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4/11/2017 9:35 pm  #1

kid friendly trout opener trips ?

Hi folks

I'm having a hard time trying to figure out  what lake or part of the park would be best to take young kids too (ages 6-9) in-order to get them into the whole spring brook trout backwoods camping experience. Ideally it should include a portage or two, stay off any large bodies of water,good camp sites and provide decent enough brook trout fishing opportunities so as boredom doesn't take over, end result being I would like it to be a positive experience so they would want go again and not have negative memories of the experience. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Im muling over the kingscoat area but not liking the bass mixed trout lakes in that area. Would love to show them just how beautiful brook trout are in their natural setting.

Thanks again ahead of time to all those who reply.


4/12/2017 7:54 am  #2

Re: kid friendly trout opener trips ?

Hey Hollywood

I don't have any answers, but am in the same proverbial boat.  My son is nearing 8, and we've done McManus, Sec, and Booth so far.  (Lots of warm water fish being the common theme here for sure) My biggest concern with a spring trip is the cold water, as the core temp would drop so much faster I suspect for a kid than for us even in the event of a dunking. The cold water thread has been a great reminder for me, but for a kid its likely 2 - 3x more dangerous.  A full blown wet/dry suit he'll grow out of each year isn't something I can afford to do, so I hesitate a lot on this one, but it gets harder each spring to justify why he can't come too =)   [Good problem to have!]

There is a window of safer water temps and trout biting, but I can't see a black-fly trip going well either !!!

With all that said, some places that have crossed my mind (not sure where you are coming from, driving time can suck for kids too)

North River L., Allan L, Rosebary L. OR, consider the not quite as nice, but equally fun (and tasty) splake options, as there are many more of those . . . Billy, Fork, Sunday, Sproule, etc.

Good luck, and I'd love to hear back if you make plans and get a spring trip in with the kids!!



4/12/2017 8:00 am  #3

Re: kid friendly trout opener trips ?

You have a few choices to make. 

For an early spring canoe trip, my cut off was the end of Grade 3 or about 9 years old for the youngest that the kids started joining the trip. At that age they were old enough to follow instructions and believe me when I told them they had to stay dry and couldn't plan on warming up and drying off later because there was nowhere to get inside to warm up and dry off. They were also old enough to be useful paddling for short periods when I needed the extra help, like rounding a windy point. 

So while I'm a big proponent of getting the kids out there while they are young, you might want to consider whether the 6 year old is quite ready. If it was summer, then go for it but much as I love the spring trips the risks due to weather and cold water are higher. 

Perhaps the bigger decision is whether you want to take the kids on a canoe trip or whether you want to go on a spring trout fishing trip. There's a difference between fishing and catching. :-) Catching is best done with a worm off a dock in the middle of a school of rock bass or sunfish. Fishing on the other hand is more about the journey than the destination. Trout almost always fall into the fishing category. Oh sure, we've had some great days, but even a good day of brook trout fishing in a great spot might average 1 fish an hour. 

If you want to take the kids on a spring trip and do a bit of fishing while you are at it, then great. Kingscote might be a good option as it is a direct access lake so easy to get out if you need to. I haven't fished there so I can't say how the fishing is. I did think of it as more of a lake trout lake than brook trout. Just be prepared to spend more time in camp, playing with the fire, roasting hot dogs, making s'mores and doing stuff the kids want to do than you're going to spend fishing. 

On a positive note, the kids always wanted to come back after that first spring trip - and not just to get out of school. Last year was the first time in 11 years I didn't have one of them with me and even then it took a last minute rugby playoff conflict to have the youngest abandon me. This year my oldest has enough of a break between exams and the start of his summer work term that we'll be able to get a trip in. . 


4/12/2017 8:03 am  #4

Re: kid friendly trout opener trips ?

Here's a short trip report my daughter wrote up of our spring trip when she was 10.


4/12/2017 8:07 am  #5

Re: kid friendly trout opener trips ?

​I would not recommend Kingscote Lake.

​You could try Allan and North Depot which will be my 1st choice for the parameters that you gave.  There is a nice river that flows into Allan Lake from North River lake called North River.  You can fish rapids here.  At end of North Depot you have continuance of North River with many places to fish in the river for trout.  Some really nice campsites as well, with an island campsite on Allan Lake and also on North Depot.  Personally, I would go on to North Depot rather than Allan Lake to make it your campsite lake.

​The portage from Wendigo to Allan lake is a rocky one so be careful with children.  After this portage, the rest of the portages all the way to Radiant Lake through Allan and North Depot are pretty flat, not long, and easy to do.  Most just go around rapids in the North River which is an easy river to fish.  Although Clamshell Lake might be too far, there is a gorgeous little campsite on this lake right beside the river.  I have camped on this site, camped on the island site in Allan, and the island site on North Depot.  They will have everything you want for kids to explore and have fun.  Also, both island campsites have a sandy beach.  The one on Allan Lake is really shallow, but the one on North Depot Lake is both shallow and deep in spots.


Last edited by boknows (4/12/2017 8:18 am)


4/12/2017 9:19 am  #6

Re: kid friendly trout opener trips ?

You could also go into Tim Lake,   no brook trout but Lakers,   no portages and you could base camp and portage into a few neighboring lakes for Brook Trout.      


4/12/2017 6:49 pm  #7

Re: kid friendly trout opener trips ?

There are no brook trout in Kingscote Lake. There are smallmouth bass and lake trout, including a special strain of lake trout with no spots. But I'll trust Bo that the fishing isn't very good... lakes with access points, cottages and motor boats usually aren't the best. And frankly I doubt there are many brook trout in any lakes near Kingscote, the bass invasion in that area goes farther than Jeff's Map shows.

Tell us where you're coming from? Different parts of the park can make a difference of several hours of driving, and especially with kids you probably don't want to drive that much farther than you have to.

If the west end of the park is a good option for you you could consider travelling down a river like the Petawawa (from access point 3) or the Tim (from access point 1) and focusing on river brookies in holes and waterfalls along the way, rather than on lake fishing. Probably requires less patience to get some brookies that way. I've heard the lake trout fishing in Tim Lake has declined since smelt were introduced but there would still be brookies downstream of there. There are also some decent lakes in that general area of the park for both lake and brook trout.

One central option for lake brookies would be to go through the lakes west of Pen that are managed for trophies (note the special regulations), but in terms of doing it with kids that would involve some longer portages, especially if you complete the loop through Louisa (which would offer some good lake trout fishing).


4/12/2017 7:53 pm  #8

Re: kid friendly trout opener trips ?

I'm in a similar situation as Craiger.  

I agree with him and Bo that North River/Allan/North Depot are interesting options offering good campsites and decent fishing, but I'd be a bit hesitant taking the kids in the spring on even those relatively small lakes as the access lakes (North River Lake, Wendigo Lake), even if not huge, can kick up, and it's hard to stay disciplined and hug the shore the whole time when paddling.

So the stocked, smaller lakes off highway 60 may present a safer choice?
In any event, I find my kids get bored pretty quickly with fishing (i.e., not catching), so a spring trip is not as enticing as a summer trip as warm water fish are often easier to catch and swimming is an option.


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