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MISSINIPE SASKATCHEWAN—WHAT TO SEE AND DO

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The population of Missinipe, SK is less than a dozen people. In summer, it swells to more than 100 people, who come here for Churchill River canoe trips and charter flights to fly-in fishing lodges.

Aerial view of Otter Lake, Churchill River and Missinipe
Aerial view of Otter Lake, Churchill River and Missinipe
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

The name, Missinipe, was the original name for the Churchill River. It means "Big Water" in the Cree language. Missinipe is inside Lac La Ronge Provincial Park.

Driving directions

We drove to Missinipe from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, following Hwy 2 to Hwy 102, which begins in La Ronge. Driving time is six hours.

Missinipe is located on the west side of Otter Lake, 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of La Ronge. Otter Lake is part of the Churchill River.

Charter air service

After refueling at the gas station in Missinipe, we stocked up on provisions at the general store, the Missinipe Trading Post. Nearby, docked in Otter Lake, we spotted four red and white pontoon planes.

The planes belonged to Osprey Wings, a company that offers private aircraft charters. Float planes make Northern Saskatchewan accessible to visitors.

No visit to Missinipe SK would be complete without a flight over this land of 100,000 lakes. With private charter flights, there are a surprising number of things to see and do, from fly-in fishing trips to visiting historic and scenic sites.

Float plane at dock in Otter Lake
Float plane at dock in Otter Lake
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

The cost of private airplane charters depends on the type of aircraft and the distance traveled, so the per person price can be quite reasonable for short trips shared by a family or group of friends.

As our Beaver aircraft gently rose from the water, like a giant seabird, we looked down over the Churchill River. From this altitude, we noted that it is not really a river at all, but a series of lakes and rapids surrounded by spruce and poplar, so dense, that they bristle like green fur on an animal's back.

Missinipe, from the air, consists of a few buildings in a clearing carved out of the forest. Its location on Otter Lake makes it an ideal hub for exploring the Churchill River.

Private charter flights

What can you see and do near Missinipe? Stanley Mission's Holy Trinity Church and Nistowiak Falls are two Northern Saskatchewan destinations accessible by private charter flights. It's the fishing, however, not the pristine falls and historic sites that attract most people here.

Float planes dock on Churchill River
Float planes dock on Churchill River
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

The cold, clear waters of the Churchill River have a reputation for some of the best walleye (pickerel) fishing in North America, as well as above average northern pike. If you spend a couple days at Twin Falls Lodge and Sportsman's Lodge, like we did, you must try a shore lunch of freshly fried fish, cooked over a crackling fire.

After trips on private charter planes, canoeing is the best way to explore the Churchill River. Many of today's routes follow those of the early fur traders. Churchill River Canoe Outfitters, in Missinipe, is a one-stop center for canoe lessons, guides and topographical maps, as well as rental of canoes, equipment and cooking utensils.

If you are adventurous, you will also want to experience the Churchill River's Otter Rapids on a thrill-a-minute jet boat ride from Thompson's Camps. Be prepared to get wet. The Otter Rapids are located four miles (six kilometers) north of Missinipe.

Places to stay

For a village as small as Missinipe, there is an amazing range of accommodations. You can pitch your tent in campgrounds at Otter Rapids and Devil Lake, or stay in an RV park, cabins and lodges.

Missinipe may look like a frontier town, surrounded by wilderness, but visitors who venture this far north in Saskatchewan will be rewarded with a range of activities and accommodations that make it well-worth the long drive north.


TRAVEL INFORMATION

Tourism Saskatchewan: www.sasktourism.com

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