Bloodvien Question???

I am thinking of doing a trip in Manitoba, down the Bloodvien. I have never paddled whitewater and figured I could portage most of the rapids. I may try to run some of them. If I can pull everything together and get to go on this trip, will I need a helmet, just in case?


Suggest you get a WW basics course
beforehand, and then practice with a loaded canoe on a comparable river before going north.

Even landing for portages on a swirly river can be tricky if you don’t have the technique. And remember, whitewater in a loaded boat requires somewhat different and more conservative approaches (back ferry, especially) than whitewater in an empty boat.

You could be headed for big trouble.

More or less
what I figured. Thought I would ask first.



You could try a shakedown trip on the
St. Croix. Some rapids, not hard. Marked campsites. Pleasantly unspoiled but near civilization.

How do you like the Shearwater so far?
Sweet boat, eh?

Hey Cannoedancing! Well, I use to like cannoeing for the work out, but one does not have to work to get that boat moving. It travels so easily! Only against whitecapps and a stiff wind off the bow have I ever “worked” to paddle it. I think the speed is ok. THis may just be my ignorance/inexperienace but I have paddled even with a Wenonah escapade. That boat had two paddlers, bent shafts and an empty boat. They were not pushing it, but had a nice paddle cadence. I kept up without feeling like I was racing. It is a loud boat, I get gurgle at abotu every speed. I may sand down the skid plads a little, but for now it is ok. I have become a decent paddler on my left side and a crappy paddler on my right. I get like 10 strokes on the left and 4ish on the right. So far I enjoy fishing out of her. I have only had it out on quiet flat water one time. It is terrible windy every day!!

I get the feeling I could put 350 pounds in the baot and not effect efficiency too much. Just an opinion so far. So , yeah, a sweet boat. I feel very comfy in it. For a big guy new to solo paddling it feels like a nimble SUV. It is very manoverable and I can spin it real close to within its own length. I think the boat has a lot of potential, I just have to become a better paddler to utilize it.

Good luck on your trip!!


Some more advice
Bob, you remind me of myself a few years back when I got seriously into canoeing, full of energy and ready to go. Since then I have progressed and become an avid river tripper and developed a love for wild Canadian rivers.

Those would be my recommendations. I would take a WW class first. You will be amazed how much you will learn. A good WW paddler makes a good quiet W paddler but the inverse in not true. Next, I would run rivers like the Flambeau that have easy rapids (I’s and II’s but not yawners). The next challenge could be section III of the Wolf with a loaded canoe. Once you are comfortable running section III then I would entertain going up to the Bloowein. Remember not all rapids can always be portaged and extended wilderness trips, even with the best preparations, are always full of surprises. Your skill level should be above of what is required for the trip.

I you are looking for a nice river to try out your skills take a look at the Spanish River in Ontario (5-7 days, rapids, portages). Going SOLO in the wild is very risky and unless you are very experienced I would not recommend it.

Good Luck!

Look at this! A good place to meet people with similar interest


June 9-10 Wolf River

Class II; Car Camp . Clinic Fee: $30 per person, plus camping fees. For reasonably experienced tandem whitewater paddlers or novice solo paddlers who want to begin whitewater. This is for open canoes, not kayaks. Paddlers must provide their own properly equipped canoes. Limited enrollment so reserve a spot early. To register or get more details, contact: Rich Krieg, 920-497-8004,, 118 S Washington St., #318B, Green Bay, WI 54301 OR Doug Robinson, 608-334-8026,

A friend of mine (jjoven) did a 2-week trip on the Bloodvein a few years back. Was a challenging trip as I recall & he and his group have WW experience. I sent him an email so maybe he’ll reply.

Hey Bob
The Bloodvein is a serious river. I organized a trip down it from Artery Lake a few years ago. Although most rapids have portages there are a couple CII’s borderline CIII’s that do not. You need some experience reading and running rapids.

You could join an organized trip. (Remember the guys from “Northern Soul” that we had dinner with at 'copia? They run a couple trips down the BV.) It would be safer and prolly more enjoyable than trying it on your own.

Any further questions feel free to e-mail.

helmet ??
In answer to your original question a helmet is not necessary, but recommended. We didn’t use them.

In other words, it’s up to you. Some WW enthusiasts wouldn’t run rapids without a helmet. In an open canoe it isn’t such a problem as you can usually swim and back away from the canoe.

BV video
BTW, here is a neat video of a group of Canadian college kids doing the Bloodvein, eh?

Bloodvein …
Hey thanks for the info everybody!! JJoven, I appreciate your insight and the video clip!

happy paddling.


Likewise Jose, I enjoyed the movie clip. Looks like some good size rapids those people ran. Hope to have some similare fun on the Pipestone this summer.