Hap Wilson's Temagami Canoe Routes
Lake-Yorston River Loop
Katherine Lake - Lady Evelyn River South Channel - Diamond Lake
Map Legend Next map: click on blue arrow
Reprinted with author's permission.
Lady Evelyn River (South Channel)
*Note: The description includes both up and downstream information.
One of the most popular routes in the district is the Lady Evelyn loop through the north and south channels. From Katherine Lake, keep to the extreme south end for the river outlet. There is no portage at the first rapids (mostly current but very rocky). This set can be run in early season but should be tracked up or down by the rocks along the west bank in the summer. *Note: (It's just as easy to portage (200 yards) along the shore.) There are several rocks to watch out for after you put in. Proceed downriver and keep left for the next portage around a small, rocky falls. Portage (220 yards) over a rocky trail, where you will have to watch your step after a rain. Just before the river widens, there is a stretch of fast current for about 30 yards. Watch out for some rocks in mid channel! Paddle about 1/2 mile to the end of the pond. Here you have to keep just left of the outlet and rapids and portage (18 yards) over the rocks to a narrow channel. Follow along the channel past the brink of the falls (keep left) and enter another small channel for the remainder of the portage. Here you carry (60 yards) down a fairly steep descent to the bottom of the falls. *Note: You have the option of portaging once (345 yards) left of the falls — suggested carry.
Bridal Veil Falls: 1/3 mile downriver is Bridal Veil Falls, one of the most beautiful falls in the district. There is a campsite located along the portage on the bluff overlooking the falls. Approaching the trail landing on the east (left) shore, you have to watch out for several rocks.
The portage (450 yards) is very rugged, especially near the lower end where the trail drops to the river below. The mist from the falls keeps rocks on the downslope very slippery. The descent is over loose gravel and slanted bedrock where footing is very difficult. *Note: (It is recommended that a spotter aid those who are portaging canoes.) Speckled trout fishing below the falls is good in the early season.
Continue downstream through the South Lady Evelyn River Canyon. This is a narrow stretch of high bluffs and broken rock that leads out to a narrow, weedy lake. Paddle to the end where you have two options.
Option 1 -
(Summer): Take the portage (945 yards) located east of the rapids. The first part of the trail is over shore boulders, then continues over a level trail and down at the end to a narrow pond.
Option 2 -
(Spring): Rapids can be run in parts, but lifting over is necessary. There are three sets of rapids. The first set, about 300 yards long, can be maneuvered through by avoiding many large boulders. The current is not strong. The next set is very shallow and the current picks up. You can probably pass through the first part, but will have to make a liftover near the end. The third set again is shallow. You can run the beginning but will have to lift over the rocks 25 yards at the bottom.
Fat Man's Portage: Paddle a short distance KEEPING FAR LEFT as you approach the portage landing just left of the gorge. **WARNING: (Because the portage landing is located close to the chutes, extreme caution must be taken. The current may pull the canoe into the gorge.) There are two rough campsites located on either side above the falls. This (115 yard) portage, or "Fat Man's Squeeze" as it is so called, passes through a narrow crevice just wide enough for an average-width canoe. The first part of the trail follows close to the edge of the chutes, then passes through the squeeze and down almost vertically to the river below. *(A spotter should aid those portaging canoes here. This section is very strenuous, but footing is fairly good.) In the spring, the rush of water through the gorge makes putting in very difficult. Make sure one man has a good grip of the canoe while loading. The water surges up and down with a tendency to throw the canoe back against the rocks.
Paddle a short distance and keep left through a small pool above a rapids. Here you may portage (315 yards) over a rocky trail or run the rapids. If you are running, the first section must be lifted over the three-foot drop at the start. Paddle down the fast current below keeping to the right channel around the island. Next there is about 30 yards of shallow rapids which can be run, watching the rocks near the end. There is a campsite located just past the portage on the east shore of the small lake.
Proceed to the southeast river outlet where you can run the shallow rapids keeping right. These become very shallow in the summer, so you may prefer to track or take the portage on the right bank over an easy trail (110 yards). Paddle downstream through the shallows to the next rapids which can be run for about 100 yards. These rapids are fairly fast and you have to move quickly to avoid rocks near the bottom (keep center). These can be tracked up or down along the west bank. Keep center but swing left at bottom.
The next narrow section has some fast current only. This current continues another 300 yards and becomes very shallow before the old lumber camp clearing on the right bank.
Here you will find unlimited tenting space with several old bush roads that can be used as hiking trails. Walleye fishing is good off the dock located before the wide section of the river. The "Depot" was an active lumber camp in the 1940's.
*Note: From here the canoeist has the option to either continue on the River through Willow Island and Sucker Gut Lakes to Lady Evelyn Lake, or take the challenging portage directly to Diamond Lake.
Portage to Diamond, "the 2-miler"
The entrance of the portage is easily located at a grassy campsite clearing. This portage, being the longest in the district, is divided into four sections: (see route map).
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