The Wapiskau River connects the waters of Brabant Lake with the Reindeer River and then continues on to join the Churchill River. The river is a series of picturesque waterfalls, 11 in total. There are only a few minor rapids to be run. The challenge of this river is primarily in the approach to the portages. Sometimes, especially in higher water, these portages are a little closer to the brink of the falls than one would like. Several new trails have been cut to accommodate the higher was we have had the past decade.

The route starts with a big lake paddle. Brabant Lake is a beautiful lake with a mix of massive rock outcroppings and sand beaches. The lake is interesting to geologists because many of the rock formations appear to have been melted by some cataclysmic event in the past. There are a few places where its fun to stop and explore.

The first lake on the river itself, Lavender Lake is also interesting. If the water is not too high and one is willing to search, there are beaches with lavender colored sand.
But this river, the Wapiskau is all about the waterfalls. Each is unique.

Trip at a Glance

Lakewater wilderness canoe trip
Length: 6 days
Skill Level: Intermediate
Dates: July 12 to 18th, 2022
Trip Fees: $2195 CAD
Trip Rendezvous: Missinipe, Saskatchewan with shuttle service available from La Ronge

About the Trip

The Wapiskau River trip meets at Churchill River Canoe Outfitters in Missinipe, Saskatchewan. We will overnight there, before heading by van to Brabant Lake (95 km) where the trip begins. The guides will review paddling strokes, canoe maneuvers and safety before we head out on the lake. At the first moving water we’ll go over river reading and route planning. Expect some portages each day at waterfalls. The all portages are less than 200m. On the last day, you’ll be picked before noon by float plane for our flight back to Missinipe. We can then drive those to La Ronge who are catching a flight to Saskatoon. Some in the group may want to stay overnight for a celebratory meal together.

The Wapiskau River flows through land that is typical of northern Saskatchewan’s Precambrian Shield. The forest is a mix of black spruce or white spruce, jack pine, trembling aspen and white birch. The forest floor is typically a thick layer of moss. The island filled lakes give area an intimate feel. The granite of the Shield country is everywhere. The water in Brabant Lake and the Wapiskau River is clean and warm, typically reaching temperatures of the low 20s C by mid summer.

Brabant Lake is a unique lake. In many places the shoreline is high and rugged. Exploring the rock formations in many of these places shows some cataclysmic event in the past melted the rock. In other areas the high shoreline gives way to sandy beaches. There are many great places to camp.

The Wapiskau is a unique river. The river is a series of 11 waterfalls. Each is unique. Each has a beauty all it’s own. Between these falls is sometimes lake and sometimes river. The falls always show a Precambrian Shield type rock outcropping. But between these falls the river tends to flow through lower more marshy landscape. It is a beautiful trip.

Because there are 11 waterfalls, there are 11 portages. Most are very short, less than 100 meters. There are two that are closer to 200 meters. The total trip is about 70 km.
The trip ends as the river flows into the Reindeer River at Steephill Lake.

Trip Itinerary

Day 0 Monday, July 11, 2022 - Travel to Missinipe, SK
  - Flights from Saskatoon to La Ronge, CRCO shuttle pickup at the airport to Missinipe (80 km).
  - Pre trip meeting, gear check, dinner, overnight at CRCO in Missinipe
Day 1 Tuesday, July 12
  - Breakfast, van ride to Brabant Lake (95 km)
 - Canoe skills review, paddle, set up camp
Day 2 to Day 6 - Paddle the Brabant Lake and Wapsikau River
 - The unspoiled crystal clear waters of Brabant Lake and Wapsikau River tumble over numerous waterfalls. Each portage brings a new vista as one looks back at the falls just portaged around. Each night, we will camp at a new site, surrounded by ruggedly beautiful scenery.
Day 7 Monday, July 18, 2022
 - The trip ends at Steephill Lake on the Reindeer River. A float plane will transport us back to Missinipe.
 - Optional Group Dinner and overnight in Missinipe (own expense) or mid-afternoon departure from Missinipe to the La Ronge airport. That shuttle to La Ronge can also go the next day.

What is Included in the Price

•Overnight stay at CRCO in Missinipe on September 2nd
•Guides - 5:1 ratio
•Trail Meals
 • Excellent meals from Day 2 lunch to Day 7 lunch
 • Snacks
•Canoeing Equipment:
 • 17’ Prospector expedition canoes
 • Paddles, PFD, helmets (you may bring your own)
 • Throw lines and other safety accessories
• Camping Equipment:
 • Tents - free standing custom expedition dome tents - 2 per tent
 • ‘Kitchen’ - tarp, fire box, cooking stoves, utensils, dishes, etc
•Safety Equipment:
 • First aid and repair kits, communications equipment (satellite phone)
 • Canoe rescue gear
•Local Transportation:
 • Transportation from Missinipe to Brabant Lake to start the trip
 • Charter flight from Steephill Lake to Missinipe, Saskatchewan
 • Transportation to and from the La Ronge airport and Missinipe
 • Transportation of guides, group gear, canoe etc to and from trip

What is not Included in the Price

• Saskatchewan tax: 11% of the trip fee
• Personal clothing and gear - a recommended clothing & equipment list will be provided
• Travel between your home and the trip rendezvous - La Ronge, Saskatchewan
• Accommodation in Missinipe SK after the trip (approx $60 per person based on double occupancy)
• Any meals in Missinipe before or after the trip
• Any additional expenses or costs incurred as a result of delays to the trip caused by factors beyond our control - i.e. wind, waves, unsafe paddling conditions, forest fire, pandemic, etc
• Any costs associated with your emergency evacuation from the trip - please contact us at CRCO for more information
• Gratuities - we recommend $12-$15 per day per guide

The Wapiskau River region often has idyllic summer temperatures, but not always. Expect temperatures in early September to range from 10 C to 25C, but averaging from 25 - 20 C. A good rain suit is a must, along with some warm clothing for cool days and nights. The water temperature in early September is usually about 18 C.

This Trip is rated Novice/Intermediate Skill Level - Previous experience is necessary.

This trip is best for paddlers with canoeing experience the want a trip where whitewater skills are not necessary. Experience in lake paddling is certainly an asset. You will learn a lot on this trip. There are 11 mandatory portages. Some of these can be in poor condition, and will undoubtably have poor footing and mud. You should be prepared to carry your share of the group’s load. The pace will be fairly full but there will have time for instruction and coaching along the way. At the campsite everyone pitches in with setting up tents, collecting firewood, preparing meals, telling stories etc. The guides coordinate things and are always ready to assist you in any tasks. On the river they will provide expert coaching and lots of personal attention.