Vermillion River, Stobie Dam to Rat Lake

CanadaOntarioNorth Channel
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Garry Boychuk
Trip Date : 
Wed, Aug 03, 2011
Additional Route Information
28 km
2 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
950 m
Longest Portage: 
300 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Launch at Stobie Dam left side. Access from Chelmsford.

5km Small rapid at last cottage. Partly runnable
PR 75m at cottage front along rocky bank. Put back in 2/3 along rapid and run bottom 1/3 swift.

7.5km Large rapid at Mill ruin.
PR 20m lift over old trestle abutment.
Paddle 20m to side channel
Line or run swift
Paddle 100m to island in centre
P 200m over centre island to end of rapids
(may be alternate PL at old mill ruin but not confirmed)
One of very few campsites on right. Brushy and overgrown but ample. Very scenic at rapid.

9km Rapid upstream McFadden Falls. Runnable. Hydro lines immediately upstream. CL 1 center channel.

9.3km McFadden Falls. Runnable. CL 1 centre channel for top section, riffle, then CL1 centre right around rock in centre.

11.5km Cascade Falls. Partly runnable.
Three rapids, one 6ft waterfall.
1.CL 1, set up river right, paddle right to left.
2.CL 1, centre shot
3.CL 1, centre left chute
Paddle 100m to side channel on left.
P 50m

14.5km Riffle at Pumphouse on right, no rocks.

15km Duncan Chutes. Not runnable. Waterfall top and bottom
PR 300m unmarked and overgrown in butt of little inlet on right.

16.5km Hwy 17 bridge. Easy takeouts

18km Island campsite, left main channel. Heavily used. Overfished.

19km Centennial Park rapids. Not runnable
PR 300m. Well worn mostly level trail ends at butt of muddy bay
or turn left down rock steep rock hill shortly after crossing railway tracks.

19.5km Region Rd 55 bridge. Easy takeouts
shallow riffle dnstream of bridge
veer right after riffle

21.5km Whitefish rapids. Runnable or line
CL II chute. Little margin for error.
Or line small left channel.

22km couple of fire rings on south shore and likely good campsites but unconfirmed.

24km Large island. Take left channel to avoid cottages in right channel

27km Enter Rat lake. Hug right shore and turn into Vermillion River channel.

28km Panache Lake Rd bridge
Take out left or right. Right is better. One parking spot on NW

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

Father-daughter trip, August 3-5 2011, 2 dads, 3 girls - 9, 13, 15.
Day 1
10 am. Put-in at Stobie dam. Easy but strewn with garbage from fishers.
Cottages line river down to km 5 after which river is remote.
Lunch at 5km Cottage rapid on nice rock shore.
Mill Ruin rapid U/S of McFadden Falls is big and a tough portage on the right. Worth exploring for portage on left. Make camp at only good campsite immediately below. Brushy, 4 tent pads. Nice East facing rock and fire pit. Fishing is very good. 5 hour day due to scouting and long portage.
Day 2
9am start. McFadden Falls is surprisingly easy to run. All rapid. No falls to speak of.
Upper Cascade Falls is easily run. Waterfall at bottom is 6 feet or more. Stop here for lunch. Very scenic. Girls and dads have fun swim in Whirlpool below waterfall. (in pfds of course)
Rapid marked at pumphouse dnstream is and easy riffle. Few if any rocks.
Duncan Chute portage is not marked. We bouldered shore for 2 lifts before finding it for the 3rd lift. Although very overgrown, it is much preferable to and safer than bouldering.
Paddled through scenic islands dnstream. Possible campsites? Though in view/sound of Hwy 17
Stopped at Island campsite upstream of Centennial Park. Large, scenic and nicely sited at rapids but heavily used and overfished. Long day, 7 hours due to portages, no river current, and headwind, out of South.
Day 3
9:30am start. Run rapid with girls at campsite and then load canoes on dnstream side of island.
Easy paddle to Centennial Park. Although not marked, portage is easy to find on right. Although longer (300m) Centennial Park portage is easy compared to others as trail is mostly flat and well worn. We opted to walk canoes down entire trail to muddy bay and walked packs down rock hill.
River and MacCharles Lake have boat traffic and busier.
River feels remote again at Whitefish rapids. Very scenic. Although only viewed from the water, the 2 or 3 campsites on the north shore look fairly good. Nice water, rock or sand shoreline.
Take out at Panache Lake Rd is a bit steep, (we used the left, right is better). A lot of traffic and little parking. Take out at 2:30 for a 4 hour day.

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
41I06 41I11<br />
Other Maps: 
Google maps or Google earth for more detail<br />
Special Comments: 

Overall novice river with intermediate rapids and portages. 2 to 3 day trip.
River is very flat, little current, until reaching rapids. (in August)
Scouting is required at all rapids
Portages are unmarked or non-existent and bouldering along the shore is often required.
River shore is muddy and brushy upstream of Duncan Chutes with few campsites overall.
Below Duncan Chutes shore is rock and river much more scenic.