Welcome To The Website of the
Upper French River Cottagers Association
The French River is located in Ontario, Canada, and defines the boundary between Parry Sound and Nipissing Districts. The French River flows southwest from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay. The "Upper" French River lies between Lake Nipissing and the Chaudiere Dams at Dokis First Nation. An historic First Nation and fur trade canoe route, the French River is now a Provincial Park, the home to citizens of Dokis First Nation, and the summer residence of hundreds of cottagers.
The Members menu (at left) displays Membership Information and Form, but more options are available when members Log In.
Charges laid in gill netting
By JENNIFER HAMILTON-MCCHARLES, The Nugget
Thursday, March 26, 2015 5:10:10 EDT PM
The Ministry of Natural Resources has confirmed charges have been laid in relation to the unmarked gill nets found in Lake Nipissing last summer. “I can confirm that on March 24, 2015 charges were laid in relation to the unmarked gill nets,” Jolanta Kowalski, Senior Media Relations Officer with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry told The Nugget Thursday afternoon.
She said the suspect was charged with wasting flesh of fish suitable for food (an offence under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997) and for leaving decaying fish in a net (an offence under the Federal Fisheries Act). “We appreciate the cooperation and assistance of the Nipissing First Nation in this matter. Since this matter is now before the courts, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.” Kowalski refused to identify the suspect and didn't provide an explanation.
From June 7 to late August the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry officers pulled 13 abandoned nets from Lake Nipissing. Most of the nets contained hundreds of dead fish. The first net was discovered on Lake Nipissing on June 7. The net had more than 200 rotting fish in it. As the nets continued to be found in Lake Nipissing, community organizations and groups jumped on board to help and bring attention to the issue.
BAYSAR Search and Rescue joined forces with the MNRF in the summer to help look for abandoned gill nets. The volunteer organization took five flights over the lake. The North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce and Lake Nipissing Stakeholders Association called for the arrest of person or persons responsible for gill nets after discovery of a fifth 200-foot net full of rotting fish floating in Lake Nipissing.
Nipissing First Nation put a stop to gill netting on Lake Nipissing last fall in response to concerns from its community members about the health of the walleye fishery. Chief Marianna Couchie stated in a previous article that the band council closed down gill netting on the lake until spring when the recreational walleye fishing season opens. She said many people wanted Nipissing First Nation to close gill netting right down, however the band council opted instead for a temporary closure out of concern for community members whose livelihoods depend on the fishery.
Photo Contest Deadline April 15
The deadline for submissions for the 2015 Photo Contest is drawing near. See the Events page for full details. Send your photo entries by April 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org
A newsletter was distributed to current members on March 2. If you did not receive the newsletter but should have, contact email@example.com.
, the Hydroelectric project is nearing completion and the repairs to the Chaudière Dams are just getting underway. For updates on these two separate projects, see the Dokis First Nation
Obituaries for Sam Trescher and Dennis Brodie
Posted February 11, 2015
We extend our condolences to the family of Fred “Sam” Trescher (1927-2015) who died recently on February 4, 2015. Sam was a cottager on the French for almost his entire lifetime, and daughter Liz Gallagher currently serves on the Board of Directors for the UFRCA. The obituary may be seen at http://www.chadwickmckinney.com/obituaries/Fred-Trescher/#!/Obituary
We also extend our condolences to another long-time cottager on the French River: Dennis Brodie of North Bay (1947-2014). Dennis died on November 2, 2014, and we extend our belated sympathies to Theresa and family. The obituary may be seen at http://www.hillsidefuneral.ca/obits/obituary.php?id=507695
Winter of 2015 has generally been cold and snowy. To UFRCA Members: The Photo Contest is open for entries. See the Social and Events page for full details. The photo at left, taken by Clayton Dokis, is looking up-river from the point just north of the Riverview Cottages docks.
Posted December 3, 2014
The December newsletter was distributed to current members on December 1. If you did not receive the newsletter, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated December 4, 2014
Lake Nipissing Ice Covered
The date when the lake is declared ice free in the spring generates much interest and has been recorded for many years. However, the date in late fall when the lake is completely ice-covered is not widely noted and records have not been kept, as far as we know. But this is being recognized as more important now as global climate change and global warming affect local weather patterns, and the duration of ice coverage may become an important statistic. Open water can generate localized lake-effect snow and moderate temperatures on land. Also, the formation of "good" ice affects travel and winter ice fishing on the lake.
On December 2, Lake Nipissing, as seen from the end of Cranberry Trail in Callander, Ontario, was observed to be mostly ice covered with a few patches of what may have been open water. (Verifying this out was not a wise option!) On December 3, the Greater Nipissing Stewardship Council web cam (located east of the Sturgeon River on the north shore of Lake Nipissing) shows that the lake appears to be completely ice and snow covered. So very unofficially, we can declare that Lake Nipissing may have been ice covered on December 3. (An MNR source informs us on December 4 that there may be open water near the Manitous.)
French River Dam Complex to get major upgrade
Posted November 4, 2014
Monday, November 03, 2014 by: BayToday.ca Staff
Jay Aspin, MP for Nipissing-Timiskaming announced the awarding of a construction contract for the Big Chaudière Dam Replacement Project at the French River Dam Complex near Dokis, Ontario, to EBC Inc., of Brossard, Quebec. “The Dam is being replaced to ensure its continued function and operation,” said Aspin. “This contract award is a sizeable investment in the region. Our Government is ensuring this important piece of infrastructure continues to serve citizens by managing the water levels of Lake Nipissing and the French River.” The Big Chaudière Dam was built between 1910 and 1916 and consists of two concrete structures with large steel gates divided by a rock island.
The French River is part of a vast watershed in Ontario that drains Lake Nipissing into Georgian Bay. The French River Dam Complex is made up of three dams: the Big Chaudière Dam, the Portage Dam and the Little Chaudière Dam. These structures control the outflow from Lake Nipissing and are essential for maintaining its water level and for regulating the flow of water into the 105-kilometre-long French River. Construction started during the first week of October and is scheduled to be completed in summer 2016.
for background information.
Updated October 28, 2014
On October 19, it was reported in the North Bay Nugget that Nipissing First Nation has suspended netting on Lake Nipissing due to concerns about the fish stocks. For the full Nugget report see On The Water / Native Fishing.
The first newsletter of the 2014-15 season was distributed by e-mail on October 17. Newsletters were sent only to current UFRCA members (those who have paid for the current membership year July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015). If you did not receive the newsletter, but should have, contact email@example.com right away. We may need a corrected e-mail address.
As you know, October 27 is the date of municipal elections across Ontario. Due to the efforts of the UFRCA eight years ago, West Nipissing Municipality now has a mail-in voting process. Canadian residents who own property in Bertram Township have now received (or will soon receive) their mail-in ballots. Mayor Joanne Savage has been acclaimed. There are two candidates for Ward 8 Councillor: incumbent Guy Fortier and Rodney Wolfe. There are also elections for school board trustees, and the candidates vary depending on which school board is supported by the property owner. Ballots must be mailed by October 18, 2014.
"Fortin Re-elected -
The results of the Ward 8 election in the Municipality of West Nipissing are in. Incumbent Guy Fortin has been re-elected with a comfortable margin. Mr. Fortin received 258 votes compared to challenger Rodney Wolfe’s 205 votes. There were no challengers for the Mayor's Office, with Joanne Savage, first elected in 2003, acclaimed for another term. West Nipissing, with a total population of 14,149, has 11,904 eligible voters. Voter turnout yesterday was 5,256 or 44.15% of those eligible to vote.
(Source: Association of Municipalities of Ontario Web site.)
The unorganized townships of Patterson and Hardy (south side of the Upper French) are in Parry Sound District. Cottage owners who are Canadian citizens have received a ballot to elect 2 representatives on the Parry Sound District Social Services Board. Information on candidates may be found at http://www.psdssab.org/ Click on TWOMO Election.
On October 15, we distributed an e-mail to Canadian resident property owners and provided information received from the Bertram Township Ward 8 councillor candidates.
AGM Draft Minutes Posted
Posted September 16, 2014
The Draft Minutes from the Annual General Meeting held on August 3, 2014, are now posted. In the members section of the web site, click on Annual Meetings. These minutes will not be finalized until they are adopted by the membership at the 2015 AGM.
A Glimpse of the Past
Posted August 26, 2014
At left - The Hazel B docks at Island 91 in 1927. Note the casual summer attire.
At right - Many cottagers used the Lizette to get to their cottages in the 1950s and 60s.
Thanks to Bert Clarke for providing these photos. An overview of many of the boats that have travelled the French and Lake Nipissing may be seen on the History page - French River and Lake Nipissing Travel.
Posted August 15, 2014
The MNR has produced a study paper "5 Critical Facts about Walleye in Lake Nipissing". It can be seen here.
Recently, abandoned nets have been found on Lake Nipissing. An article from the Sturgeon Falls Tribune on this controversy may be seen here. The MNR is urging anyone with information about the nets to contact the MNR TIPS line at 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free any time. Near North Crime Stoppers will be doubling the reward amount (up to a maximum of $2000) for information that will assist the MNR in identifying the owner(s) of unattended gill nets in Lake Nipissing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Near North Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or submit a tip online at www.nearnorthcrimestoppers.com or by texting ‘Nipper’ and TIP info to CRIMES (274637).
Lastly, the July, 2014, issue of Ontario Out of Doors includes an article on the MNR's proposal to eliminate the seniors' exemption from needing to purchase fishing licences and replacing the exemption, in 2016, with a "seniors discount" on conservation and sport fishing licences. See the related article from the May 29 issue of Ontario Out of Doors here.
Posted August 14, 2014
The UFRCA Annual General Meeting was held successfully at Dokis on August 3. Draft minutes of the meeting will be posted in the Members Section when they become available in the next few weeks. The Board of Directors welcomes new member Liz Gallagher while Jane Eastmure has retired from the Board. Continuing Board members include Sam Goodwin, Peter Rooney, Wendy Kennedy-Sadler, Dave Minden, Grant Hobson, Jeff Hamilton, Kaely McDermott, and Holly Waters. Positions of responsibility will be determined at the first Board meeting.
Photo Contest Winners are posted
Posted August 3, 2014
The photo contest winners are posted in the Photo Gallery. Congratulations to all the winners who captured these spectacular images.
Posted July 15, 2014
The UFRCA extends its condolences to Valarie Viau and family at Dokis. Valarie's husband Richard died recently in Sudbury after a lengthy battle with cancer. See http://www.theoretbourgeois.com/book-of-memories/1904437/Viau-Richard/obituary.php for details.
10 km/h Speed Limit posted in Canoe Pass
Updated July 12, 2014
Thank you West Nipissing firefighters who installed the 10 km/h speed limit signage at Canoe Pass on July 10, 2014. Click to enlarge photos. See full details in article below.
North end sign
South end sign
Posted June 17, 2014
by Sam Goodwin - Municipal Liaison
Have you ever had that experience of either being about to enter or leave Canoe Pass only to find at the last minute that another boat is heading towards you at full speed? Well, with the increase in boating traffic on Lake Nipissing and the Upper French River in recent years, more and more cottagers and visitors to the area are finding themselves in just that situation.
It’s not that the existing Transport Canada speed limit of 10 km/h within 30 metres of shore doesn’t apply to Canoe Pass. But the reality seems to be that many people either don’t realize that or may just need to be reminded.
And so UFCRA has been working with the Municipality of West Nipissing on having official Transport Canada speed limit signs (see image at left) in place at both ends of Canoe Pass by July 1 of this year. Read more in On the Water - Boating
Emergency Equipment First Response at Sandy Haven
Posted June 17, 2014
By Sam Goodwin (Municipal Liaison Committee – UFRCA)
Health and safety on the Upper French River is an important issue and ongoing concern for members of the UFCRA. We are all aware that this place we love to spend time at is also remote and rugged, and that in the event of an accident or illness, it’s just not going to be possible to get the same kind of access to emergency medical services that we would at home.
And so this year, the UFRCA has been working on something a little different but also something that we believe has the potential to make a real difference to the health and safety of everyone on the Upper French River, regardless of whether you’re a cottager or a visitor to the area and even if you’re not a member of the UFRCA.
That “something different” is a pilot project to test how effective it would be to have some basic emergency equipment available at Sandy Haven Fishing Camp and a team of volunteers that could use that equipment to be first responders in emergency situations. Read more at Security / Health.
French River Authors
Posted June 11, 2014
UFRCA members John McFadgen (past Board member) and David McFadgen have co-authored and published a children's book Henry the Heron, which can be ordered through their web site http://heronhenry.com/
David McFadgen writes, "This is a true story of a great blue heron reaching out to man for help. This story happened on the French River in Ontario, Canada. The French River is still untouched and has significant wildlife on it. Every time this story is told, the listener has always become fascinated with it and hopefully you will too."
Henry the Heron will be on sale at the Annual General Meeting on August 3, and John McFadgen will be there to sign copies.
Outdoor Cards and Licences Available On-line
Posted June 2, 2014
Outdoor cards and fishing licences are available on-line from the MNR here.
Valarie Viau advises that Riverview no longer sells fishing licences, but besides the MNR web site, you can also pick them up at the French River Trading Post, any Canadian Tire Store, Trucheon Fuels in Sturgeon Falls, or at Chaudiere Lodge.
Portage Dam Hydro Electric Project
Posted May 23, 2014
Clayton Dokis led a group from MNR and the Nipissing Forest Local Citizens Committee on a visit May 21 to the Portage Dam hydro-electric project.
The current work is focusing on the turbine support structures at the bottom of the new blasted channel. Hydro power generation is expected to commence in July of 2015.
Click on the photo to enlarge. The photo is looking downstream with the French River in the distance. The steel gate prevents down-stream water from backing up into the construction area. The Portage Dam itself is out of sight to the left of the area shown.
Walleye - New regulations take effect May 17
Posted May 17, 2014
As the fishing season gets underway, please be aware of and follow the new regulations regarding Walleye and the new slot size . The new Walleye regulations take effect May 17, 2014. Note that the Bass season opens one week earlier this year on June 21 and the limit for Perch has been increased. Walleye aren't the only fish in the lake!
Lake Nipissing Web Cam
Posted April 15, 2014
See the right-side links for a current web cam view of Lake Nipissing, courtesy of the Greater Nipissing Stewardship Council. The web cam is located at a lakeside home on the north shore about 1.5 km east of the mouth of the Sturgeon River. The outflow of the Sturgeon is responsible for opening this portion early. In the far background, the distant shoreline on the right side of the image is Sandy Island. The darker more prominent island in the centre of the image is Iron Island, recognized by the hump on the left (west) side.
MNR: Catch limits remain at two walleye
By DAVE DALE, The Nugget
If you visit a Park campsite in the summer of 2014, look for new signage. After 10 years, the previous white signs were showing evidence of wear and tear, weathering and vandalism, and it was time for a make-over. Jointly funded by the Friends of The French and the Upper French River Cottagers Association, the signage encourages users … Read more …http://ufrca.com/index.php?page=adopt_a_campsiterae
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 2:24:26 EDT PM
Anglers on Lake Nipissing will still be able to keep a maximum of two walleye next year if the Ministry of Natural Resources draft management plan is implemented as presented for public input today.
But only those walleye over 46 centimetres (18 inches) can be kept in a bid to save a fishery described as "stress and at high risk of significant decline."
There was speculation the province was going to reduce the limit to one walleye from the two allowed this year. The limit was cut in half from the previous limit of four Jan. 1, 2013.
A slot size restriction protecting spawning walleye 40 to 60 cm is being abandoned after this year.
MNR Minister David Orizietti told The Nugget today that studies indicate there are not enough walleye in the slot size restriction to protect and the province is putting its faith in the smaller year classes. "This would ensure juvenile walleye remain in the lake, reach spawning size and be given a chance to reproduce at least once before being harvested. Catch limits would remain the same: two walleye for sport fish licence holders and one walleye for conservation licence holders," states a media release today.
Orizietti said he has spoken to Nipissing First Nation Chief Marianna Couchie about the issue and the need to reduce the overall pressure on the walleye fishery.
The native commercial gill net and recreational harvest took an estimated 51,000 kilograms of walleye out of the lake in 2013, Orizietti said, adding that the MNR believes the sustainable combined harvest should be 20,000 kg less.
Just a decade ago, based on previous data, the MNR said the sustainable harvest for Lake Nipissing should be 90,000 kg but set a more conservative maximum combined harvest at 66,000 kg. Orizietti said Nipissing FN has a treaty and constitutional right to harvest commercially, so they hope to work with the native community in reducing the overall pressure.
nugget.ca will update this story
Click to view the Lake Nipissing Fisheries Management Plan
New signage will appear in 2014
Fish on the French
Posted July 19, 2013
UFRCA member Paul Cormier represents the UFRCA on the MNR's Lake Nipissing Fisheries Management Plan Council, and he has provided the following documents. One result of the Council's deliberations over the last several months has been the production of these new fact sheets on the significant fish species in Lake Nipissing. In addition, note the document on specific regulations for Walleye on Lake Nipissing. A comment sheet and questionnaire may be of interest to fishing lodges in the area. Paul will have copies of these documents available at the AGM.
Yellow Perch Factsheet
Whitefish and Cisco Factsheet
Northern Pike Factsheet Bass Factsheet
Lake Nipissing Walleye Data Review
Walleye Regulation Changes
Comment Sheet and Questionnaire (for Lodges, interested groups)
New Comprehensive Zoning By-law program
Posted May 20, 2013
"The Municipality of West Nipissing is pleased to be starting the preparation of a new Comprehensive Zoning By-law for the municipality. The new Zoning By-law will amalgamate and update the existing Zoning By-laws in effect in various parts of West Nipissing into one Comprehensive Zoning By-law applicable to the entire municipality. The goal of this process is to create a Zoning By-law, with new mapping and text, which will provide for consistency across the municipality and will be user friendly, easily understood and simple to use." Read more in Municipal Issues - West Nipissing News.