18" Lake Trout on Ralph Bice Lake

Ralph Bice Trout Fishing

Algonquin Provincial Park

May 9 - 12, 2013

22" Lake Trout caught on Ralph Bice Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park

Canoe Trip Reports

Ralph Bice Lake

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
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Day 1 - Magnetawan Lake to Ralph Bice LakeMagnetawan Lake Road Sign

I was up just about a quarter after 5am so I could have a quick shower before getting the kids up. I woke the kids up aat 5:30am and we were leaving the driveway by 5:40am. You have to like it when 3 kids can get up, dressed and out the door in 10 minutes or less. We were in Huntsville just before 9am and stopped at the Family Restaurant for breakfast. Breakfast took about 45 minutes and then it was off to Kearney to pick up our permit. We arrived at the park office in Kearney about 10:20am and 15 minutes later we had our permit and were headed to Magnetawan Lake and Access Point 3.

Access Point 3 - Magnetawa Lake, Algonquin Provincial ParkIt is a 45 - 50 minute drive from Kearney to Magnetawan Lake and we made it to Magnetawan by 11:20am. It takes us about an hour to unload the canoes from the truck, get the fishing rods set up, the canoes loaded and the truck parked. As we were getting ready in the 20°C+ temperatures, I was wondering if it might be time to start rethinking my traditional spring canoeing footwear of rubber boots & wool socks. They definitely seemed like overkill at that point.

Ready to set out on Magnetawan LakeWe were loaded up and on the water by 12:20pm and could see the portage to Hambone Lake 3 minutes later. You can't quite see the portage from Magnetawan Lake to Hambone Lake from the dock at the access point because it is just around the corner.

The portage from Magnetawan Lake to Hambone Lake is pretty short being only 135 metres when coming from the Magnetawan side. Scott happily noted that it would be even shorter on the way back since the sign on the Hambone side said that it was only Apparently it is 5m shorter going from Hambone Lake to Magnetawan Lake than it is coming the other way.130m back to Magnetawan Lake. That was good for a bit of a laugh as we finished up the portage in and got back onto the water on Hambone Lake by 12:50pm.

Hambone Lake is another fairly small lake and it only took us 15 - 20 minutes to paddle across. We were at the portage from Hambone Lake to Ralph Bice Lake by 1:10pm. We carried all our gear across and then stopped for lunch on the Ralph Bice side. Lunch today was a fairly typical mix of pita's, peanut butter, jam Hambone Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park& Nutella with some licorice and homemade jerky to finish it off.

Lunch was cleaned up and we were back on the water by 2:10pm. Twelve minutes later Madeline and I had landed our first Lake Trout. It was a beautiful 18" fish caught in about 14' of water. I didn't weigh it, but it was nice & chunky. Following some advice I got from a friend several years ago, we let the first one go 'for luck'. (Mind you, I've had some reason to question that advice over the years.)

18" Lake Trout caught on Ralph Bice Lake, Alqonuin Provincial ParkThe boys took off ahead of us, trolling as they went and knowing that we wanted to check out the sites on the big island toward the east end of Ralph Bice Lake.

Madeline & I trolled along the south shore but could rarely find water less than 20' - 24' deep and it was often over 40' deep. Since the boys weren't staying as close to shore, I'm guessing that they were probably paddling over water 80' deep or more.

It was a beautiful day and the lake was calm but the boys were getting further ahead of us than I like. Part of our safety plan on any trip is for the boats to Campsite on Ralph Bice Lakestay reasonably close together so that we can help each other out if we ever need to. Scott & Peter circled the first half of the big island (it's a really small channel through the middle) and met us in the big bay off the southwest end of the island which gave me a chance to remind them to stay closer.

There was still 1 empty campsite on the islands, but it didn't have much privacy and it shared a thunderbox with the other sites. I suspect the good site is the one on the eastern half of the island, Firepit set up for cookingbut it was already occupied so we didn't get to check it out. Instead we went back into the bay along the southern shore where the easternmost campsite was still available. This was a fairly open site with a nice west-southwest exposure . There was a decent thunderbox and lots of firewood. The bonus was a good old fashioned campfire grill.

We had the tents set up and the fireplace rebuilt by 5pm. Note that we don't move the fireplace, just clean it out and build a 'firebox' to make it better to cook on. Given the time we thought about cooking supper but took a vote and decided to snack a bit and do some more fishing. East end of Ralph Bice Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park

We agreed to paddle east toward the portage from Ralph Bice Lake to Little Trout Lake. Along the way we also needed to fill our water bottles and treat the water with Pristine which took about 30 minutes while we paddled. It took us about an hour to paddle to the portage with the wind coming from the northeast, or pretty much from ahead of us. We still had no luck with the fishing but did find a lot more deep water.

Cooking supper of Chili & cheese bunsWe started back toward camp around 6:45pm, after switching to a bottom bouncer and a Williams Wabler. This is my standard set up for trout fishing in deeper water, although I don't usually use it in the spring when the surface water temperatures are still cold and the trout can be caught in shallow water. Since we weren't finding much shallow water, I figured it was worth a try but the bottom bouncer didn't make a difference and we still hadn't caught any more fish before getting back to camp around 7:30pm.

Supper tonight was Chili heated up over the fire, with cheese buns and juice to wash it Relaxing around the campfire in Algonquin Provincial Parkdown. S'mores were optional for desert but only Scott had room for one. Madeline and Peter did the dishes since I had cooked. We had pulled the canoes in before dinner, so after supper we just needed to tidy up the kitchen area and then we were set for the night.

By 9:30pm we were heading to bed after a long day. We hadn't caught many fish, but the weather had turned out a lot sunnier and a lot less buggy than we had expected. Let's hope that keeps up tomorrow.


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