Just curious - when folks head up to Wine from Sawbill, do they tend to follow the summertime portage or go along the river much of the way from Kelso Lake to Zenith? I've not done this route in the summer yet, but it looks like the big L portage runs just west of the river most of the way. Also, is there any advantage to going from Sawbill Lake over to Alton and then up, or just go up Sawbill to the portage into the Kelso River?
We went through Alton as I didn't want to mess with the narrow area by Kelso. We went at the end of January and once we were on Kelso we had to break trail the rest of the way. We took the regular Summer portage as we could see open water spots on the river. Also just an FYI there is a small creek that flows from Frederick into Zenith and we were able to walk on it about halfway up, we stopped to take a break at one point and I actually went through the ice. It was only 3-4 feet deep but we could see the closer to Frederick we got the worse the ice was from the moving water. We ended walking along the far south part of the swampy area to get to Frederick. It was really slow going but it was the only way for us to not get wet again. The portage from Frederick into Wine has the biggest hill you will come across on that trip. With our trail broken in for the way back we absolutely flew and made it in less than half the time if took us to get there. The fishing was a little slow for us but when we caught one they were very good sized.
Thanks guys, that's just what I was looking for. Funny, that other thread is sort of what got me thinking of going to Wine. I was assuming I'd have to break trail, and didn't want to set a trail off in the wrong direction! If I do this route, I'll stick with the established portages.
I actually emailed Bill Hansen to find out the best route to take. I think I read about a trail off the main portage that would bring you right to Frederick instead of having to go up to Zenith and then back down to Frederick but we never saw any signs of it.