Vacancies & Information
October 8, 2020
I would like to start off by apologizing for taking well over a month to get another post up, but hunting season has started up and we have been pretty busy. Duck season opened on September 10th, and grouse on September 15th, so we have been spending quite a bit of time out chasing birds. Cedar and I had a great opening day shoot for ducks, coming home with a nice limit including two wood ducks which are a rarity around here!
Since then we made it out a few more times, and even brought a couple of my friends from town out; all with great success. There seems to be a lot of birds around this year and there is definitely a very thick crop of wild rice.
The grouse hunting has been really good as well, and most outings have produced limits. Lindsay, Cedar, and I have been enjoying some early morning drives chasing them around and doing some scouting for the upcoming rifle season for moose. Two more friends, whom I moose hunt with, were up over the weekend so we could do just that. While out we managed to get our 4-person limit of 20 birds, and found a nice moose shed! It has been a lot of fun and is really getting us all fired up for moose season in less than two weeks.
Archery season is currently open for moose right now and we have two groups in camp who have been out hunting hard. There was a surplus of cow archery tags in our area this year so there are lots of those in camp, but only one bull tag. The group with the bull tag managed to fill it this week, but so far there hasn’t been any success on the cows (I didn’t get a pic of the moose but will hopefully get one from the group and include it in a future post). Cow hunting for archery is very difficult of course since they don’t like to come to a call like a bull will, which is part of the reason there are so many tags available. The archery groups will all be gone this weekend, and our three groups of rifle hunters will be arriving throughout next week to prepare for opening day. The moose are rutting and moving quite a bit right now, so hopefully they see some more success in their last couple days!
Fishing traffic has slowed as myself and our groups of guests are all focused on hunting, but lots of fish are being caught when sought after. It’s pretty typical fall fishing, the water temps are dropping and the walleye are still on the reefs but are beginning to work back up them into the shallower water on top. The smallmouth are really congregating on some of the reefs as well, especially around 7 Pine Island. I really love smallmouth fishing this time of year as it is pretty easy to catch some really nice fish and they put up such a fight.
I had a bunch of friends up over the long weekend in September and 10 of us managed to come back with our limit of walleye. We had a ton of fun and a great fry, plus everyone got to bring some home as well!
The weather has actually been pretty nice so far this fall. We had an early cold snap and a couple heavy frosts in early September, but since it hasn’t hardly dipped below freezing, even at night. Most nights the temps are getting down into the mid 40’s, and they are warming back up to the low 60’s during the day. It has been relatively cloudy with intermittent rain, but nothing serious that would ruin an entire day of hunting or fishing. I’m hoping this warmer weather lasts until we get closed up so we don’t have to worry about any frozen pipes before closing, fingers crossed.
In other news, we celebrated Mom’s 70th birthday this year by inviting a bunch of friends out to camp and doing a big pig roast! It was a really great time with too much food and drinks, just the way a birthday should be! Thanks to everyone who made the journey into camp to celebrate with us, Mom really had a lot of fun and appreciated it. As usual I’m bad at getting photos, but have a couple pictures of the guest of honour opening up some presents.
I think that’s all of the news for now, I’ll try to get another post or two up before we move home for the winter and let everyone know how the rifle hunt goes.
We hope everyone is staying healthy and safe,
August 26, 2020
I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy. Camp has been slow, which is to be expected during these times, but we have managed to stay quite busy despite. Last week my Mom's family traveled up from Southern Ontario to spend a week with us relaxing and fishing. We had lots of campfires and spent a good chunk of the week on the water or exploring different beaches around the lake and swimming. We caught and ate lots of fish, and everyone had a great time. It was an absolute pleasure getting the kids on a few fish and watching them have so much fun running around camp and using the paddle boat and kayaks.
Here are a few pics from throughout the week:
In other news, the border closure has been extended until September 21, and at this rate I can't imagine that it will open at all this season. We are just remaining hopeful that everything will return to normal over the winter months, and come next spring we can open back up as normal. Or whatever our new "normal" will look like after Covid. Despite not seeing 99% of our guests this year, we have had a few groups of Canadians come down this summer to do some fishing and to support local business. It has been a big help and we are very grateful to everyone who decided to spend a little bit more money to go fishing than they normally would, and to support local business! We are also very fortunate that we have a handful of groups of moose hunters coming in, which will be a nice way to round out the season and help us be prepared to open back up next year.
The weather is beginning to feel like fall. When the sun comes out we are still getting sunburns and hot temperatures, but the temps are dropping a lot at night, and the days are beginning to get shorter. We have had a very dry summer this year and the lake level is low, so we are hoping for a little rain over the fall to help bring it back up before winter. We have had a few inches over the past couple weeks and would like to see that trend continue, as long as it isn't too much to ruin going outside!
The fishing has been very good all summer, and that has continued into the fall. The walleye are found in the deeper water, roughly 20+ feet, and on the sides of reefs when actively feeding. I would pretty much describe the fishing as typical for this time of year. Numbers are still really good, and we are catching the occasional bigger walleye out of the deeper water.
Otherwise not a whole lot is new up here. We are beginning to get ready for hunting season as ducks opens on September 10, and grouse and rabbits (hare technically) on the 15. I am fortunate enough to have a moose tag this year, and after our group didn't having one last year, we are pretty excited. Lindsay and I both have bear tags we plan to fill as well, and both have deer tags to spend down at the cabin once we close up shop this year. It's looking like it's going to be a bountiful fall and we are going to fill the freezers up, I can't wait!
July 21, 2020
Let me start off by apologizing for my absence, despite not having many customers around this summer we have been keeping remarkably busy. As awful as the current state of the world is, it's a sort of once in a lifetime opportunity for us to be able to get caught up on a lot of maintenance. So far we have painted the ceilings in cabins 5 and 6, replaced the floor in the fish house, and have been renovating the lodge to be a more workable space. Before having built the new shop we had to store a lot of stuff that didn't fit in the old shed in the house with us. This meant general disorganization and that our clothing inventory was actually stored across 3 different rooms and was a nightmare to sort through looking for a specific item. We have since moved all of the cleaning supplies out into the shop and completely outfitted that room to hang and organize all of the clothing. We have also gutted and built shelves in a small room in the back of the lodge that was solely used to house a heap of stuff we never used (you couldn't even walk in there it was so crowded) and now Mom has a nice space to store all of the bedding. This should make us a lot more efficient and make our jobs a lot easier on Fridays and Saturdays.
Oh, and I almost forgot. We have also had a local contractor, Roger from Wintering Getaway, down doing some work on cabin 1 for us. We have not only gotten rid of that old terrible shower, but built a whole new bathroom on the back of the cabin and opened up the kitchen to make room for a pantry. We also updated the flooring throughout. We are waiting for the last of the materials which are on back order, but here are a few pics:
We hope to be able to do this to cabins 2-4 in the years to come as well. It really opens up the cabin.
All of this downtime has also given me the opportunity to spend a bit of time at my deer hunting cabin, fixing it up. The cabin has a good foundation being on bedrock, and all of the logs are solid, but it has sat relatively unused for a number of years and needs some TLC. We have gone down for 3 2 night trips this summer and have been able to seal all the gaps between the logs and have stripped the exterior of water damage and mildew and have it prepped and ready for stain.
Some of the logs had some gaps from the cabin settling out over the years and them not having been chinked. Most didn't require any work, some were small and required some, and others were pretty large. Lindsay and I were able to pull out the existing insulation between the logs to clear the gaps and sealed them with spray foam. We will likely go back and chink the gaps that we had to seal after we stain as well. To clean the exterior of the cabin we used 7 gallons of Sansin Wood Cleaner and 191 gallons of water, brought in by ATV in jugs. It was a lot of work not having water and power as we had to use two deck sprayers and two scrub brushes to apply, scrub, and rinse the walls; but they turned out great!
Here are a couple of the older pictures I have already posted for reference, and the new clean walls:
The weather has mainly been hot and dry. And I do mean hot, we had probably two weeks that averaged over 90 F. Fortunately we have gotten a little bit of rain recently and it has cooled off a bit, it's a very welcomed change for working around the yard. The fishing has remained very steady despite the hot weather though. Two weeks ago we actually had a full camp, as our regularly scheduled Canadian clients were here, in addition to a couple of new groups that came down for a long weekend. Everyone had a successful week fishing and we saw a few entries on the fish board. Nothing massive but a lot of nice 20-22" walleye, and one very large 21" bass!
Last weekend we were quiet so I had a bunch of friends up to celebrate Lindsay's birthday. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. It was very hot and we had a blast playing yard games and got out for a pretty good days fishing. Especially since we weren't working too hard for the fish and spent a good while swimming around the boats. Everyone had a blast and we had an awesome fish fry. Of course I'm terrible at remembering to take a picture of the fish before I start cleaning them, but here is the group that I had in my boat.
As far as the border closure goes, I'm sure everyone knows by now that it will be closed until August 21 at the earliest. To be completely honest, and this is just my personal opinion, I would be surprised to see it open at all this summer. We are remaining hopeful, but I don't see the border being opened on our end until there is a large scale drop in cases in the US. Hopefully this mess is over soon.
Well that was a bit of a long winded post, but I think it is a pretty thorough recap of everything we have been up to since my last post. I'm going to try to get some more pictures of fish up on here and on our social media pages as I have had a few requests and have certainly been slacking. I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy!
June 16, 2020 – Border Closure Likely To Be Extended Again
As the title suggests, it seems as though the travel ban is going to be extended another 30 days until July 21. This has not been confirmed yet and no agreements have been signed, but Trudeau stated in a press release yesterday there is a "general consensus" among himself and our premiers to extend the border closure. Once I know for certain that this is the case, I will be contacting all effected guests. Hopefully this will be the last extension and we will be able to get back to business as usual come July.
It is a huge bummer so many people are missing their family vacations this summer and we really do miss seeing everyone. The entire tourism industry and so many other small businesses are feeling the effects of not having the economic support of your travel. We do want to say thank you to everyone who despite not being able to make it this year are keeping their reservations for 2021. It is a wonderful light at the end of the tunnel knowing that despite losing so much revenue this year we will be able to pick up like normal come 2021.
We are starting to get ahead of the virus in Ontario, and are doing especially well up here in the North West. Our premier has actually adopted a regional reopening strategy that allows different regions to open the local economies at different paces, rather than making decisions for the entire province as a whole. This is a welcome change as all of the cases in Ontario are centered around the Toronto area now. We are beginning to get back to life as normal up here and so far there haven't been any repercussions. I believe this is why the government is opting to keep the borders closed for now. We are beginning to pull ahead and I would hate to see a second wave come through shortly after reopening and seeing all these businesses, ourselves included, have to shut back down and go back into quarantine. Hopefully nothing like that happens and this is the last border closure extension, and we can get back to business as usual come July.
In this down time we have been able to get quite a bit done around camp. It took much longer than expected because of all the initial cleaning and brush work involved, but I painted the ceilings in the kitchens and living areas in cabins 5 and 6. Man what a difference a coat of paint can make, everything looks much cleaner and the cabins are a lot brighter. just remember if you see any paint on the walls that was from the last person who painted years ago, not me - ha ha!
We also finally got the floor in the fish cleaning house fixed. The building has settled into the ground a little so the floor isn't as level as it used to be, but new plywood helped strengthen it back up and the new linoleum is a welcome change from the torn stuff last year. I'm horrible at remembering to take pictures and didn't get any before and afters of the ceilings, but here are a couple of the fish house.
We are also putting an addition on the back of cabin 1, the materials have arrived and work should begin this week. We are going to build a new bathroom on the back of the cabin and then gut out the current bathroom to open up the kitchen some more and add a little more storage. We will finally be rid of that terrible shower that everyone, including us, hates.
The weather has been sporadic. It has been pretty windy most days and some have been hot pushing 80-90 degrees, and then a couple days later it's back down to 50. There was actually about 8" of snow north of us last week! We didn't get any here but it was very cold and rainy and we almost had a frost. It has been very strange. I haven't been fishing a whole lot, but I did go out to Red Rock two nights ago, and Lindsay and I caught probably 40 walleye in 2 hours. There were a lot of little guys but we probably turned loose about 5 that were around 18" and i lost one at the boat well over 20". It was a blast!
Well I think that is all for now, as mentioned above once I get certain confirmation about the border I will be contacting any effected guests. We sure hope everyone is doing well in these strange times, stay healthy!
June 6, 2020 – Nonessential Ban Lifted For Tourism! We Will Open For Ontario Residents On Saturday, June 20!
It was announced two days ago that resorts would now be allowed to accept Canadian customers as of yesterday! This is another step in our province slowly reopening the economy, and is a great step forward. However, this news does not come without some newly required protocol, and of course a little confusion. It was also announced at the beginning of the month that Ontario would be extending it's state of emergency until the end of June, which is the reason for a lot of the protocol that will have to be followed.
I will be trying to decipher the regulations and determine what we will need to do over the next week, and will try to keep this up to date as I learn anything. For now this is what we know:
Currently we are allowed to provide cabin rentals to Canadian groups (only from Ontario) that all live within the same household. We are however not allowed to take any campers as publicly shared facilities such as our shower house have to remain closed, and we do not have power, sewer, and water hook ups. Beaches are allowed to be used, but social distancing practices must be followed and enforced. It seems most other publicly shared areas will have to remain closed (ie. our firepit, etc.) but I am looking to clarify this for sure. We will also have to put some new temporary rules in place as well, like only one cabin in the fish cleaning house at a time, etc. Sanitation and cleanliness will be a top priority for us, so we appreciate everyone's cooperation with following whatever rules we have to enforce, and in doing their part disinfecting things after their use.
It seems as though we will be able to offer boat and motor rentals still, but I will not be able to do any guiding. I am not sure about travel restrictions for people from separate households sharing vehicles on the way here and then sharing a boat once here. In the meantime I would think it's best to keep to your own household just to be certain and for simplicity. I believe we will be able to offer gas and minnow sales like normal, but will be asking guests to wait outside the minnow shed rather than coming inside. Same with the use of our main office. We will have to restrict guests to only coming in if they require something, and you will have to remain outside to use the internet. Only one group will be allowed in at a time.
We have decided to remain closed until Saturday June 20, to allow us enough time to understand all of these new rules and prepare accordingly. I am also in the middle of a number of small renovations and jobs in the cabins and will need the time to finish that up as well. As mentioned I will update this blog as we learn more, and all of the information about new policies will be available and in your cabin upon arrival.
It is possible we will see a lot of these restrictions lifted at the end of the month IF Ontario lifts the state of emergency. If it does not, it is possible we will have to enforce them longer. As for the border closure, it is still potentially opening on June 21. This does of course have the potential to be extended again. We hope it won't be extended, but with Ontario still being in a state of emergency until the end of June, I wouldn't be surprised if it was.
All in all this is a good step forward for not just us but for the whole tourism industry and the province as well. I believe reopening is going to be a slow procedure that will be complicated and have many steps, but at least we have begun that procedure.
In lighter news, things around camp are looking great! As mentioned i am trying to use this down time to fix up some small things in the cabins and to do a little painting and staining as well. We have a contractor that will be putting an addition on cabin 1 later this summer, building a newer bathroom off the back of the cabin and opening the current bathroom up to expand the kitchen. I wouldn't expect to see this finished until fall, but we do plan on doing this to all 4 of the smaller cabins over the next few years.
I haven't been out fishing as much as I thought I would be, but the walleye are biting well. It was a slow start as we had a late spring and an early opener. i believe the fish were still spawning way up the rivers on opening day, but were starting to work their way back out by the following weekend. The lake is still low for this time of year, but we have got some rain that has brought it up a bit, with more in the forecast. The weather has been a little unpredictable. We had a week or so of extremely hot weather that was followed by a real cold snap with a frost two nights in a row. Now things are back to normal and are warm when the sun is out and just a little cool when it isn't or its windy.
It is very strange being here for this long and not seeing you guys. We have been enjoying being able to use this downtime to do some much needed work around camp and to finish a few personal projects and jobs as well, but we are really looking forward to getting things back to normal.
I hope everyone is safe and well and we will hopefully start seeing you soon!
May 20, 2020 – **BORDER CLOSURE EXTENDED UNTIL JUNE 21**
It was announced yesterday that Ontario is keeping its borders closed for another 30 days, until June 21st. For those who's trips have been affected I will be reaching out to you today to inquire about next year and your deposit.
We are going to miss seeing everyone who is going to miss their trip this year. Hopefully this is for the best and we can get through this without a second wave and get back to business as usual.
A huge thank you to all of our clients, old and new, that are re-booking for next year. It is making this whole pandemic a lot easier on us knowing we are only losing revenue this year and not business for future years. You guys are what allow us to keep doing what we love!
Everyone stay safe and healthy!
May 15, 2020 – No New Concrete Info, But Some Insight
I'm currently writing this while looking at the lake over a bunch of cabins that are normally buzzing with guests getting ready for opening day. This morning there is no buzzing or activity whatsoever, and it is definitely a strange sight. This is the first time in our 32 years of business we won't be able to open for the opener. Admittedly there is a certain peace and serenity to seeing the place totally empty, but I would trade it in a heartbeat to see groups of anxious fisherman excited to get on the water.
We have been out at camp since last Friday, beginning our usual spring preparations. We had a cold and late spring this year so were later than normal getting in as there was still lots of snow on the road. Everything out here looks like it wintered really well though, and there isn't any damage which is very nice to see. The water levels are extremely low this spring, and most of our docks are completely out of the water. It seems every spring poses a new challenge to overcome, and we are hoping the water will come up over the next week or so to help us resolve this one.
The weather over the last week has been unseasonably cool and windy. Most days have felt more like October than May, with temps around 40-45 during the day and dipping well below freezing at night. The wind has seemed to blow out over the last couple days though, and there is sun and warmth on the horizon. It will be nice to not have to worry about leaving water running overnight anymore.
Now for the information you are here for:
We are still yet to receive any sort of timeline as to when we may be able to open back up, or when the border will be open. However, there have been a few changes and I'll detail them the best I can below.
Ontario's declaration of emergency has been extended until June 2. This means that there is a fire ban in place, crown land camping is prohibited, car pooling is prohibited, no gatherings of 5 or more people, or any organized events, etc. We are allowed to go out and fish (thank god!), but everyone in the boat must be from the same household, and enforcement has the right to check your id's and lay fines.
Ontario has begun allowing some businesses to open back up. You may have heard or read that golf courses, campgrounds, marinas, and some stores are now able to open. Although this sounds promising, all services offered by these businesses are severely modified and certain criteria need to be met in order to open. As of right now the only services campgrounds can offer is to allow "guests with seasonal contracts" access to their campers or vehicles. So until things progress further, we are still unable to open or provide any services. This is however a step in the right direction, and hopefully there will be no spike in Covid cases as a result, and we can keep rolling out the economy.
As for the border closure, the date is still tentatively set for May 21, but is expected to be extended another month until June 21. This decision has not been officially made, but Trudeau has publicly stated that our government is in communications with yours as well as Homeland Security, and that our interests are in extending the closure. It was also said that talks were "going well" for extending the closure, so I would expect that to become a reality. There is still a week for them to officially make a decision, and once I hear more I will be sure to get another post up on here. Some information on this can be found at the following link:
In the meantime, we aren't officially cancelling any weeks past opener, but an awful lot would need to happen in the next 7 days for us to be allowed to open. I would expect to see us closed for another month or so anyway, but nothing is certain. I will update the blog again early next week, hopefully with some more information, and will immediately begin contacting potentially effected guests then as well.
Stay safe and healthy everyone, hopefully this is all over soon.
April 19, 2020 – Borders are Officially Closed Until May 21
It was announced by our Prime Minister yesterday that both of our governments agreed that the border closure would be extended by at least another 30 days, until May 21. Non-essential business are still closed until further notice as well. This means that we will officially have to close for our opening week, with a very tentative opening date of May 23. We will of course need the closure on non-essential business to be lifted and the border to be open by that date in order for us to open. We remain hopeful that this could happen, but it is likely we will be delayed further.
I will of course keep everyone updated as we learn any new information and will be sure to contact groups if their weeks are effected. We are going to miss seeing everyone who will be unable to make their trip this year.
April 9, 2020 – Newest Covid-19 Info, Not a Lot to Report
Well we still haven't heard any new information regarding a possible opening date for the border. Canada, much like the US I'm sure, has mandated that all non essential businesses be closed as well. This included lodges from the initial report and has since expanded to campgrounds as well. So as of right now, even if the border were to be re-opened, we would not be able to take any guests. That being said, I imagine they will begin opening up businesses before allowing traffic through the border.
We receive almost daily information through various lobby and information groups that we are apart of, mainly Sunset Country and NOTO for those who have heard of them, but there is yet to be any news of when things may start opening back up. However, we plan to get into camp as soon as we can to begin preparations for opening weekend in case things turn around over the next 5 weeks. We remain hopeful that we will be able to open on time, but to be completely honest, it doesn't look good.
We haven't quite figured out how we will go about closing in the event we have to do so. As of right now I am thinking we will try to give a constant two weeks notice about how we plan to proceed. So we would be updating the website every two weeks announcing any new information and whether or not we will be closed for the following two weeks. We would of course try to reach out to any effected guests as well so they have a clear picture of what is happening to their vacation. Again, I'm only spit balling here as this is all new to us. I will firm up our plans closer to opener as we will hopefully have a clearer picture of how to proceed, and maybe some new information.
As mentioned in my last post, we will carry deposits over to 2021 for those who want to keep their cabin. If you wish to have your deposit refunded we can do that as well, forfeiting the cabin for 2021.
I have had some inquiries from our Canadian guests about their trips if the borders remain closed. As I mentioned above, we are officially not allowed to open regardless of the border situation, for the time being anyway. We are currently planning to proceed that if we do have to close, as a result of this non essential closure notice or the border still being closed, then we will be closed to everyone. If the non essential businesses are allowed to open before the borders do, then we will revisit this, but for the time being closed is closed. Again, I'm hoping we don't have to close at all, fingers crossed.
Well enough of the heavy stuff. The weather up here has been pretty warm during the day lately and dropping well below freezing at night still. The snow is quickly melting but there is still enough to run a snow machine on in the areas that were packed down and frozen from winter traffic. There is still a good couple of feet of ice on the lakes and we have been self isolating by doing lots of fishing. Unfortunately, the walleye have been a little difficult to locate this spring. Normally this time of year they can be caught in large quantities outside of any river mouth as they are staging to spawn. This year however, it seem things are a week or so late and the walleye are just starting to move into the shallows. This might make for a later spawn and good fishing opening weekend, of course its tough to say at this point.
We hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy. This virus is pretty crazy!
Vacancies – Updated March 21
Current vacancies for 2020:
July 18-25 - Cabin #3
We have cabins available the week of Aug 15 on until close
Email or call if you are interested in the weeks above. From September 1st on we will take any number of people for any number of days for $50 dollars per night per person.
The new camp email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
We are working at separating the camp from our personal lives and one step is giving Barbara a personal email address. From now on, Ryan will answer all business emails.
If anyone wants to talk to Barbara, her address is email@example.com.
March 21, 2020 – Covid-19 Update
First I want to start out by saying that I hope everyone is healthy and surviving all of this quarantine madness. We are not unaffected up here, even in Ignace. There are no cases of it in town, but there have been reports of some in Thunder Bay as well as Fort Frances. Lots of things are closed in town: the school, gym, government buildings, etc.
As of right now the border between Canada and the USA is closed. We have not received much information about it, or any timelines as to when it might be re-opened. Fortunately we have almost 2 full months before our first guests are scheduled to arrive, and we are hoping things will be back to normal by then. We are proceeding as normal and being hopeful the border and travel will be open again in time for opener. In the event it isn't, and we have to start cancelling into our season, we will offer two options for guests booked with us with deposits down. You can choose to either leave your deposit with us securing your spot for 2021, or we can refund the deposit forfeiting the cabin for 2021. We really hope it doesn't come to this, but I just want everyone to know we do have some thoughts on how to proceed if it does.
Speaking of deposits, just a friendly reminder if you haven't sent yours in yet to please do so. We are currently having the mail out printed and will be getting envelopes stuffed and hopefully in the mail this upcoming week. Hopefully all of these border delays don't interfere.
On a lighter note, the weather up here has been beautiful lately. During the day the temps have been rising close to 32 degrees F, while still dropping low at night to maintain the ice. We have been doing quite a bit of ice fishing for just about all of the species our area has to offer. We have been doing well on Lake Trout, Brook Trout around Ignace, and Crappie near Dryden; and are starting to put a push on for Walleye now that they are beginning to stage up to spawn. I am actually heading out this afternoon with hopes of returning with a couple of limits.
I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the nice weather despite all that is going on. I will be sure to keep this blog updated as I learn any new information.
February 22, 2020
So far it has proven to be a rather busy off season for us. After getting through the holiday madness, Mom, Lindsay, and I went to Mexico for 12 days. There we were joined by my Mom's brother, his wife, her sister, their daughters, husbands, and children for a week of our stay. We stayed at the Sandos Caracol Eco Resort and had an absolute blast. There are wild animals all over the resort, most of which have been rescued from captivity and can roam free on the resort after getting any necessary vet treatments. There was a lot to do right on the resort, including a full water park with a mess of water slides and pools; the kids had a blast!
One morning, after breakfast, Lindsay ran back to the room to grab some tums. When she entered the room she heard some stirring out on the balcony, where she found a monkey trying to steal one of my shoes I had left out to dry. After exchanging words with it through the glass he finally dropped my shoe and took off. I was very grateful as aside from sandals they were the only shoes I had brought with me!
Here a few photos from the trip, one of the monkey mentioned above, and a picture of Mom with a tree she planted:
Shortly after getting home from Mexico I hosted the 4th Annual Gerry Nicholas Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament which is a small fishing tournament I put together for friends and family where Dad always put his ice shack. This year my good friend Matt Kirkwood won with a 6 pound Lake Trout. The fishing was pretty slow, as it always seems to be the day of the tournament, but it was a lot of fun on the ice and at the party afterwards. Thanks to Rainer for bringing out his drone and getting some good pictures for us.
After the fishing tournament I picked up coaching our high school basketball team part way through the season. Due to major funding cuts the teachers are on work to rule and a rotating strike up here so the coach and my good friend Johann, had to step down per the strike agreement. I picked up the team with a few weeks of the season and three games left. We won one game by default as the other team couldn't make the trip down from conflicts with other sports. We lost one game to an undefeated team. And lastly lost a very tough fought battle to Rainy River, where the winning team went to playoffs and the losing team did not. The boys played their hearts out and despite out playing Rainy River, had a hard time getting the ball in the net. Either way it was a fun season and I'm really proud of all the hard work they put in.
Things are beginning to slow down now and we are getting to work on getting the calendars out. It seems over the last couple of years our "Christmas" mail out has become more of a spring mail out. Our apologies for the wait, but they should be coming in the near future. A big thanks to Jesse Virlee for this years picture!
The weather has been more than unpredictable this winter. One week it will be very cold, down to -40 C at night, and the next week its warm and above freezing. It made for very slushy lakes at the beginning of the winter, but thanks to the heating and cooling cycles the slush seemed to settle out and then freeze. The fishing has been a little spotty though. Lots of walleye and lake trout being caught, they just don't seem to be as aggressive as they normally are. Lots of misses and lots of fish lost halfway to the ice, as it is hard to hook a lazily biting fish. It is forecasted to be above freezing all weekend though, and I am planning on doing some serious fishing!
Just a friendly reminder to those who don't yet have their deposits in to please send them when you can.
Thanks for reading, and hopefully more updates soon!
December 23, 2019 – Merry Christmas!
I would like to start by saying sorry for the long hiatus. It was a busy fall closing up camp, and got even busier once we got home.
To go back since my last post, we had mixed results during our moose hunt this year. The three archery groups in camp all saw lots of animals but weren't able to close the distance and get a shot. The one animal that was in range and of the right sex was spooked by a vehicle coming in the road grouse hunting, very frustrating. The rifle hunters however, had better success. we only had two tags in camp this year as it is getting more difficult to draw a tag, but they were both filled on opening morning. Below is a pic of Scott Hallowell and his group with their cow.
We had an unseasonably warm fall which was a very pleasant change from the snow and cold we had last year. It made shutting down the camp a breeze and we were moved out of camp only a couple of days after our last hunters. Since then, we were having a very warm winter without much snow. That changed for about a week and the temps got very cold, down to -40 C some nights. It has since warmed up a bit though and we have gotten some more snow providing some very nice conditions for ice fishing.
The Norm creek bridge, the first bridge on the way in to camp, was replaced this fall. I went for a drive up after the work was done and it looks awesome. The work was paid for by a joint effort between Resolute Forest Products and the MNR. We have been told that there will be logging operations off of the Valora Rd in the near future, and seeing work done on the road is a good indication they will be following through with that. I will be sure to provide updates to everyone as we learn more. If they do start actively logging I would expect to see some maintenance and brushing work on the road performed by Resloute, but we will all be sharing the road with log trucks.
After getting home I did some travelling around to visit friends and do some deer hunting. It started with a trip to the Fort Frances area for a couple of days. I wasn't successful there but had a great visit with some friends I don't get to see enough, and they were able to take a couple of deer to bring back to Southern Ontario with them. After that I went to Michigan for a week and was able to shoot a nice doe. I saw lots of bucks and passed a pretty nice one opening morning, that of course ended up being the nicest buck I saw all trip. Not a problem at all though, I was very happy to take a doe and again do some visiting with friends.
Shortly after getting home from Michigan I closed a deal on a 80 acre deer hunting property with a small, rustic log cabin near Fort Frances. Our deer season closes on December 15, and I closed on the property about a week before that. I had time to make two trips down, the first cutting some firewood and putting out some bait, and the second to hunt. I didn't end up getting a deer there but after about a week of baiting I had at least 7 different deer and sign everywhere. Despite not getting a deer I was very happy to just spend some time on the property and was very happy with all the pics on the cameras. I am very excited about future hunts down there!
Mom is doing very well. She has been busy with her usual winter volunteering, which keeps her out trouble and my mind at ease - haha! She is looking forward to after Christmas as it has been a very busy month for her. We are both looking forward to January 5th as we will be going to Mexico for 12 days with friends and family. I will be sure to make a post with some pictures after the trip!
We would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who stayed with us this year and years prior. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and happy holidays!
September 17, 2019 – Strange weather and some spotty fishing
Well, as the title suggests, we have had some strange weather. The first two weeks of the month were cool with temps in the high 50's and mid 60's, lots of wind, and what seemed to be a never ending drizzle. The most rain we got in any 24 hour period was just over an inch, but we probably got 4-5 inches over the two weeks. Since the rain has stopped and the sun is back out, the temps have gone back up into the 80's! There is a little more rain and cool weather ahead though, according to the forecast anyway.
The fishing was a little difficult during the poor weather, which had a lot to do with the constant wind. It was very difficult to hold on any of the humps or to not be drifting too fast. The walleye are still on the humps but seem to be spotty. You can find an active reef and after a few fish they seem to spook out or aren't active anymore and you need to move on to the next school. That being said, good numbers and good size are still being produced, it is just taking a little more work. I haven't heard any consistent numbers regarding their depth, and haven't been out in a couple weeks myself to find out. The little intel I have heard is that they don't seem to be at one specific depth, making drifting the reefs the best option as you can fish the whole range.
Duck Season opened on the 10th so Cedar and I went out for her first hunt! After using the first couple opportunities to knock down birds as target practice, I dropped a lone mallard that cupped into the decoys. I sent Cedar out to retrieve it and after giving the bird a good sniff she continued to swim around looking for her duck dummy. I waded out into the water, grabbed the duck, and tossed it about 10 feet. Cedar immediately swam over and grabbed the duck and brought it back to shore. That was all it took for her to figure out duck hunting as I got two birds out of the next flock and she located and retrieved both of them!
On the second bird of the double, Cedar got tangled in a decoy on her way back to shore. She dropped the bird on shore as I untangled the decoy and waded out to throw it back into my spread. While we had our backs turned, the second duck she retrieved decided it was time to quit playing dead and flew off into the woods just as I was turning back around. He was totally limp playing dead the entire time she had him in her mouth, and at the first sight of opportunity he was out of there! I ended up getting one more bird so we came home with 3 nice ducks! It was a great hunt with my new partner!
Our new shop is finished and I have most of my tools and spare parts moved back in and put away. Just a little more cleaning to do in the pole barn and we will be all set. It is so nice finally having adequate storage and space to work on things, especially when it is raining!
I will try to get some more fishing info up if I hear anything, and I'm hoping to get out soon myself!
August 27, 2019 – Starting to feel like fall!
Well for the last couple of days the temperatures have dipped into the 50 to 60 range and the weather has been a rainy and windy. This was especially unfortunate for me yesterday as I had an appointment in Dryden to take my final motorcycle road test and had to drive there in the rain. We have a very complicated graduated licensing system in Ontario that means a written test, followed by another written test and a road test, and then a final road test. Well after having my license for 5 years I am finally done the last road test and have my full license. I rode over with a lady from town who also had her test, and fortunately the rain held off for most of the ride there and for our tests, but it did rain pretty good on the ride home. I have nothing but great things to say about Cabela's Guidewear rain suits, as that is what I wore over my leather and despite not having a windshield on the bike, was bone dry when we got home.
As for the fishing, the walleye are actively feeding on the reefs, but seem to be scattered. Occasional schools can be found feeding and large numbers are produced when they are, but it takes jumping from spot to spot quite a bit to find them. In the meantime it seems a couple walleye are caught at every location, and that is about it. I was at the Rapids at the north end of the lake last week and we were able to produce some really good numbers! Most were smaller in the 13-15" range but a number of 16-20" fish were also caught with a couple exceeding that. I also lost about a 24-25" right at the side of the boat. It was definitely a fun day.
The new shop beside the lodge is just about finished! All but the finishing work on the two rooms inside is complete, and I have been able to start moving my tools and spare parts back in and getting organized. Having room to work and lots of shelf space has been absolutely AMAZING! I am thrilled to have the new shop already, and it has only been a week or so. I haven't been great with progress pics so I will post some on here of the start to finish build.
If you need me, I'll be in my shop!
August 7, 2019 – The walleye are finally, and slowly, moving onto the reefs
It seems as though the walleye are finally starting to work their way out of the shallow weed edges and onto the reefs. They are still scattered on the reefs but can be marked in large numbers, with quite a few suspended in the deep water adjacent to the reefs, and some caught sporadically on top. It seems as though they aren't totally feeding in these locations yet, but should start soon.
I was fishing with some friends on Sunday and we found a couple of active schools and caught some pretty good numbers. We were fishing all of the humps around Red Rock. I was out again on Monday guiding some new guests and whenever we would pull up to a spot we would catch 3 or 4 walleye and then that would be it. Once the active ones were caught that spot was dead and onto the next. We managed to catch an alright number of fish with some decent size, the biggest being 19.5". On Monday we went all over the lake from Gull Rock down to 7-70, and seemed to mark and catch a few fish on every hump we stopped at.
The weather has been relatively cool thus far. We have had some really hot spells, but they don't normally last more than a day or two and it still cools off at night. It has made sleeping very nice! We haven't had a lot of rain, but it has been enough to keep the water levels normal. Getting through the narrows is easy, and I have not heard any news on getting into Hut in the last two weeks. I imagine it is still very manageable though.
The new workshop beside the lodge is really coming along! The roof is up with the tin on, and the doors and windows are all in. The guys expect to start siding the walls this week and then it is just a matter of finishing up the inside! To say the least I am very excited to have adequate storage and a place to work on rainy days. I haven't been taking as many progress pics as I should, but the carpenters have, so I will get some from them and get them up online for all to see.
July 11, 2019 – Smokey!
Well, the materials for our new shed have arrived, and my carpenters should be here to start the build on Monday. A little later than expected, but everything this far in the bush takes more time than one thinks. At least progress is being made and we can start building. I can't wait to have a functional work and storage space!
The weather has been pretty typical, the hot days pushing 85-90 degrees, but still cooling off nicely at night. We had some much needed rain over the last two days. Despite all the rain in the States, it has been pretty dry up here. So dry in fact there are number of forest fires north of Red Lake and in Manitoba and we have been getting quite a bit of the smoke drifting in to camp. Some morning its like a heavy fog and it's difficult to see across the lake.
Despite not seeing a lot of rain, the water level has been holding fairly well. I would say it is about average for this time of year, and the bit of rain we just got should help hold it for at least a little while. The fishing has been good, but spotty. When found schooled up, the walleye are being caught as quickly as you can get your bait in the water. However it can take a little work to find these big schools as they seem to be in non typical locations. I heard reports from this week of some groups doing exceptionally well in 9' of water still, when usually they would be a little deeper by now. It seems that the reefs are just starting to become active as well. I have fished some of the bigger ones over the last couple weeks and they are just starting to be found on the tops, another week or so and I think they will be producing some really nice numbers of fish.
Here are a couple pics I took from a little fishing I did with my trusted side kick earlier in the week:
As you can see, she sleeps on the job!
June 30, 2019 – Summer is definitely here!
Well as you can probably tell from the title, it has gotten hot. We had a little bit of rain at the beginning of last week but otherwise it is has been hot and sunny every day. Temps are consistently over 80 degrees and there has been little wind, despite it being a windy spring. The big plus side to the warm dry weather is the grass is finally starting to grow a little slower!
The fishing has been very steady despite hot calm days. The walleye are still in current either up or down stream in the English River, and are slowly starting to make their way onto structure. The Rock Gardens and the Rapids have been producing really good numbers of fish, and so has Frank's Hole, just passed the entrance to the English River heading south.
I haven't been out too much myself lately, but I have had very good luck this year on my typical set up, a 3/8 oz jig and a minnow. As for Northern, we have seen lots of numbers and some really nice size being produced on spoons and any array of artificial. The best tactics seem to be typical as well, I like to anchor and either jig or cast in the rivers and drift structure if the wind is in my favor.
We haven't received any monster walleye pics so if anyone has any and wants to forward them on I would appreciate it! In the meantime here is a pic of Brian Jacobsen with a 48" monster Northern caught last week!
We recently created an Instagram account for the camp, so if you have an account be sure to follow @presslakecamp and use the hashtags #presslake and #presslakecamp on your posts from your stay with us.
June 21, 2019
I would like to start off by saying thank you to everyone who has sent in pictures since my last update! I appreciate it, and I will be putting them up on the blog and on various Facebook posts to come.
The fishing is back to how it should be. Some days are still slower than others, but generally speaking we are back on track and seeing a lot of nice fish and stringers being caught. The hot spots seem to be about the same as my last post, in the current and off of wind blown points. I have tried fishing a few humps and haven't had too much luck yet, maybe in another week or so.
Tyler was visiting this week to give me a hand with a few jobs and to do a little fishing in the evenings. We shot the rapids at the old bridge and went up to Barrel Falls on Wednesday evening. The bite started out slow, but escalated quickly and we were able to bring home 8 very nice Walleye. Shortly after finding the fish, however, they seemed to stop biting for about 20 minutes. That lull was brought to an end when I caught this 28" monster:
It was a great trip and we had a lot of fun in the few short hours we were out!
The weather has been steadily improving. We haven't had much rain, but the water levels are still average or even a little high. The temperatures have been warming up almost daily and the constant wind seems to be slowing down; it's finally feeling like summer. The only problem with the warmer weather and lack of wind is it is bringing the black flies and mosquitoes out, I would recommend bringing bug spray and a thermacell for the evenings.
We have begun prepping the site for the new shed beside the lodge. In addition to the new pole barn we put up last year, we have demolished and moved our old shed and will be building a 40' by 40' shop that will include a living quarters for future staff. We have the site prep and excavation all completed and are waiting on materials to arrive which should be next week sometime. I am extremely excited to finally have an adequate space to work and store all of my tools and spare parts. It is also a nice relief to get rid of the old eye sore of a shed and get some of the clutter in the yard stored inside and out of sight.
Here are some progress pics of the site prep:
June 12, 2019 – The fishing has improved, the weather is trying.
Well it has definitely been an interesting spring. The fishing for the first two weeks of the season was tough. The fish were scattered and a lot of patience was required between bites. Fortunately the size of the walleye wasn't bad, not a lot of really big fish but quite a few around and just over 18". Northern fishing was the same, slow and not a lot of big ones. The only fish that seemed to be be really active were the small mouth, with quite a few being caught and some really nice ones. The biggest being 22"!
Over the last week and a half however, things have started to look up. Summer is starting to arrive and the water temps are warming up. We are finally seeing numbers in the 60's for surface temps, and the fish are starting to be found in their usual locations. Lots of nice stringers going into the fish house every night, and we had a very nice 40.5" northern caught yesterday! The active spots still seem to be fairly shallow wind blown points, and in the current. The English River both entering and exiting the lake have been performing well, and so have the rock gardens.
The weather has been unseasonably cold and windy. We haven't had a lot of rain, and most days have been pretty clear but the temps have been in the 60's and 70's most days. Over the weekend we had two very hot days in the 90's, and then right back to cool and breezy. It's good sleeping weather but I have seen lots of smoke coming out of the chimneys in the mornings.
I haven't received a single picture of fish from this season yet, so if anyone has any and would like to forward them along I would appreciate it!
May 24, 2019 – Recap of Opening Week
Well opening week has come and is almost gone, and produced some mixed results. I'll start with a recap of the weather and then talk about the fishing. The week started with a cold, clear, and windy opening weekend. Temps during the day didn't get much past 55 and at night were just below freezing. Water temps were anywhere from 45-50 degrees, and we were pushing probably 20-30 Mph winds. After the weekend the wind died down and the weather warmed up a little but not enough to really warm up the water, likely because of a lot of over cast. We had a couple days of rain later in the week as well. Looking forward it is supposed to clear up and warm up, this will hopefully warm the water up a little.
The fishing was very tough all week. I believe this is because of colder weather and water temps, and a late spawn. The walleye were scattered and there were long lags between bites. When found they could be caught by staying around where they were and being patient. Most fish were caught in Wintering Creek, The Narrows, or the English River towards the Old Bridge.
The bite was extremely light as well. They should become very active as the water warms up as they need to feed to recover from the spawn. I have been speaking to some friends and it's the same story all over the area, regardless of which lake. The water is just too damn cold!
Hopefully in the coming week the fishing will turn around!
**Our phone is currently down and we are waiting for a repairman to come out on Monday. If you need to reach us the best way is by email or Facebook. Sorry for the inconvenience.**
May 10, 2019 – A Message From Camp!
Well, we are officially living out at camp, minus a couple small things from home we are all moved in. I came in for the day on last Friday to find everything looking pretty good. For the first time ever I didn't have to cut any trees off the road to get in, some brushing needs to be done but compared to other springs it is minimal. The road is in pretty good shape. Some stretches are very good and others not so much. There were some soft spots when we came in so we made a few ruts that I'm hoping to fix before you guys arrive to make the journey a little easier.
Upon arrival Friday the bay in front of camp was still frozen, less about 50 feet or so from shore:
When I came back to camp the next day to spend the weekend, I was surprised to see the ice had left overnight! I stayed for the weekend to begin cleaning the lodge and get things move in ready. I left Monday afternoon to finish up some odds and ends in Ignace, and Mom and I came back out on Wednesday.
Water levels are currently normal but rising. I would expect to see average to even a little high water for opener. The weather has been a little sporadic, some days very warm while others feel like October, cold and rainy. It's still dipping below freezing most nights, but that has been forecasted to change. There is lots of warm weather and some sun in our future.
In the meantime we are busy out here getting everything ready for the arrival of our first guests. If you need to reach us it's best to email or use our summer number, 807 934 6911.
We look forward to seeing everyone and another great season!
May 1st, 2019 – Spring is Here!
Well it has had a few hiccups but it seems spring is finally here. The weather has been very sporadic reaching 60's and 70's some days and then back down to freezing and snow the next. However, almost all of our snow is gone now and most lakes are opening up nicely.
We have not ventured North yet to check out the camp and road conditions, but I plan on heading up for the day Friday. If all goes well, I will be going back on Saturday to stay until at least Monday. I will be sure to update the website and Facebook with any relevant details and road conditions. I am very excited to get out there and see what the winter left us, hopefully no bears in the Main Lodge!
As many of you know I went to Ireland in March for two weeks with a childhood friend of mine. We spent the first 3 days of the trip in Dublin touring the local sights and hitting all the big tourist attractions. Guinness, Jameson's, The Whiskey Museum, to name a few. You can see a pretty common theme here, haha.
After that we spent a week driving around Ireland. We headed South first, and then West to the Ring of Kerry and the Cliffs of Moher. the countryside and natural landmarks were absolutely stunning! The same with all of the architecture we found along the way. The countless churches and castles we saw were truly breathtaking.
After a week on the road we returned to Dublin for our final 3 days, and St. Patrick's day. They celebrate St. Patrick's day with a huge parade full of mechanical sculptures on floats, dancing, and marching bands. It was an amazing experience to watch but being 2 of the 500 000 people that travel to Dublin for the parade and ensuing parties was a little nuts. Definitely glad to see it all, but we were glad to be away from people after the night was out.
Here are a few pics from the trip:
I will post again soon, hopefully with more information about camp.
March 4, 2019 – Quick Update
Just a quick update. Weather up here has definitely been winter - haha. It has been cold and we have gotten a ton of snow, there shouldn't be any issues with spring run off this year. As for fishing, I haven't done a lot. Between the cold weather and all of the slush on the lakes I have been taking it pretty easy. I will be gone to Ireland as of tomorrow until March 19th, and plan on doing a lot of spring fishing when I get home.
We have officially ordered the calendars and the newsletters and they will be in the mail shortly after I get home, again sorry for the late mail out this year.
I added one vacancy for opening weekend to the vacancies and info page, the dates for that one are May 18-25.
If anyone needs me while I am away please just email or call and I will return all of the messages when I get home!
February 8, 2019 – It Is Cold!
Well, winter has finally decided to arrive. After a large heavy snowfall early in the fall we had quite the warm spell. Not very cold and not a lot of snow until about mid January, since then we have gotten about 2 feet of snow an the temps are averaging -20 to -40 degrees F almost daily. Despite the cold we are still getting snow, I shovelled my driveway 3 times in 2 days earlier this week!
With all of this cold weather I have not been doing a lot of fishing. I have a hut on Paguchi lake (lake trout), which is it's usual home in the winter. Conditions are pretty average out there, the fishing is good through January, slows down in February, and picks up again in March. We were doing pretty well out there in January but the last two weeks or so it has slowed down quite a bit. Going to move onto walleye fishing with my portable hut for the remainder of the month.
Two weekends ago I held the 3rd Annual Gerry Nicholas Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament out at the shack. This year's winner took it home with a beauty 13.6 pound Laker! The weather was absolutely frigid so we didn't have as many fisherman as the last two years but still nice to see friends and family out. Fishing was okay with about 8 trout being caught. Here is the winner:
Mom and I got back from Tyler's wedding mid January. We had an absolute blast, it was a beautiful resort and a gorgeous wedding. Couldn't ask for nicer weather all week, especially the day of the wedding. Around 70 people made the journey, pretty crazy for a destination wedding! Here are a few pics:
As for further vacations, I will be away from Feb. 9-17, and I will be in Ireland for two weeks on Mar. 5-19. If you need to get in touch with me feel free to email or call, and I will get back to you as soon as I get home.
We are very behind on our typical Christmas mail out this year. Do not fret, it is coming. I would like to offer a solid reason as to why it isn't done and mailed yet, but to be honest, it is mainly procrastination - haha. We have started it, and as soon as I get home in a week it will become top priority. Thanks for the patience, this winter is seeming to fly by.
I hope everyone had great holidays and are staying warm!