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Grey Owl's Bisco Routes

Pogamasing River and The Land Beyond

   Below the forks of the Spanish and to the west, a large lake paralles the river for about 20kms: Pogamasing or Pog' Lake for short. In the days before the railway, it played a key role on the travel up the river to the Arctic Watershed because one could use it to bypass the many rapids of the West Branch. In the late 1800's, Pog' Lake even had a Hudson's Bay post. Today, it is in the recently created Spanish River Provincial Park and it is still in outstanding canoe country.


About the topo map extracts on this page and their linked enlargements:
İHer Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada
    Reproduced with the permission of Natural Resources Canada

  b-s-p1.jpg (54580 bytes)

This page describes the route from Sinaminda Lake into Pog' Lake in a west to east direction as if one came from Biscotasing and wanted to reach the Spanish River at Sheahan.

    Starting from Sinaminda Lake, the portage to Gilden is easily missed. For one, there are maps that have it drawn too far south and thus the paddler searches in a bay rather than along the straight shore. The other unusual aspect is that the shore there is rocky with a steep slope. Look for a somewhat open and sloped space, and there may be a cached boat or two up the slope that would give it away. A hundred feet further south is the start of the original portage, with three large blazes on a pine but the trail is nearly overgrown there, so don't try there.
   The portage - a bit less than 1000m - itself is well maintained, and nature is intact as with all the portages along this route. Gilden is a pretty lake and so is Dennie which follows after a medium length portage.

2004-09-02 090.JPG (1672715 bytes) On Sinaminda Lake, the start of the portage to Gilden is at a spot that is better suited as a motor boat landing

  b-s-p2.jpg (30523 bytes)


Little Pog' still has a witness to the logging of more than fifty years ago: a capstan-like device can still be seen on the eastern shore, about half way up towards the Pog' River. If the nice camp site on the western shore should be taken, you could try the other one on the eastern shore in the north half of Little Pog' (off the map). And if one is interested in exploring more back country routes, one can portage out of the north end of this lake into lakes such as Little and Big Squaw, Bagpipe and even Squirrel.  

   To continue on the route towards Pog' Lake, leave the lake via the Pog' River where the "1" is on the map.

An exploration out of the north end of Little Pog': a rainy spring day on Big Squaw Lake (not directly on this route) 2004-05-24 015.JPG (102869 bytes)

b-s-p3.jpg (35294 bytes)   During much of the year, the Pog River is more a creek, but it has sufficient water all summer long.  Follow the portages and be thankful to the folks of Pog' Lake that keep the trails open. All portages are on the north side (left as you go down the river), and once you found the start of each trail, it is easy to follow. I may not have drawn in all the portages onto the map and you should allow for sufficient time to do this section. A day (or at least half a day if you are well organized) is not too generous..
2004-05-24 005.JPG (170370 bytes) An old dam reminds of the days of traditional logging here. One of the lakes along the way: Pejeke Lake 2004-05-24 004.JPG (115922 bytes) 2004-05-24 002.JPG (137634 bytes)
..2004-05-24 085.JPG (109319 bytes) Not all landings are as simple as this one Pog River has plenty of water in spring 2004-05-24 083.JPG (164063 bytes)

b-s-p4.jpg (54750 bytes)  The last portage, at Pog' Lake, is not in the corner of the deep bay but maybe 100m to the east on the north shore. This is important to know if you come from the lake and look for the portage.

   On Pog' Lake, waves can be big once you leave the shelter of the bay (at "2" on the map) - so it's wise to have a spare day. If you get stuck during the day, try a crossing at night when the winds typically die down. Generous camping is at Picnic Island (at "3") in the north end of the lake, but there is also a less scenic site at Dead Horse Bay.
   Camping there would give you quick access to the portage (at "4") down to the Spanish. I personally prefer this portage but some folks find its steep sections (just below the dam) a bit daunting and thus - especially if you carry a canoe that's very heavy or longer than 16ft.

   Maybe the other portage is a better choice for you. It starts in the bay to the east of Kingston Island, site of the former Hudson's Bay post, and you'd carry along the road that leads to the river crossing (at "5"). There, you either paddle across the Spanish to board the train at Sheahan or you continue down the river towards the Elbow or maybe even go all the way to Agnew Lake, the end point of   the Spanish River route.

The railway at Sheahan. It serves both canoe trippers and the camps (cottages) on Pog Lake. 2004-05-24 096.JPG (101832 bytes) Check the schedule and reserve - the train runs on alternate day schedules 1999-0012.jpg (81961 bytes) If instead you decide to trip all the way down the Spanish, you would pass the Graveyard Rapids

   Pogamasing Lake gives the adventurous paddler access to several back country routes. The above route  takes you towards the west to Sinaminda Lake. From there, one can continue to Biscotasing, either via the large Mozhabong and Indian Lakes, or over a route up the small Sinaminda Creek and Mishap Creek to Houghton Lake and Biscotasing.

   But one could also head south through some beautiful lakes and creeks and rejoin the Spanish river downstream at the Mogo River. The Spanish River Sidetrip documents this particular route.



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