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 Post subject: Re: Pidgeon River
PostPosted: December 22nd, 2020, 3:37 pm 
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Location: Toronto
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I paddled the Pigeon in 2011 and again in 2019. Both times were in late July to early August. The water was quite a bit lower in 2019 than it was in 2011. I've also paddled the Berens and Bloodvein. The Pigeon is my favorite of the three.

The Pigeon was easier at lower water. More of the rapids were runnable and more importantly from your perspective since you're planning to mostly portage anyhow, the approaches were less intimidating and the run-outs below the rapids had far fewer swirls and boiling eddy lines.

Although the ground tends to be somewhat lower west of Round Lake, we still had plenty of nice campsites. In particular, we had good campsites at rapids 35, 41, 45, and 47 (numbering system from Hap Wilson's "Wilderness Rivers of Manitoba").

Clearcutting was not at all a problem.

In 2011, the road was not there yet, so we got flown out on a float plane near a power line a few miles upstream of Lake Winnipeg. In 2019, we took out at the road (which is just downstream of rapid 51 on Hap's maps).

FYI, we flew in from Bissett with Bluewater Aviation. However, a couple of months after our trip, the plane we chartered crashed into Family Lake and the pilot and 2 passengers were killed. https://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/securite-safety/aviation/2019/a19c0138/a19c0138-d1-a1.html
I'm not sure what the status of Bluewater's operations out of Bissett is now.


Current and very helpful information. Much appreciated. News of the plane crash is shocking - very tragic. Bluewater seems to be still operating though I haven't yet given them a call. Thanks again.


Last edited by KerryG on December 22nd, 2020, 6:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Pidgeon River
PostPosted: December 22nd, 2020, 3:41 pm 
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Location: Toronto
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recped wrote:
I've resisted posting because my 2011 Pigeon River trip ended at Round Lake (started at Berens Lake Landing north of Red Lake).

My comments.....

Hap likes to inject a little drama, yes there are a few rapids where the approaches are a bit tricky, water levels for my July trip were "medium", I only recall one rapid where the portage takeout was actually a bit risky but we were able to walk our boats along the shore to gain access/

While I never paddled beyond Round Lake I'm skeptical of Haps comments regarding clear cutting, there isn't much evidence of this when looking at the satellite imagery.

There are some fantastic campsites, equal or better than the Bloodvein. Like all the rivers in that area it is pool and drop although I think a little more current than on the Bloodvein.

The biggest downside on our trip was smoke, present throughout our time on the Pigeon, on some days visibility was severely impeded.


Thanks for posting, very much appreciated. Here it is, only December and I'm already getting excited for our upcoming trip on the Pigeon in August. Last year was the first time in the last 15 years that we weren't able to do our big month long trip, so I can't tell you how much we're looking forward to August.


Last edited by KerryG on December 22nd, 2020, 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Pidgeon River
PostPosted: December 22nd, 2020, 4:39 pm 
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Joined: March 26th, 2013, 9:27 pm
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Location: Winnipeg, MB
KerryG wrote:
Thanks Neil, that's very helpful. We'll be paddling through the month of August, which I would imagine, based on other river trips, should be relatively low water. Still, it sounds like more attention on approaches is due on the Pigeon than either the Berens or Bloodvein. Does the swampiness start from Round Lake west or mostly near the very end? Also, how bad is the clearcutting west of Round Lake - was it an issue? Did you get picked up at the road or paddle all the way through to Lake Winnipeg?


Got it. I see where your concern is from now; Hap wrote something strange in his book. He was pissed about the park ending at Round Lake to allow for industry to operate. The paper company in Pine Falls has been shuttered for years. Even rivers that had evidence of the paper company's operations in the past, now require a sharp eye to spot evidence of industry.

I probably shouldn't have said swampy. After Round Lake it's more low-lying with swampy sections. There's still some very nice camping and nice rapids. I remember the rapid upstream of the bridge flowing out into a nice section of river. Our last campsite was great. It was just upstream of a trappers cabin with a large sloped rockface to hang out on.

I remember (pretty sure it was you) posting that you were planning a long stay on the Berens to relax and shoot photos. With that in mind, I think you'll enjoy the lakes and the river above Round Lake more, but you'll still like the character of the river below Round Lake.

I'd have to look back at my photos to jog my memory but I could let you know some rapids to target for extra time to hang out. Some were very impressive places to camp.


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 Post subject: Re: Pidgeon River
PostPosted: December 22nd, 2020, 5:12 pm 
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Location: Toronto
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I remember (pretty sure it was you) posting that you were planning a long stay on the Berens to relax and shoot photos. With that in mind, I think you'll enjoy the lakes and the river above Round Lake more, but you'll still like the character of the river below Round Lake.

I'd have to look back at my photos to jog my memory but I could let you know some rapids to target for extra time to hang out. Some were very impressive places to camp.


That would be great, Neil. Always looking for extra special layover spots. Not to mention that it gives me something to dream on over the long, cold winter :)


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 Post subject: Re: Pidgeon River
PostPosted: December 22nd, 2020, 7:02 pm 
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Hap's Rapid 29 is a great place for a layover day!

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 Post subject: Re: Pidgeon River
PostPosted: December 23rd, 2020, 9:35 am 
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I do like to do some fishing though, given that the best time to fish is also the best time for photography, it is the latter that typically wins out. Would I be correct in assuming that the Pigeon is basically a Walleye, Pike river?


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 Post subject: Re: Pidgeon River
PostPosted: December 23rd, 2020, 9:51 am 
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KerryG wrote:
Would I be correct in assuming that the Pigeon is basically a Walleye, Pike river?


On our 2011 trip, we had close the best walleye fishing we've ever had. We also caught a few catfish.

On our 2019 trip, we caught a few walleye, but we had to work pretty hard at it.


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 Post subject: Re: Pidgeon River
PostPosted: December 23rd, 2020, 10:06 am 
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KerryG wrote:
I do like to do some fishing though, given that the best time to fish is also the best time for photography, it is the latter that typically wins out. Would I be correct in assuming that the Pigeon is basically a Walleye, Pike river?


I don't fish but I know people who have had success fishing for walleye. At one site, I saw some sort of trout swim by as I was getting water.


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 Post subject: Re: Pidgeon River
PostPosted: December 23rd, 2020, 3:33 pm 
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I don’t think you can edit posts from a smartphone but I’m sure there’s an edit function from the desktop version via a computer or laptop.

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 Post subject: Re: Pidgeon River
PostPosted: December 23rd, 2020, 3:37 pm 
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Paddle Power wrote:
I don’t think you can edit posts from a smartphone but I’m sure there’s an edit function from the desktop version via a computer or laptop.

Interesting that there is an edit function for all my own subsequent posts but there doesn't appear to be one for my initial post.


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 Post subject: Re: Pidgeon River
PostPosted: December 23rd, 2020, 3:48 pm 
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KerryG wrote:
I do like to do some fishing though, given that the best time to fish is also the best time for photography, it is the latter that typically wins out. Would I be correct in assuming that the Pigeon is basically a Walleye, Pike river?



There is one fishing outpost camp on Amphibian Lake, the occupants were fishing below Shining Falls when we went past and catching lots of what I assume were walleye. Even I a complete useless hack at fishing managed to eat a couple of walleye a bit further downstream.

This is what the outpost camp website says......

You can expect to catch trophy walleye and pike along with whitefish, goldeye, sauger and perch. Travel east on this lake and you will find an impressive set of falls. Drop a line to tap into this lakes non-stop walleye action.

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 Post subject: Re: Pidgeon River
PostPosted: December 24th, 2020, 6:46 pm 
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KerryG wrote Interesting that there is an edit function for all my own subsequent posts but there doesn't appear to be one for my initial post.

Maybe that’s a question for the admin or moderator....

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