Press Lake Camp
Fishing and Hunting Camp

January 7, 2024 – Happy New Year!

Posted on January 7, 2024

Happy New Year, everyone!

Well since my last hunting journal update (more to come this week), we spent the last week of deer season down at our cabin, came home in time to have a few family dinners and Christmas in Dryden, and then back home for a few short days before Lindsay, Cedar, and I headed into Press for New Year’s Eve! We have had an extremely busy, but fun filled fall and holiday season with very brief stops at home before heading off again. We are back home for a while now that the holidays are over and it has given us a chance to slow down a bit, unpack, and start to get ready for some serious ice fishing. We don’t have nearly as much travel planned for this winter as we did last year, and are looking forward to a winter with a little more time at home to adventure in our own backyard.

The end of deer season was a little slow as we had unseasonably warm weather through December. The last week of the season (closing December 15th) saw temperatures rarely dipping below freezing and virtually no snow. We were getting lots of pictures of deer but almost exclusively at night as they became very nocturnal in the warm weather. The warm weather did make for more comfortable sits in the tree stand then we are used to in December, however. We were hopeful to get one more deer for the freezer, but with only buck tags it made for a tough hunt until the last day of the season when a little broken spiker came out to Lindsay’s bait pile and she was able to close out our season on a high note!

The availability of natural food sources for the deer was a lot higher this winter making them much less dependent on bait in December than they usually are. Of course this contributed to the more difficult hunting, but should be beneficial to the deer herd with such abundant food reserves and easier and warmer conditions. I don’t mind a tough season of hunting every now and then if it helps out the herd health.

Coming home from the cabin marked the end of the 2023 hunting season for us and left us with about a week before Christmas to finish holiday preparations and to start to settle back into the house. We had a wonderful Christmas with Lindsay’s family in Dryden and then again with Mom here in Ignace. The weather remained incredibly warm right through December with virtually no snow fall. In fact on on our drive to Dryden on Christmas Eve, it was about 40 degrees and raining. After Christmas we saw more rain and some colder temperatures which froze the rain water over night leaving virtually all of North Western Ontario covered in very slippery ice. It was dangerous even trying to walk outside for a few days between Christmas and New Years, but fortunately has gotten a lot better.

Since we still didn’t have very much snow and the slippery ice was mostly covered, travel became much easier, so we decided to drive into camp for New Years. Lindsay, Cedar, and I drove up on New Years Eve and spent a very peaceful two nights out at camp. We didn’t bring any fishing equipment, but just went up to check things out and to spend some quiet time together after the busy hunting and holiday season, and it was a really nice and quiet trip! This marks the first time in Press Lake Camp’s history that we could drive into camp in December/January in a truck without the aid of a plow. We drove up for one Christmas up there when I was really young, but even that trip required us plowing the road open. This has been one of the strangest winters I have seen in my life.

The few times we have spent time at camp in the winter we have learned it is much easier to stay in and heat a cabin, rather than the main lodge, so we spent this trip in Cabin 2. Pictured below are some nice venison chops and potatoes we made for New Year’s Eve dinner, and some pics of camp and the drive in. It sure is beautiful up there in the winter!

The weather still hasn’t changed too much in the new year. Temps are getting colder with highs in the teens and lows around zero overnight. Yesterday marked the first real snowfall we have had and I would say we have maybe 6″ of light fluffy snow at the most. Despite the warm weather the ice conditions are really good, as we were seeing cold enough temperatures at night to make ice as there hasn’t been any snow on top to insulate it. We are actually yet to get out fishing (will be changing that here very soon) but have heard anywhere from 9-12″ of good solid ice depending on the lake. I believe we will still be able to get into camp despite the fresh dusting of snow we received, so we are hoping to make at least one more trip up there before we get more. This time we will be bringing the fishing gear and snowmachine to see if we can find some walleye. Our plan is to do a little fishing around Ignace in the next couple of days, and then plan another trip up north for a few nights.

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and we wish you all the best for 2024! We are looking forward to seeing everyone again this summer! Stay tuned for more hunting journal updates from this fall and an ice fishing report once we get out on the hard water.