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 Post subject: Lake Nipigon
PostPosted: November 10th, 2007, 8:03 pm 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2005, 1:41 pm
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Location: Grand Marais, MN
I'm looking for information about Lake Nipigon. I'm trying to nail down where I want to take a longer trip next year and am debating between Georgian Bay and Lake Nipigon. I'd like to do a Lake Nipigon circumnavigation if I choose to go that route. I'm figuring around 7 to 10 days and solo or with one other person at this point. Might end up being more. By kayak.

It's really difficult to find information about paddling on Lake Nipigon, so far I've searched the web and this site and found only one trip report and a bunch of people asking questions. I'm even having a hard time trying to figure out what is crown land on the lake and what is native (reservation?) land. Where I'll need a permit to camp, etc...

I've found which topos I'll need and a bit of basic info like put-ins at Breadmore, but not much more.

What I'd like to know:
1. Any trip reports other than Melissa's GLSKA report, which I've read and is very scary? (Really that many bears?)
2. Bugs? Is it like much of Lake Superior where if you're on the lake it's relatively bug free? Is is it like everywhere else? (June? July? August?)
3. I've heard August is bad for weather? Is September just as bad? Being just a short distance away from where I live it seems like August just shouldn't be that bad, because it certainly isn't that bad on our Lake Superior shoreline.
4. What options do I have for maps other than the topos? Any good overview maps that I can get ahold of? Are the maps on CD-ROM worth the extra $$$?
5. What areas, locations, features are a must see?
6. Any outfitters that know the area and I should talk to before I come?

Thanks ahead of time for all the help.


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PostPosted: November 11th, 2007, 8:36 am 
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
Nipigon seems to attract more anglers than paddlers, since it supports a world-class fishery, large lake trout, brook trout, walleye, pike and whitefish.

Here's MNR's description of the highlights:

Quote:
Lake Nipigon has remained relatively undeveloped and remote, offering pristine landscapes and solitude to the outdoor enthusiast and refuge for a number of species at risk. The sport fishery in Lake Nipigon is considered world class with memorable sized lake trout and brook trout being produced. The Lake Nipigon Conservation Reserve is home to the woodland caribou, a threatened species in Canada. The islands of Lake Nipigon provide critical calving and summer habitat for the caribou. Migration corridors pass through the conservation reserve. Other wildlife of note include the endangered American White Pelican, which has established a number of breeding colonies on the islands, the bald eagle, great gray owl and osprey. The Lake Nipigon Conservation Reserve also has a rich heritage related to prehistoric Aboriginal cultures, the fur trade, early logging and railway construction.


http://crownlanduseatlas.mnr.gov.on.ca/ ... 247fs.html

This is the only kayak trip description from an outfitter (Wilderness Inquiry in Minneapolis) that I could find, with some of the area features being described briefly:

http://www.wildernessinquiry.org/tripin ... akenipigon

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PostPosted: November 11th, 2007, 9:05 am 
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Joined: August 19th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada
Hi Bryan,

There is a new map out on Lake Nipigon designed for tourism, showing lots of detail. I can’t recall if it shows some campsites? But I think it does show islands where camping is prohibited, so it’s a good resource. In fact the only resource that I know of with this info. I would suggest it’s a must-buy if you are planning this trip.

I don’t have the map, but it is sold in stores around Thunder Bay. Chaltrek-Ostrom Outdoors is my go-to map store, and they will mail order, so why not give them a call, http://www.chaltrek.com/ , 807- 577-8848, E-mail: jw@chaltrek.com
I have also seen the map at Take-A-Hike outdoor store in Thunder Bay, http://www.takeahike.on.ca/

RE Outfitters: Maybe the map will have some info on it. I am sure you could find a business to shuttle vehicles, etc. Here is the link to the North of Superior Tourism Association, which should be able to help you. http://www.nosta.on.ca/

The MNR’s Nipigon District office administers the Lake, so you may also want to call them, especially about non-resident permits, etc. (807) 887-5000

Good luck.


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PostPosted: November 11th, 2007, 9:42 am 
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Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
The McGuffins did Nipigon a few years ago...if my memory serves me right, the locals said they weren't overly happy with it. Something about there not being a lot of beaches or something...not a lot of places to camp....can't quite remember...maybe look up there website, see if they will talk to you. I've been on Nipigon several times, either by canoe or 40 foot boat, I prefer the forty footer. I guess if you are used to big water kayaking, it will all seem normal to you, but those waves are too big for my liking. As far as timing is concerned, I'm pretty sure June is usually the calmest month. But that doesn't mean it will be calm. Nipigon is a big lake, and generates its own weather patterns.
If you are paddling on a lake up here, you will, of course, be bug free. When you stop paddling, you will not. The bugs are just as bad on shore as anywhere else up here.
You can park your vehicle at the municipal park outside of Beardmore..they have a gated compound..not 100 percent guaranteed, but quite safe, and free. I have a buddy who does a Nipigon canoe trip every June, but he gets one of the commercial fisherman to take him out to some of the bigger islands, and he fools around the islands for a week or so, then gets picked up again. If you do the trip, take the time to check into Ombabika bay...lots of history in the shores in there. I think this would be a great trip if you are up for a challenge...I'm not familiar with kayak speeds, but seven to ten days sounds fast to go all the way around the lake, particularly if you need to stop for wind, but then again, I don't know nutt'n about the dark arts of double blading.


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 Post subject: Lake Nipigon trip
PostPosted: November 11th, 2007, 4:41 pm 
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Joined: July 23rd, 2007, 1:53 pm
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Location: Racine Wisconsin
Contact Wilderness Inquiry of Minneapolis Minnesota (www.wildernessinquiry.org) as they have run group trips on Lake Nipigon for a number of years. They enter the lake through the Gull Bay First Nations reservation off Hwy 527 north of Thunder Bay. They use large voyageur canoes and have taken complete tripping novices on many of their trips. There are numerous campsites located on the many islands off the west shore of the lake. Shoreline campsites don't seem ot exist and the forest is very dense. I have been on the lake in early to mid September and there were no bugs but the weather and hence the lake can get a little rough at times. The limited use the lake gets seems to be mostly from sport fishing groups. Lake Nipigon is truly the sixth great lake.


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PostPosted: November 12th, 2007, 10:13 am 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2005, 1:41 pm
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Location: Grand Marais, MN
Thanks for the great info and leads.

Can I assume that the prevailing winds are from the west? That would be my guess, but I'd rather not make any assumptions and have them be incorrect.

>> Ombabika bay

I'm searching the internet right now about the history. Any one specific source I should be looking about to learn about the history?


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PostPosted: December 13th, 2007, 2:51 pm 
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Joined: December 12th, 2007, 5:41 pm
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Location: Chicago
Bryan -


I came across this posting while researching for additional information about Lake Nipigon.

I've been confronted with the same challenge as I am planning a trip to Lake Nipigon next summer aboard my Boston Whaler with a canoe for side trips.

See: this site for some of the information I've gathered.

The Lake Nipigon Basin recreation use map mentioned, available from Chaltrek for $14.99 CDN, is perhaps the most valuable resource I've found so far in that it details where and when camping is allowed, where sandy beaches are located, safe harbors, and launch points and facilities.

As a newbie for canoeing, my guess is that you won't need CHS Chart #6050 (Plans in Lake Nipigon) since you probably don't need much depth information, and it is only a partial chart for three specific areas.

I hope the link above is helpful to you as you plan your trip.


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PostPosted: December 13th, 2007, 9:26 pm 
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Location: Grand Marais, MN
Very helpful. Thank you! If anything, a safe place to park the car for a fee.

I usually stick with topos instead of charts for kayaking and canoe, so your guess is dead on.

I'm trying to talk some buddies into heading up this way this winter for an ice climbing trip up to Nipigon. If that happens, I may learn more about paddling up there during that trip. My trip is looking like mid-Sept. at this point.

Edit: Just finished reading your thread. As you've done all the homework, I can just sit back and read. Nice job!

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PostPosted: December 14th, 2007, 3:13 pm 
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Joined: December 12th, 2007, 5:41 pm
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Location: Chicago
No problem. Glad I can help out. I'll be working with the Website administrator over on that site to eventually condense all of the planning information into a single, comprehensive (and logical) article. By nature, right now it is very "stream of consciousness" and follows information "as discovered," which isn't always in a very logical or the most useful order.

As you can tell from the thread, upon learning more information about this lake, I'm also learning it is not as wild and "undiscovered" as I initially thought - but it still certainly seems like a fascinating place to go if only for the geology and fishing, if not for the remoteness. I guess Lake Athabaska and the Great Slave Lake will have to remain on my list...

I really like your site, by the way. I'm shopping for my first canoe or kayak after the Holidays and hope that I will eventually have something else to contribute here. Until then - great information and great reading. I'll have to lurk and read for a few months!

Have fun on Nipigon.

Dave


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PostPosted: December 17th, 2007, 9:06 pm 
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Just found the site for the Lake Nipigon Basin Signature Site Management Plan Process. About 500 pages of info about Lake Nipigon.

I'm also starting to track down some info on the history of fur trading via google books. Right now just an overview of the 1600s. I'm hoping to be able to figure out points of interest to see from teh history.

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PostPosted: December 17th, 2007, 9:12 pm 
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Location: Grand Marais, MN
HOOP_ wrote:
RE Outfitters: Maybe the map will have some info on it. I am sure you could find a business to shuttle vehicles, etc. Here is the link to the North of Superior Tourism Association, which should be able to help you. http://www.nosta.on.ca/


Pretty much a dud. I was pretty surprised about the response that I received from the NOSTA. Not very helpful.

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PostPosted: January 18th, 2008, 3:06 am 
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We took a 8 day trip last August in the Gull River Area. The whole lake, especially the northern 2/3 is quite remote. Only a few roads to it, and those 200km from the nearest gas stations. There were a few motor boats operating on a day basis from Gull River, but we didn't see any other paddlers, or any evidence of the motor boats going too far away.

The water was warm enough for prolonged swimming--unlike say Lake Superior.

It is a big lake, even in the bays and behind the numerous islands there was a 1-2 foot chop when the wind was up. Campsites were a bit of an issue. It was often difficult to find a flat non marshy area not full of blown down trees in proximity to a safe place to build a fire. A lot of our sites were a variation on a small cove, a spot between logs higher up with the mosquitos and a tiny beach or rock on the lakeshore where we built a fire.

There were some nice beaches. In this area the bigger beaches all faced south and were very exposed. The best site was a wide beach with the top of the beach about 3 feet above lake level. We camped there two nights. The second morning--as we had thought possible-- the wind came up, and the beach half disappeared and we had to launch into surf. Some other beaches we checked were backed by marsh or a steep hillside.

As previously posted, the Ontario MNR has online maps of Crown Lands. They also sell paper maps of same as well as topos. If you can't find the link, I might be able to. In general though except for a few towns and Indian Reserves, the whole lake shore and islands are Crown Land. If you just don't camp near buildings you should be fine.

We didn't catch any fish, but did run into fishermen at the launch point who actually knew how to fish, and caught a few big ones. In general, like all trips, we had fun. Don't know what else to say, but I would think you would enjoy the trip.


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 Post subject: Maps
PostPosted: January 18th, 2008, 3:33 am 
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Joined: February 28th, 2007, 10:03 pm
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Just reread your questions, so here is a little more.
Best Maps would be the topos. The 1:50,000s will show more landmarks, such as cabins and minor rocks and islands, but you could no doubt do just fine with the 1:250,000s. As long as you have a map showing major islands and bays, and compass, and/or a GPS it would be difficult to get dangerously lost.
We didn't see any nav aids and water depths aren't too significant for a kayak, so even if charts exist, they probably are not too useful. We carried and studied the 1:50,000 topos for our area, but relied upon an 8 1/2 x 11 printout of the 1:250,000 for actual navigation.
Can you really circumnavigate the lake in 7 days? It would take about a day in a car if roads existed. I'm fat and old and would take at least a month. I'm only asking because you said you were relatively new and if you are slower or get done in by the weather in the northern part of the lake, you might need an extra week's worth of food, plus a sat phone to call in and tell them not to worry.


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