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5/04/2020 1:56 pm  #1

OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

I remember the last time I camped in black fly season we had to eat our dinner on the canoe in the lake.  I think I vowed not to do that  However I have spring itch something awe-full and want to catch some trout.  I need some encourgemnt that it will be worth Do most of you avoid the month June?


5/04/2020 2:04 pm  #2

Re: OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

Personally I start my camping season mid July at the earliest because I really don't enjoy the bugs during peak season. It's not like I have unlimited vacation days / opportunities to camp, so with the finite amount of days that I do have, I'd rather use them in August/September and early October. I'll take the cold of October over the bugs of June any day.

Trip Reports & Campsite Pictures

5/04/2020 2:07 pm  #3

Re: OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

It depends ...

A mid to late June whitewater trip on the Petawawa worked out well. An overnight trout fishing trip into Pen when we couldn't go any other time at least got us a trip but the bugs were bad and the fishing not much better. 

These days I tend to head towards Georgian Bay destinations like Massassauga or French River for a June trip. More breeze to keep the black flies down and fewer black flies to start with. 


5/04/2020 2:12 pm  #4

Re: OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

When I was younger, I would often head out for the third or fourth week of June and aim for a campsite on a NW-facing point, so as to catch the day's prevailing wind. If the wind dropped in the evening, I would initially try a smoky fire to keep the #2 enemy-insect (mosquitoes) at bay. However after sunset, only a mesh bug-shelter could offer open-air peace. On some light-weight solo trips, I simply dived into my tent with my flashlight and a reading book. Now in my later years, I have a definite preference for late September trips!


5/04/2020 2:24 pm  #5

Re: OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

One of the best trips we've done is a week long trip in Algonquin with another couple in the middle of June.  We started at Canoe Lake and passed through Big Trout, Red Pine Bay, Lake La Muir, Hogan, Big Crow and finished at Opeongo.  The bugs were quite variable - Burntroot was the worst spot for bugs and Big Crow was also pretty buggy.  Portages were always buggy.  However the bugs didn't seem bad at all at some places.   Our island site on Hogan was almost bug free.  What we really liked about the trip was that with so few people in the interior we were pretty much guaranteed a great campsite every night.  When the bugs are bad I use DEET repellent, if they are not too bad I'll use a Picaridin based repellent.


5/04/2020 3:10 pm  #6

Re: OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

The one June trip I ever took was because scheduled dictated it.  I took my then fiance on a three day trip to show her the park.  When we set off for Shirley in June 2000 ha ha I was not wise to the ways of bugs.  On the way to Shirley and our first campsite, no problem.  First campsite was not bad at all for bugs, but the view of the lake was lacking, so on day two we switched to a different site.  Nice campsite, great view, more bugs.  They kind of chased us into the tent after dinner, but it wasn't terrible until the morning of day three.  I woke up to the sound of chainsaws in the distance, then realized what it was and said something like "OH MY GOD THOSE ARE MOSQUITOES BUZZING THE TENT."

We broke camp in about five minutes.  We were halfway across the lake when we finally shook the last of the mosquitoes, then upon reaching the portage, experienced the worst mosquito onslaught I have ever faced.  Wiped about a dozen in a bloody pulp off my left hand, did the same to my right hand, and saw that my left hand was already populated with another dozen.  It was absurd.  Unloading was a chowfest (I had to deal with an equipment issue of some kind, so I sent her on her way and subjected myself to it for a few brutal minutes).  This was the same bug-free portage we had come in on, just two days prior, but now it was dew-filled, and the sun hadn't hit it yet.  Once we were in the woods, zero bugs.  The rest of the way out - zero bugs.  Load out at the access point - no bugs.

I conclude that it depends where you are, when during the day you are there, and how the wind is.  But you won't see me there in June again, I can tell you that!  



5/04/2020 3:27 pm  #7

Re: OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

I've done it once. It was more of a test-run of my new Bugsaway clothing than anything (did catch some fish too). I was happy to report my weekend was bite-free. Was like having an invisible shield all around me.


5/04/2020 3:35 pm  #8

Re: OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

Should have mentioned - the first night, we had something sniffing around the tent.  Sounded big.  I was tired, so I went to "whap" the side of the tent with the back of my hand, and so I did that as hard as I could.  Except I forgot which side of the tent I was on, so instead of hitting tent I hit my fiance in the face.  The back of my hand felt her nose and upper lip, and she had no warning in the darkness of the tent.  The next two minutes were her yelling "OWWW!" and me yelling "SORRY!  SORRY!  SORRY!"  Bonus we never heard another sound that night. worked! 

In November, we'll celebrate 20 years,  My sister couldn't believe she still married me after that trip.


5/04/2020 3:43 pm  #9

Re: OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

June 7-9, 2019 = awful - consistent bug jacket usage. south of 60
June 21-23 2019 = manageable - intermittent headnet usage. south of 60
July 5-7 2019 = mixed results - friday was fine, saturday so bad that we were forced into tents early. shall lake area

all three used picaridin/permethrin/thermacell. I escaped with minimal bites but the incessant buzzing and swatting can drive someone crazy

Last edited by Spoonsy (5/04/2020 3:45 pm)


5/04/2020 3:47 pm  #10

Re: OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

For a couple of years a practically lived in APP during May/June... never had a problem with bugs. They never seem to be bad enough to stop me from wanting to go back..

I will never plan a trip based on bug season... as a matter of fact I'm probably more liekly to try during bug season because if the bugs are biting so are the trout. ;)

Last edited by ATVenture (5/04/2020 3:48 pm)


5/04/2020 3:56 pm  #11

Re: OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

Go every June and hope to this year as well. It's certainly not for everyone but I love it because you don't need to go far to get solitude. 

I use the trifecta of chemical goods Spoonsy listed above but we also bring a good screen shelter to sit in during meals or the witching hours. Don't underestimate the value of a good old smokey fire and cigars to keep the bugs away.

Last June two park staff came into our back country site wearing short sleeved shirts and ball caps with no netting. We were pretty much in the equivalent of hazmat suits and I asked in them how they found the bugs. They were like, meh. 


5/04/2020 4:11 pm  #12

Re: OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

I've done a few June trips when my vacation schedule dictates it.  A few additional items of gear, such as a bug shelter, bug jackets and extra supply of bug dope.  I'd rather take a June canoe trip versus no canoe trip at all.


5/04/2020 4:27 pm  #13

Re: OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

Already booked for June.. as soon as they cancelled my May trip.. like others.. Bug shelter, Deet, bug jacket, Thermacell,  some fine Cubans.. will do a permethrin clothing soak before I go too..

I will travel less as well..  Shoot for an open western facing site in an area with decent fishing and base camp..

We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it.
 - George Washington Sears

5/04/2020 4:43 pm  #14

Re: OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

Learned years ago to go before the bugs start and then stay away until July..
One year, there was an unusually cool start to June and I decided to take a quick weekender to Maple Leaf Lake figuring the bugs would have been killed off by the cold snap. Hmmm....

The trip in was ok but I spent the next two days nursing a smudge fire and little else. Heading out on the last day it was raining while I packed up (welcomed) but the rain cleared on the hike out & the bugs were relentless. Once home, I stood in front of the mirror counting mosquito bites on my torso but gave up after 250!

Some lessons need to be relearned after a time.


5/04/2020 5:40 pm  #15

Re: OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

Would the bugs be out yet a little further south down Haliburton way? I want to take my 12 year old trout fishing for the first time.


5/04/2020 6:00 pm  #16

Re: OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

In the U.P. (which has less water than Ontario) they are horrible and I vowed never to do it again.  I just don't want to be stuck in a bug shelter and wearing a bug shirt all day.  I head out in May and then August and Sept.  With that being said though, at least in Michigan, the fishing seems to be the best when the bugs are the worst.

Justa guy that loves to canoe camp with his dog.

5/04/2020 6:09 pm  #17

Re: OK how bad is camping in June Bugs!

It's fine


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