Crystal Lake Resort

Fishing Stories

How Kanuless Lake Got Its Name

By Dan Brooks

South of Crystal Lake is a little gem of a lake we now call Kanuless. For many years it remained unnamed, as access was hike in only and no one ever went there. In the late 1990’s, when I took over from my Dad to run Crystal Lake, my brother Nathan and I decided to explore the lake. To get there you must first boat across Crystal to the far southern shore, then hike over a steep hill covered in dense timber, and then down the other side to the lake. It’s about a mile worth of hiking, but it’s not very easy without a trail.

We hiked in, but soon discovered the difficulty of fishing from the shore line and didn’t catch anything.  The next time we conned Nathan’s friend Logan into coming with us, and with a recently acquired canoe we packed it in over the hill, through the trees and down to the lake.  It was gruelling, and I think Logan quickly decided he hadn’t been invited to share in the fishing fun!  Clever boy.  Anyhow, without a trail the canoe was an awkward beast to move through trees and over blow down.  What was an hour long hike at worst turned into an all-day process.  But we persevered.  When we got to the lake, we immediately launched the canoe and started to fish.  

Now the first rainbow trout we caught was OK pan size, about 12” long and fat.  But it was our first fish so we kept it.  We later regretted that decision, it was the smallest we caught!  Fish after fish we caught were regularly 16-18”, the biggest was around 20” and at least 2 pounds.  

We were ecstatic, and Logan took back all the bad things he’d said about me while packing the canoe!  I can’t tell you how glad I was the fishing was so good, I feared for my safety if it wasn’t - Logan was looking a little werewolfish by the time we got there!  Within a very short time we’d caught our limit, stashed our canoe and headed back to Crystal before it got dark.  The memory of the lake played on us for a whole year.  We’d given it a couple names, but they didn’t seem to stick.  I spent several days planning and plotting with Nathan a trail to the lake and we decided the next year we would cut a longer trail along a meadow which would allow us to avoid the steep hill, but would be easier going.

The next year we started off with chainsaws and made our way slowly towards our new lake, with dreams of big rainbows in our heads.  I think we actually made better time clearing new trail than when we packed the canoe in!  But when we got to the lake, our hopes were dashed - literally.  Before our very eyes lay our canoe broken into several pieces.  On further examination we determined that in the winter, covered in snow on the edge of the lake, a moose had walked on the canoe.  Maybe even danced on our canoe it was so totally obliterated.  Our fishing dreams were dashed, we couldn’t catch anything from the shore.

And so the lake took on the name Kanuless, spelt funny for effect, and that’s stuck ever since.  We’ve since widened the trail for ATVs.  It’s a fun lake to fish, and getting there is part of the adventure as you’ve got to pontoon your ATV across Crystal to get to it.  Kanuless now has a boat on it, aluminum to avoid the attraction of moose to fiberglass.  It’s one of our most popular fishing spots, a little gem hidden away for folks who love fishing adventures.

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