Planning the 2014 WCPP Canoe Trip


Trip Details
Attained Summit?: 
Trip Report


I can't believe it's been 3 years since our last canoe trip already! Wow. At first I wasn't too excited about doing another trip for some reason - partly because we're back to a 6 day trip from a 10 day one last time and partly because it's still the middle of winter... :) But as I work through the maps and the photos from past trips I am getting excited.


Just like last time we planned a trip, there are many of us (most!) coming from out-of-town. This means we have to be fairly organized ahead of time. Please do take care of anything you can ahead of time so that we're not scrambling last minute with fishing gear, licenses etc, any more than we have to.


Last time I wrote one of these plans, we had two newbies along (Hentie and Jer) so please forgive me if some of this stuff sounds too detailed. This year we are a pretty experienced bunch. I just like organizing, so let me have fun OK?! :) Obviously everything is simply a suggestion, or proposal. Routes, gear, food can all be negotiated either ahead of time or on the water.


Let's dive in...


Canoe Partners

Partners for 2014 will be;

  1. Harold | Bill
  2. Vern | Hentie
  3. Rod | Tim


If you have incurred trip expenses (gasoline for the truck, propane for stoves, reservation costs etc) PLEASE keep track of these and bring them along on the trip. The last thing we do on the way home is calculate final costs per person and if you don’t have your costs we can’t include your portion for the group. This keeps things fair for everyone. The following is a cost estimate per person;

Cost Item Comments
$187 Canoe Rental Kevlar w/ paddles & life jackets.
  Canoe Shuttle To Leano from Red Lake.
$35 Fishing License Order ahead of time - if possible.
$60ish Day permits (camping) Rod will pay in advance (phone 1.807.727.1329 pay with credit card - more details below) Can we get these from the outfitter too?
$50-75 (estimate) Travel Expenses Gasoline / Costs
$125 (estimate) Food I think most of the food will be organized individually this year with canoe partners sharing some items (like soup works or whatever). 

I’ll talk specifics later...

TOTAL: $500-$550 'ish    

Before the Trip

Please try to take care of the following items BEFORE Monday, July 07. We are all spending considerable amounts of money and time to go on this trip and to wait while a guy spends an hour buying fishing tackle, picking up some booze and/or buying last minute groceries is going to get old really fast... ;-)

Item Comments

Ontario Fishing Licenses

This can be done online - make sure you do this early enough to allow for mailing etc.

Snacks / Drinks / Perishables / Cigars Some of us may have to purchase this the week before or when we fly in.
Food This is a big one. Shared food between canoe partners is up to the canoe partners to arrange who will buy / package what.
Gear Make sure you go over the gear lists and buy everything you need ahead of time including fishing gear, rain gear and general camping gear. Just like last time, we do not want to be shopping for gear the day we drive to Red Lake. Being prepared ahead of time makes things go a lot smoother!

Overall Plan

One of our goals for this trip is to make it feel like we’re on a route we haven’t done before, even though for some of us this will be the third time in some of the areas. One way to make this happen is by doing it in reverse and adding new sections in between. I am also working in some variations - obviously these can be ignored depending on weather and other factors. Consider this itinerary a starting point.

In WCPP I have found our canoe trips are a bit different than we've done in the past. Because of the excellent fishing we tend to canoe trip a bit less and fish more. This isn't a bad thing - I only mention it because I found it interesting when looking at older trip reports. In WCPP a 15-20km day is considered a full day, whereas I've been on trips where that would have been the rest day! :)

Detailed Route Plan

Here’s some more detailed distance and route information for each day of the trip.

NOTE: Kilburn is incorrectly labeled as 'Sydney' on my GPS topo maps for some reason.

Overall Route

<Insert route map here...>

Day 1 - Leano to Upper Kilburn

Comments: This will be a bit of work - there's over 2km of portaging... The nice part is that we get into the far backcountry already on Day 1. Even though Hentie caught a MASSIVE walleye in Upper Kilburn, they are considered rare for that lake.

Total Distance14km (UK-C2)
Portage Count6 
Portage Distance2020 (350, 400, 120, 50, 100, 1000)

Map (click for full size):

Fish Species: Walleye (very few), Pike, Lake Trout
Points of Interest:

  • There's the bay where we hammered walleye on the first trip which is just before the 1000 meter portage. Depending on our mood we could fish there for a bit on approach, since there's very few walleye in Upper Kilburn.
  • We should try to catch some walleye on the way to camp (after the 4th portage there's a nice walleye factory) for supper. Our next day or two will be non-Walleye country - 'only' Pike and Lake Trout in Upper Kilburn, Paull, Aegean and Wrist.
  • If we're feeling great and have good weather it may be worth pushing to a camp site closer to Paull Lake, 1 or 2km further.

Day 2 - Upper Kilburn to Paull or Aegean

Comments: Depending on the weather, we should try to push to Aegean if possible. There are a number of good camp sites there and it will make day 3 much easier. If the weather is dismal we can stop in Paull Lake.

Total Distance: 15km (PA-C5) or 19km (Aegean Lake) or 23.5km (AG-C5)
Portage Countor 9 or 9
Portage Distance740m (100, 10, 30, 150, 175, 275) or 1520m (previous, 30, 300, 450) same for AG-C5

Map 1 - Upper Kilburn to Paull (click for full size):

Map 2 - Paull to Aegean (click for full size):

Map 3 - Aegean (click for full size):

Fish Species: Lake Trout, Pike
Points of Interest:

  • Rock paintings in Paull

Day 3 - Paull or Aegean to Wrist

Comments: This day will be much shorter (more time to fish for monster pike on Wrist) if we camp in Aegean on Day 2. I think it'll depend on the better weather day. Good weather means we should push further on day 2.

Total Distance: 19km (PA-C5 to WR-C1) or ~13km (Aegean to WR-C1)
Portage Count6 or 3
Portage Distance920m (30, 300, 450, 20, 20, 100) or 140m (20, 20, 100)

Map 1 - Paull to Aegean (click for full size):

Map 2 - Aegean to Wrist (click for full size):

Fish Species: Pike, Lake Trout
Points of Interest:

Day 4 - Wrist to Glenn or Mexican Hat

Comments: We have many options for day 4, more than I've shown here. If the weather is not cooperating on day 3, we could even bypass the entire Wrist, Hansen loop and just go straight for Mexican Hat and stay there for two nights! More realistically, our options for day 4 are;

  1. If the weather is nice and we're feeling up to exploring new terrain, take the loop variation through Hansen and Glenn, camping in Glenn. We are back in Walleye factories for both Hansen and Glenn, there is a lodge on Hansen. The downside is much further distance than option 2, with rougher portages, depending on water levels.
  2. Option 2 is to go back to Nutria and Amber lakes and into Mexican Hat that way on day 4. The upside is a much shorter day and more walleye fishing on MH, but the downside is we don't get to experience the LARGER walleye or new terrain on Hansen and Glenn. But if the weather is nasty, it's nice to have options. This option is not represented on the following maps or distance calc's because it's an emergency backup plan and is well travelled and marked on our maps of the park already. We've also travelled that section at least twice now.

Total Distance12km (GL-C3) or 18.5km (MH-C5)
Portage Count: 6 or 9
Portage Distance: 1900m or 2190m

Map (click for full size):

Fish Species: Walleye, Pike, Lake Trout
Points of Interest:

  • Fishing lodge on Hansen
  • Chutes coming from Glenn to Hansen (near the lodge) should be excellent fishing, but may meet lodge guests there.

Day 5 - Glenn or Mexican Hat to Lunch or East Lunch

Comments: Again, we have options on day 5. We can do less portaging by taking an 800m option from MH, but this will involve more paddling. We can either push almost to Bunny if we want, or hang back and fish a bit. After Jake Lake we are only in Pike territory. MH is our last chance at Walleye, so let's fish that factory before leaving (another good reason to do the route outlined here rather than the 800m portage...).

Total Distance15km (GL-C3 to LU-C2) or 17km (GL-C3 to EL-C2) or Less (MH-C5 to either LU-C2 or EL-C2)
Portage Count: 12 or 9
Portage Distance1425m (100, 150, 40, 325, 80, 40, 140, 60, 100, 40, 200, 150) or 1135m

Map - Glenn to Jake Lake (click for full size) :

Map - Jake to Lunch and East Lunch (click for full size):

Fish Species: Walleye (MH), Lake Trout (MH, Jake), Pike (All)

Points of Interest:


Day 6 - Lunch or East Lunch to Leano Lake

Comments: Coming from East Lunch Lake, we should be able to make it to the Leano pull out in around 4 hours. If we leave camp by 08:00'ish, this gets us there around noon. Obviously if we're feeling up to it we can leave earlier too.

Total Distance: 14km (EL-C2 to Leano pullout)
Portage Count: 5
Portage Distance: 615m

Map - East Lunch to Leano (click for full size):

Fish Species: Pike
Points of Interest: The long road home! :-)

Food List

I think that for the most part we should organize our own food individually (instead of groups of 2 or 4) to make planning and packing before the trip much easier. Food is pretty simple the way we do it anyway. Snacks and lunch were always each person's own responsibility (Melba toast, granola bars, trail mix pretty much covers it) and suppers are usually soup and something instant (MEC dried meals for example) usually with fish and wraps.

For items like soup (Lipton soup works is good) or fish batter you may want to pair up with your canoe partner so you don’t have too much (i.e. get each person to buy 4 Lipton soup works since they serve 2-4 people each). See the food list for an idea of what’s needed.

I suggest simple meals that don’t require a lot of prep and are light to carry and easy to pack, but of course it’s completely up to you! I would also highly recommend no canned food since it’s very heavy to carry and you have to pack out the junk. The exception to this may be fruit cups. On a 33 degree day that fresh fruit tastes very good!! And of course there's always someone who carries 12 cans of beer in for the first day or two... Steak is also a good idea for day 1, although we have over 2km of portaging, so you'll be working it off before you even eat it! ;)

MEC meals are expensive but worth every penny for their excellent taste and easy-to-prep manner.

I would also suggest bringing some kind of wrap for eating the fish we’ll catch. It makes the meal much more filling and easy to eat. Wraps work better than bread because they’re just as filling but take much less room in the pack. I always seem to pack way too many of these - they’re quite filling when stuffed with Lake Trout fillets!! 1 wrap stuffed with fish is very filling. Add a hunk of cheeze to your food bag and those fish wraps are to die for! Superstore has good wraps.

Here’s a sample meal plan (obviously lunch and supper can be swapped - we usually eat more fish for supper than lunch because it’s work to prepare and makes a bit of a mess);

Date Breakfast Lunch Supper
Monday Restaurant Subway (Red Lake) Soup + Steak / Fish
Tuesday Bacon & Eggs Melba / Soup Soup + Dried Meal / Fish
Wednesay Oatmeal Melba / Soup Soup + Dried Meal / Fish
Thursday Oatmeal Melba / Soup Soup + Dried Meal / Fish
Friday Breakfast dried meal Melba / Soup Soup + Dried Meal /Fish
Saturday Oatmeal Something greasy!!  

Here’s a sample food list for one person;

Item QTY Comments
Melba Toast 12 2 / day
Wraps 6 1 / day
Cup-o-soup 6 1 / day
Sidekicks Soup 2 0.5 / day (enough for 2-4 guys in each package)
Packaged Suppers 4 MEC freeze dried.
Packaged Breakfast 1  
Oatmeal Packages 3  
Breakfast Bars 12 2 / day
Granola Bars 18 3 / day - Usually I bring way too many of these, but they do keep energy levels up.
Fruit Bars 6 1 / day - A lot lighter than carrying apples around...
Trail Mix (nuts) 1 Bag for the trip - heavy but worth it!
Beef Jerky 2  
Cigars 12 2 / day (is this a FOOD?!)
Instant Coffee / Hot Chocolate / Both? 24 Packages of instant - 3/day.Seems like overkill but if it’s raining and we have days spent huddling under a tarp this will not seem like enough!
Flavoring for coffee 1 Container (luxury item!)
Margerine 1 Tube for Melba and frying fish
Olive oil 1 Small container or share with group.
Fish batter 1 Bag each, share with group so we have 1 / day total.
Peanut Butter 1 Tube for Melba toast.
Jam 1 Tube for Melba toast
Chewing gum 2  
Snacks (other) Various Pretty much anything you want to carry!
Booze Various Your choice!

Camping Gear

An important thing to remember with all gear is that you want to fit most of it in either your big backpack or a smaller day pack. Lots of portages are fairly tight through the bush and things on the outside will get caught on branches and stuff. 

Pretty much everything needs to fit into two packs - a big one and a smaller one. Another reason for making sure your sleeping bag is inside your pack is that it's easier to keep dry that way. If it starts raining you simply put a tarp over your two packs and you’re stuff doesn’t get soaked either while paddling or in camp. If you have 3 or 4 packs of gear this becomes much harder to manage. That being said, 2 small packs and 1 larger one can also work, as long as you’re willing to carry the big pack normally (on your back) with a smaller pack on your chest on the same carry. This is how Harry and Bill carry their stuff.

For items that are to be split among the whole group, I’ve bolded names in the comments column with a first guess - let me know if I’ve made incorrect assumptions here or if you don’t have the gear I’ve put you down for.

Item Comments
Tent / Poles / Stakes 3-person for 2 guys is best - share the load. One guy gets the tent + poles and the other guy gets the fly + pegs. VernHaroldBill? have good 3 person tents.
Tarp / Twine 10’x10’ for each canoe. Don't forget twine / rope (100' at least). This tarp is for over the gear in the canoe if it's raining and possibly over your tent or in addition to the large tarp in camp - windbreak or whatever.
Large Tarp / Rope 10’x14' (approx) - Rod.
Rope Or twine. Don't need a TON but 50' or so is always handy for tying up loose stuff or Rod when he gets whiney...
Sleeping bag / sleeping pad / compression sack (sample) Not too heavy if possible. Compression sacks help to keep clothing items / sleeping bags very small in the large backpack.
Large Backpack (sample) I would say at least 75L. Mine is a 90L pack and I just fit everything! Doesn’t have to cost a lot. If possible, get a rain cover for it. Can also use the frame packs (like Dad or Bill's) and strap stuff onto them.
Day pack (sample) I use a pack that’s also a drybag so it can be dunked or rained on. This pack has my day gear (gps, fishing stuff) and food for the day in it as well as some camera gear. Will probably need 2 if you use a frame pack as the large one.
Wood saw / Ax We don’t need 6 of these but if you have a small / light one bring it. We can always leave one at the truck if we have too many. Vern (ax)Harold (saw)
Camp chair Well worth it! The more comfy the better, but make sure it’s easy to carry in one hand. Get a GOOD QUALITY chair! In 2011 our chairs fell apart after one day on the uneven rocky surface. :)
Canoe chair (sample) Not strictly necessary. I’m still not 100% sure that I’ll bring mine. It supports the back nicely but you can't lie down in the canoe which happens more often then you might think...
Map / GPS / Batteries / Compass Vern will bring a GPS and topo maps with campsites and portages marked on them. Harold, Bill, Rod - do you still have your topo maps from last year? If you have a compass - bring it.
SPOT satellite rescue beacon. Vern will bring - we can also update our families where we are throughout the trip on Google Maps.
First aid kit. Should have at least one - Harold, Bill?
Camp stoves RodVern - if possible with a carrying case as this makes portaging much easier! Vern's is a tiny back country stove that works well for boiling water for soups / drink. I don't think we need two huge campstoves do we?
Propane Rod to purchase, we each need to carry 1 of these (6 total). I will carry fuel for my stove (2 more cans - but they're different fuel than the coleman stove).
Food (see food list) Carry in dry bags or sacks. We have a number of dry bags to be shared across the group (2 ea.) so don’t buy too many dry bags yourself. This packing should be done before Monday morning as much as possible.
Clothing (see clothing list) Carry in dry bags or sacks.
Sunglasses / Sunscreen  
Headlamp / flashlight Headlamp is much easier to use when trying to brush your teeth late at night on a steep sided island... ;-)
Toilet Paper  GET YOUR OWN!
Fire starter / matches  Everyone should carry this!
Insect repellent DON’T FORGET THIS!!
Water bottles Bring two 1 litre bottles. The reason for 2 is that you can treat one with water treatment while you drink from the other one.
Water treatment (sample) One set per canoe should be plenty as you only need it for cool water, anything boiled doesn’t need to be treated. VernHaroldHentie can supply this for their canoes, or take some if you have it! (Bill?)
Knife  Everyone should carry a knife.
Bear spray / banger Probably not needed but if you have it anyway, bring it. Don't buy for the trip.
Notebook / pen Optional - I use for journalling.
Camera / lens / batteries Store it as waterproof as possible but you want to have it handy so you can actually use it!
Frying pan w/ flipper Harold, Vern? 2 would be handy for fish fries...
Pots VernHarold? We need 1 small and 2 medium pots. I have 1 set so we only need 1 more medium sized pot.
Plate / Bowl / Spoon / Fork / Cup Lighter is better! Plate is optional as a bowl is more versatile.
Thermos cup This can be very handy for carrying hot soup around all day or coffee or whatever.
Camping Permit Rod is taking care of the permits, or we will get them at the outfitters.

Clothing / Personal Gear

This is a suggested list - modify as needed. Remember all this stuff needs to fit into one giant (heavy!) pack!

Item QTY Comments
Sandals / flip flops 1 Comfortable around camp except for the biting insects... Also good for in the canoe but you have to switch for runners if doing portages, unless you’re Jon Dewit. Then you do portages in flip flops until your toe nails are falling off!
Runners / Hikers 1 As long as they’re comfortable. I like runners because they’re light but hiking boots tend to have more support for long / slippery portages and are warmer if we get 6 days of rain... ;-)
Socks 5pr  
T-shirts 3 Wash as necessary.
Fleece / Light Jacket / Long sleeved shirt 1 Even if it's scorching hot - a long sleeved shirt is good for keeping flies and bugs off the skin.
Convertible pants / shorts 1  
Swim trunks 1  
Sweat pants 1 Sleep wear
Rain Pants 1 VERY IMPORTANT - could literally save you from having a really bad trip.
Cap 1  
Towel 1 Don’t make it too big - just takes longer to dry!
Take-out clothes. 1 For after the trip.
Toothpaste / Brush 1  
Toilet Paper 1-12 ROLLS - depending on your habits! :-)
Camp soap / shampoo 1 This will act as dish soap, body wash and laundry detergent. Try to get environment friendly stuff.

Fishing Gear

We generally do a lot of fishing on these trips. This is just a suggested list, tweak to your liking. You do not need two rods / reels. I bring two because I have them and then I have a backup if one breaks.

One rod / reel that’s medium weight with 12lb line is perfect. I wouldn’t go too cheap because you get what you pay for and it sucks to fight with crappy gear when everyone else is hammering walleye or lake trout. This has happened before and like I said, it sucks. People get very protective about gear that's hammering fish so don't expect the guy next to you to hand out his last $9 blue Rapala because you didn't think it was worth buying your own. :-)

(For the guys who haven’t been to WCPP before, we will have more than one evening where every boat is hauling in fish on almost every cast. We’ve even had times where 3 boats are hauling in 2 walleye per boat at the same time! Oh yeah. Fishing is just as important as the canoeing - maybe even slightly more for some of us right Rod?)

Don’t bother bringing a whole tackle box along - it’s a PITA to carry around and usually ends up busted anyway. I carry all my tackle in a stuff sack and put it in my small day pack. The lures and jig heads go in small containers like Tupperware or whatever. You need to bring enough lures but not too many either. Count on losing those expensive lures. When you're casting for those lunkers in tight cover you do lose some hardware.

I should warn you up front. Rod and I catch the vast majority of Lake Trout. Better prepare yourself for this reality ahead of time so you won’t be disappointed on the water. :-) Bill catches an annoying number of Walleye and Hentie will have his work cut out for him if he's going to beat his record for SIZE of walleye from last year. Rod will also have a tough time beating his 20lb pike...

Item QTY Comments
Fishing Licence 1 We will get these in Red Lake or through the outfitter. Can we get them online this year?
Walleye Rod / Reel 1 Light setup for walleye (6-8lb line). Get 12lb line if this is your only setup.
Pike Rod / Reel 1 Medium heavy setup for pike and trout (14-20lb line)
Pink (or mix up the colors) 1/4oz Jig Heads 12-24 Pink works best - don’t ask why... Doesn't hurt to have some white, green, orange or yellow too.
White 3 or 4” Berkley GULP jig tails (sample) 12-24 White works best - don’t ask why... GULP is expensive but it’s worth it.
Green or other color 3” Berkley GULP jig tails 12 For backup if white isn’t working. White always works though...
Spoons (variety) 5-10 Assorted for pike and trout. Don’t get too small. I wouldn’t get anything under 3-4” long.
Crankbait (blue and silver recommended) (sample) 3-4 Very expensive but even if you just get 2 of these, it’s worth it! I would get one that goes 15’ deep and another that goes 30’ deep. On every trip to WCPP these have been the main producers of lake trout and if you’re the only guy without one your life will suck... :-) Make sure you get at least two BLUE ones. Color is very important here!!
Wire leaders 12 Protect the line from getting chomped by lunkers!
Fillet Knife w/ sharpening stone. 2 HaroldBill? We only need one or two of these but bring it if you have it and especially if you know how to use it. More people filleting is good when the bugs are bad.
Pliers 1 Very handy for taking hooks out and flattening barbs on hooks.
Fishing net. 0 DON’T BOTHER. I brought one once and it’s a PITA to carry around. Huge fish can be gently lifted out of the water since we’re in canoes anyway.


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