Thursday, August 27, 2009

Montreal River in August

Last Friday a group of us paddled the Montreal River from the Highway 2 bridge to the gravel road 165 bridge, a distance of about 40km. It is apparently very unusual to be able to paddle the Montreal at this time of year, with May-June being the usual window of opportunity. Today I talked to Martin at the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority to find out what the water levels were at and what they might be expected to do over the coming couple of weeks. Martin informed me that the river was running at about 25 m3/second, a level that is higher than the average spring peak (the median actually). He also suggested that because of the large size of Montreal Lake which feeds the river, the river should be runnable for some time to come yet.

Martin also sent me this graph of the flow for 2009 at the outflow from Bigstone Lake:


An interesting note was that the water metering station is now a "real-time" station and no longer requires manual reads. The station is expected to soon be added to the list of stations that are available to the public online!

So, if you want to run the Montreal River but missed you chance in the spring, now is the time. The Montreal River has lots of Class 1+ rapids and at the levels we paddled it was not at all technical (I ate a can of salmon while negotiating a series of rapids), but it was a lot of fun, especially the last third which had a couple of stretches of C1/C1+ water that were 3-4km long.

For information on running the Montreal, see Laurel Archer's book Northern Saskatchewan Canoe Trips. I also found a brief description and map online at http://www.princealberttourism.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_details&gid=129&Itemid=86 (down at the bottom click "download" or "view" to see some information on running the Montreal as a day-trip).

Follow Up: I posted some pictures as their own post. You can find them at http://pawistik.blogspot.com/2009/11/montreal-river-follow-up.html.