Sturgeon River - Paul Lake to Field

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Additional Route Information
125 km
6 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
0 m
Longest Portage: 
0 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

The indented text is taken from an old Ministry of Natural Resources trip description. Travel distances and portage distances have been converted from miles / ft. to kilometres / metres.
Access at Paul Lake
Paul Lake is about 1½ km long, with the west shore being relatively flat. A cottage is located on the upper west shore of the lake, with a campsite located about half way down the west shore.
Southeast through Paul Lake
Southeast through three narrows with rocky, swift-moving water
Southeast through Ghoul Lake
The lake is small and narrow, but quite deep, with low banks on the upper end, while the lower end is quite hilly. The east shore has a mixture of conifers while the west shore is of white birch and scattered conifers. Campsites are located on the south end of the lake and situated on both sides of the trail.
P 190 m past twin falls
The portage is ... moderate to strenuous due to the rolling hills and rocky terrain, with a moderate slope leading down to an unnamed lake. The trail traverses the Twin Falls that run to the left of the trail which has very fast white water, and the drop in elevation is about 30 feet (10m).
South through unnamed lake
It is a small lake surrounded by jack pine stands and is quite scenic with a good view of the falls in the background. The south end empties into a very narrow stretch of very shallow fast water, with rocky outcrops present in the centre. There are no campsites available due to either rocky or swampy shoreline. The creek [leaving this unnamed lake] opens up into a small chain of lakes and eventually into Eaglenest Lake.
Southeast through Eaglenest Lake
[Eaglenest Lake] has an upper and lower part to its length and both sections appear to be deep with fairly clear water. A mixture of immature species of trees and marshy sections make up the shorelines. A campsite is located on the west shore of the upper section of the lake.
P 130 m from Eaglenest Lake to Sturgeon River
Located on the east side of the lake and is 425 ft. (130 m) in length. The terrain is quite flat with a few rocky sections where the trail comes back out to the river. A campsite is located on theeast side of the river a short distance below the portage.
Southeast on the Sturgeon River
Three narrow stretches in the river, with very fast shallow water and rocky outcrops
P 100 m L around rapids
The trail is 300 ft. (100 m) long and the terrain is spongy and uneven. The portage trail is rated as moderate to easy.
Southeast on the Sturgeon River
After leaving the [last] portage, you will encounter more shallow, swift-moving water with a very rocky bottom. A fork is present with two separate currents of fast water; the west fork is the safer of the two. Low hills and even stands of trees line both banks...but become high and rocky as you proceed down the lake. It becomes low again as you approach Lyman Lake.
Southeast through Lyman Lake
Lyman Lake is a small marshy lake with speckled elder and marshy bushes lining parts of the shoreline, with some parts being rocky. Rolling hills surround the lake, with a mixture of pine, cedar, birch and a heavy ground cover of blueberry bush. A campsite is located on the east side near the mouth of the lake. Another is located on the east shore of the south end of the lake, which is an excellent site with a scenic view of the north end of the lake. A third site is located adjacent to the portage trail which is close to the falls, so one may get an excellent view of this falls, which has an elevation drop of 25 ft. (7.5 m)
P 244 m R around Kettle Falls
[The portage trail] is located on the southwest shore of Lyman Lake and is 800 ft. (244 m) in length. The first part of the trail is steep and strenuous over rocky terrain ... and ends at a small lake with a rocky shoreline. The trail traverses the west side of Kettle Falls.
East through Renfrew Lake (first section)
[Renfrew Lake] begins with high rocky cliffs on the west side with red and jack pine stands, while the east is lined with cedar and has a very good view of Kettle Falls.
P 201 m R around rapid at narrows in Renfrew Lake
About 500 ft. (150 m) down the lake you encounter an unnamed rapids which has to be portaged. [The portage trail] is located on the east shore and is 660 ft. (201 m) in length. The trail is flat but quite rocky and follows the edge of the rapids. The end of the portage opens up into the second part of Renfrew Lake.
East through Renfrew Lake (second section)
This section is lined with cedar on the east side, with the west having scattered jack pine and heavy underbrush throughout, with steep rocky cliffs. A campsite is located on the southeast end of the lake.
P 177 m from Renfrew Lake to Sturgeon River
[The portage is] located in a rocky bay on the west shore of Renfrew Lake and is 350 ft. (177 m) in length. The terrain is flat with rocky parts, but is not strenuous. When leaving this portage, one must be careful as the water is quite fast. You must paddle quickly to get into the main flow of the stream to avoid being swept into the rocks that line the shore.
Southeast on Sturgeon River
P 251 m R around rapid
Approximately 500 ft. (150 m) downstream another portage is located on the west shore and is 825 ft. (251 m) in length. The trail is moderately steep with some low marshy areas which have been corduroyed with logs for better footing. The trail ends at a very rocky shoreline and care must be taken. Both of [the last two] portages traverse rocky rapids with an elevation [drop] of 10 ft. (3m) between the rapids
Southeast through Perkins Lake
It is high-banked, thickly forested throughout its length. It is long and narrow, with some large bays. The high hills at the mouth give it a very scenic appearance. A campsite is located on the west shore near the mouth of the lake on a fairly high rocky hell with a fantastic view of the lake. Another site is located on the east side about halfway down the lake, on a high bank away from the waterfront.
South through Hazel Lake
Southeast on Sturgeon River

To be continued ... a bit more information to enter
Coming soon

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

STURGEON RIVER - May 30 - June 4/98
General- The route taken was from Paul Lake - accessed via Portelance Lake rd north of Capreol, to the village of Field. The trip was appx 125km in length with 19 portages marked. The northern section of the river has numerous falls and is narrow in most spots. Wildlife is abundant and there are lots of campsites. From Upper Goose Falls to Floodwood Chutes- appx 40 km, the river is wide and looping. The river banks are predominantly sand and mud which would make for nice campsites in warm dry weather. The lower section of the river from Floodwood Chutes to Field has some exciting Class 1 and 2 rapids to run. The trip could have been shortened to take out at the village of River Valley - 15 km earlier than Field.
Day 1 - Sat May 30
We left the house at 8:00 am with Aaron who is going to drive the van back to the house. On the way north to Paul Lake we see a black bear thankfully running the other direction. On the water by 10:00 am. The water level is real low but is warm. It is a perfect day for canoeing; slight wind, a little cool but sunny. There is a nice campsite at the upstream end of the portage at Ghoul Lake. Gilles caught a nice pickerel below Twin Falls. Most of the river between Eaglesnest and Lyman Lakes is shallow with numerous riffles that we walk the canoe through. Another 6 " of water and this river is a dream trip. We came across a bull moose standing in the water about 70 yards away. Hope the pictures turn out. The portage at Kettle Falls is a real goat trail- steep climb up and down. We camp on the opposite shore of the pond overlooking the Falls. Very scenic! Bugs are no problem yet but it is early. Off the water by 4:30 pm. Gilles goes fishing below the falls and I am just relaxing. Nice campsite. Gilles catches 5 pickerel but puts them back as we have lots of meat yet to eat.
Day 2 - Sun May 31
Rain, thunder and lightning! The rain started last night but this morning it is crashing and banging something fierce out there now( 8:00 am). We had to put the small tarp over the tent as the fly is not the greatest. The tarp does the job. Gilles and I decide to stay put in the tent and wait the storm out. Our tent is on a not so flat rock and one end is floating in about 2 in. of water. Rain finally quites about 11:30 so we break camp and on the water bout 12:00. Right into 3 nasty little portages and short sections of river. We only do about 8 km today but we are camped at a nice spot. First thing Gilles does is make a BIG FIRE. It`s rather comfy now and we spend most of the evening drying things out. Weather is still lousy. Drizzle, windy and very cool. But Gilles is happy, he has his fire, beef bourgenian and rye.
Day 3 - Mon June 1
Woke up about 7:45 and it is a beauty day. Clear and cold with a slight wind from the north. A big breakfast of bacon and eggs and we`re on the water by 9:20. This is a nice section of the river with about 8 portages. Some are short back to back ones but nothing too strenuous. We line another 6 rapids that show no signs of portages. Finally off our Pilgrim Creek map and the next section of river is real nice. Fast moving, lots of gravel bars and no portages. We come across another bull moose in the water ahead of us and slowly drift by him. Light drizzle starts bout 3 pm and we set up camp at the edge of map 41 I/15. There is an old mill and sluiceway on opposite shore that looks ancient. Rain is steady now and we pull off the water by 5 pm. Had a huge meal of pork chops, rice mix and ceasar salad. Gilles is reading Friday`s newspaper and trying to do crossword puzzle All without his glasses as they went for a deep swim earlier. He managed to find the deepest spot in the entire river to drop them in, but he can see the important stuff without them. So far we have done only 37 km in 3 days. Our schedule is not looking good but almost all of the portages are done with and we should make good time now.
Day 4 - Tues June 2
Woke to rain-drizzle, never stopped all night. And it is cold too. A breakfast of bacon and eggs again and we are rolling by 9:15 am. The river winds back and forth a lot but there is a good current to it. Upper and Lower Goose falls are impressive. Another bull moose stood on the bank and watched us go by. Raining steadily and wind is very cold. We finally see a sand bank suitable for a campsite and off the water by 3:15 pm. There is a real lack of sheltered campsites along here. Too wet and cold even for Gilles to smoke, even if he could uncurl his frozen hands. We only have a vague idea where we are on the map as the river twists and turns so much. I think we did about 30 km today(hope). About 5:30 pm the sky clears and looks like the weather may break. No fish caught so spaghetti is it for supper.
Day 5 - Wed June 3
Sunny skies this morning and warm! Had a breakfast of pancakes - cooked sausages but I think they had turned bad. On the water by 9:15 and spirits good, warmed by the sun I guess. Still not sure where we are but I don`t think we made it as far as originally thought. By 11:00 am the skies cloud over and the temp drops. Rain, hail and drizzle on and off all day. What a bummer. We find a big camp called the 4- Seasons Hunt Club. Nice spread and a lot of work into it. Finally recognize Floodwood Chutes on the map. It is a massive gorge with a huge eddy at the end. The entrance to the portage is real tricky. It is a steep mud slope and one wrong step, you`re fish food. At the bottom there is a quaint little cabin on the opposite shore. A very scenic spot that we stop to have a quick bite to eat. From here the water picks up some speed. At the Murray River jct we see a fisherman in his boat and 2 more show up to launch their boat. Too crowded, time to leave. Just downriver we meet 2 canoeists coming upriver. They are headed upriver on a 400 km loop trip. The first 2 days are up riverand then they cross several river and lake systems and eventually come down the Temagami R. They plan to do it in 15 days. Gilles is shuddering at the thought and I am drooling. We continue on and run some nice rapids. We camp below a class 2 set of rapids and discover there is a dirt road next to it. Later that day a truck comes along with an couple it in and a jersey cow in the back. Where they are going is anybody`s guess. We didn`t ask. The sky is a mixed bag again and Gilles tries fishing again. I think we are having beans and canned ham for supper.
Day 6 - Thurs June 4
Up early this morn. Looks like a nice day and warm too. On the water by 8:00 am after a quick breakfast of porridge. We portage a big set of rapids. I think we can do it but Gilles says why get wet so early in the day. Bout a 400 yd portage along a road so it is not so bad. Rest of the rapids are run except for a wicked chute that we line the canoe down. We are making good time but the clouds show up and rain is off and on. The river is rather boring through here. We make Field by 3:30 pm (31 km). Gilles heads for the nearest tavern( only one) with me in tow as I have $20. I phone home and Jamie takes some directions for Sheryl to find us. Now we can have a beer or 3. It`s 5:10 pm and we are broke. Gilles waits in the tavern- I think he is hoping to look pathetic enough so someone buys him a beer- and I head back to the canoe to get it ready to load. Th bottom of the canoe has taken a real beating. There are at least 6 major tears in the fiberglass and she looks pretty scarred. But it doesn`t leak and it got us home. I head back to the tavern to see how Gilles is fairing out. He is still dry. Sheryl arrives bout 6:15 pm and home we go.
Keith Sinfield

Maps Required
Other Maps: 
41 P/SE Maple Mountain 41 I/NE Capreol
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