Algonquin Canoe Trip - Lower Petawawa River - Algonquin Provincial Park

McManus Lake Canoe Trip

Algonquin Provincial Park

August 3 - 6, 2012

McManus Lake Canoe Trip - Algonquin Provincial Park - Loon Island Outdoors

Canoe Trip Reports

McManus Lake

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Photo Gallery

Video Version

Video Day 1
Video Day 2
Video Day 3
Video Day 4


Day 1 - McManus Lake to Whitson Lake

McManus Lake Sign - Algonquin Provincial ParkThe alarm went off at 6:30am but it was actually about 6:50am before I dragged myself out of bed. We moved pretty quickly after that. I got Peter up and we were leaving the driveway at the cottage by 7:18am. We headed north through Bancroft and Barry's Bay before turning east toward Petawawa. Including the stop in Bancroft for coffee and breakfast and another stop in Petawawa for a bathroom and to fill up with gas, we made it to the Sand Lake gate just before 10:30am. We had our camping permit Loading up the canoe at McManus Lakeand were back on the road within 15 minutes. Another short drive got us to McManus Lake just before 11am.

As usual, it took us about an hour to get loaded up and ready to head out on the lake. If we hadn't been taking time to work on a couple of video scenes, we would have been faster. McManus is a pretty lake with a nice mix of shorelines. It's wider than the lakes immediately upstream, but still basically a wide spot in the river. It took about an hour to paddle up McManus to the upstream/west end and the portage to Smith Lake. I took some video of the swift that connects Smith Lake to McManus lake but the water is really low right now so it isn't too exciting.

Catching Tadpoles - McManus LakePeter was catching tadpoles while I was playing around with the camera. While we were stopped we took time for our lunch of PB&J on pitas, pepperoni, granola bars and Super Nibs. We did cut back to 1 pack of licorice for this trip, but you still need a few treats. After lunch I did a bit of fishing, casting downstream from the swift and caught a Smallmouth Bass while Peter was catching crayfish. Catching Smallmouth Bass - McManus Lake

With the low water, wading up the swift was fairly easy.  It is still work but much better than portaging.  Part way up the swift there's enough of a pool and we actually had to paddle for about four strokes before wading a bit more. It was about 2:10pm when we were starting to paddle up Smith Lake.

I caught another Smallmouth Bass before Peter caught anything, Smith Lake - Algonquin Provincial Parkbut it wasn't long before he caught a decent sized Smallmouth that easily beat the 2 I had caught so far. THEN about halfway up Smith Lake as we trolled into some shallow grassy weeds I hooked something big! Something that jumped! Something that wasn't a snag! It turned out that I really had caught a Muskie. Sure this part of the Petawawa River was supposed to have Muskie. Yes that was a big reason why we were fishing here, but that doesn't mean I actually expected to catch one. Especially not at 3:30 in the afternoon after being warned that they are a cold water Muskellunge - Smith Lake, Algonquin Provincial Parkfish and probably wouldn't be biting at all. But we did it! We had actually caught a Muskie. Peter took care of the video so that we would have proof and kept urging me to let him get it in the net first. After a nice piece of video, I made my mistake. The fish had come right alongside the canoe and hoping to release it without getting it tangled in the net, I went to lift it out of the water with the line. Well that freaked it out and with a big thrash the Muskie snapped the line and was gone. Now I'm feeling bad because it still has the lure stuck in its mouth. That's not good for the fish.

Swift between Smith Lake and Whitson Lake, Algonquin Provincial ParkAfter hitting the jackpot with the Muskie, we fished around there a bit more and caught a few Smallmouth before continuing on towards Whitson Lake. We were at the upstream end of Smith Lake by 4:10pm and were able to wade up the swift to Whitson Lake. This swift was longer than the bit between Smith Lake and McManus Lake but it was an easier wade. Overall we took about 15 minutes to walk up it and I think we can probably float back down on the way out. Releasing a catfish - Whitson Lake

We trolled our way up Whitson Lake, stopping to clean the weeds off our lures once before getting back to a bit deeper water. You don't have to go too far up Whitson to get to a string of campsites along the south-west shore but I still managed to hook another big fish. This one gave some good jumps too and at first I thought it was another Muskie but when I got it in closer it turned out to be a good sized catfish. Peter got a picture of it splashing around for me.

When we got to our campsite, we did a bit of casting from shore but didn't catch anything. Well, Peter got his lure stuck on something that the depth finder said was only 8' down.

It was about 5:30pm now so we got the tent set up and I got dinner cooking. Peter changed into his swimsuit and swam out to try and unsnag his lure. He could get deep enough to see it at the bottom but couldn't get deep enough to pull it out.

Dinner was steak, instant scalloped potatoes and peas.

After supper I put my swimsuit on and swam out to see if I could rescue Peter's lure. I could barely get down deep enough to grab the leader but on the 2nd try I managed to pull it free.

Some after dinner fishingIn the interest of keeping a clean campsite, we got the dishes washed up before heading out for some more fishing. Just as we were ready to get in the canoe, I saw a Smallmouth swim by and I dropped a hook in with a Berkely Gulp leech on it. The fish hit it instantly but I didn't get it hooked. I dropped the bait back in and this time I hooked it. Unfortunately that was just about it for our evening fishing, or at least catching but we kind of made up for it by seeing a bull moose up in the northwest bay .Bull Moose - Whitson Lake - Algonquin Provincial Park

After seeing the moose we fished until it was just about dark but I think we only caught 1 more Smallmouth before heading back to camp. I still had a worm on when we beached the canoe so I made another cast from shore and this time I hooked something. This one jumped too and turned out to be another Muskie. I let Peter net it this time before trying to unhook it. Of course then I had to deal with the fish and hook getting tangled in the net but in the end the fish was safely released.

Two Muskie in one day was definitely more than I expected and landing the 2nd one on 6lb line without even a wire leader was a treat. Muskie - Whitson Lake, Algonquin Provincial ParkPeter definitely needs to catch one now. Oh, and I still had that worm on my hook which meant I needed to make another cast... I did hook another fish on that cast, but this one pulled deep and snapped the line before I could see it. I'm hoping it was a Walleye and that it will be back tomorrow as that is the other fish species that we are hoping to catch over here.

10:30pm now and definitely time for bed.



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