SK Historic Canoe Route 33
Brabant Lake - Kakabigish Lake - Settee Lake - Colin Lake - Versailles Lake - Davis Lake - McLennan Lake
Length of Trip: 86 - 91 kilometres (53 - 57 miles)
Time Required to Complete Trip: 4 to 5 days
Number of Portages: 12 to 13
Water levels and canoeing conditions on many Saskatchewan rivers and lakes vary from time to time, causing changes in the appearance of the various landmarks described in this booklet, as well as causing hazards not described herein. It is the canoeist's responsibility to proceed with caution and alertness, using discretion and good judgement at all times. The information in this booklet is intended to be of general assistance only, and the Government of Saskatchewan assumes no responsibility for its use. Canoeists are reminded that they travel at their own risk at all times.
Access to Starting Point:
Canoes may be launched on Brabant Lake from the access road into the north end of Brabant Bay. This access road is approximately 89 kilometres (55 miles) north of the Churchill River on Highway 102.
Arrangements for the safe parking of vehicles for the duration of the trip could most likely be made with the camp outfitter on McLennan Lake (Grid location 435975 - Map 73-P/16). It is not recommended that vehicles be left unattended at Brabant Lake.
63-M/13 Rothnie Lake, 64-D/4 Lower Waddy Lake and 73-P/16 Settee Lake
About the Trip:
This trip traverses some very beautiful wilderness country. It is a relatively easy, small lake trip of intermediate length with no dangerous rapids. However, some of the required portages are quite long and demanding.
Good fishing for northern pike is available during this trip, and lake trout occur in some of the larger lakes.
With a few exceptions, the rapids along this route are shallow, rocky and impassable. The portages indicated are therefore, in most cases, mandatory.
The Canoe Trip:
From the Brabant Lake access road north of the Waddy River (Grid location 787195 - Map 64-D/4) the route leads across Brabant Bay and then south down McIvor Channel, across Trask Bay and then to the extreme south end of Doerksen Bay.
The islands in the narrows leading to McIvor Channel are heavily treed with spruce in contrast to the high lake shores, the rock bared by a forest fire years ago.
In the extreme southwest end of Doerksen Bay a small stream enters after meandering through a reed-filled shallow portion of the lake. The canoe route follows this stream for a few hundred metres (yards).
After entering the stream from Doerksen Bay, the paddler follows the channel upstream as it parallels the lake shore. At this point the channel is approximately five metres (16 feet) wide and a slight current is perceptible causing underwater vegetation to point downstream. Close observation of the left side of the channel should be made for a slight thinning of the reeds through which the barely noticeable current from another small stream enters the main channel. This current should be followed upstream through the reeds, no definite channel being evident, until a small rocky rapid can be heard on approaching the treed shore of the lake. There is a short portage on the right, or west, side of the rapid.
NOTE: The main channel through the reeds receives water from a chain of lakes which is not the canoe route.
Portage Number 1:
Connecting Brabant Lake with the first of two small nameless lakes. About 50 metres (55 yards) long and in poor condition.
This portage starts immediately to the right, or west, side of the shallow rocky rapids of the inflowing stream (Grid location 745979 - Map 63-M/13).
The stream connecting the two nameless lakes ends in a small pond immediately below a shallow rocky rapid at the outlet of the second nameless lake.
Portage Number 2:
Connecting two nameless lakes between Brabant and Kakabigish Lakes. Approximately 21 metres (23 yards) long and in poor condition. This portage by-passes a class 2 rapid.
This portage starts on the right, or west, side about 20 metres (22 yards) from the foot of this short rapid. A channel has been cleared in the river bed which enables the paddler to line canoes to the lake above in all but extremely dry conditions.
After paddling a short navigable channel near the southwest end of the lake, the start of the portage to Kakabigish Lake is obvious.
Portage Number 3:
Connecting the second nameless lake with Kakabigish Lake. Approximately 343 metres (375 yards) long and in fair condition. This portage starts immediately to the right, or west, side of the shallow inflowing stream. Kakabigish Lake is a long narrow lake about 11 kilometres (6 3/4 miles) long at whose extreme southwest end is found the portage to Settee Lake.
Portage Number 4:
Connecting Kakabigish Lake to Settee Lake. Approximately 270 metres (295 yards) long and in fair condition.
This portage starts a short distance to the left, or southeast, side of the shallow inflowing stream at a grassy clearing. From the campsite at the start of the portage, the trail separates with branches running parallel to each other up a moderate grade until they join just before Settee Lake. Settee Lake is very irregular in shape and contains a number of large islands and bays.
Paddle down the southeast shore of Settee Lake for about 5 1/2 kilometres (3 1/2 miles) and then through the narrows south of Ryan Island to the portage west of the narrows.
Portage Number 5:
Connecting Settee Lake with a small nameless lake. 82 metres (90 yards) long and in good condition.
From the small bay west of the narrows south of Ryan Island, this portage starts at a break in the shoreline vegetation (Grid location 525858 - Map 72-P/16).
Portage Number 6:
Connecting two small nameless lakes between Settee and Colin Lakes. 406 metres (445 yards) long and in poor condition.
From the western shore of the first nameless lake, this portage starts at a break in the shoreline vegetation (Grid location 516857 - Map 73-P/16).
Portage Number 7:
Connecting the second small nameless lake to Colin Lake. 67 metres (73 yards) long and in poor condition.
This portage starts at the northwest end of the second small lake at the north end of a beaver dam and ends at the east end of the bay northeast of Sandomirsky Island on Colin Lake (Grid location 506859 - Map 73-P/16).
From this northeastern bay on Colin Lake the canoeist may travel either north or south of Sandomirsky Island to the southwest end of Colin Lake.
Portage Number 8:
Connecting Gowrie Bay of Colin Lake with a small nameless lake. 120 metres (131 yards) long and in good condition.
From the north shore of Gowrie Bay, this portage starts at a break in the shoreline vegetation (Grid location 422833 - Map 73-P/16).
Portage Number 9:
Connecting the small nameless lake to Versailles Lake. 165 metres (180 yards) long and in fair condition.
From the southwest shore of the small lake, this portage starts at a break in the shoreline vegetation (Grid location 417839 - Map 73-P/16).
Paddle southwest on Versailles Lake to a small bay on the west shore, about one kilometre (2/3 mile) before the extreme southwest end of the lake (Grid location 371822 - Map 73-P/16).
Portage Number 10:
Connecting Versailles Lake to Minuhik Lake. 51 metres (56 yards) long and in good condition.
From the small bay at the southwest end of Versailles Lake, this portage starts on the north shore at a break in the vegetation opposite a high rock cliff (Grid location 371822 - Map 73-P/16). A shorter route from Versailles Lake through Minuhik Lake exists, but it involves two rather than one portage. This alternate is about five kilometres (three miles) shorter than the other.
Portage Number 10A:
Connecting Versailles Lake with Minuhik Lake. 46 metres (50 yards) long and in poor condition. From a small bay near the southwest end of Versailles Lake, this portage starts on the south side of the small outflowing stream (Grid location 385845 - Map 73-P/16).
Portage Number 10B:
Across the narrow base of a peninsula on Minuhik Lake (Grid location 370848 - Map 73-P/16). 37 metres (40 yards) long and in good condition.
After completing either of these alternate routes, paddle west and north on Minuhik Lake.
Portage Number 11:
Connecting Minuhik Lake with Davis Lake. 133 metres (145 yards) long and in good condition.
From the northwest arm of Minuhik Lake, this portage starts 70 metres (77 yards) west of the base of rapids in the inflowing stream (Grid location 367867 - Map 73-P/16). There is good fishing at the base of these lovely but impassable rapids.
Paddle up the northwest shore of Davis Lake for 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 kilometres (3 1/2 to 4 miles) where two different and well used portages to McLennan Lake are found.
Portage Number 12:
Connecting Davis Lake with McLennan Lake. 233 metres (255 yards) long and in good condition.
From Davis Lake, this portage starts at a conspicuous clearing in a small bay on the northwest shore (Grid location 396915 - Map 73-P/16).
Portage Number 12A:
Connecting Davis Lake with McLennan Lake. 184 metres (201 yards) long and in good condition.
From Davis Lake, this portage starts at a conspicuous clearing along the northwest shore (Grid location 402923 - Map 73-P/16).
After completing either of these portages to McLennan Lake, canoeists should travel about 10 kilometres (6 1/4 miles) northeast along the shores of the lake to the end point of the trip at the Government campground (Grid location 468988 - Map 73-P/16). This campground is located about 55 kilometres (34 miles) north of the Churchill River on Highway 102.
WRITTEN BY: Original script by Northrock Canoe Trail Surveys, field reviewed in 1989 by Historic Trails Canoe Club.