Canoe or boat the Thessalon River at Rydal Bank Park. Rydal Bank is an excellent launching point as there is parking, a ramp and no fee. Rydal Bank is located 10 km (6 miles) north of Bruce Mines. The village of Rydal Bank is located at the confluence of Ottertail Lake and the Thessalon River. That Confluence is controlled by a regulated dam. At the headwaters of the dam the boat launch is located. This takes you right into Ottertail Lake and you can canoe (or boat) west along the river to the Thessalon River at the head of the lake. The lake has a reedy shore which is a good area for viewing birds and also open water which is suitable for fishing for pike, pickerel and salmon. The gentle river runs along woodland and fields – it meanders and is a great place to see heron, ducks, kingfishers and turtles.
At the end of this stretch of the river you enter Gordon Lake – there are no impediments here and the lake is a good sized one and you can canoe across it to the point where the river continues and you can canoe along it to the mouth of Rock Lake where you do encounter a dam and have to portage around it – but it’s not too difficult. Both Gordon Lake and Rock Lake offer spectacular scenery and good fishing opportunities.
It is not recommended that anyone put in at Rydal Bank below the dam as this stretch of the river contains water falls and rapids that can be treacherous and depending upon the time of year, may be dangerous.
Peterson, Pat. “Canoe & Kayak.” Bruce Bay Cottages & Lighthouse. 2011. . 04 March 2012. <brucebaycottages.com>.