Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dead moose is finally being eaten

A leg and ribcage is all that's left. Photo by Lonnie Boyer
Nothing goes to waste in the outdoors but the critters who would have liked to eat this dead moose have been stumped all season by the fact it was floating in the water. Our anglers reported finding the moose floating first thing this spring. It was still there last week.
Now today Mike and Lonnie Boyer found where the moose has been dragged up on shore and mostly consumed. Black bears are the most likely scavenger but it also isn't impossible that a wolverine could have dragged the moose.
Once a big animal has ripped open the hide, which can be up to 3/4-inch thick in places, vultures, eagles and ravens will clean everything up.
This moose most likely fell through the ice this spring. Had it occurred during the winter, some carnivore, especially wolves, would have devoured him on the ice for sure.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How a camp operator attends tourism meetings

Brenda is on the board of a couple of provincial tourism groups including Tourism Northern Ontario which has monthly meetings, usually by teleconference. She is a representative for camp operators and this photo is a good example of how busy a camp operator is in the summertime.
Brenda has the meeting on the speakerphone while she peels potatoes for lunch.
We simply don't have time just for talking, unless it can be done while we accomplish something else at the same time. My longest conversation with Brenda is when I talk to her on the phone from town to get her grocery order.
We've always said that if one of us dies during the summer, we'll just chuck the dead person in the freezer until the end of the season.
We're just kidding of course. We can't spare the freezer space.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Nice lake trout caught and released today

Loren Conkle shows off a beautiful, plump, 34-inch lake trout
Jerime Williams got a sleek 37-incher
The Conkle-Williams group, in camp this week, are one of the few any more who try deep lake trout fishing. They did so today and caught and released several beautiful lakers.
Some people are under the misconception that trout brought to the surface from deep water subsequently die. In fact, lake trout are about the only fish that can make this transition safely. As you pull them skywards they released bubbles from their air bladders. As long as you don't handle them roughly and return them quickly to the water, they are fine.
All lake trout on the Red Lake water system must be released.
Lake trout are making a slow comeback after their numbers dwindled in the late '90s. We still catch dozens of lake trout annually but most are taken in the spring when they are near the surface.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Seen today along Red Lake Road

These bears seem to be eating wildflowers
Lonnie Boyer snapped some great shots of bears along Hwy 105, the Red Lake Road, today on her group's way to camp. This mother bear had three cubs. It's rare for a bear to have more than two.
Our guests are seeing more bears than normal, both along the highway and also while fishing here at camp. It seems we are seeing more bears than moose this summer.
A couple of our anglers spotted a bear swimming that was blond in colour. They described it as the same tone as a golden retriever.
By the way, fishing last week was excellent. I heard several long-time guests comment that it was the best fishing ever for them. Lots of big walleye and northern pike were caught.
The weather too was spectacular. This entire summer has been blessed with warm-but-not-hot temperatures in the daytime and very cool weather at night. We have had very little rain.
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Saturday, July 26, 2014

It just gets better and better

Debi Cesario hoists a beautiful 26-inch walleye
Carl Cieplik with a 40-inch northern pike
Carl, Tommy and Brenda Cieplik
Dear Dan and Brenda,

Have you ever gone on a vacation that was such a wonderful experience and left such lasting memories that you were afraid to visit that place again, in fear that your expectations are that of the first and you don't want anything to be different?  Well, I have to be honest, my first experience at Bow Narrows Camp left me thinking that nothing can get better than that so I was a little afraid to join Brenda, Carl and Thommy on their trip this year.  I was worried that last years trip could never measure up nor bring me new excitement.  Wow, was I wrong!!!!!!!

Once again, Bow Narrows Camp has done it.  You have given me another vacation that will be talked about and remembered for years to come.  My only goal this year was to beat Thommy in fishing, which I accomplished with a 26" walleye.  Carl caught the biggest pike at 40".  That in itself was great, however, your camp added so much more to this vacation.  The cabin with its breathtaking views, the beautiful boats, the courteous and friendly staff and the meals, ahhhh yes the meals.  All of these things made this vacation another that will forever be in my heart and always on my mind.  As in the past, I will HIGHLY recommend your camp as one of the wonders of the world. 

Thank you again for making dreams come true.

Debi Cesario

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Behind the scenes in the kitchen

Sophie Kurucz and Jeff Churchley prepare and serve supper
Salads ready for the tables
We have a great kitchen staff this summer in Sophie Kurucz and Jeff Churchley.
They are on the job at 6 a.m. preparing breakfast and making lunches and somehow are just as cheerful when they serve our guests supper at 5:30 p.m.
They are quick and fun to work with and do an excellent job.
Then, on the weekends, they morph into cabin cleaners and their work there is just as outstanding.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Just like that, ankle-biter flies nearly gone

No sooner did I write the last blog about the ferocity of the ankle-biter flies than we got the conditions to bring relief -- cooler weather and a change in wind direction.
As this image of Cork taken yesterday attests, the hordes of the miserable insects have gone elsewhere. Today's temperature was back in the 70s F (20s C), however, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the flies again. Bring the Repel, if you can find it. It is not available in Canada, to the best of my knowledge.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ankle-biters, aka stable flies are fierce, bring this

A dozen flies land on Cork's back, seconds after walking outside. He has been forced to spend most of his time indoors
We have had several beautiful, warm-to-hot days and this seems to have hatched-out every ankle biter fly at once. They are so bad at times that they even move up your body to your arms. Although the blue-top Deepwoods Sportsman Off has an effect, the Repel cream with 40% DEET keeps them completely away for 6-8 hours. The Repel is about the only thing you can use when the flies are this bad and still wear shorts and sandals.
Experience has shown that a change in the wind direction or cooler temperatures can drastically reduce the fly population.
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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Photographer captures essence of Red Lake, ON

Pipestone Bay at sunset
Baby loon catches a ride. Red Lake could be the loon capital of N. America
Leonard Belsky, a guest and angler at Bow Narrows Camp last week, took these incredible photos of two common sights on Red Lake, Ontario.
We're not called Sunset Country for nothing as his tack-sharp image of Pipestone Bay shows.
Loons are everywhere here and I'm glad to report that most pairs of these beautiful diving birds successfully hatched young this year.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Wild temperature swings confusing the fish

This past week saw temperatures that ranged from 8 C to 28 C, about 48 F to 90 F. There was also plenty of high wind, first from the south, then from the north, then south again.
Perhaps for this reason the walleye were more difficult to find than other weeks this season. Most anglers report the fish to be scattered across all depths, from 28 feet to six feet.
Northern pike fishing made up for some of the downturn in walleyes. In particular, lots of pike just under the slot size were caught, perfect for home or the fry-pan here at camp.
We're not out of the weather mood swings yet. The last couple days were 24, 26 and 28 C and tomorrow it is supposed to be 14 C. The wind today is howling from the south but you can bet it will be back to the north Saturday or Sunday.

Enormous white pelican caught on camera

Bow Narrows Camp angler Paul Stowick is the first person from our camp to get great photographs of a white pelican. He got these shots of the giant bird at the islands between camp and Trout Bay this week.
This bird is so large it boggles the mind.  There is a loon in some of these shots for comparison. Loons are large water birds but seem miniature compared to the pelican.
The white pelican is North America's second-largest bird with a wingspan just under 10 feet. The endangered California condor is the largest.
Pelicans seem to be scouting-out Red Lake the past few years. I've seen at least one each year for the past five seasons. Our guests have reported seeing them over the last 10 years.
They are shallow water feeders, preferring to swim around with their mouths open, scooping up minnows. Red Lake would seem to be too deep for such a tactic but nevertheless, the giant birds are here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Cork made a lot of friends last week

Noah Hamer and Cork

He ate my shirt!
There were a bunch of boys in camp last week, much to the delight of our chocolate Lab, Cork.
They had him fetching and swimming and he had them running after them to get whatever he had stolen.
Noah Hamer and Cork were often seen together. One day Noah accidentally dropped his fishing rod off the dock and ended up swimming to get it back. Before he dove in he gave his t-shirt to Cork to safeguard. Whoops!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mining litter cleaned up by young angler

Trevor Holley thought he had the fish of a lifetime last week when it turned out to be hundreds of feet of insulated wire. He pulled it all in and brought it back to camp.
The wire is the kind used by geological exploration companies and was probably left on the ice some previous winter.
Our anglers have encountered such debris many times over the years. It is a pity that mining companies have such little regard for the environment that they cannot be bothered to pick up after themselves.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Spro -- hot big pike lure

Tommy Cieplik, the man behind the great videos shot with a GoPro camera featured elsewhere on this blog, swears by this swimbait for big pike. He has used the Spro for several years and this year converted the rest of the family to the plug.
The Cieplik family just left camp today.
Tommy caught a bunch of lunkers on the six-inch, sinking version of the lure. He also uses a four-inch version.
By mid-week father Carl, mother Brenda and aunt Debi were casting the plug as well. Everybody did great with it.
Tommy says the lure usually isn't found in local tackle stores. He buys it on-line.
The silver and perch patterns work best.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Better bring these for the mosquitoes

The summer so far has been cool and cloudy -- perfect weather for mosquitoes -- and there is a good crop out there.
These three items are excellent at making your stay bite-free.
The blue-top Deep Woods Sportsman's Off (don't get the green-top; it's not so good), not only keeps mosquitoes away but ankle biter flies as well. In fact, it is the only aerosol spray to do so.
To rid your cabin of mosquitoes at night, close the windows and door and give a brief puff of Raid at the ceiling in the corners of each room and one in the center. Wait five minutes and then re-open the windows. Every mosquito will be dead.
The Thermacell is a great invention for keeping skeeters away from you whenever you are sitting still, like on the porch. It also works in the boat but it works best where there is little wind.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fishing on Mars

The year is 2050. The location is Mars. Humans have just finished setting up their first colony on the Red Planet. Mission Control (MC) gets the following phone call from Vermilion Base (VB).

VB: "This is Wild Bill.  Can I talk to the guy who sent us fish for the fish farm?"
MC: "You've got him. What can I do for you?"
VB: "First of all, I want to thank you for deciding to send us walleyes. They're the best-eating fish in the world, well, two worlds now. I'm just wondering why you didn't send us more big fish? We've been following our planned schedule of one fish meal a week and after only a few months there's only a couple of big ones left."
MC: "What happened to the others?"
VB: "Well, we ate them, of course. There was a lot of meat on those big suckers but now they're nearly gone and we've nothing left but lots of smaller ones."
MC: "Are you saying you killed the breeders?"
VB: "I don't know about the 'breeders.' We ate the biggest ones, naturally."
MC: "Oh my God, you killed the breeders!"
VB: "I didn't kill them; I caught them on a rod and reel I brought from home. Sure, I'm just fishing in a tank here but it still takes some skill to bring in a 10-pound 'eye on a jig with only six-pound test."
MC: "I can't believe it. You killed the breeders!"
VB: "Would you quit saying that? I did nothing wrong. Why, I even had my picture in the colony newsletter."
MC: "Was the headline: 'Dumb-ass kills breeding stock'?"

VB: "Hey! Watch it! No, the headline was 'We eat good tonight'"
MC: "Well, the sub-heading should have read 'And now we starve for the next several years'"
VB: "If we starve it's because you didn't send enough big ones!"
MC: "Wild Bill -- why are you called that anyway? -- what is your mission specialty?"
VB: "I'm 'Wild' Bill because I'm good in the wilds. I always 'bring home the bacon.' And my mission specialty is artificial intelligence."
MC: "Yeah, there's a surprise. Look 'Wild' if you had eaten the smaller fish, then the breeders -- the big ones, as you put it -- would have been producing more eggs, more fish, year after year, by the hundreds of thousands while the smaller ones were growing larger. You only had to let one per cent of the juveniles -- the little ones -- grow to maturity to produce a self-sustaining population. You would have had fish for the colony forever. But instead, you ate the one per cent that really mattered. You ate the breeders! And why? Because they had a 'lot of meat on them' and to get your picture in the paper!"
VB: "Well the little ones will do the same thing, right? It's only fair to let them have a chance to do the 'horizontal mambo' and let nature take its course."
MC: "That's right. We sent you fish in a year-long spaceship ride just so you could be 'fair' to them. You killed the breeders, for cripes sake! Here's what is fair: now you will need to wait two or three years for the 'little ones' to reach maturity. That's when they'll do, what did you call it, the HORIZONTAL MAMBO! Until then, no more fish meals for you or the rest of the colonists!"
VB: "Jeez, I don't see why you are so sore about this. I mean it was only human nature to eat the big ones. They had a lot of meat on them, after all."
MC: "Bill! Bill! Why are humans colonizing other planets?"
VB: "Well, you know, because there isn't enough food on Earth any more, basically."
MC: "Yeah. And we thought we would be different on another planet. Goodbye, Wild Bill."

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Lots of big fish are being caught (and released)

Al Andrin with 37-inch northern pike

Bill Densmore with 25.5-inch walleye

Rob Kinzenbaw with 25.75-inch blue walleye

Matthew Marvin with 41.5-inch pike caught and released today

Tom Kinzenbaw with 26.25-inch walleye

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Why no blog postings?

It's been said that we're all in the same canoe. I think that's usually meant that no matter what we think about other people, we still have to take their opinions into account.
I see it a bit differently. I see it as anything that anyone does has a ripple effect on the others. That's what has happened to this blog and why there has been a dearth of postings this early summer.
It started with Microsoft. For no reason that I can see other than to force me into buying another computer, it did away with Windows XP. About the time we left home for camp I was thrust into a new operating system, Windows 8.1. It sucks.
Oh I'm sure that given a few weekends, curled up with the laptop and a warm cup of cocoa I could figure out how to operate it better and probably feel all warm and cozy-like. I'm being facetious here. I'm a camp operator, not a bored person with nothing better to do but push and click all the icons on my screen to see what will happen. I barely have time to sleep, for goodness sake.
To make matters worse, Microsoft Office is utterly different than what I'm used to. I have had e-mails arrive, then disappear. I spend 15 minutes -- an eternity for me right now -- answering an e-mail only to find it won't send anyway. I'm sure the help desk in India would eventually get back to me. Maybe I could read a good book while I'm waiting.
Then there's the Internet itself. It has become as addictive as crack to many people these days. They can't go more than a few hours without checking it and when they check it here, say update their Facebook profile, then I can't get on to write something for the blog. Our internet connection is via our cell phone which must have an external antennae and a signal amplifier just to get a weak signal.
I'm sure we could sink thousands of dollars into a SETI-like bank of satellite dishes and boosters and coaxial cables that would let everyone sit in their cabins and work their tablets, I-phones and Android devices to their hearts' content but frankly, I'm not going there.
There is no way that with all the other things Brenda and I must do that we can keep on top of developments in the virtual world. We're cooking and cleaning and fixing and lifting and stacking and buying and transporting from daylight to dark. When I finally get a chance to fire up the computer, it spends the entire time I had updating itself. It's as if the point of computers is to go on-line and update, not for us to use for some purpose or another.
One thing about working at camp, it certainly makes me see how everything in life is interconnected. When we get a shipment of diesel for our generator that is mixed with a large quantity of water, then I can't post blogs because I spend days and days cleaning out our diesel tank, taking the spoiled fuel back to town, getting new fuel, installing water separating filters, cleaning out our transfer pump, etc.
Well, so much for my rant. I think I feel better.
Anyway, I can bring everybody up to speed in a few sentences: the fishing is great, especially for walleye. All the usual things are working. The weather has been cool but not especially wet. The lake level is more or less normal. Weed growth is absent from the big bodies of water but about usual in the shallow bays. These latter places are where just about all of the fish are being taken.