Ragged Lake Canoe Trip - Algonquin Provincial Park - Loon Island Outdoors

Ragged Lake Canoe Trip

Algonquin Provincial Park

September 3 - 6, 2010

Ragged Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park - Smallmouth Bass

Canoe Trip Reports

Ragged Lake

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
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Day 1

Smoke Lake to Ragged Lake and Parkside Bay

We left home in Waterloo, Ontario at 6:08am and made a quick stop at Tim Horton's for coffee before really getting on the road at 6:16am. We'll often start out for our canoe trips from the cottage which is about half an hour south of Bancroft, Ontario, but this time around the schedule and logistics worked out better to start from home. Our first destination on the way up was the Family Restaurant and Pizza in Huntsville where we stopped for breakfast around 9:30am. We were done breakfast and back on the road by 10:30am with another stop for gas before heading east on Highway 60 into Algonquin Loading up at the docks on Smoke LakeProvincial Park.

Our next stop was historic Canoe Lake where we picked up our interior camping permit and headed off to the put in on Smoke Lake by 11:16am. (yep, I really was writing down the times as I went, I'm trying to get better at actually making trip notes as I go along rather than trying to remember it all several months later when I finally get around to writing up a report). Now looking at the "Canoe Routes of Algonquin Provincial Park" map it looked like Access Point 6 for Smoke Lake was on the east side of Smoke Lake, so when we came out the road from Canoe Lake we headed east looking for the put-in BUT it is really the road straight across from the Canoe Lake road. All it would have taken was a little arrow from the nice red diamond "6" to the access point to clarify where it really was. (The good news is that version 3 of Jeff McMurtrie's really excellent Algonquin Map has already added arrows to the access point labels. ) After our 10km detour on Hwy 60 we finally found the right spot and started loading the canoe at Smoke Lake. We were loaded up and ready to go by 11:50am.

Rain on Smoke Lake As we headed south down Smoke Lake it started to rain. At first it wasn't too bad but then there was a bit of thunder to the north and it started raining harder. Madeline put her rain coat on and then as the wind picked up we headed toward the east shore. We pulled in behind a point and I dug out my rain coat. One nice thing was that our rain coats fit over our life jackets so if you do need to put it on while on the water, you don't have to take off your life jacket to do it.

Once we both had our life jackets on, we continued south towards the portage to Ragged Lake, staying pretty close to the east shore. The good news was that after the first couple of thunder rumbles there hadn't been any more. Essentially by the time we had made it to shore in the first place, what little thunder there was had passed well to the north of us. By the time we arrived at the portage from Smoke Lake to Ragged Lake not only was the thunder gone but the rain had stopped too. Portage from Smoke Lake to Ragged Lake

We arrived at the 240m portage to Ragged Lake around 1:40pm and had carried all of our gear across within half an hour even though we still took 3 trips across. Madeline not only carried her backpack on one trip but she was also able to carry the big blue canoe pack for me on another trip. The weather forecast for this weekend was looking to be pretty cool and wet so we packed extra warm clothes, extra tarps and even a couple of chairs, otherwise I'm pretty sure we could have done the portage in 2 trips.

Given how close the Smoke Lake access point is to both Hwy 60 and the Portage Store oDirections to the outhousen Canoe Lake, it is a very popular starting point for weekend and long weekend trips. As a result, it was no surprise that this portage from Smoke to Ragged was wide and smooth to handle the traffic. It even had an actual outhouse (not just a thunderbox) at the Ragged Lake end. The one thing that was a bit of surprise to me was how much of a climb up it was in that short distance from Smoke to Ragged.

After finishing the portage we took a half hour break to eat some lunch and then loaded up the canoe. We were back on the water at about 2:40pm and started fishing our way down Ragged Lake. Ragged is a new lake for us to explore, so our choice of following the western shoreline was based entirely on the fact that it would lead us around to Parkside Bay and no secret inside fishing knowledge. We didn't catch anything that afternoon either, at least nothing but a couple of snags along the way. We did find a nice deep pool that was fairly sheltered so we decided that we might come Looking back as we head south on Ragged Lakeback and try jigging for trout tomorrow.

We met our first real head wind of the day as we started paddling into Parkside Bay, which made sense since there had been a constant wind from the west throughout the day. Of course it would have to be at the end of the day when we were both getting tired. Madeline and I checked out 3 sites before settling on one near the west end. We had thought about staying further east to try and maximize the evening sun, but the strong west wind, fairly open sites and what looked to be limited firewood had us settle on the west end site with more shelter and lots of deadfall for firewood. We made it to our Campsite on Parkside Baycampsite by about 5pm. Our site looks pretty good for this time of year. There is some boggy land around that would probably be swamp in the spring or early summer but it's dry enough now and late enough in the year that the bugs are gone.

By the time we had camp set up and dinner cooked, we were eating our chili in the dusk around 8pm. It's just after 9pm now and as soon as we finish the dishes we'll be off to bed.

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