Otoskwin/ Marten Drinking River

CanadaOntarioHudson Bay, James Bay north
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Trip Date : 
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Additional Route Information
195 km
7 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
4600 m
Longest Portage: 
1800 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

Transportation Logistics: We drove from Waterloo, On. To Pickle Lake. We arranged a Shuttle service to the Otoskwin and return flight from Attawapiskat back to Pickle Lake with Canoe Frontier ( great people ). Our original trip included the Attawapiskat River to Attawapiskat but we ended the trip at Lansdowne House for medical reasons. We originally planned to drive to Gogama, take the train to Savant Lake, have Canoe Frontier shuttle us to the Otoskwin, and fly from Attawapiskat to Timmins with Creebec Air. By driving to Pickle Lake it allowed us the luxury to abort at any point in the trip. An added advantage was the pilot was good enough to fly us back at 2500 feet instead of 20,000 so we got a wonderful view of the landscape. The flight through Canoe Frontier was a charter so they try to schedule to meet your requirements.

Technical Guide: 

Start 207446
P1 214478 300M ( May be shot on right side in good water conditions)
P2 237491 1200M ( Could not find, line on right side)
P3 244496 ( South side of island- could not find-run & line)
P4 252507 66M (river left- campsite at beginning)
P5 286483 620M (river right-could not locate-run& line)
P6 317481 220M (river right-could not locate-run& line)
P7 319478 1800M (river right- exellent portage-campsite 50M from finish)
P8 312581 300M (river left- good portage)
P9 669573 1200M (river right-could not find-line and run right)
P10 692553 700M (river right-good condition)
P10A 072632 800M (good condition-wet at end)
P10B 087628 300M (good condition)
P10C 214681 50M (portaged chute river left-lined and run-river right looks more conducive to
P10D 233703 300M (portage river right-trail faint-needs cutting of deadfall)
End 365836

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
43-D-4 Richter Lake 52-P-13 Lysander Lake 52-P-14 Jervis Bay Lake 52-P-15 Ozhiski Lake 52-P-16 53-A-1 Kabania Lake
Special Comments: 

-The fishing was excellent.

-We saw several Moose( you get closer to them on the Marten Drinking River because it is smaller and less traveled).

-We were wind bound for a day on Ozhiski Lake so the smaller river has a certain advantage over Kabania Lake and Attawapiskat Lake. The route up through the big lakes does have more interesting rapids if that is your motivation.

-The Marten Drinking River at one time was part of the main route between the Albany and the Attawapiskat but the natives at Lansdowne House tell me they don’t do that anymore ( now they fly).

-The weather seems to change in this area in the blink of an eye which means you must approach large lakes with caution.

-Many old portages existed because these rivers were traveled in both directions. Since most travel on these rivers are now by canoeist and usually with the flow, many portages have disappeared and most rapids are run, lined, and waded. Where portages have remained active it is for a reason and it is best to use them.

-We ran into two groups of people on our trip. The first was a group of four that had started out six days ahead of us. We met them in the first two hours of our trip. They had wrapped a canoe three days earlier and were working their way back to the starting point ( they got back to Pickle Lake, rented a canoe , and started over again- Kudos). The second group was four natives in motorized freighter canoes near Lansdowne House working their way up the Marten Drinking River to retrieve two moose they had shot the day before. We came across the dead moose 4-5 miles before we met the hunters. They had been gutted and left floating in the river to be skinned and taken out.

-This was a high water year. At lower water levels run and line could be more wade.