View topic - Sakatawi - Opeepeesway to Rush Lake

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PostPosted: August 20th, 2010, 9:20 pm 
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Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Here's the update to our web site that I promised last year.


We've just returned from two weeks in one of our favourite canoeing spots ... and an area where we've been trying to re-establish some of the old portages.
As you may remember, we spent 2008 and 2009 reopening the portages from the Opeepeesway River to Rush Lake and from Rush Lake to Rice Lake.
This year we opened the old portage from Opeepeesway Lake to Rae Lake.... about 900 meters.
This portage has not been in use for at least 20 years so we spent a whole day just locating and marking the trail ... and then another three days to get it open.

Seeing that the roads beyond the bridge over the Opeepeesway River are only passable by ATV it is now possible to put in at the bridge and travel the traditional route from the north end of Opeepeesway Lake to Rae Lake and then up through Mallard and Marion Lakes to Rush Lake.
From Rush Lake it's about a six hour paddle and portage to Rice Lake.

For those of you who are avid fishermen (or women) the walleye fishing in Rice Lake is probably the best in the area.

We can also tell you that we've never seen another canoe party on any of the lakes in the area ... only fly-in guys that wonder how we got there ... until we get out the map and show them.

Every time we're in the area there are always fishermen approaching us in their motorboats asking us how to get to Rice Lake.
You see, the only road that passes near Rice Lake is posted with a sign advising that the road may not be used by motorized vehicle to access Rice Lake ... this is to protect the interests of the firm that owns the fly-in camps on Rice Lake ... so the only legitimate way in is by canoe.

Here's our web page describing our project to restore the portages ... maps included.
http://www.canoecouple.com/Adventures/Sakatawi/Project/Project.html

Just go down the page to get access to the maps.

Scott


Last edited by ScottW on March 22nd, 2011, 3:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: August 28th, 2010, 11:43 pm 
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Location: Burlington, Ontario
Hello ScottW: Good job taking the time to reopen old ports. Are you planning to post any pics.

Take care,
Cousin Pete

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PostPosted: September 15th, 2010, 7:29 am 
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Location: orangeville
Your other web site is very intesting , hope to hear more about this summers adventure.


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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2011, 3:44 pm 
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To get this to the top of the forum I've got to reply to the original.

The original post has been updated so you can use the link there to get access to our site.

Our web site has been updated and all the maps for the area are included.

Scott


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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2011, 11:05 am 
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So, for a first time visitor to the area, would you say the best start-out is where the creek leaves Stony Lake and head up Arbutus towards Opeepeesway Lake?
http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=47.53494,-82.11705&z=14&t=T

I think that area could be a prime destination for folks that want to expand their horizons beyond Temagami and still not drive much further. It's a closer drive than Biscotasing and a nice alternative once the Spanish area will see too many paddlers. It's about another half hour beyond the Duke Lake put-in of the Spanish Park.

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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2011, 1:03 pm 
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Erhard

If the goal is to visit Stony, Potier and Windy or Arbutus then yes this is the start point.

If you want to visit Opeepeesway and Rush then I'd start at the bridge over the Opeepeesway River or cross the bridge and locate the portage that we just put in between Opeepeesway and Rae Lakes.

The reason I say this is that at this point I can't verify that the old portage from Stony to Arbutus has been opened.
There are also three portages from Arbutus to Opeepeesway and when we did them in 2008 the were in definite need of work ... that's why we're going to go back this summer ... to try to improve this portion of the old route.

There is an ATV trail that goes to Arbutus Lake but it is about a kilometer north of the bridge at the outlet of Stony Lake.
We drove to that point in 2008 but I'd not want to try it now without walking it first ... there might not be a turn around point if you get up that way and can't proceed.

Here's a map of my current understanding of the Stony - Arbutus area. The red line is the old portage that I've heard has been redone ... but I can't verify that.
The black line is the ATV trail that I know exists.

Image

Scott


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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2011, 7:52 pm 
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Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Been looking at this area, nice to hear on the ground reports. Thanks! :thumbup:

Have you been through the Horwood side recently, or is going from Opeepeesway that much better?


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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2011, 8:24 pm 
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Thanks, Scott!

Looking at the maze of roads up there, and the "industrial look" of the lands to each side of the big honking logging road - it's probably a good idea to take a GPS along. It would be more than embarrassing if one launched at the wrong lake... :o

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PostPosted: March 24th, 2011, 5:37 pm 
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CLofchik

We've never approached from the north.

I've heard that it's possible but I looked at our topos and couldn't figure out how to drive to get near the north end of Rush Lake.

Any suggestions?

Scott


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PostPosted: March 24th, 2011, 5:49 pm 
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Erhard

It would be a good idea for any newcomer to the area to have a GPS and an appropriate map ... the roads can be confusing.

I'd also suggest that anyone that travels the secondary roads off the Sultan Road carry either a chainsaw or a bow saw as well as an axe.

There have been times where we needed to clear some fallen trees to get up to Rush Lake or to Arbutus Lake.

The road as far as the bridge over the Opeepeesway River is fairly well traveled so it stays open ... someone is always along who has the proper equipment.

That said ... I'd always carry a saw and an axe ... it's preferable to waiting for someone else to come along.

Scott


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PostPosted: March 24th, 2011, 8:27 pm 
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ScottW wrote:
I've heard that it's possible but I looked at our topos and couldn't figure out how to drive to get near the north end of Rush Lake.


I was planning on using Horwood Lk. for access, camping near the bottom for the first night then using Woman R./Rush R. to Rush Lk.

But it would be a much shorter drive to Opeepeesway, and if it takes 6 hours it sounds like with an early enough start you could be on Rush in your first day. Besides it would be a shame to waste those freshly opened ports, right? :thumbup:

I did hear the chain of small lakes North of Rush have as good pike fishing, and the fly-in boats can't get to them easily. But that's just a rumour until I give them a shot.


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PostPosted: March 25th, 2011, 3:33 pm 
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CLofchik

I'd leave yourself 8 hours to get to the bridge over the Opeepeesway River.

We usually leave Hamilton at 10pm ... stop at the Tims in Nobel for a coffee ... stop at Tims in Sudbury ... drive to the intersection of 560 and stop at The Watershed for breakfast at 6am ... and then complete the drive.
My only suggestion here is that you do not drive the Sultan Road at night ... there are some funny turns in the road and there can be some pretty rough sections depending on the weather and when it was last graded.

Use your GPS to be sure that you are at the correct intersection before you turn north ... and to find the portage to Rae ... I can provide the coordinates.

If you cross the bridge and find the portage on the north side of the road the trip to Rush Lake will take about 3 hours.

In 2009 when we were on Rush Lake the guys there (from Kentucky) showed us some pictures of several nice walleye that they caught up in the north end of the lake. They used a fish finder to locate a couple of holes.
The south end of Rush ... where the Rice River comes in ... is usually good for pike.

We've never camped at the north end of Rush Lake but if you PM me I can show you where some potential campsites are on Rae. Mallard and the south end of Rush.

Scott

PS:As I said earlier ... take a good bow saw or a chainsaw and finish the job of cutting the four or five trees we left across the trail down to Rae ... you can get through the way it is but it'll be a thing of beauty with the trees gone.


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PostPosted: August 21st, 2019, 2:05 pm 
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Just an update for anyone considering this route.

I was there this past week, after another trip in the area. (August 2019.)

The portage from Opeepeesway Lake to Rae Lake was in pretty bad shape. I moved north from Opeepeesway to the road through a difficult path on a scouting trip. I couldn't pick up the trail on the north side of the road. I gave up.

Also, note that in the bay with the portage out of Opeepeesway towards Rae, there are a couple docks with some boats and a VERY clear trail on the eastern side. (It's located approximately where the pink dot is in the image below.) This is not the portage. The portage starts more-or-less where indicated by the red line on the image, but it is not anywhere near to being straight. Twists and turns make it a lot longer than it might otherwise be.

If you're planning on doing this loop from Opeepeesway through Rae any time soon, I'm sure it's passable, but be prepared for a difficult first portage and significant clearing. It's supposed to be less than 1 km, but I'm sure it would have taken me at least 3 hours to pass through given the conditions.


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