Saturday, 14 December 2013

Bird River to Elbow Lake


Name: Bird River to Elbow Lake
Flows: Unknown (but low)
Length: 30km (round trip)
Class: II
Highlights: Granite cliffs, amazing fishing
Put in: Tulabi Falls parking lot
Take out: Tulabi Falls parking Lot
Nearby Towns: Lac du Bonnet, Bird Lake
Guide Services: Unknown

Our trip on the Bird River started and ended at the Tulabi Falls Campground at the end of provincial road 315. We parked in the parking lot just past the campground and carried our boats down a short path to the small beach above the falls. Once everything was packed and ready to go, we paddled
to the far left corner across Tulabi Lake and up the Bird River.
Directions to the put in from Lac du Bonnet

The river was full of wildlife, including moose, beaver, geese, pickerel, pike, and bear.
Before long we where at the first portage. Manitoba Conservation and a group of volunteers had fixed the trails recently to make traveling the portages much easier. The put in for the portage was muddy, to say the least. It may not have been a big problem during higher water, but was definitely a time consumer during the  lower water levels of mid September.
Upper Tulabi Falls

After all that hard work on the portage we wanted to paddle an hour or two until the next one. Unfortunately the second portage, the longest of the trip, was just across the pond. The start and end are both fairly easy but the middle of it was an ankle twister.
You can either choose to take the muddy path or the path full of roots and stumps.

 Once we were done with that portage, we paddled the placid waters of the Bird for another nine kilometers through some fen until we reached the last portage of the trip.
The placid Bird

 This easy 30 m portage surpasses a ledge that may be runnable on the way back down the river.
Author running the ledge

After a few minutes of paddling you will reach a lake with a large granite cliff. It has a
campsite on the far side of the lake that isn't marked on many maps.

 Just around the corner, you reach Elbow Lake. We camped on the large island on the far side of the lake.
View of Elbow Lake

It has 2 campsites and a toilet. Both campsites have beautiful views of the lake.
View from the campsite

 At the cliffs closest to the island there was a bunch of large Pickerel. We had to throw back several because they were too big. The smallest one was at least 10 inches. Our group of 4 caught 24 that we could keep. We also caught many pike over the course of 2 days.
Some nice sized walleye

After 3 days in the Shield country of Nopiming we made it back to Tulabi Falls where we packed up and headed home.

I would say that this trip is a good choice for beginner flatwater paddlers, and people looking for a weekend fishing destination.

Happy Paddling,


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