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Welcome To The Website of the
Upper French River Cottagers Association


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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.


September News

Closing the cottage routines - keep potential thieves in mind
Posted September 24, 2015

West Nipissing Police have sent this communication as a reminder to keep would-be thieves in mind when closing for the winter. And reduce off-season environmental damage by following many common sense suggestions. To view, click here.

July 31 Storm
On the afternoon of Friday July 31, a series of intense electrical storms passed through the area. Below are accounts of two lightning strikes and the resulting volunteer efforts to deal with them.

Lightning strike and fire at the Watkins’ cottage
Posted September 8, 2015
Contributed by Amy Watkins

On July 31, 2105, while sitting on our porch, lightning struck a tree 30 feet away from us. Flames rose immediately and we evacuated the cottage because the fire was only a couple of feet from our propane tanks. We went through the woods to my parents’ cottage to get to a phone (ours had exploded and melted from the strike). Their phone was out as well. We left our daughter and dogs to return to our cottage to see how bad things were. The flames were 6 to 8 feet high so we went into the cottage to get our passports. We heard a loud noise of gas escaping from the propane tanks that sounded similar to the noise of a jet engine. We returned to the woods again just as one of the tanks exploded, sending a fireball 50 feet into the air. We estimate the time between the strike and explosion was no more than 10 to 15 minutes. At this time, family and friends had heard and seen flames and had come to our aid.

Scott Jones from Riverview (while transporting people to Riverview) happened to be driving past, saw the flames, and was able to radio Riverview to get their fire pumps on the way to our cottage. Until the fire equipment and personnel arrived, we kept others away because of the potential for the other propane tanks to explode.

We had minor cottage damage including some siding and trim blown off with the strike. The phone lines scorched some places inside, a floor joist was blown apart where the outside box is attached, and the strike also started fires west of the cottage. One propane tank exploded, one “vented” and ignited, and the Dokis Fire Department stabilized the third tank.

We are thankful that no one was hurt.

Thank you to all our friends and family who helped out during the event – the Allison, Stanislau, Lembke, Robinson, Sumner, Kutzner, and Marcus families, and some young men from Solid Comfort. Thank you to Scott Jones from Riverview and the Dokis FD crew: Gerry Duquette, Carl Hill, Jean-Marc Ethier, and Fire Chief Brian Lariviere.

Fire Near West End of Sandy Island

It was the same day and the same storm that resulted in the fire at the Watkins’ cottage. Late in the afternoon/early evening on July 31, 2015, lightning struck the trees on an uninhabited island near the west end of Sandy Island not far from Wigwam. A neighbouring cottager noticed the smoke and called it in to Todd Thomas, the owner and operator of Sandy Haven Fishing Camp.  Todd and another volunteer immediately loaded the fire pump and equipment into a boat and “attended” the fire, as they say in the firefighting business. The lightning had badly damaged one tree and the adjoining trees had begun to smoulder.  The volunteers from Sandy Haven used the pump to good effect and remained on the scene to ensure there was no risk of further damage. 

As UFRCA members know, Todd/Sandy Haven Camp is one of the organizations, along with Riverview Marina and the Dokis Fire Department, that cottagers call on in time of need. In Todd’s case, he coordinates his volunteer efforts with the Municipality of West Nipissing. The Fire Department there provides the water pump and other firefighting equipment and depending on the location and availability, Todd is likely to be the first responder. Todd also provides a limited emergency first response capacity. To this end, the Municipality provides him with a defibrillator, a stretcher, and a professional quality first aid kit, and Todd brings extensive training in emergency first aid. 

This is the first full cottage season that this arrangement between West Nipissing and Sandy Haven (spurred on by the UFRCA) has been in place. The summer of 2014 was only a partial season due to delays in the delivery of equipment. Most fortunately, this first full season was a quiet one. Only a few fishhooks to remove, according to Todd.

But as with the team from Riverview and the Dokis Fire Department, this kind of volunteer service to our collective cottage community is not something that UFRCA members take for granted. We all appreciate that the “other side of the coin” to the River’s wild beauty is a degree of isolation and vulnerability. The UFRCA says thanks to Todd for his ongoing efforts and commitment.

August News

Chaudière Lodge Fish Fry: A great time was had by all
Updated August 27, 2015

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Great food, terrific music, perfect weather, a beautiful venue, and good friends. 

That’s what UFRCA members and other guests experienced on Saturday August 8 at the Chaudière Lodge Fish Fry.  The event was the brainchild of Chaudière owner and operator Steve Niedzwiecki and the UFRCA’s own Bill Diehl, with additional support from the UFRCA Board and in particular Jeff Hamilton, the Chair of our Social Committee.  
Steve and the staff of Chaudière really pulled out all of the stops for us, meeting guests at the docks, parking boats (as well as mooring them out in the bay because of the size of the crowd/number of boats), and giving everyone a warm and enthusiastic welcome.  The food was fantastic and plentiful – with fresh fried fish and fresh cut fries (say that 10 times fast…) prepared right in front of everyone on an open-hearth kitchen, along with a large spread of beans, salads, delicious desserts, and cold drinks.
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As everyone ate, they were entertained by Derek Restoule who is not only the owner and operator of the Dokis Marina, but is also a very talented musician with a great voice.  Derek was joined by other talented performers including Steve N. and Lilianne Murdoch. And as the music played, people had a chance to stroll through the well-kept grounds and to check on the latest menu at Chaudière’s wonderful restaurant.
(Liliane Murdoch is a rising star in Canada on the music scene. Here’s the official video of Liliane singing live with her 7-person blues band “Citrus Club” on the main stage on July 4 at the 2015 Montreal International Jazz Festival in front of 14,000 people:
This was truly one of those memorable events – a rare chance to be together as a cottage community to meet old friends, make new ones, and just shoot the breeze on a warm summer afternoon and evening.  We are all very grateful to Steve and the staff of Chaudière and to Bill and Jeff for all of their hard work.
Thanks to Jeannette Fox for providing photos from the August 8 Fish Fry Social at Chaudière Lodge. See the Photo Gallery.

Best AGM Ever
Updated August 27, 2015

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Thanks to all of our members who were able to come to this year’s Annual General Meeting at Solid Comfort Fish Club on August 2.  According to many who were there, it was the most fun AGM we have had in years.  Part of the thanks for this has to go to our special guest Dr. Françoise Noël, who gave a fascinating talk on the modern history of Lake Nipissing and the Upper French River, including the rise of cottaging and tourism in general.  After the meeting, Dr. Noël made arrangements to have more of her books (NIPISSING – Historic Waterway, Wilderness Playground) available for sale at the store at Riverview.
Thanks also to Chief Denis Restoule of Dokis First Nation for spending time with us and providing an update on the impressive range of activities now underway in that community.  This, of course, is Chief Denise’s final term and all wished her very well.  Thanks, too, to Jeff Hamilton for making this year’s photo contest so entertaining.  It was great to see so many entries this year and congratulations again to winners and to all participants.
And, finally, a most heartfelt thanks from all of us to the Solid Comfort Fishing Club.  Club President Joe Ray and the Club members who were present took special care to make this a memorable event for us, including assisting with boats, setting us up in the lovely main dining hall, providing delicious snacks, and even offering a tour of the property.  All of those in attendance (over 75) appreciated the warm welcome and the opportunity to become more familiar with this very stunning and historic spot. 

See photos from the AGM in the Photo Gallery.

Fishing News - Commercial Fishery To Be Closed
Posted August 19. 2015

See this breaking news at 

Photo Contest Winners
Posted August 6, 2015

Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 Photo Contest. The images are posted in the Photo Gallery. Thanks to organizer Jeff Hamilton and to the judges for a great event.

Joy Allen (1931-2015)
Posted August 5, 2015

The UFRCA expresses its condolences to the family of Bruce Allen (first UFRCA President), whose wife Joy Allen died at home on Sunday August 2 at the age of 83.  This would have been her 60th summer on the river, and 50th as a property ownerSee obituary here.


July News

Re-posted July 7, 2015
The June newsletter was distributed June 1 to current UFRCA members. If you did not receive it but should have, contact

The announcement for the Annual General Meeting slated for Solid Comfort Fishing Camp on August 2, 2015, may be seen here. 

A book review of Francoise Noel's NIPISSING - Historic Waterway, Wilderness Playground may be seen here. 

A new social event at Chaudière Lodge is planned for August 8. Click here for full information.

Water Problems at Dokis - State of Emergency Lifted
Updated July 7, 2015
According to media reports, the state of emergency at Dokis has now been lifted. Efforts are now underway to secure funding for upgrades to the water system so the problem does not occur again.
Posted June 12, 2015
For the North Bay Nugget article, click here.

June News

More On Fishing
Posted June 27, 2015

Following are several links to other fishing-related articles in the North Bay media. 

Fishing dominates local Lake Nipissing news
Posted June 18, 2015

The Lake Nipissing fishery continues to generate news from all sides. The following three articles are from the North Bay Nugget.

Fish protest being planned for August 1, 2015
By Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles, The Nugget
Wednesday June 17, 2015 2:04:39 EDT PM
Fishermen, tourists and concerned citizens are holding a demonstration to raise awareness of what is happening on Lake Nipissing. The organizer Reg Dupuis said he wants to bring accountability to what he describes as the mismanagement and lack of enforcement by Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Nipissing First Nation leaders and Anishniabek Police Service. Dupuis said he is in the process of informing Ontario Provincial Police, North Bay Police Service of the protest, as well, ensuring he has the proper permits for the Aug. 1 event. For the rest of the North Bay Nugget article, see

Co-operation, understanding key to Lake Nipissing's health

By Bob Goulais
Special to The Nugget
Wednesday June 17, 2015 10:00:07 EDT AM
We have a couple of big problems to solve when it comes to the Lake Nipissing fishery. First and foremost, we all need to work together to address the serious decline in the walleye population and overall health of our beautiful lake. Lake Nipissing has been our lifeblood of the Nbisiing people giving us sustenance nutritionally, economically and spiritually. The lake has also been a critical economic driver for many residents and anglers who live, work and play in our region. We all have a stake in the protection of our lake and its species. For the rest of the Nugget article, see

Dumped fish angers angler

By PJ Wilson, The Nugget
Thursday June 11, 2015 4:42:39 EDT PM
The Lake Nipissing fish no one seems to want are being left to rot, according to a fisherman who says he was “sickened” by a fish dump on Nipissing First Nation land. Larry Bonney said the dump on Mooz Miikun, a road that leads to a gravel pit off Highway 17, was probably about 60 feet by 60 feet, and contained unsold, packaged fillets as well as whole pike, muskie, sheepshead and bass. For the rest of the Nugget article, see

Water Problems at Dokis - State of Emergency
Posted June 12, 2015

For the North Bay Nugget article, click here.

The June newsletter was distributed June 1 to current UFRCA members. If you did not receive it but should have, contact

The announcement for the Annual General Meeting slated for Solid Comfort Fishing Camp on August 2, 2015, may be seen here. 

A book review of Francoise Noel's NIPISSING - Historic Waterway, Wilderness Playground may be seen here. 

A new social event at Chaudière Lodge is planned for August 8. Click here for full information.


May News

Walleye Population Remains Stressed but Improving
Posted May 26, 2015

According to a North Bay Nugget article today, "the walleye population in Lake Nipissing remains stressed, but recent legislative changes are helping the young fish mature and reproduce, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry." For the complete North Bay Nugget article, click here. 

Changes in the wind for local First Nations
Posted May 26, 2015

Political changes are in store for both local First Nations. At Nipissing First Nation west of North Bay, Chief Marianna Couchie recently announced she would be stepping down at the end of this term. The election for chief and band councillors is slated for July 10, 2015. For the North Bay Nugget article click here. At Dokis First Nation, Chief Denise Restoule has also claimed this will be her last two-year term, which ends in 2016.

Gill netting continues to be a problem during moratorium
Posted May 23, 2015

An article from the May 10 North Bay Nugget is available here.

Lake Nipissing Ice
First Posted April 2, 2015
Updated May 1, 2015
Updated May 5, 2015

It's official. The North Bay Nugget declared today that the ice is officially off the lake as of today Tuesday May 5, 2015. 

You can watch the ice disappear from the Great Lakes and Lake Nipissing with this NASA web site. You can zoom in to see a bit more detail as well as adjust the date to see the progression. As of May 1, it appears that Lake Nipissing is close to being ice free. The average ice-out date is April 28. See On the Water / Ice out Dates. For a related article by Jennifer McCharles in today's Nugget click here

April News

Lake Nipissing Fisheries Management Plan Approved
Posted April 16, 2015

We recently received the following e-mail with several attachments from MNRF in North Bay .
Dear client,
I have the opportunity today to write to advise you that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), North Bay District is pleased to announce that the approved Lake Nipissing Fisheries Management Plan is available for the public to view. The approved plan can be viewed through the Environmental Registry at searching for registry number 012-1353.  You can also review the plan by making an appointment at the local MNRF office. If you have any questions, concerns or would like to make an appointment to review the plan, please feel free to contact me by replying to this email or by phone at 705-475-5530.
Thank you,
Valerie Vaillancourt
Management Biologist
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
North Bay

See related attachments:  
Letter from Mitch Baldwin - District Manager 
Status of the Walleye Population in Lake Nipissing (PDF)

Lake Nipissing Ice

Posted April 2, 2015

You can watch the ice disappear from the Great Lakes and Lake Nipissing with this NASA web site. You can zoom in to see a bit more detail as well as adjust the date to see the progression. As of April 1, it appears that Georgian Bay is starting to break up, but Lake Nipissing is totally ice-covered. The average ice-out date is April 28. See On the Water / Ice out Dates.

The North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority reports that while the regional snow pack is presently double the normal depth, indications are that it will be a gradual spring melt. Click here to see the Nugget article.

More Fishing News
Posted April 2, 2015

Two media reports will be of interest to anglers on Nipissing and the French. It was reported in the Nugget in January that two fishermen had been fined for possession infractions. Recently, the Almaguin News reported that the new slot size regulations do not appear to be having the negative impact that some predicted, and that it was quite a good ice fishing season for area outfitters and tourist operators.

March News

Charges laid in gill netting
Thursday, March 26, 2015 5:10:10 EDT PM

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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

March Newsletter
A newsletter was distributed to current members on March 2. If you did not receive the newsletter but should have, contact

At Dokis, 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 page.


February News

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!/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

January News 


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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.



December News

Posted December 3, 2014
December Newsletter

The December newsletter was distributed to current members on December 1. If you did not receive the newsletter, contact

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.

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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: Staff

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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. 

Click here  for background information.


October News

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 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  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

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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. 

Fishing News

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 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.

AGM Report

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. 

Richard Viau

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 for details.

10 km/h Speed Limit posted in Canoe Pass

Updated July 12, 2014

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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.

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 North end sign

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South end sign 

Posted June 17, 2014
by Sam Goodwin - Municipal Liaison

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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)

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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 

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

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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
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. will update this story

Click to view the Lake Nipissing Fisheries Management Plan
 New signage will appear in 2014

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  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   …


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
Muskie 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.