Friday, September 23, 2016

The 'trouters' are getting ready

Steam is rising from the lake each morning now

MNRF boat at left is setting a net looking for trout
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry fish and wildlife personnel are hauling-in equipment to camp for the second-to-last lake trout fall spawning project.
They will harvest eggs and milt from wild lake trout, take them to the MNRF fish hatchery in Dorion, Ont., and raise the eggs to fingerling size before returning them in 18 months. Next year will be the last for the gathering of wild eggs. After 2017 they will simply get eggs from Red Lake trout that have been raised in the hatchery and kept as brood stock.
Weather plays an important role in how successful the egg gathering will be. The MNRF trouters are hoping for cold temperatures that will bring the lakers to the shallow shoals. When there is a decided cold snap, the trout come in masses and the whole egg project goes quickly, perhaps within a week.
Warm weather can prolong the project and if it is too warm the trout sometimes don't come to the shoals but skip spawning entirely. They end up re-absorbing their eggs.
Fortunately, the weather is turning cool. We had our first frost today. The water temperature still needs to drop a couple of degrees C to turn-on the fish. The trouters sampled a few shoals and have caught and released a couple of fish.  They will be back Monday and will start work in earnest.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sunday, September 18, 2016

It was a tremendous season for fishing

Mike and Lonnie Boyer in August
We're in our final week of the season and that's a good thing because Brenda and I are absolutely whipped. That comes from being busy the whole year.
Looking back it was one of our best ever for fishing. It's hard to explain but walleye fishing has been getting better every year for probably a decade. It's not uncommon for a boat to catch dozens and dozens on every outing. It started out that way in late May and it continues right to the present.
There are hordes of 14-to-16-inch sizes. In my opinion, that is probably the perfect walleye for eating. The fillet is thin enough that the entire thing cooks evenly and a single fish is just about right for one person. The record for numbers of this size came in June when two boats caught 200 in a single hour. The fish were biting so ferociously that the anglers were catching them on bare jigs. No bait or plastic whatsoever.
But there were lots of lunker walleye caught as well. Biggest I heard about was 30 inches. A common big size was 25 inches.
The future of walleye fishing looks golden with the large variety of sizes being caught.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

This means war

While I was laid up a week ago with a severe case of pseudo-gout, the beavers decided to launch an all-out attack. In just a couple of nights they cut the steel wire fencing -- yes, you read that correctly, cut the steel wire fencing -- and girdled five trees, including a red pine we planted 20 years ago, and felled one quaking aspen. All of this took place around the boathouse where the big rodents had taken up residence under the decking of the dock.
After first checking with Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry conservation officers who pointed out it is legal to kill animals in defense of your property, I took out the 12 gauge and shot two of about five of the critters.  The big one in the photos might have weighed 90 pounds. It was all I could do to lift it off the ground with one hand.
The area they were living in under the dock had an air space of just eight inches. That would seem to be a really poor den, especially come winter. Shooting animals is never a permanent solution so there was nothing to do but take up some of the dock decking and nail chicken wire completely around the water sides of the dock. I weighed down the free end with rocks. So far, so good but if there is anything I've learned about beavers it is that they are the very definition of persistence. I wouldn't be surprised if I end up shooting the rest.

Friday, August 5, 2016

First stocked lake trout caught

Jerime Williams
Jerime and Jason Williams this week have caught several lake trout that were stocked by the Ministry of Natural Resources. The fish are identified by a missing fin. The missing right ventral fin and 23-inch length of this fish indicate it was probably released as an 18-month fingerling in 2012.
The Williamses and other anglers are also catching 14-inch trout stocked two years ago near Potato Island. These anglers are seeing hundreds of the small trout on their fish finders. Those were the first trout planted in the west end of Red Lake. The rest were planted at several locations in the east end.
I have lots of photos to share of the great fishing and the great summer it has been. We have just been too busy to get on the 'net to this point.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Golf ball-size hail hits camp at night

Bob Edwards' tackle box was smashed

So was Greg Tanko's
Boathouse roof covered in debris

Scene in boat filled with leaves and limbs

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Just yesterday

Dennis Egge with 40-incher. Greg Tanko, next and Roy Windhorst, bottom, got pike in the mid-30s.
It was hot here yesterday, one of the first hot days of the year. Fishing was hot too as evidenced by this group's catch in the afternoon, just some of the big pike they released. Lots of walleye too.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Fishing has been phenomenal

Walleye fishing, in particular, has been incredible, both for numbers and size.
There are reams of eating-size walleye everywhere and these are what everybody finds at first. After a day or two, however, they start connecting with the high quality, too-big-to-keep, sizes.
It is the same story at every camp on Red Lake and Gullrock.
Lots of big northern pike are being caught and released too.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Bait situation is OK again

The worm and leech supply problem seems to be fixed now. Bait dealers are receiving good quality and quantities again

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Better bring worms from home

Red Lake bait dealers are angry and frustrated at the quality of nightcrawlers sent them by suppliers this summer. Anglers are returning flats of 500 crawlers because the worms are either dead or in poor condition. In some cases the dealers simply have no crawlers at all, even for orders placed last winter. There have also been concerns with leeches.
Until the supply problem is rectified our advice is to bring worms from home. You can bring worms across the border if they are packed in bedding but not dirt. You cannot bring leeches or minnows across the border.
Leeches might best be purchased as soon as you cross the border.
There is no problem with minnows.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Fishing is great, so is the weather

This double caught and released were chubby 30, 31-inchers

Stable water levels should see a good loon hatch. Bob Preuss photos
Lots of walleyes are being caught now. The best story I heard was yesterday when two boats caught and released 200 fish in two hours.
Temperatures are expected to be 25-26 C (80 F-ish) this week.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Sunset Lodge anglers do not eat big fish

Here's a correction to an item a few postings back. We had reported that some boats from Sunset Lodge had kept two big northern pike caught opening week at this end of the lake. It turns out only one fish was kept and that was just for mounting purposes. It is Sunset's policy that other than fish for mounting, all over-sized fish must be released. In fact, Sunset owner Rene Franczak has spearheaded a movement on the lake to release all big fish. It's a conservation movement followed by just about everyone, including all but one group of anglers at Bow Narrows.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Monday, June 6, 2016

Wet weather ending; fishing excellent

Last week was cold and rainy but fortunately the fishing was hot. Lots of big pike caught and released and the walleye bite is on with great quantities of eaters boated and many in the 22-24 inch range released. Don't eat the big ones!
The forest fires near here are now history after all the rain.
Sunny, warm weather is in the offing all this week. Yay!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The season so far in pictures

Terry Ditsch opening week smallie

Don Ballinger 28-inch walleye

And 45-inch, 25-pound northern pike. All fish released.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Big, big fish are being caught

Matt Andrews with 51.5-inch pike which he released
John Andrews with 38-inch, also released
Opening week saw oodles of lunker pike caught, all on dead bait. All but one group at our camp released every one. There were also two boats from Sunset Lodge in Red Lake that killed the big fish they caught. This is such a senseless thing to do. These huge fish are the ones sustaining the fish population in the lake! They are also the very worst fish to eat. Twenty-to-30 years old, they have been absorbing whatever heavy metals there are in the environment all that time. Such toxins exist everywhere, even here. Eat the young, smaller fish and let the big ones go! It's interesting to note that at our place the only people who didn't set records on big fish last week were the ones who kept them.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

2016 spring fishing report: it's hot

This is our first fishing week and everyone is doing great. Lots of very large northern pike are being caught as well as good catches of walleye.
It is extremely dry and there are some big forest fires in the park to the south and west. We're starting to get evening thunderstorms and that will probably ignite more fires. None is threatening camp.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

New lure looks like a winner

The staff and I went looking for a few pike for supper yesterday and I tried one of Dwayne Kotala's hand-carved wooden lures, a five-inch Redbelly Dace. I got a chunky 25-inch pike on my second cast!
We also found a dead moose floating in the lake, apparently a victim of thin ice this spring.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Warm at first then cold and snow

Nick and I flew into camp with Viking Outposts on May 2 and then ice-out happened May 4.
We got some major projects done before driving a fishing boat into town May 7 for the Sportsmen's Banquet. We came back to camp on May 8 towing some new boats and motors.
It had been warm and dry and several big forest fires were burning to the west in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park.
Brenda arrived with the other two staff on May 11 and the weather soon turned wet and very cold. It has snowed at least part of the last three days.
The forecast is for warming every day now until it reaches 28 C (80 F) on Friday.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Heading to camp, can't be reached for awhile

The best way to reach us for the next couple of weeks will be by e-mail. I'll be leaving shortly for Red Lake where Nicholas, Cork and I will fly out to camp and get to work. Once there we will not be operating the generator and so will not have the telephone or be filing reports on the blog.
Brenda will be on the road attending a bunch of spring meetings with tourism groups all over Northwestern Ontario as part of her duties with NOTO (Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters aka Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario.) She will likely access e-mails each night.
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