January 11, 2023 – An Unseasonable Warm Winter!
Well despite some colder temperatures and a fair amount of snow through the end of November and December, January has been incredibly warm. We haven't got any fresh snow in a while and temps are swinging between 10 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit. There seems to be enough good ice to travel by snowmachine and to ice fish, but it is definitely not nearly as thick as it should be. Some lakes still only have around 8" of ice and in a typical year we would see over 12" by now. We're lucky we got a bit of cold at the beginning of winter to build the ice or we wouldn't hardly be doing any fishing at all yet. And since we have enough ice to go fishing the warm temperatures aren't all that bad, it certainly beats -40!
So far Lindsay and I have only been ice fishing twice. Both times to a small stocked lake close to town where we can chase splake. They are just little guys but are great pan friers and are a blast to watch come in and hammer your spoon in crystal clear water. This weekend we are planning to get out a little more and will be spending two nights camping out on the ice in our portable shack fishing for lake trout and walleye. We are both really looking forward to our first couple nights out there in 2023!
Mom is doing really well and has been enjoying the warmer winter so far. She is busy as usual volunteering and helping out all over town and having weekly lunches with friends. We are currently in the midst of planning a 2 week trip to Cuba with her over the first two weeks of March and we are all very excited!
We had a very busy, but very fun and exciting fall. As I detailed in a previous post, we didn't have much down time between coming home from camp and going deer hunting, and then returning home for 3 days before heading out to Montana for what ended up being 3 weeks. We were headed to Montana with 2 elk tags and 2 deer tags, so we weren't overly worried about taking a deer during our first trip down to the cabin. We were joined by some friends from Thunder Bay who were looking to take a deer home for some meat, and Matt did just that shooting a nice doe opening weekend. They left on Monday morning and Lindsay and I stayed the rest of the week relaxing and hunting. Despite seeing a lot of deer we didn't see anything that we wanted to shoot, as we weren't planning on taking anything unless it was a really nice buck.
After a very busy 3 days at home, we were headed for Montana. We had an absolutely wonderful trip and spent 17 days hiking and hunting both the mountains and their surrounding prairies. We got hammered with early season cold and snow the first week there and were pushed out of the mountains by about a foot of snow after only 4 nights. At 3:30 in the morning we had a couple of inches, by 6:30 when we decided we should start packing we had about 8-10" and a couple hours later as we were leaving there was a foot or more. Well right before we started packing up camp as were enjoying a quick cup of coffee and getting dressed, it was quite clear to me that there is none I would rather be getting snowed into the mountains with then Lindsay, so I asked her to marry me! After she said yes, and we were done embracing and enjoying the moment, we immediately got to work tearing things down so we could get on the road out of there.
We relocated to a nearby motel for a while until the storm stopped and we could come up with a new plan of where to set up camp. We ended up spending 6 nights at the motel as another few smaller storms and crazy cold temperatures (down to -15 F in November) kept us there longer than planned. We hunted from the motel each morning and I was able to shoot my first mule deer during that leg of the trip filling the 1st of our 4 tags.
After the weather stabilized, we decided to head about 50 miles south to change units and to try to get to more accessible roads as we had seen about 30" of snowfall up in the mountains and probably 18-24" down on the flat prairie where the wind was blowing drifts 5' tall in some extreme cases. We set up our tent in the mountains again and decided to try to focus on elk for the last half of the trip, hoping to fill Lindsay's deer tag if we stumbled into a deer along the way. On our first morning of hunting we glassed up a herd of elk and spent all day watching them bedded in a small patch of timber, waiting for them to come out into the open and to feed down their side of the canyon into rifle range. We had lots of time so we decided if they didn't come into range on their own we weren't going to try to force anything for fear of being seen and bumping them out of there - we could always come back first thing in the morning and try again. Well, after watching them work in and out of the patch of timber all day, occasionally almost coming inside our 500 yard limit, they spooked. With 90 minutes of daylight left, and as they were feeding directly down into the area we wanted them too, either us or the pack of coyotes that started howling spooked our 20 or so elk and we watched them leave our lives at a full run, never firing a shot. We were able to relocate the elk that night right before dark, but unfortunately they must have moved over night and were no longer there the next day.
We decided to give that area some time to recover without any pressure so with 3 days left of the season we headed to a new area that we thought could have elk and should certainly have deer. After watching a lot of nice bucks move onto a privately owned ranch from the publicly accessible area we were hunting, we decided to go ask permission to hunt the private land thinking we could quickly fill Lindsay's deer tag and then spend the last 2 days trying to relocate the herd of elk. The folks who owned the ranch were incredibly nice and welcoming and after a brief introduction they told us we were more than welcome to chase the deer on their land. Well, like a lot of the trip things didn't exactly go to plan. Despite there being deer everywhere, due to some really unfortunate equipment failures it took us 5 stalks on 5 different white tails over the last 3 days of the season to fill Lindsay's deer tag. But after a lot of frustration, and a lot of crawling through frozen and very flat cow pastures, Lindsay shot a great 8 pointer to fill her tag and wrap up our trip.
For those who are interested I'll be writing a sort of day by day journal of our hunt and will share it on the blog in the next week or two with some more pictures and to elaborate on the hunt and all of the challenges we had.
After returning home, I went for one last trip to our deer cabin with a friend looking for a deer for his freezer, and one more for ours before the season closed on December 15th. Over that weekend Johann was able to take a nice young buck and I shot a yearling doe, before closing down our cabin and the 2022 hunting season just in time for the holidays. While we were gone to Montana, my moose hunting group was able to fill our cow tag at home, and Lindsay's group with her dad and grandpa filled theirs the opening week of the season in October. So all in all we had a great 2022 hunting season, made a lot of memories and had a lot of fun, and have full freezers for the year.
Take care and keep an eye out for the next post detailing our Montana hunt!
January 3, 2023 – Happy New Year!
Merry Christmas and happy new year!
We just wanted to take a quick moment to wish everyone a happy holidays! We have been very busy since closing down camp hunting through November and early December, and then enjoying the holiday season. We have had a great winter so far, and with ice fishing season really taking off we are looking forward to what's to come.
Things are starting to slow down now that the holidays are over and we are getting back to normal so I will be back this week with a weather and ice fishing up date and a post or two to share all of the fun we had hunting this fall.
We hope everyone has had a fantastic holiday season with friends and family, take care!
November 6, 2022 – A Quick Stop at Home
I didn't have time to write anything before heading to deer camp, but Press is shut down and we are home, although only briefly. We got home from camp on Tuesday, October 25, and were on our way deer hunting by Thursday. We spent 9 days at deer camp coming home yesterday evening, and will be on the road for Montana around 3 AM Wednesday morning.
We had a great fall at camp! The fishing stayed very steady right through the final week of the season, and with the exception of a few days that last week, the weather was really nice and unseasonably warm. We had a slower moose hunt than normal and went 0/2 during archery season and 2/4 during rifle season. Both of our archery groups had cow tags and despite many days in the field and a lot of moose seen (one group saw 10 animals, only 1 cow) neither were able to get in close enough for a shot. Cow hunting with a bow can be a real challenge as our terrain is not overly friendly to spot and stock hunting, and cows don't generally come to calls. Both groups had a great time and saw 10+ moose each, with multiple opportunities on bulls, sometimes it just doesn't work out.
Rifle season started rough as the first few days of the week were very cold and windy with a mixture of rain and snow. Not a lot of animals were seen the first few days but by the end of the week two groups had filled their tags; one with a bull and the other with a cow and calf. My personal group of friends are yet to fill our tag as we ran into the same issues as our archery hunters, we have a cow tag and could only find bulls! Finally our fourth and last group had fewer hunters than normal and ended up going home mid week, I believe a little defeated after multiple days of very poor weather. After Wednesday the weather broke and the rest of the week turned out to be beautiful and temps shot up from low 20's to 70 three days later.
Unfortunately, that beautiful warm weather followed us deer hunting for the week. Lindsay and I didn't have intentions of shooting a deer unless we stumbled into a really nice buck as we still have our Montana trip coming up. If successful, we won't need any extra meat. We are also fortunate that deer season is open for two weeks after we get home, so if we don't end up doing well out west we have plenty of opportunity to get a deer or two for the winter. We are very lucky to be in such a favorable position because it sure was a tough week of deer hunting! We didn't see temperatures below freezing until two days ago, and had a couple of days that hit nearly 70 in the afternoon. As you can imagine there weren't a lot of deer moving and very few of them were bucks. That being said a friend of ours was able to connect on a nice doe opening weekend with limited time, and we did watch quite a few other does, and passed one small 8 point we would like to give another year or two. Slow hunting aside, it was a great week with friends and a highly anticipated break after a busy season.
Well that's a quick update in the meantime. When we get back from Montana I will be sure to have a few updates about our hunt, and once all of the dust settles we have more pictures to post from the end of the season. Some final fish pictures and some various hunting photos as well.
Take care and for those who are out, happy hunting!
October 1, 2022 – Sorry For The Absence
I'm sorry for the big lag between posts, as usual the fall got away from me. Camp has been busy all fall and as fishing season is quickly fading into hunting season, the leaves are changing colours and the fish are still hammering. Mom has been doing very well and her hip is healing up great! The doctor gave her the all clear to return to camp at her 6 week check up, so she has been out helping us on the weekends again for the last 5 weeks or so. I am taking her to Dryden this week for the 12 week check up, and I believe if everything still looks good we are all said and done with the doctors. A big thank you to everyone who has been reaching out to check in on Mom, she has really appreciated hearing from everyone!
The weather was really nice through August and the first half of September. In fact, we had a couple days in September that were downright hot. Through the second half of September and now into October, we have had a few colder spells that have lasted 2-3 days, but between them have been nice breaks of warm sunny weather. The colder day have temperature swings from about 38-55 degrees, generally feeling a little cooler with the wind, and the warmer days range from 40 - almost 70 degrees. So far we have only had 1 frost, but we are forecasted a couple of cold nights dipping a bit below freezing towards the end of this week.
By the beginning of August the water levels were pretty much caught up to normal. Probably still fairing a little higher than average, but very close to what we would expect that time of year, and nothing quite like this spring. The lake continued to slowly drop through most of September, and about a week ago I noticed that it is beginning to come back up as the temperatures are cooler, and we have gotten a bit of rain. I would say currently we are still in that same area of very close to average, maybe a touch high, and the lake is behaving normally as the water levels tend to slowly climb through October. I haven't noticed that the lake has turned over yet, but with the impending cold temperatures, I wouldn't be surprised if that happens soon.
The fishing has been phenomenal all summer long, and that hasn't stopped through the fall. I think almost every week for the first 4 months of the season someone told me it was the best fishing they have either ever had on Press, or ever in their life. We didn't have any real monster walleye caught this year, but I did hear about quite a few in that 26-27" range. The average size however, has really increased, and there are A LOT more walleye being caught in the 18-21" range than we were seeing pre-covid. The current bite is pretty standard for this time of year. The walleye are concentrated on the humps, mainly out on the big lake and are being caught as deep as 30', and as shallow as 12-15' on top of the reefs. We tend to see a lot of really nice fish caught this time of year in the deeper waters surrounding the reefs, and that has been the case so far this year as well.
The bass seemed very active this year, and also have increased in average size a bit. The sprig bite ran later than normal as the bass were still on nests a lot later into the year with the late spring and high water. Now they have moved up onto the reefs and are absolutely hammering off of 7 Pine Island. The pike have been pretty typical this year with lots of walleye being T-boned on their way to the boat, and almost weekly reports of a 40"+ fish being caught.
Hunting seasons are beginning to open up and we have been doing some duck and grouse hunting. The ducks haven't been overly cooperative so we have had a few tough hunts, but have managed to come home with a handful of birds and have had a couple of nice meals. Certainly can't complain about that. Our road sees a lot of traffic from grouse hunters at the beginning of the season, but now that we are into the 3rd week and there are a lot less hunters around, the birds are starting to come out a lot more and we have been able to pick a few of those up to replenish the freezer for the winter!
We are into the second week of the three week archery moose season, and we currently have two hunting groups in camp with a third arriving later this week. So far no tags have been filled, but both groups have seen moose. Just the usual story of lots of bull sightings and everyone has cow tags, or difficulties getting within bow range. I believe the rut is really kicking off right now though as there has been lots of moose sign and activity everywhere, so I suspect the groups will have a lot more action before the week is out. Rifle season opens on October 15th, and we have three cow tags and one bull tag in camp for that week.
That October 15th week is our last week open, so as of writing this we only have three more weeks left of the season. It's crazy how fast the summer goes by. Lindsay and I have a pretty busy fall planned so we are starting to get very excited. I will be moose hunting with a group of friends for opening week of moose, and Lindsay will be spending the beginning of the week hunting with her dad and grandpa. Once we close up camp on the 22nd, we have about 5 days to get home and then head down to our deer cabin in Barwick to prepare for the opener of deer season on the 29th. We will spend a week down there, likely coming home on November 5th, and then we are off to Montana for a couple of weeks on November 9th to try to fill two elk tags and two mule deer tags. We are doing a DIY hunt and will be spending a couple of weeks in a tent in the mountains. We have spent a lot of the summer getting in shape and ready for this trip and are getting very excited as it approaches. November is a lot of fun for us so I don't like to squander it sitting on the couch when there are open hunting season to be had!
Well I think that's all for now, I have received quite a few pictures from folks so thank you very much! I will try to put together a post here in the near future with a lot of them from the last few months.
July 27, 2022 – The Fish are Moving Onto the Reefs!
Now before I get into all the good stuff like the fishing report and pictures, I have a few housekeeping announcements that we need to make. The first is about Mom having a bit of a fall. Next is regarding our landline situation, and then I will follow that with two new rule changes to the fish and game act for this year and going forward.
On July 8, Mom tripped and fell outside the grocery store, and unfortunately broke her hip. Fortunately for her and us it was my ex Hali who was essentially the first one to find her, and was a huge help in getting her up and taken care of. Mom (reluctantly) went by ambulance to Dryden where they determined she had a break and would need surgery, so she was flown to Thunder Bay. There she had a partial hip replacement and was flown back to Dryden a couple of days later. She was released from Dryden on the 16th and was brought back home by Lindsay's parents where they got her in and settled on their way out to visit us at camp for the week. Since then, Mom has had some pain from the break but nothing she can't handle, and is recovering well. It will be 3-4 months before she is able to resume all normal function but knowing her she will be getting herself into trouble before then. We would like to say a big thank you to Don, Mary, and Jake (Lindsay's parents and grandpa) and to Hali for all helping out and getting Mom taken care of.
About a week ago we received a phone call from our phone provider Bell Canada, that they would officially be decommissioning our very archaic radio phone system. Truthfully we have been expecting this to happen for some time and aren't really surprised. Now that we have our very reliable Starlink internet, we have found Wi-Fi calling through a cell phone to be a very good substitute to having a landline. So, our response has been to have our current business number (807 934 6911) ported over to a cell phone that we will be able to use both at camp in the summer and in town during the winter. What does this mean for you guys? Truthfully, not a whole lot with the exception of us no longer having a different winter and summer number, and that you will now be able to text us at the above number if you would like. I think this is actually going to be a convenient change for everyone, not to mention cheaper for us!
Next are a couple of rule changes. Both are in response to the rising aquatic invasive species problem in North America and that is unfortunately spreading through Ontario. The bulk of the spread in Ontario has been limited to more populated areas that are also adjacent to the Great Lakes, say around Toronto. However, the spread of those invasive species is increasing and the government is trying their best to keep them out of our pristine waterways up here in the north.
The first rule change is very simple, and for those of you who travel through Minnesota you will be familiar with it. You must now remove the plug from your boat hull and livewells when travelling across land with your boat. The plug will need to be left out of the boat until you are ready to launch at your next location, with the only exception being that you are allowed to keep water on board in one vessel (livewell, bait bucket, etc.) to keep live baitfish alive.
The second change is a little more complicated. In an attempt to monitor and police the movement of baitfish across the province (for example: bringing bait from the invaded lakes in the southern portion of the province north up here) the province has been divided into various baitfish zones. Baitfish can be moved between these zones if you are headed from our clean northern water south, but it is now illegal to transport the bait from the south to the north. To police this it is now mandatory that if your primary address isn't within the borders of the baitfish zone that you are fishing, then you must keep the receipt from purchasing bait on your person at all times and be able to produce it for an officer if you are checked on or off the water. For folks crossing in Pigeon River who stop to get bait along the way, both Thunder Bay and Kakabeka Falls are within our baitfish zone and it is legal to bring that bait with you as long as you keep and bring a receipt. Same goes for anyone crossing in International falls, you are still within our zone and bringing bait acquired along the drive is still legal. For our own purposes, we are now required to give every group a baitfish card that you will have to bring with you when you come to get bait, and that we will tally your bait on. This will act as your receipt. We have spoke to officers from the MNR and this is their recommendation to keep things as easy as possible for both guests and outfitters alike, and so we don't have to provide a new receipt with every bait purchase. You will only need one card per group if the group is expecting to fish relatively closely together. If you are completely splitting up it might be best to get one card per boat. You will have to remember to keep the card on you while you are on the lake.
Lastly, and this has been the law for a while but it does not hurt to have refresher:
It is illegal to (or attempt to) deposit or release into, or within 30 metres of, any waters:
- live or dead bait or baitfish, including fish eggs, gametes or fish parts
- the water, soil or other materials used to hold any of these items
Essentially, don't dump your bait buckets or worm bedding (even devoid of worms) within 100' of any lake's edge.
Okay, now onto the more interesting stuff! Until this week the weather has been great. We have had a few hot days or short periods of intense heat, but it never seemed to last too long. Whenever we got any rain it was mostly during the night or it wouldn't last very long during the day, and the average temps were 70-85. That was until this week however, where we started off the week dipping down into the 50's! Now the days have warmed up and when the sun is out it is actually quite hot, but it has rained almost every day this week. Hopefully it breaks tomorrow and folks will have a nice day and a half to round out their week. The mosquitos are still bad but have definitely improved since a few weeks ago. We are really hoping all of this new water doesn't spark another hatch.
The fishing has been really, really good! I have been hearing weekly from groups old and new alike that this is some of the best fishing they have ever seen either on Press, or in a lot of cases in their life. The walleye were slow getting to the humps, likely from a late and aggressive may fly hatch a couple of weeks ago. Since then, they have been moving onto the various humps and are being caught out around Red Rock and on the reefs on the big water too. 7 Pine Island and Gull Rock have been producing well, as I'm sure are most of the other reefs out there.
We have been receiving a lot of fish pictures lately, so a big THANK YOU to everyone who has been taking the time to send them in! Below are some pics from the Oswald crew:
Here are some from the Stauffer group:
From the Western group:
And lastly a picture from Garret Pratt from 2021:
Well I think that is all for now!
June 24, 2022 – We Have the Fish House Back!
Well, as the title suggests the water level has been dropping quite a bit and as of this week we are back in the fish cleaning house. The water is still very high for this time of year but it is getting a lot closer to normal and it is nice to have our building back. Currently docks 1-3 have power restored and I will be working on the rest this weekend through early next week. Unfortunately most of the receptacles ended up under water so I am assessing and repairing any damage. It is advisable to bring an extra extension cord if you are coming over the next week or two, just in case it needs to be run from the cabin or across from docks 1-3.
The weather has been a little all over the place the last couple of weeks, but for the most part has been very good, although hot. Temps are still dipping into the 60's at night usually, cooling the cabins down a bit for sleeping. Day temps however, have been reaching 80-90 degrees, with one day this week peaking at over 100. We could do with a little cooler temps during the day but we have been having the odd day of overcast giving a bit of a break from the sun. There has been enough rain to keep the bush wet but not enough to be a nuisance, and we have had a fair amount of wind with a couple of fast but intense storms. Fortunately for us, we weren't hit at camp nearly as hard the surrounding area. The couple of rain storms we have had paired with the high water this spring has unfortunately been the perfect storm for mosquitos. I definitely recommend bringing lots of bug spray and a Thermacell as they have gotten absolutely awful over the last two weeks.
And now for the part you have all been waiting for, the fishing report! So far we have been hearing nothing but great things about the fishing, I have even heard from several groups that this year is the best fishing they have ever had! We are seeing really good numbers of fish, and since Covid we have seen a big increase in the average size of the fish being caught. It seems the walleye are averaging 16-17", with lots being caught over 20". Despite the high water the walleye are being found in their usual spots. They have mostly moved out of the smaller rivers like Wintering Creek, but are still very active in the current of the bigger rivers in areas like the Rock Gardens and down by the old bridge. Wind blown shores and points are also producing well. I haven't heard much about folks fishing on the reefs and haven't gotten out lately to try myself, but I think it shouldn't be too long before they are being caught on those as well. We have had a few groups go into Hut and have all done well and have reported that it is nice and easy getting up there with the current water levels. Here are the fish pics we have received so far this season:
A big thanks to Jesse Virlee and Mike Houser for sending us these pics. If you get any good fish pics while you are up please do not hesitate to pass them along so we can share them.
We have had some confusion about vacation dates this year. Last year our season opened on the earliest possible day, May 15. This means that our opener this year jumped way back to the latest possible day, the 21st of May. Going forward the opener will be one day earlier per year until it hits the 15th, and then it will jump back later again. This is explained by 365 days a year not being evenly divisible by 7 days a week, so dates will shift a little each year. We have had a few groups not realize this, thinking their dates are a week earlier than they actually are, as their correct dates are around a week later then normal. If you have any questions or uncertainties about your dates please reach out to us to confirm them so you don't plan to come the wrong week.
Lastly, we have been receiving lots of questions about our address for filling out the ArriveCAN app as guests prepare to cross the border. Please use the following address when filling out the information:
2054 Valora Rd
We don't really have a real address out here but we have the one listed above on some various paperwork so that is what we use for our purposes, and it is accepted by ArriveCAN. You can also use our camp for your emergency quarantine location.
Well I think that is all for now, it has been great being back to "normal" and being able to see everyone again! We're looking forward to the rest of the summer.
May 28, 2022 – The Water Is High And The Fish Are Biting
Well it has been a busy week with us getting into camp a little late, and having to deal with the high water. Despite all of that however, things have been running smoothly and the fish have been biting! It feels great to be back to "normal" and to be able to see everyone again. Reports from the opening week guests (and a little scouting of our own) has revealed the walleye are all spawned out despite having a late spring. Some fish are still being caught in the rivers, but most have moved out, and can be found near the river mouths or along wind swept rocky shores. The Narrows have also been productive. 8' - 12' of water seems to be working well, and since the fish are hungry from spawning the choice of bait doesn't seem to matter too much.
It was my 30th birthday on opening weekend this year, and as our first groups of the year know, I always have a bunch of friends up for a weekend of fun and fishing. Here are a few photos from our couple days on the lake:
The water level is finally starting to slowly drop but it will be a few weeks before we get our fish cleaning house and shed back. In the meantime we have a temporary fish cleaning station set up in the front yard with picnic tables. We do not have power to the posts by the docks yet, as they are still under water. It will likely be a few weeks before that is restored as well. The weather was beautiful all week with cool mornings giving way to warm sunny days often reaching 70-80 degrees. This week is calling for a bit more rain and one thunderstorm. Here's to hoping we don't get much more rain!
We no longer have water running over the road, and everyone has been raving about how good it looks with all of the brush pushed back from our plowing into camp this year. Everyone has also been pleasantly surprised with the condition of the road itself, which is another great sign. We drive the road so much and tend to get used to it, that we get a little blinded to how smooth or rough it actually is. It's been nice to be having feedback from guests again, and even nicer that it has all been positive!
The docks are starting to show their age and some have a little damage from the ice pushing into shore this spring, but are all held together and functioning. I am hoping to be able to get to them a little bit this week and get them repaired properly, as well as install handles on them to aid in getting in and out of boats. The docks for the campground are sadly in really rough shape so it is kind of a first come first served and use at your own risk basis. Once we recover from Covid a little, and the price of lumber isn't so outrageous, I plan on building a couple more new docks. The plan is to replace some of the cabin docks and then move the old cabin docks into the campground area to replace the old tired ones there. Those are our first generation of docks and have served us well for over 20 years!
So far everyone has said that their border crossing experience has been friendly and easy. We have only had one vehicle of guests randomly screened, and the rest crossed smoothly with their proof of vaccination and completed ArriveCAN. As mentioned in previous posts you can no longer bring baitfish across the border, and to that list they have decided to add eggs, chicken, and chicken products such as dog food. If you need any of those items it is best to plan on getting them once you have crossed the border.
We now have Starlink internet up and running at camp, and our internet service has improved significantly! It is currently still only available near the lodge but we are hoping to be able to extend that range to the cabins. Now that we have reliable internet, and there isn't much demand for our phone, we are adjusting office hours to:
Friday - Saturday: 6:30 AM to 9:30 PM
Sunday - Thursday: 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM
We are keeping our usual office hours for Friday and Saturday to accommodate guests paying their bills Friday, and those arriving late on Saturday. The Wi-Fi will still be available 24 hours a day, and in the event of an emergency we will still be around, but we just ask that if you think you will need bait or fuel in the evening that you get it before 6:00. We would like to be able to sneak away for the odd evening of fishing too!
Well I think that is all! I hope that is a good update and I will try to keep them coming to keep everyone in the loop about water levels and how the fishing has been.
May 9, 2022 – The Snow Is Melting, Things Are Wet, And We’re Into Camp!
Well, after 4 days of having a massive loader on the road with a plow on it, we have gotten the road into camp open and brushed waaaay back. In the deepest spots the snow was still 2-2.5' deep, and in the sunny spots the road was melted right down to the gravel. Plowing the snow was a relatively easy and quick job for the machine and could have been done in a day, but since we have it up there we have had our operator take a few days and really push back the Alders along the shoulders of the road. It has been a long few days for him spending more time sideways on the road then actually travelling down it, but the line of sight and ability to pass an oncoming vehicle has improved considerably. This is actually the first year I can remember where I haven't had to fire up a chainsaw to get in, the loader was more than capable of handling any downed trees and brush sticking out on the road.
The weather has warmed up significantly lately and has caused the snow to melt very quickly. This paired with the rain we have been getting, and are forecasted to get, has a lot of North Western Ontario flooding. So far highway 105 (which goes north to Red Lake) washed out completely removing a pretty large chunk of the pavement, as did our Highway 599, fortunately north of us; just before Pickle Lake. There is a lot of water currently running over our road into camp, but fortunately it is such an old road and packed so hard that it isn't washing out anywhere. There are a couple spots with as much as 18-24" of water on or running across the road, but it is still solid underneath and drivable. We do have some more rain in the forecast, but we are hopeful to see the road dry up over the next couple weeks. Another plus is that we got a fair bit of snow before we got any real cold last fall and it doesn't seem like there is too much frost in the ground. As a result the road hasn't gotten too muddy despite all of the water. Of course there are a handful of spots we have rutted up with the loader and the truck, but so far the road doesn't look like it should be too rough. Not any worse than normal anyway, haha!
Everything at camp looks to be in good order! It's always a very pleasant surprise to do the first inspection and not find any damage or unfortunate surprises, such as a bear in my bed! The ice is also starting to pull away from shore and the bay in front of camp is opening up nicely. I don't think we should have any issues with ice by opening day.
Well, I think that is it for now. We will be moving up to camp this week to really dig in and start getting ready for our first guests arriving late next week. I'll try to post some more updates and photos before opener and will have a fishing report sometime after opening day!
April 13, 2022 – The Winter That Won’t End And Some New Orleans Pictures, Finally!
Current vacancies for the 2022 season:
May 28 – June 4 – 3 Cabins available
August 27 – September 3 – 1 Cabins available
September 10 – October – Scattered openings every week
Well, I guess Mother Nature is getting caught up for the drought last summer. We are in the middle of April and still have about 30" of snow in the bush and still have close to 36" of ice on the lakes. And to top it all off, we are forecasted to be hit by a massive blizzard that could be another 12-18" of snow before the weekend. We have been seeing warm days where the snow has begun to melt, but most nights it is back down to 20-25 degrees F and everything refreezes. We are hopeful that by next week we will start seeing it go fast, but until then there isn't a whole lot we can do besides enjoy the late ice fishing season and wait until it is all over. We do have a plow lined up to get us into camp late next week or early the week after as a contingency plan in case things aren't melting, and fear not I'm sure the lake will be open in time for the season opener on the 21st of May.
As I mentioned above, we have been out doing a bit of ice fishing. Walleye season closes on April 15th, and this time of year they tend to concentrate near the mouths of the rivers they spawn in and feed quite actively before dark. With the days getting longer we enjoy getting out for lake trout in the morning and then either switching spots or lakes and fishing for walleye in the evening. Of course I'm not great at remembering to take pictures but here is a shot of some walleye Lindsay, myself and one of our friends caught last week.
I think we are all done chasing walleye until May as we have a bunch of family coming for Easter and we will be getting ready for that, but I do hope to get out for trout once or twice more next week before the ice starts to go.
I'm a little late I know, but here are some pictures of our trip to New Orleans. Of course we did an airboat tour, which was Lindsay's first time being on one so we had lots of fun! We were fortunate enough that my Aunt Kristen was able to join us from Atlanta for the last few days of the trip as well, which was awesome as we don't get to see her nearly as much as we would like to. She even came down in time to make it out fishing with us on the Gulph.
We were there over Mardis Gras which as you would expect was both crazy busy, and an absolute blast. We spent a little too much time enjoying the sights and parades ourselves though, and didn't take too many pictures. Mom has always loved parades so she really enjoyed going down and catching one or two of the parades daily. The highlight of the trip for me (and I'm pretty sure everyone else too) was of course getting out fishing. I have read about how great the Red Drum fishing is off of Louisiana, and boy it did not disappoint! We hired Captain Ed from St. Bernard Fishing Charters (who I can't recommend enough) for a day on the gulf, and the 4 of us caught A LOT of fish. We were mainly targeting bull reds and sheepshead and we must have caught at least 20 reds close to or pushing 20 lbs. and easily another 25-30 sheepshead. We all had a great time and cooked up a really nice meal when we got home!
All in all we had a really great trip together, and after 2 years of Covid it was nice to be able to get away from home and explore the world a bit. I hope everyone has a great Easter, we are looking forward to spending it with my mom and Lindsay's family. We are even cooking up a Louisiana style shrimp boil with seasonings we brought back north with us, alongside some of the red fish we brought home as well!
March 21, 2022 – Current Vacancies, Border Changes, and What We Have Been Up to!
Current vacancies for the 2022 season:
May 28 - June 4 - 4 Cabins available
August 13 - 20 - 1 Cabin available
August 27 - September 3 - 2 Cabins available
September 10 - October - Scattered openings every week
Now that it looks like things are beginning to return to normal and we are expecting to have a regular season, I will be starting these posts with our current vacancies and will be sure to keep them up to date if any cabins book up. If you are interested in any of our openings, please don't hesitate to give us a call or email.
As of April 1st you will no longer be required to have a negative Covid test to enter Canada, BUT you do still need to be vaccinated and have proof of that. So far we haven't heard anything about the ArriveCAN app, but to our knowledge it is still being used so make sure to fill your information in there within 72 hours of crossing the border. You can add multiple travelers to one entry so not everyone in the group will have to do it, but you will need their passport information. If you have a bigger group I would recommend splitting up by vehicle and not do the entire group just to make the crossing a little easier. So far we haven't heard anything about the proof of vaccination being lifted to enter Canada, and personally I don't see that happening for a while, but who knows.
We have updated our prices for 2022. The new prices can be seen here https://www.presslake.on.ca/rates/ We didn't increase anything significantly, just a little bit to keep up with inflation and to help us recover from the last two seasons. Weekly rates for the cabins increased by $10.00, same with weekly boat and motor rentals, and nightly camping rates increased by $2.00. Gas prices will essentially be market price as each delivery we get is different. We have very slim profit margins on gas (~ $0.05/L or $0.18/gallon) to try to help keep the price of it down as we know how expensive it is after having it trucked into us, especially when comparing it to U.S. prices. You guys have it good down there when it comes time to fill up, trust me!
Well I think that is all of the house keeping stuff! The last 5 weeks or so have been pretty busy for us. I went on my ice fishing trip that I wrote about in my last post, coming home with about 36 hours before we left for Winnipeg to fly to New Orleans for 2 weeks. We had a wonderful time and I will write more about that in the next couple days when I round up some pictures I can post as well. While we were down there Lindsay's Grandma who had been in poor health for the last couple of years, took a turn for the worse. When we returned home from our trip Lindsay stayed in Dryden to visit on our drive home, while I brought Mom back to Ignace and returned to Dryden the next morning. We spent the week with Lindsay's family and Grandma in the hospital and the following weekend she unfortunately passed. Of course it has been difficult, but we are thankful to have been able to get home and see her. The funeral was held last week and I got home on Wednesday after being gone for nearly a month, and Lindsay just got home on Saturday.
Naturally things have been a little chaotic, but we are home and getting back into routine a bit and I just wanted to get our vacancies up with a quick update. As promised above I will write about our vacation and share some photos sometime this week!