Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The view atop cliff in Dupont Bay

A bird's eye view of Dupont and Pipestone Bays
One of the things that makes the west end of Red Lake, Ont., so beautiful is its topography. Cliffs and hills around the shoreline add to the beauty of islands and miles upon miles of unspoiled shoreline.
My great-nephew, Hunter Baughman, clicked this scene from the top of the cliff at the end of Dupont Bay this past summer. You can see Pipestone Bay in the background.
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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Overflow cabin available if more join your group

Cabin 6 is a cozy cabin for two people situated next to the lodge
If you already have booked your cabin for its maximum occupancy this coming season and then a couple of friends ask if they could also come along, contact us about reserving the "overflow cabin."
We are going to make available for the first time in 2017 one of our staff cabins, Cabin 6, for just such occasions.
This cabin consists of one large room with two twin beds that can also be put together to make a kingsize for couples, if needed. The cabin has a full bathroom but no kitchen facilities. It could be just the ticket for allowing a couple other friends to join your group this year.
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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Hey! Isn't that ...?

You're absolutely right. That's Bow Narrows angler John Overbeeke!
It looked at the start of the season last year that we were going to set a record for catching smallmouth bass. Our previous all-time season high for catching this new species to Red Lake was four fish, set in 2014 and repeated in 2015. Then last year we got four smallies in the first couple of weeks alone. Alas, by season's end, we still had only caught four.
Smallmouth are not native to Red Lake but are beginning to show up in anglers' catches just the same. The one being hoisted for a photo by John, above, was 16 inches long.
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Friday, November 25, 2016

Just one of those beautiful evenings on the lake

Full moon rising over West Narrows near camp
I was coming back to camp after getting rid of the fish guts late one evening last August when I stopped to take this photo.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What to do when old fish mounts get faded

Old skin mount is badly faded

Same fish after Dwayne repainted it.
Dwayne Kotala, our neighbour here in Nolalu that makes fishing lures, had mentioned to me last winter that he can also repaint faded, old, mounted fish. Since we have a couple of those in the lodge at camp I brought him one to see how it would work. Check it out for yourself in the photos. This 29-inch, walleye skin mount is about 35 years old.
Most skin mounts eventually fade and deteriorate which is one reason to opt for the replicas these days. They are said to stay unchanged just about forever.
We have one more skin mount left at camp that I would like to have Dwayne rejuvenate. It is a 32-inch walleye.
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Saturday, November 19, 2016

What it's like to bring kids to camp

The Hoschek family. Photo from Becky's blog about their trip.
If you ever wondered what it is like to bring small kids to Bow Narrows Camp, check out Becky Hoschek's wonderful blog on just such a trip last summer.
Becky and her husband, Jeff, brought their three children, Annabel, 6, and twins Charlie and Henry, 4, to camp in early July.
It is obvious that Becky is a professional photographer and designer as she tells the entire story of their trip at Red Lake so beautifully through her photos.
Thank you, Becky, for sharing this with all of us. And thanks to both you and Jeff for letting your children experience the great outdoors right from the time they are so young.
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Friday, November 18, 2016

The story of the SIXTEEN INCHERS!

One of "those guys" who caught 20-inchers, Rod Sarver

Dennis Goemaat with another beautiful walleye

Mark Pothaven hoists a big one. All these big fish were released.
Each season at camp has its unforgettable experiences and here's one for me from last summer.
I will preface this by pointing out that Red Lake has seen an explosion of walleye numbers in recent years and that it is now common to catch very large quantities of walleye at every outing. The numbers are absolutely unprecedented. Although all sizes are represented in the catch, there are certainly some spawning years that are especially abundant. This is what led to the conversation in the story.
I should also say that by the third or fourth week of the season I saw a pattern to what was going on with our fishermen and asked them if they could explain it. Incredibly, none could. On the boat ride from town out to camp I would say something like, "Everybody so far has caught hordes of smaller walleye the first two days they were here but then they found the bigger ones. When I asked them what they did different after two days, they invariably would say, 'Nothing.' If this happens to you, I would appreciate it if you let me know what you did so I can pass it on."
Now the story, the only thing which I have altered is the actual name of bays so as not to give away anybody's secrets.
"Hey Dan, I've got a question for you. When the guys got off the boat in town on Saturday they said they had caught lots of 20-inch walleyes. Where did they get them because all we are getting is 16-inchers."
I don't know exactly but we are catching walleyes just about everywhere.
"All we are getting are 16-inchers. I mean, we are catching lots and lots of them, every time we go out."
For some reason everybody first gets the smaller walleye and then they find the bigger ones too and they never seem to be able to say why.
"Those guys at the dock said they got 20-inchers. What bay were they fishing?"
Well, I know they fished at least part of the time in X Bay.
"We tried X Bay! SIXTEEN INCHERS! We also tried Y Bay. SIXTEEN INCHERS! We tried Z Bay too. SIXTEEN INCHERS! We even drove half-way down the lake to a bay we have never fished. SIXTEEN INCHERS! I mean we are catching hundreds and hundreds of them!"
Of course 16-inch walleyes are probably the perfect ones to eat. Their fillets are thin enough that they cook exactly right when deep fried.
"You are probably right on that but we don't want those. We want 20-inchers. What were those guys at the dock using for bait?"
I'm pretty sure they were using wor...
"We tried worms! SIXTEEN INCHERS! We tried leeches. SIXTEEN INCHERS! We tried minnows. SIXTEEN INCHERS! How were they fishing, those guys at the dock, because they got 20-inchers."
I think they were just trolling spi...
"We tried trolling spinners. SIXTEEN INCHERS! We tried using jigs. SIXTEEN INCHERS! We tried crank baits. SIXTEEN INCHERS. I mean we'll probably catch a thousand of them by the end of the week. Can you help us get 20-inchers or not?"
I guess not.
"I figured as much."
Two days later I saw the same fellow and asked if he had found any bigger walleyes.
"Yeah, I mean, oh yeah! In fact we had doubles on 25-inch walleyes, not once, not twice but three times yesterday. Man, this is really great."
So what did you do different after just getting 16-inchers the first day or two?
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The misunderstood other "eagle"

A "bald-headed eagle," aka turkey vulture, suns itself near camp

The real bald eagle is a symbol of strength. Photo by Steve Ozark
Many years ago an Ojibwe elder, Jim Paishk, worked at camp as a guide and helper and would share his knowledge, humour and wisdom about the Boreal Forest and its creatures.
The two largest birds of the northern sky, pictured above, were what he called "the eagle" and the "bald-headed eagle."
"The eagle" was what we all know as the bald eagle. It is the national symbol of the United States and is also honoured by the Ojibwe who use its feathers for spiritual and ceremonial purposes.
"The bald-headed eagle," as Jim called it, is what we know as the turkey vulture, also sometimes called a buzzard. It doesn't share its cousin's lofty position when it comes to human esteem and I'm not sure why.
The vulture eats carrion or dead creatures, that's true, but so does the noble eagle. In fact given a choice a bald eagle always prefers the meal that isn't trying to get away. However, if there's nothing dead at hand, the eagle will resort to catching its own live prey, almost always a fish. If it was a duck people would contemptuously refer to it as a "fish duck," not one of the preferred "puddle ducks." But no one sneers at the eagle as the "fish hawk," maybe because there is one of those already, the osprey which only hunts fish, live fish.
About as handsome as a turkey
Perhaps it's the lack of head covering that gives the vulture its low place on everybody's bird list. Yet another bird, the wild turkey, has basically the same hair style, and it gets great reviews.
There is at least one creature however, who is best friends with the vulture and that is the popular bald eagle. I think ravens and crows appreciate the vulture just as much. The reason is the vulture is the only bird with an incredible sense of smell. It can detect the odour of a dead animal or fish, from thousands of feet away. It leads all the carrion-eating birds to the site, even if it is obscured by trees and other vegetation. You could say it is the bloodhound of the bird set.
If you watch us dump fish guts on the rocky island at camp each night you will see that the nasty-tempered eagles gathered there always tolerate their bald-headed cousins. They didn't need them to find the fish gut island, of course, but the rest of the time they are pretty handy friends to have around.
Bald eagles, vultures and even one raven share the pickings at the rocky island
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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Terrible news about Busters Barbecue

Busters Barbecue, the popular restaurant in Vermilion Bay, was destroyed in a fire a couple of days ago. No one was hurt in the blaze.
Busters was an award-winning eatery and was a must-stop for many anglers, hunters, travelers and residents. The firm's unique blueberry barbecue sauce is sold throughout North America.
It is the second devastating fire to occur in Vermilion Bay in recent years. The Village Corner, at the intersection between Hwy 17 (the Trans-Canada Highway) and Hwy 105 (the Red Lake Road) was likewise destroyed in a fire six years ago. The Village Corner was another popular restaurant as well as a gas station, tackle store and bus stop. It has never been rebuilt.
There is no word yet on the future of Busters.
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

2017 rates are now posted

Our website now shows the new 2017 rates for our fishing packages. We knew a rate adjustment was in order last summer but just needed to wait until after the season to crunch the numbers.
The new American Plan 6-Day Fishing Package is $1,200 plus tax and the Housekeeping Package is $836 plus tax.
As in the past, our rates are in Canadian funds.
Our American guests will realize a substantial savings due to exchange on U.S. currency. In fact, when exchange is considered it will actually be less expensive to come to Bow Narrows Camp in 2017 than when we last raised our rates in 2014.
American guests will also be able to recoup one-half of their taxes paid on our packages through a mail-in rebate after they return home. We provide the application for this at camp.
We always strive to make a fishing vacation at Bow Narrows as affordable as possible while still letting us improve our facilities and equipment.

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