Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Still one of the most affordable fishing trips

Our 2012 rates are now posted on our website.
It's the first change in rates we've had since 2008.
As you can imagine, a lot of our costs have increased over that time, especially fuel and food.
We will start immediately sending our brochure and new rates sheet out to all guests with existing reservations and asking them for deposits to secure their reservations.
We've done a lot of research this fall and have found that a trip to Bow Narrows Camp is still one of the most affordable in Ontario, especially among remote operations.
Something new this year will be that guests can reserve their departure trip time at the end of the week when they give us their deposit. So, you will know far in advance when you will be departing camp and can make the rest of your travel arrangements.
Another change is our first boat on departure days from camp will leave at 6:30 a.m. and the second at 8 a.m. We will be diligent in scheduling people so that not too many want to depart on the same day.
Boat times on arrival days in town remain the same at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., if necessary.
Speaking of the Lickety Split, check out this beautiful photo of our boathouse with the Lickety Split under cover. It was taken by Doug Billings, one of our guests with a real flare for photography.
Click to go back to our website
Click to see the latest on the blog

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tim Horton's is up and running in Red Lake

No sooner do I write about Tim Horton's restaurant in Red Lake being nearly completed than I see in the Northern Sun newspaper that it has officially opened!
Way to go Timmy's!
I'll be by for a double-double in the near future.
Click to go back to our website
Click to see the latest on the blog

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Boreal Forest world's largest ecosystem

Boreal Forest, Red Lake, Ontario
When you come to northern Canada such as Red Lake in Northwestern Ontario, you will be immersed in the world's largest ecosystem -- the Boreal Forest.
Viewed from space, the Boreal Forest, named for Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind, is said to be a green band that goes completely around the world in the northern latitudes.
It is certainly beautiful, as this scene taken at camp last fall by our brother-in-law Ron Wink shows. But it also is vitally important to the health of the world too.
The Boreal Forest covers 58 per cent of Canada which is the second-largest country in the world. (Russia is the largest). It also represents 50 per cent of the entire forest area on Earth.
And while it is vital as the breeding area for hundreds of species of birds and is home to countless species of animals and fish, its greatest importance these days is all the carbon it contains.
It holds 22 per cent of all the carbon on the surface of the Earth in its forests, peatlands and soils.
That's twice as much as the tropical forests.
Carbon that is tied up in the form of trees and peat is carbon that is not in the atmosphere, contributing to the greenhouse effect and raising the globe's temperature. In fact, each tree holds about a ton of carbon. It got there, of course, through photosynthesis where a plant uses sunlight and water to convert carbon dioxide (from the atmosphere) into a sugar and releases oxygen back to the atmosphere. For this reason, forests have often been called the "lungs of the Earth."
No wonder the air quality in a forest is always excellent.
2011, incidentally, is the International Year of the Forest.

Click to go back to our website
Click to see the latest on the blog

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Walleye fishing to be incredible for years

Troy Bechtel
Walleye fishing on Red Lake is going to be spectacular for years, based on the fish we caught last summer.
There seemed to be a million walleyes just getting big enough to keep. By season-end in 2011 these fish were 14-15 inches long. Since they grow about two inches a year, in 2012 there are going to be hoards of fish 16-17 inches. That is absolutely the perfect-size walleye to keep and eat.
That year class will dominate the catch now for years to come. Next year they will be 18-19 inches, the year after 19-21 etc.
Walleye begin to spawn at 18 inches in Red Lake. So expect a reproduction boost from this year class in a year or two.
There are lots of bigger walleye too but the hard part is getting one before the smaller guys take your hook.
Last year saw phenomenal fishing for walleye with some people reporting as many as 100 fish in as little as an hour. More often, of course, a great fishing day would be 50-100. Usually people catching large numbers of fish were getting mostly small ones. The big ones take longer to land.
Although big walleye were found in all areas, the ticket to targeting strictly big ones was to fish in deeper water, at least when the shallow waters were stuffed with the smaller ones.
Most people had no problem filling their limits with 17-18 inchers. You are only allowed one fish over 18 inches and we encourage people to only use that option for a lunker they accidentally kill.
Still, some people keep them anyway and we saw quite a few really fat, muscular, 24-26-inchers being kept.
Biggest walleye I heard about, which was released on the spot, was a 31-incher. It was caught in deeper water fishing for lake trout.
Click to go back to our website
Click to see the latest on the blog

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tim Hortons, Super 8 coming to Red Lake

Red Lake is getting two renowned food and accommodation franchises: Tim Hortons restaurant and Super 8 motel.
Both will be located along Highway 105, on the right just before you enter town.
Tim Hortons is better known in Canada than in the U.S. Virtually every town in Canada has at least one Tim Hortons, known for its coffee and donuts but also breakfast and lunch menus.
Super 8 will be the first chain hotel ever to open in Red Lake.
Both businesses should do a thriving trade.
Although Red Lake does have other restaurants, many of them are not open during extended hours. There has been a shortage of motel rooms in Red Lake for years. There are only three local motels in the area and these are usually filled with mineral exploration crews. Visitors such as fishermen usually need to book a room a year in advance to get a reservation.
Construction of the Tim Hortons is nearly complete but the Super 8 was just beginning when we left camp the end of October. Both are expected to be ready by the spring of 2012.
Click to go back to our website:
Click to see the latest on the blog:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Lifejackets." Learn from Professor Popsicle

comfortable PFD
At Bow Narrows Camp we provide comfortable PFDs for all our guests. PFDs are personal floatation devices which most people would call lifejackets. There is a technical difference, however. The Coast Guard requires lifejackets to float a person face up even when they are unconscious. For this reason lifejackets are bulkier, usually of a keyhole design worn around the neck, are uncomfortable and just about never worn.
PFDs, on the other hand, are slender vests or inflatable suspenders that keep a person afloat as long as they are able to turn themselves right side up. They are very comfortable and should be worn any time you are in a boat. All our staff wear them. Brenda and I wear them. All professional outdoors people such as conservation officers, biologists, etc., wear them. So do police officers.
And PFDs, despite the objection of the Coast Guard, are also known by everyone as "lifejackets."
Not wearing a PFD or "lifejacket" is about as smart as not wearing a seatbelt in an automobile or not wearing a helmet when you play football.
Why the Coast Guard doesn't make wearing PFDs mandatory is beyond me. Canadian Coast Guard regulations only state there must be a PFD or lifejacket for each person in the boat. You don't legally have to wear one. Stupid, stupid, stupid!
Well, make sure you are smarter. Always wear your PFD.
In the photo, long-time Bow Narrows angler Charles Howard wears a comfortable PFD.
I think the problem comes from the Coast Guard also being responsible for Maritime shipping regulations. You know, ships as long as football fields. They apply the same rules for the big vessels to recreational boats. But there is a huge difference. Ships sink, boats capsize.
When a person needs a lifejacket aboard a ship, it probably comes after hearing an announcement on the PA system, "Now hear this, this is your captain speaking, all passengers are ordered to report to their muster stations and don lifejackets."
When you need a PFD aboard a boat it comes a split-second after striking a log or rock. Everything is absolutely normal one moment, and the next you are flung into the water. There is no time to put on your PFD. There isn't even time to shout, "Look out!"
It is heartening to see most of our guests wearing their PFDs these days. Many of them bring their own. That's smart. If you go shopping for them you will find one that is the perfect fit for your build.
Lots of people opt for the self-inflating models. These look like suspenders that are joined behind the neck. They use a CO2 cartridge that inflates the PFD whenever it is immersed in water.
But sadly, there are still some people who just use their PFD for padding on the back of their boat seat or cram it under the bow seat.
To fully understand why you should always wear your PFD, we recommend you visit the Cold Water Boot Camp website.
Learn from Canadian professor Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht, also known as Professor Popsicle for his studies of hypothermia.
The Boot Camp website has some eye-opening videos on what happens to people who end up in cold water. And when you watch these volunteers struggle in the water, consider that they are professionals who are in the peak of physical condition. Most of us would have an even harder time.
One of the lessons Professor Popsicle teaches is the 1-10-1 rule.
When you hit water that is 7 C or colder, you instinctively hyperventilate. This goes on for about one minute. Don't fight it, he advises, just know that in about a minute your breathing will return to normal. You then have 10 minutes before you lose control of your arms and legs. Finally, it takes one hour, even in the coldest water, before you go into hypothermia, a life-threatening condition.
So, let's consider the situation of a person wearing a PFD whose boat flips or who is thrown from a boat. They will instinctively gasp and ingest water when they hit the cold lake but thanks to their PFD, immediately float on the surface where they can cough up the liquid while waiting for their breathing to slow down. They then have 10 minutes to swim to the boat or shore. Of people who drown in Canada each year, 66% are within 15 metres of safety and 43% are within two metres (about six feet)! They could easily have reached safety in the 10 minutes before the blood flow shuts down to their arms and legs, a self-preservation system that tries to keep the body core warm. Remember, the reason the person is in the water is probably because they hit something, like a deadhead or a reef. These are almost always right near the shoreline, not out in the middle of the lake.
But, let's say somehow the person did end up floating in the middle of the lake. He has at least one hour for someone to pick him up before hypothermia sets in. Hypothermia, incidentally, is when a person's body core temperature plunges. The loss of control of extremities like arms and legs is not technically hypothermia.
Also, a person can extend the onset of hypothermia by getting back into or onto the boat, even if it is filled with water (all boats float, even upside down), huddling with other people in the water, etc. The point is there is ample opportunity for a rescue.
Now, let's take the case of person not wearing a PFD. A few seconds after he is unexpectedly thrown from the boat he would likely be dead. That very first gasp would probably do it. However, in the event he survives the plunge and gets his breathing under control 60 seconds later, he also has 10 minutes to get to safety. If he tries to help someone else in the water, probably also not wearing a PFD, it may take more than 10 minutes at which point his arms and legs become useless and he drowns.
It's really a no-brainer. Always wear your PFD.

Click to go back to our website

Click to see the latest on the blog

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

North shore of Lake Superior -- awesome!

north shore Lake Superior
There are stunning scenes like this at every bend on Hwy 17 between Sault Ste Marie and Thunder Bay.
Brenda and I took this route around the north shore of Lake Superior on our way to and from the annual convention of Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario which was held this year in Sudbury, a couple of weeks back.
The weather was clear and with the incredible scenery, the miles just flew by.
If you haven't traveled around Lake Superior, the world's largest lake, you are truly missing out.
Click to go back to our website
Click to see the latest on the blog

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gorgeous cross fox visits our home

cross fox
Caught this photo of a beautiful cross fox at our home in Nolalu this week. It comes by every few days.
It isn't very afraid of our chocolate Lab, Sam. It just sits down about 30 yards away even though he gives it his most ferocious-sounding barks.
The fox is one of the color variations of a red fox. The ones that are part dark and part light are usually called "cross foxes" because the dark normally crosses at the shoulders. Most cross foxes are lighter in color than this one.
Foxes can also be totally black with fine silver tips to their hair. They are called "silver foxes."
All three color variations: red, cross and silver, can come from the same litter. By far the most common, of course, is the red.
Did you know that the red fox is not a native North American animal? They were brought to this continent by the English who wanted to carry on the tradition of fox hunting.
They are sure found everywhere now.
I've had a bad case of writer's block for the last couple of months and thought I would use this photo of the unusual fox to get back in the groove.
I've written about 400 blog entries over the past few years, 300 or so of which are still on the blog (I deleted some of the old ones). So, it just seems to me I've covered about everything. This winter I'm going to lean toward more philosophical musings rather than how-to stuff. There will be some of both, of course. And there are always newsworthy items to pass on.
I want to thank everybody for wishing me well while I recovered from my back problem.
It is totally back to normal now. And that's fortunate because it is deer season! And in the not too-distance future, ice fishing!
Thanks again.
Click to go back to our website:
Click to see the latest on the blog: