La Pêche Lake is the perfect place for a no-stress wilderness camping trip. It’s great for people who are looking to try canoe camping without venturing too far into the backcountry. I’d recommend it for first-timers, people with young children, and weekend warriors.
Location & Services
La Pêche Lake is located in Gatineau Park, Québec. It’s an hour drive from Ottawa and 3 hours from Montreal. The location is a popular spot for canoe camping and fishing. The camping season opens mid-May and closes after the Thanksgiving weekend.
Canoe rentals are conveniently located on the beach and include PFDs, paddles, a whistle, and a bailer. The rental office will also provide you with a map of the area. A park employee told me that canoes are never fully booked, so there is no need to make a reservation. However, make sure to book your campsite well in advance. Gatineau Park begins taking bookings in January.
Campsites at La Pêche Lake are only accessible by boat. It’ll take you between 30 – 90 minutes to paddle to them depending on the location of your site and your skill level. There are no portages.
At each site you’ll find an outhouse (with toilet paper and hand sanitizer), a place to hang your food, a fire pit, fire wood, and picnic table. You’ll have to pack in your own water or purify lake water.
Late September, I camped with friends at sites 4a and 4b. These sites were well maintained and had nice gravel tent pads. This area is fully shaded but you can catch the sun by the shore. Our only issue was the firewood provided was green. It was comically difficult to start a fire and keep it going. Luckily for us, we paddled over to a neighbouring site where the campers were more than happy to share their dry wood.
On Thanksgiving weekend, my partner and I stayed at campsite 11b. The site was relatively flat with lots of places to tie off a tarp and to hang a hammock. Unlike the sites at 4a and 4b, there is no defined gravel tent pad. It is still easy to find a flat spot to erect a tent. 11b gets some sun at the end of the day.
There are two sites nearby (11a and 11c). We noticed that 11a got the most morning sun. It is also closest to the firewood but furthest to the outhouse. 11c is a smaller and rockier site. It doesn’t get much sunlight. If you are going to camp in this location, I recommend either site A or B.
One cool thing about these locations is the beaver lodge constructed nearby. You have to pass it to land your canoe. We never saw any beavers but we heard them slapping their tails after sundown.
Fishing is great on this lake. You’ll find northern pike, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, black crappie, and pumpkinseed fish. You can’t buy fishing permits at the park, so make sure to get them before arriving. There are several locations nearby. We got ours from Ace Hardware in Almonte.
La Pêche Camping Tips
- If you are renting a canoe, you’ll have to park and walk a short distance downhill to the rental area. If there are two of you, you can avoid carrying all your gear down this steep hill. After renting the canoe, get one person to paddle the canoe to the nearby boat launch while the other person drives the vehicle there. At the boat launch, you can easily load your canoe close to the shore. There’s also a large parking lot there.
- You can check water conditions for swimming before you arrive. I recommend water shoes if you plan on swimming.
- If you find yourself in trouble, you’ll be instructed to blow the whistle provided in three long blasts. This is the signal for help.
- Visit La Pêche Lake in the fall season when the bugs are gone and the trees have changed colours. The autumn colours begin late September and peak around Thanksgiving.
Have you or are you planning on visiting La Pêche Lake? Do you have any questions or tips? Let me know in the comments section. Happy camping!