I finally decided it was time to get up after a couple of hours of tossing and turning in my sleeping bag. I had no idea what time it was but it had been light out for awhile at this point, but I had no interest in leaving the warmth of my -7 mummy bag… but enough is enough. As I was getting dressed I checked the time.. it was already 8AM! Normally I don’t sleep in this late but I would be camping on Louisa for one more night so I wasn’t in any rush.
When I crawled out of my tent the wind instantly blew through my many layers and gave me goosebumps. I was camped on a point on the South side of the lake and the wind was coming directly from the North.. not exactly an ideal spot to be on a day like this!
I had issues lighting my Kelly Kettle to get my morning coffee on the go, even dry birch bark didn’t want to light with a lighter because the wind kept blowing it out. After a few attempts and a longer wait than usual I had a hot cup of coffee. I sat under my tarp which was useless this morning as there was no rain and I set it up as a wind block from the South-West wind the day before, so now it offered no protection what -so-ever.
I started loosening all of my guy-lines for my tarp so I could re-position it to offer at least a little protection. I decided right then and there that I need to change campsites all together. I wanted to move down closer to the East end of the lake today anyways, so that I would have a shorter distance to paddle the next day before doing the dreaded 3KM portage back into Rock Lake.
Again I made quick work of taking down camp which I believe I have down to a fine art at this point. From the time I wake up it can take as little as 30 minutes to be on the water, that includes making coffee, oatmeal, and having my tent/tarp and everything else packed up.
I had some issues getting my canoe loaded up because the only real put-in/take-out at this site was completely exposed to the North wind. As I was trying to load my gear into the boat the waves were smashing it into the rocky shoreline. Of course within 5 minutes of being on the water the wind seemed to die down and the whitecaps turned into gentle rolling waves.
Paddling Lake Louisa on a cold, windy morning.
I tried to take shelter behind the islands as I made my way East, after I passed the small island with two campsites I headed directly for the Northern shore so I could scope out some of these more sheltered sites. This was my first time on this lake, and I was honestly surprised how un-inviting most of the campsites are. I’ve been told that the ones on the West end are the nicest (I never did see most of these ones). I only recall seeing one site on the North shore that was decent looking, but of course it was already snagged.
I ended up at the campsite closest to the 3KM portage, it was vacant so I figured I’d give it a shot. I noticed as I approached the site that the lake was very shallow here, and fishing from shore would most definitely get me a few snags. Overall the site wasn’t terrible, it surprisingly didn’t have that ‘overused’ feeling to it, aside from the fact that there was a stash of crushed up beer cans. I made some tea here and relaxed while the hordes of people finished the portage and paddling their way across the lake.
Around noon I decided enough is enough, there was a steady stream of people coming in from the portage and allot of them were very loud and obnoxious (it was now the long weekend, after all). The wind had died down by now, and the sun was out so I decided I would load up the canoe again and check out the 4 campsites by the bay that goes into Pondweed Lake.
One of those sites were occupied, one was missing a sign, and one didn’t exist that I could see. I ended up here :
Map courtesy of Jeff’s Map
This was a fairly decent site. It had a nice rocky point that looked great for fishing, but the campsite itself was fairly high above the water tucked back in the bush. This would be my home for the night. There were a few downed trees within sight of the fire-pit so it didn’t take me long to process an obnoxiously large pile of firewood.
My huge pile of firewood on day 4. The next people to stay on this site were probably pretty happy with what was left behind. 🙂
I made sure to eat supper and have all my camp chores done fairly early so I could dedicate my evening to fishing. I have yet to catch anything on this trip and there was one main reason why I chose this route : the elusive Algonquin Park Trout!
Right beside the campsite there was a small bay with tons of structure so this is where I casted my line for the first time. As soon as my Little Cleo hit the water right beside a fallen tree I had a hit. I knew right away it was a Lake Trout because it kept trying to dive deeper. After a good fight I finally had my first trout of the trip landed.
First (and not the last) trout of the trip!
I let this beautiful fish go as I had a good feeling about catching some more. The hook came out cleanly and it seemed very happy to get back in the water. 🙂
A few more casts later I had another one on the line, this one was roughly the same size. He swallowed the hook pretty deep, and started bleeding upon extraction so this one would be a keeper.
Zeus loves trout!
I fished for roughly another hour until sunset, catching and releasing another handful of Lakers.
Just another Laker
One more Laker must have been really hungry as he really swallowed the hook, causing allot of damage to the inside of his mouth. I decided to put it out of it’s misery before pulling the hook.. I guess Zeus and I will be feasting tonight!
My two keepers under the sunset.
Ready for the fire!
I decided I would smoke both of the trout over the fire, and eat one this evening and have the other while on the 3KM portage tomorrow. I seasoned them with a generous amount of salt+pepper and put them over the fire on a stick.
Mhmm.. smoked Lake Trout!
After I put the first trout over the fire I decided to go down and take another cast. Again as soon as my lure went under the surface I had a fish on! This one fought a little differently, as as I got it to shore I realized it was a beauty brook trout! Some people say Lake Louisa doesn’t have Brookies but obviously at least a few have made their way in.
Beautiful Lake Louisa Brook Trout
I let this one guy as quickly as possible and decided to quit fishing. I already had way more fish than I really needed, I didn’t want to injure another and be forced to keep it or release it back to have it die in the lake.
I think in total I caught 9 Lakers and the single Brookie, but I wasn’t really counting and I didn’t take photos of all of them.
Final sunset of this trip
I finished smoking and eating my fish at around 10PM and was in bed by 10:30. The low tonight was 0 degrees so I stuffed my sleeping bag with all of my extra clothing to eliminate dead space so I could hopefully stay nice and toasty. It was fairly calm overnight and I slept like a baby; I don’t even remember waking up to pee in the night!
Again I was up at the first signs of light. I took my time this morning with my coffee and breaking camp, I didn’t really want to go home and I wasn’t looking forward to the long portage. I got on the water around 7:30AM and was at the portage put-in by 8.
I had walked this portage once before 2 years earlier, but didn’t take a canoe or pack. I was actually in search of a Badger Paddle tied to a tree. 😉 For the record I didn’t find the paddle on that day, but I did find it a week or so later on the Pen to Night Lake portage! If you don’t know what I’m talking about check out The Paddle In The Park Contest ! I knew there was nothing to it, no significant elevation changes, just very long!
I was very surprised to see these signs in the ground on the portages every time they crossed a logging road!
I stopped at a few of the streams that cross the trail along the way for some long exposure photography.
Small stream that intersects the 3KM portage into Rock Lake
Small stream that intersects the 3KM portage into Rock Lake
I was on the Rock Lake side of the portage shortly after 10. It only took me just over two hours to double carry it.. not too shabby. When I seen Rock Lake I literally said “Really, that’s it?” out loud! I was expecting it to be grueling, but it wasn’t bad at all.. Just a walk in the park as I always say!!
It was another beautiful sunny day in A.P.P. so instead of heading straight to the Access Point I decided to bee-line across the lake to the old Barclay Estate campsite for a bit of rest, relaxation, and of course a cup of tea! I munched on the rest of my smoked trout on the way.. delicious! 🙂
I was back to the car sometime in the early afternoon. The Access point was completely nuts, there must have been hundreds of people about, I had to wait for a spot to clear on the docks to get off the water! I got out of there as fast as I could.
While driving West-bound on Highway 60 I seen my first moose of the trip! There were people literally stopped in the middle of the highway to watch and photograph him.. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t witness an accident. Gotta love the long weekends in the Park! I wasn’t going to stop, but decided I might as well get at least one moose photo this trip!
He got hit pretty bad with a tick infestation this past winter, but he seems to be doing okay and within a couple of months his fur will be full again.. just in time for the cycle to repeat itself next winter! Poor moose! I’d call that a great way to end a great trip!
Thanks again for reading, I hope you enjoyed the write-up and photos! I will be posting many more of this summers ‘ATventures’ so stay tuned!