Jeff Beaver, citizen of Alderville First Nation with Mississaugas of Scugog youth in the wild rice beds of Mitchell Bay.

Jeff Beaver, citizen of Alderville First Nation with Mississaugas of Scugog youth in the wild rice beds of Mitchell Bay.

Jeff Beaver has spent this summer restoring wild rice beds and documenting Manomin beds throughout Treaty 20, Williams Treaty territory where Ontario has said it will not prosecute First Nations harvesters.  


By Jeff Beaver

ALDERVILLE – Lee Marsden and I have checked on most of the rice beds around the Buckhorn, Peterborough area.

Pigeon Lake has some large beds of rice along the east side of the lake. About 25% of the plants were above the water in the aerial stage and the rest were still at the floating leaf stage. The beds will be harvestable in early September. There is a boat launch on the east side of the lake about 15 minutes north of Fowler’s Corners. There are approximately 100 hectares or 200 acres in various beds scattered throughout the southern half of the lake. The quality of the rice is good.

Emily Creek 

The rice is looking better this year and is quite thick about ½ km north of the bridge on Hwy 36. Rice is about 2.5 feet high and the beds run from the bridge on Hwy 36 North to Sturgeon Lake about two miles. The quality of the rice is good. There are some logs and stumps throughout the bed. Ready around September 4, 2013. Black Terns nest here and are on the Species at Risk list as a species of Special Concern. They migrate to South America for the winter.

Goose Bay on Sturgeon Lake

This is the largest bed of rice that we have seen, a guess would be 400 acres. This is located just outside of Lindsay at the mouth of the Scugog River. We have never gathered rice here. Access is the main problem the only public boat launch is in the town of Lindsay. We paddled downstream about 45 minutes to get to the edge of the bed. I suspect this will be ready around the end of August. We passed a trailer park near the rice and will ask if we could launch from there later this month.

Steen River

A small but good quality rice and ripens early, about 3-4 acres. Located at the south end of Balsam Lk.  along County Rd. 35, then east on Fishawk Road. There is a boat launch just over the creek. Two floatplanes sometimes park at the dock.

Mitchell Bay 

The rice is quite thin on the south side of Highway 48 this year.  It’s better on the north side.

This rice is of medium quality the grain is smaller and lighter than the Pigeon, Emily, Little Bald rice. It usually produces lots of rice, the plants can be 6-7 feet tall and very thick, bring a pole and lots of muscle to get through this one.

I use this rice for beaver ponds, Ducks Unlimited Projects and wetland habitat improvement. This rice grows very well in a variety of sites. This rice also has some disease called ergot, the odd rice seed has it and looks like a little pink or brown pod on the stalk with the other seeds.

Don’t know if the disease can spread to other plants. Least Bittern, a small marsh bird (Heron Family); also on the Species at Risk list, has been seen several times while paddling through on the north side. Listed as Threatened. There is a picnic site off  Hwy 48 with washrooms, tables, and a boat launch.

Little Bald Lake

Located west of Buckhorn.

The rice is quite thin this year and has been heavily clipped off by Canada Geese. Lily pads in various places have also shaded out the rice plants. Would not recommend going here this year.

Emerald Isle

This bed is north of and Bridgenorth on County Road 17. The rice is thin and the lily pads are quite thick. There is about 10 to 15 acres. No boat launch, I usually park on the side of the road past the marina. Would not recommend harvesting here.

Crowe Lake

The rice is thin and doesn’t produce much, we’ve found it to be chaffy and light. Located off Blairton Rd. between Havelock and Marmora, there is a boat launch. Would not recommend harvesting here.

Planted Rice

Hiawatha (Herkimer Point Road) This Ducks Unlimited roject was seeded late November and the plants growing well and will likely produce more seed this year. Planted a mix of Mitchell Lake and Pigeon Lake rice. Both are doing well at this site.

Stony Creek (Ellick’s Creek) 

The rice continues to struggle here. Water levels, are very low, lily pads are extremely thick on the lakeside. Geese and carp continue to pull up and up- root rice plants.

Stewart’s Pond

The rice continues to grow well at this Ducks Unlimited project.

Stoney Lake

Planted in the late fall 2012 the rice is growing. Will plant more this fall.

Plenty Canada, a non-profit organization, provided the funding to do the rice monitoring, workshops, purchased canoes, from 2009 to 2012. This year the MNR funded the rice work in the Treaty 20 area. Thank you Larry McDermott and Jackie Ouellette.