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Ottertooth Forums * Temagami canoe routes & backcountry travel * Archive through May 22, 2014 * South Muskego Trip Report < Previous Next >

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Post Number: 29
Registered: 08-2008

Posted on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 11:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I thought I would post a trip report as there is often discussion around the South Muskego River and surrounding area. Was a fantastic trip that we took 7 nights to do as we like to explore, relax and fish but could easily be a 5 night. Very secluded in the nastawgan areas and we didn't see another human for the entire trip until we arrived back to the launch site. Maps here very useful as usual. Combined with Hap's maps and topos and trip reports they assist greatly in trip planning.

Day 1: Depart from Anima Nipissing Lake Public Boat Launch at 1100. The lake was calm and we made good time, about 2 hours to to the end of Windy Arm. Portaged to Harris Lake along a good trail as there is a camp on Harris. The portage at the end of Harris to Shallow Lake is on the right side of the beaver dam and not easily visible. The portage takes about a 10m jog to the left over a old logging road. About 2/3 of the way down a beaver had flooded the portage so after wading for a bit we had to put the canoe in as it got too deep and paddle the portage to dry ground and continue on. Estimate about 1500 m for this portage based on our walking time. It was 1600 when we reached Shallow Lake so rather than tackle the creeks we camped on the small strip of sand at the east end of Shallow Lake to a beautiful sunset and a beaver who patrolled back and forth in front of our camp slapping his tail as we were sitting next to a small creek he used to get up into the alders.

Day 2. On the north side of Shallow Lake, paddled into a shallow bay for about 100m to the start of a creek.On the right side about 20 m is a portage of 400 m around what at this time of year was a dry rocky creek bottom. Continue down the remainder of the creek into Young Loon Lake-lots of water in the creek. There is a rustic campsite on Young Loon that had old wooden fold up chairs from the 1960-70 era and likely carried in by a moose hunting party. Was only about an hour from Shallow Lake to this point. Continued into the South Muskego River. Looked like about an average year for water levels and in most of the river, beavers had kept the levels up with dams. Along the river a ways there is a beaver pond and an old blazed portage on the left for 450M that is a little trick to find. River doesnt appear to be used much if at all this year as the alders were so thick across the creek we had to break our way through in many areas. Some of the usual lift overs and shallows to wade but not too bad considering everything. Reached Muskego Falls at 1600 which was worth the trip. Camped in Lady Evalyn just before entering the main lake from the bay.Typical fisherman's camp site with tables, grills etc. Warm enough for a swim to wash away the swamp water.

Day 3 Through the south end of this part of Lady E to the portage to Sugar Lake. A well used trail of 1,515 m, rock garden in spots but a pretty easy one. Many boats cached at the end by Lady E. camps. On Sugar Lake, paddled down the bay about 200 m to the portage on the right to a pond. The portage starts on a boulder strewn area of a dry stream bed. A few more boats stored on this pond. A small carry over into Angler Lake. Camped early at on the east shore in the middle section of the lake in a nice flat rock site. Enjoyed some great bass fishing and a fish fry with our dehydrated chili-my brother who I canoe with for the past 30 years looks after all the meals and does his own dehydrating.

Day 4. Raining, drizzly day but still great to be out. Paddled to the creek into Goodfish Lake-one carrying over as creek was low and a short 80 m into Goodfish and then a 425 m into the other end of Sugar Lake. Across Sugar to the south bay and about 50 m from the end of the bay on the east side old blazes mark the trail to Nichol Lake. As with other nastawgan watch carefully for old blazes. We cleared some brush as we walked as we do on all the trails. Three otters greeted us in Nichol and a pair of loons as mist and fog rolled over the pines, Its often these small out of the way lakes that I enjoy the most. The portage to Ibister Lake is a challenging one. From my timing estimate it would be 2,500. Pretty brushy and up an down sections, muskeg where I had to go digging for my new water sandles. Pretty easy to follow with ancient blazes and some flagging tape. Camped on the only site on east shore of Ibister mid afteroon. Decent site on a rocky ridge adjacent to an older campsite-we cleaned up old cans, metal 5 gallon pails and took down an old crapper. Fished this lake as well, deep, shallow but no luck.

Day 5. Still drizzling and warm. The portage out of Ibister is about 2/3 of the way down on the east shore and marked but an old blaze thats easily missed. We did in fact and started up a beaver trail until we noticed our error. This ancient trail is 200 m to a small lake and across it to a 140 m to Dead Tree Lake. Straight across it to the portage to Barter Lake. After about 200 m the trail dissapears into a marsh. Search around and to the right about 10 m is a rock and from there a beaver channel heading out into the marsh so we did just that and poled across and found the trail on the other side to the right of the beaver dam. At some times this marsh may have been dry. Continue downhill to Barter Lake. Cross Barter and pass by a camp into a bay on the east shore and down a creek to Avery Lake-three pull over dams. Stay to the left of Avery and about 200m the portage to Turner is barely visible back from the marshy shore. Someone had hung a orange whistle from a tree. Its a easy 550 m to Turner as trails now used more. Camed at the north end of the point on Turner on a large, site with ample room for several tents and even a "thunder box". A beautiful lake and we explored around for the afternoon and took a swim. Bald eagle fishing on the lake as well. Finished the day with some bannock cooked on the fire.

Day 6. Across Turner and to end of a small marshy bay. Beaver activity making the access pretty mushy but all well used trails from here on in. This one is an easy 170 m to Curt Lake and then a 1500 m(my estimate) to Eagle Lake. A weather change rolled in and the temperature dropped from 20 to 10 with a stiff north wind. Eagle has a low shoreline but majestic cliffs on the east shore. Camped on the south tip of the south island(only site I believe). Caught a nice pike to have with our spaghetti dinner.

Day 7. Still pretty cool at 7 C but still lovin it, At the south end of Eagle, a 240 m to a pond. Shallow before you get there so had to wade the last 50 m. Next pond had a very busy beaver and dam that held back 5 feet of water so easy travel down to Little Eagle with a short gravel portage of 70m. Little Eagle has a couple of decent sites half way doen on either shore. Adjacent to the one o n the east side is the portage of 1200 m that crosses a gated bush road(branch of Eagle Lake Rd that runs off Red Squirell).
A nice trail meandering through a deciduous forest to Zee Lake. Across Zee to a 340M to Birch Lake. Birch has a nice camp on it with 2 moose painted on the front. Well kept and would be a treasure to own. I recall a previous thread by the owner. Portage 410 m to a pond that was shallow so had to wade it to the other side and a short portage to WHitewater Lake. Camped on the island n Whitewater. Beautifull, clear lake but only saw the one campsite. Tent sites are up a rocky hill and a fire pit near the water. We used a fire pit up by the tenting site to get out of the wind. But the sun came out so all good. Caught a number of nice bass for dinner fishing soft plastics drifted down through the clear water to bass, many of which we could see inhale them.

Day 8. Down Whitewater and into Anima Nipissing. MAny boats cached here for use on Whitewater. Checked out the pictographs adjacent to the large campsite just as you come out of the bay into Anima Nipissing. They are pretty much faded but we always stop to pay our respects and leave a small piece of gorp for a safe passage. Had a nice south breeze and warm sun back north on Anima Nipissing.
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Post Number: 1587
Registered: 02-2004

Posted on Friday, September 20, 2013 - 7:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks for the report. Valuable as we don't get many for Muskego
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Post Number: 3
Registered: 05-2013

Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 10:46 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Brian, are there maps for the north of your ""South Muskego "" that include the portage to Sugar to Goodfish lake to Angler lake? we are doing a Trip this summer in that area and more detail would be great... pleae advise Thanks Scott
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Post Number: 1599
Registered: 02-2004

Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 4:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Sorry there are no maps on Ottertooth, as yet, for that area. Currently, the interactive maps are moving from west to east. Eventually they will cover all of Muskego, and the South Muskego map will be updated to that format.
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Post Number: 58
Registered: 05-2007

Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 - 12:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I don't know how I missed this report, but it brings back great memories thanks!

We did a very similar route a few years back. the biggest differences in our route are:
- we started and ended at little eagle lake
- and we tried to find a nastawgan into isbister from a lake to the west of Nichol that is accessed by paddling through a marsh at the end of carpmoor.

The route through carpmoor and the marsh was still navigable and marked, but we couldn't find the portqage out of the small lake into isbister and ended up bushwacking 1500M. It ended up being a long day, but a good experience in the end.

I think the Muskego area is still one of Temagami's best kept secret gems. It is little travelled so if you are up for the extra work of finding your own way; it provides a very solitary experience for a route so close to civilization.

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