joe Lake looks more serious with a well built set of steps. Madeline let me carry the canoe this time since I could do that with my day pack and a couple of paddles while she managed the Portage from Joe Creek to Baby Joe Lakefishing rods, tackle boxes, her day pack and the other paddle. This way we could do the portage in a single trip (yes, even on day trips I have trouble keeping it down to a single portage :-( ) Once we were over the portage, we talked with one of the trip leaders from Camp Arrowhon and confirmed that you could wade the stream if you wanted to skip the portage. How to portage the fishing gear

We were back on the water on Baby Joe Lake by quarter after 12pm. We had packed up the fishing gear for the portage and since Baby Joe was a short paddle, we left the gear packed up ready for the next portage to Burnt Island Lake.

The portage from Baby Joe Lake to Burnt Island Lake is a "Y" intersection with the branch to the left/west taking you to Little Baby Joe Lake looking towards the portage to Burnt Island LakeDoe Lake and the branch to the right/east taking you to Burnt Island Lake. There is a dam at Burnt Island Lake so you can't really skip this short 200m portage. That was OK since Madeline carried the canoe for me again. (I could get used to this :-) )

Portage from Baby Joe Lake to Little Doe Lake or Burnt Island Lake

Once we were on Burnt Island, we just paddled across to the westernmost island before stopping for lunch at a campsite around 1pm. While we were eating we saw the MNR Turbo Beaver land and pick up a work crew then take off again. MNR Turbo Beaver - Burnt Island Lake - Algonquin Provincial ParkAfter lunch we decided to paddle out around the next 2 islands before starting back to camp.


We were still looking to catch some trout so we put our bottom bouncers on again. Madeline was using a green and silver Williams Wabler while I was trying a green and silver Little Cleo. Lake Trout - Burnt Island Lake, Algonquin Provincial ParkAfter trolling over water as much as 107' deep, Madeline hooked a fish in about 40' of water as we were coming up to the second island where we were planning on turning around. I snagged on something at almost the same time, but mine wasn't a fish. In the end Madeline pulled in a 17 1/2" Lake Trout while I lost my lure and the bottom bouncer.

Once we had let the fish go and I had set my rod up again, we started back west towards camp a little after 2:30pm. We trolled our way back Portage Sign - Burnt Island Lake to Baby Joe Lakealong the north shore but we didn't catch anything else, even though I did manage to lose another lure. I'm actually even on lures for the trip so far having pulled one out of Canoe Lake and finding another at our campsite on the first day.

We portaged back to Baby Joe Lake, with me taking my turn to carry the canoe this time. We paddled straight through Baby Joe again but this time we waded down the creek to Lost Joe with a very short paddle across Lost Joe to continue wading down the creek past the portage. There were a few spots where we had to lift the canoe a bit and it would have been tougher with a loaded canoe but it worked well for us with just our day tripping gear.

After wading past the portage, we continued down the creek and lifted over the beaver dam again. The Great Blue Heron that we had seen earlier in the day was still fishing in the same area so we stopped to take some more pictures and some video before continuing out into Little Joe Lake.

Back on Little Joe Lake we saw a family of Loons with 2 adults and 2 chicks. We fished a bit through Little Joe, looking for some bass but didn't catch anything.

By 5:30pm we were back at camp. Dinner tonight was rehydrated chili. After dinner, the beaver that we had seen Tuesday night swam by in front of our campsite for us. Adult Loon & Chick

The sky is clearing up a bit now and we've had quite a colourful sunset. Well, the beaver just swam Sunset on Joe Lake, Algonquin Provincial Parkback past in the other direction and it's getting too dark to write so I guess it's about time to finish packing up for the night, brush our teeth and head to bed.


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