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  #1  
Old 10-02-2017, 10:53 AM
Heff Heff is offline
 
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Default FORTRESS LAKE , BC . ( warning , monster brookie pics!!)

Me and two of my buddies headed into Fortress Lake last week for 2 days of fishing. It had been 6 years since the last time I went in there . We had great weather , and we caught 135 trophy brook trout ! This epic adventure did not disappoint !! Biking , hiking , paddling , fishing , camping , northern lights , rafting down a remote stretch of river , catching the biggest brook trout of our lives on some flies I tied . We had numerous double headers and we even had one triple header !

Here are a few pics
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  #2  
Old 10-02-2017, 11:22 AM
SNAPFisher SNAPFisher is offline
 
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So awesome! Great report. Those are really...really big brookies in those pics. That 2nd one is a giant. And, were you only shore fishing?

Thanks sounds like a truly amazing trip. Congrats!
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  #3  
Old 10-02-2017, 11:34 AM
Heff Heff is offline
 
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Originally Posted by SNAPFisher View Post
So awesome! Great report. Those are really...really big brookies in those pics. That 2nd one is a giant. And, were you only shore fishing?

Thanks sounds like a truly amazing trip. Congrats!
Thanks , it truely was an amazing trip ! I caught a couple from the packraft while we were paddling to the fishing location but mostly all of them were caught from shore. It is giant brook trout heaven.
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Old 10-02-2017, 11:57 AM
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Those are some great bruisers!!! Well done!
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  #5  
Old 10-02-2017, 12:29 PM
McLeod McLeod is offline
 
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Glad you had a great ti,me. How was the River and Chaba crossing ?
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Old 10-02-2017, 12:48 PM
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Glad you had a great ti,me. How was the River and Chaba crossing ?
Thanks ! The crossing was very minimal down current from the old bridge location . The chaba was only one channel, and we rafted down the chaba back to the crossing to our bikes. Very fun adventure !
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  #7  
Old 10-02-2017, 12:56 PM
pikeman06 pikeman06 is offline
 
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Gorgeous fish. Thanks for sharing. Nothing prettier than the male brookies all dressed up for the ladies.
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  #8  
Old 10-02-2017, 10:22 PM
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marlin1 marlin1 is online now
 
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nice trout thanks for posting
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Old 10-02-2017, 10:37 PM
Map Maker Map Maker is offline
 
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Very nice. Those are big specs.
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  #10  
Old 10-27-2017, 08:06 AM
Freddydog Freddydog is offline
 
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I heard that the bridge over the Athabasca river was gone. Is that true??? Or perhaps has it been fixed.
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  #11  
Old 10-27-2017, 08:08 AM
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I heard that the bridge over the Athabasca river was gone. Is that true??? Or perhaps has it been fixed.
You are correct. It's been gone for a few years, and I haven't heard any talk of it getting fixed.
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Old 10-27-2017, 08:55 AM
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Walleye101 Walleye101 is offline
 
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Very Nice. Congrats! Looks like a great trip.
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  #13  
Old 10-27-2017, 12:47 PM
trailraat trailraat is offline
 
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How was rafting the Chaba? I've hiked into fortress once in the past before the bridge was out and have often thought it would interesting to try get in there with a boat of some kind and raft out to somewhere upstream of Sunwapta? Has anyone tried this?
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Old 10-27-2017, 07:59 PM
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How was rafting the Chaba? I've hiked into fortress once in the past before the bridge was out and have often thought it would interesting to try get in there with a boat of some kind and raft out to somewhere upstream of Sunwapta? Has anyone tried this?
We've canoed from Fortress(portaged to the Chaba)right out to Hwy 93. Another time we canoed from Big Bend campsite down to Hwy 93. It's a nice float, and the only sketchy spot for us was where the Sunwapta River joins the Athabasca. I've always wanted to snorkel/float the section between Big Bend and Sunwapta - just to see how many fish are really in there.
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Old 10-28-2017, 06:47 PM
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Those fish are awesome!
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  #16  
Old 10-29-2017, 12:29 PM
Bemoredog Bemoredog is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Big Bull View Post
We've canoed from Fortress(portaged to the Chaba)right out to Hwy 93. Another time we canoed from Big Bend campsite down to Hwy 93. It's a nice float, and the only sketchy spot for us was where the Sunwapta River joins the Athabasca. I've always wanted to snorkel/float the section between Big Bend and Sunwapta - just to see how many fish are really in there.
Can you explain what you mean by snorkel/float? Would you be taking a wet suit? Just never really heard of folks doing this, sounds cool though.
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Old 10-29-2017, 01:05 PM
Bemoredog Bemoredog is offline
 
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I'd really like to make this trip next fall but getting specific info is difficult. It could be dangerous and I don't want to take any stupid risks. I've PMed the OP to try and get some answers but figure I'll post here too since he hasn't got back to me.

The route as far as I can tell starts at Sunwapta. You can ride a bike from there to the crossing at the Athabasca. I assume you wade across the Athabasca and then hike south until you need to cross the Chaba. For the Chaba you need to wade across but depending on flows might have to use a tube (is that correct?).

For the lake itself it seems like you can only really hike along the north shore about half way and there are a couple primitive camp sites along the way.

On the way back you can just put your tube in the water and float with the current back to the Athabasca crossing, grab your bike and ride back. Right?

In terms of gear, do folks bother bringing tents or just sleeping bags? I'm just trying to figure out how much gear one needs to haul in. I figured the essentials would be as follows:
  • float tube/pack raft
  • waders & fins
  • micro tent
  • sleeping bag good to -20
  • small butane stove
  • dehydrated food packs
  • small metal container for heating water/eating

Is the best time to go in October, or is spring also a reasonable bet too? Is a pack raft preferable to a float tube?

Last question: has anyone ever done this during the winter? The BC Parks website says you can access the lake via ski or snowshoe in the winter. Sounds a bit crazy to me but it would also be an amazing adventure. I'd still wonder how you cross the rivers though. I'd assume they don't freeze well enough to safely cross.
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Old 10-29-2017, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bemoredog View Post
Can you explain what you mean by snorkel/float? Would you be taking a wet suit? Just never really heard of folks doing this, sounds cool though.
I was thinking snorkelling with a dry suit and maybe a boogie board. There used to be a company in Campbell River that would take you snorkelling on the river there during the salmon run. I used to spend a lot of time fishing between the Chaba confluence and Sunwapta confluence on the Athabasca River, and always wanted to see what was lurking underneath the surface. That section of river, is fairly flat, with a decent enough current to float along.
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  #19  
Old 10-29-2017, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bemoredog View Post
I'd really like to make this trip next fall but getting specific info is difficult. It could be dangerous and I don't want to take any stupid risks. I've PMed the OP to try and get some answers but figure I'll post here too since he hasn't got back to me.

The route as far as I can tell starts at Sunwapta. You can ride a bike from there to the crossing at the Athabasca. I assume you wade across the Athabasca and then hike south until you need to cross the Chaba. For the Chaba you need to wade across but depending on flows might have to use a tube (is that correct?).

For the lake itself it seems like you can only really hike along the north shore about half way and there are a couple primitive camp sites along the way.

On the way back you can just put your tube in the water and float with the current back to the Athabasca crossing, grab your bike and ride back. Right?

In terms of gear, do folks bother bringing tents or just sleeping bags? I'm just trying to figure out how much gear one needs to haul in. I figured the essentials would be as follows:
  • float tube/pack raft
  • waders & fins
  • micro tent
  • sleeping bag good to -20
  • small butane stove
  • dehydrated food packs
  • small metal container for heating water/eating

Is the best time to go in October, or is spring also a reasonable bet too? Is a pack raft preferable to a float tube?

Last question: has anyone ever done this during the winter? The BC Parks website says you can access the lake via ski or snowshoe in the winter. Sounds a bit crazy to me but it would also be an amazing adventure. I'd still wonder how you cross the rivers though. I'd assume they don't freeze well enough to safely cross.
Yes, you start at Sunwapta Falls parking lot, and bike the 15 kms to Athabasca Crossing. It's slightly downhill for the first 7 km, and then basically it's pretty level on a good, wide trail. Once you ford the Athabasca, it's another 8 Km to the east end of Fortress Lake, with the Chaba ford just before you get to the lake. This 8 km section of trail is a lot bumpier and not worth biking if you have a heavy pack or trailer.
I would suggest late May or September to avoid the highest water levels. I've always waded across, except for the time that we helicoptered in canoes. Ice is usually off the lake by the end of May.
I always stayed at the BC Parks cabin, as we were doing work for them, and we used to rent boats/motors from the lodge. I'm pretty sure that is no longer an option.(different owners back then)
You are correct, the trail is only along the north shore, and may go as far as Washout Creek, midway down the lake, across from the lodge.
If you use a pack raft, you could raft all the way back to your bike, or all the way back to Hwy 93 if you didn't bike in.
I have friends that have done the trip in the winter, and there are lots of places that you can ski across the river. It might even be better to ski along the river instead of the trail. You would need an ice auger once you get to the lake. Check the fishing regs, as I haven't fished there in a long time, and am not sure if it is open year round.
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  #20  
Old 10-30-2017, 10:19 AM
McLeod McLeod is offline
 
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The bridge is on the radar for parks to have completed by the end of 2019.
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  #21  
Old 10-30-2017, 07:52 PM
Bemoredog Bemoredog is offline
 
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Thanks Bull. Not sure I'd be ready to do it this winter, probably stick to some shorter hike in lakes for the season. definitely on the to do list for next spring or fall though. It honestly doesn't look too bad given that you can bike part of the way in. Hardest part will be smartly packing all the necessities I think.

2019 is still a bit out, but at least it's getting fixed. great news.
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