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.