Reed Lake (on the Bissett Lake route)

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Additional Route Information
11 km
2 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
8400 m
Longest Portage: 
8200 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Not applicable
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

I was attempting to reach Bissett Lake but did not succeed.

Access point #24 on Bissett Road. Permits at Yates General Store in Stonecliffe on Hwy 17 about 1/2 hour away. The store opened at 9:00 on Sunday so I was not at the gate much before 10:00 which is a bit of a late start. I would prefer to have the permit ahead of time if I was more organized.

Marked as a "low maintenance" route, it was in better shape than some others I have tried (Clover L and North Rouge L) and there were no real obstacles until the bog above above Reed L.

"Cart trail" from park gate to first portage is the logging road that continues through the park. You are not allowed to drive to the portage. Marked as 6075m on the map, the km signs on the road seem to be a bit farther, if they're accurate. The road surface is easy to walk on but there are a few hills to contend with and the gravel is loose in places so it's a fairly hard slog even with a cart.

P 2210m is clearly marked just beyond km 25. From there it is a foot portage. The portage is rustic and overgrown in places but is marked with pink ribbons which you have to keep your eyes peeled for. I found a few lying on the ground and tied them back up again.

(At the Gerald L put-in, there was a cart. I'm stumped as to why anyone would have brought it there. The trail is much to rough and narrow to cart anything so they must have carried it and it's a hefty, homemade thing of bicycle parts and such. It was a bit overgrown but otherwise not too old and weathered and looked like it had been there all summer or maybe last year. I was told that the route from Big Bissett L shown on older maps was abandonned at least 10 years ago and the present route was established then. Maybe when it was new it was cartable but the cart did not look that old and rusty. Maybe they carted in and then gave up on the way out; or maybe they went in and never came back...).

Gerald L is about 1000m paddle.

P 430m marked on map seemed much shorter and my GPS said it was only about 170m. The portage signs did not have a distance marked on them.

Fitz L is about another 1000m paddle. At the N end there is a small, old portage sign but no take-out that I could see. Follow the channel around the W end of the point and there is a new, large portage sign at the end. It is about a 10m lift-over to the next lake; there is no 240m portage as shown on the map--bonus!

Reed L is about 1100m paddle to the next portage.

I camped on Reed L and tried to make a day trip up to Bissett L and back, but...

P 195m is also in good shape and marked with pink ribbons. The signs were marked 150m. It ends just below what looks like the remnants of the base of an old log chute.

The map shows about 1000m paddle through a bog to the next take-out. The channel was so narrow and choked with reeds that I could hardly push through it. There are timbers here and there that must have been part of some old system for getting logs through but I can't imagine how. Maybe in the highest spring water? Curiously, I found a report saying that Reed L has never been logged; maybe they tried and did not succeed, or jsut used it to transport logs from the upstream lakes. With another foot of water I would have tried to paddle it but it was just too hard the way it was. I was also concerned there might be old spikes and things in the timbers that could damage the boat. After about 100m, I got out and walked across the bog (it is that solid) about 100m to a large rock near shore and climbed on top to get a look. As far as I could see, it was the same meandering channel all the way. The actual paddling distance would be 2 or 3 times longer. At that point I gave up and went back so I cannot say what the rest of the route looks like.

Maps Required
Other Maps: 
Canoe Routes of Algonquin Park<br />
Special Comments: 

The route was in excelent shape for a low maintenance route. All of the campsites I looked at were in good condition with the privies in good repair. There were no signs of recent use, probably not this year or even longer. There were many signs of deer and moose and very fresh bear tracks and droppings all along the portages. I saw two moose and some otters but no bears. Reed L was a reasonable distance for the first day. Bissett L would require another full day to get into with the bog the way it was.