Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Merry Xmas & Updates

Hey Everyone...

Hope you're having a great Christmas season, and that this posting finds you all healthy & happy!

A couple of quick updates....

FYI - June 2010 is really starting to fill in quickly. As an example, for the weeks of June 12 - 19 and June 19 - 26....we are currently out of boats & motors for those weeks. As of right now though, if you bring your own boat & motor, we have 2 small LHK cabins open for those weeks - none of the larger HK cabins. Of course, check in with us anyway as cancelleations do happen.

Otherwise, the rest of the summer is peppered with bookings...still pretty good availability, but, being a smaller camp we do fill in quickly so if you've got some dates in mind, let me know & I'll hang on to them for you.

Beautiful weather here right now....got about a foot of fresh powder (ie snow!) on the weekend. Snowmobiling has been awesome, although the snowmobile trails aren't open or groomed yet.

Atikokan's world class cross country ski trails are open though. Looking like anothe great year for skiers! I'm hearing rumours that Mount Fairweather - Atikokan's downhill ski facility is opening soon. Should be a great winter for that too.

We're making a big rink on the ice on the lake today. As we had some cold weather in December with no snow, the ice is nice. Shouldn't need too much flooding to make it very good.

Anyway - take it easy everyone. Hope to talk to y'all soon!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

An Update - Rapid Fire Stuff

Hey everyone!

Almost the end of the season....last group of hunters are in now.

Overall, the fishing was great this year...so much so that we have more groups than ever already booked for '10. June is flilling up very quickly....2 weeks in June are already booked as far as boats / motors are concernes ( we still have a couple cabins open for those bringing there own boats with them during those weeks).

Hunting is the same....moose, deer & grouse have been great....regulars have rebooked for '10. Still room though.

Hoping to see some of you this winter snowmobiling & ice fishing.


We now have a Facebook page ....we are updating it more frequently than this page (not that that is very hard - but we're getting better). Search Facebook under "Branch's Seine River Lodge" and become a fan. We love seeing your posts & pics!


New laws in september 09 re: renting boats in Ontario....basically, we just have to give you a quick tutorial and you have to sign off on a saftey check list & liability waiver. Not a big deal....but there are rumours all over that you need to take a course etc etc.

As many of you know, we usually spend 2 - 3 hours with Fishing Package guests reviewing motor operations plus hot spots, rocks & reefs so it's really not a big deal to work these new regs into our current procedures!

Talk to y'all soon!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fishing Update

Hey Guys & Gals,

A quick update as promised in the last post....

Late June / early July saw some good fishing....

Jeff & Judy Welch were uop for the 1st time & did terrific bass fishing...good numbers / good sizes etc.....they did very well despite the weather, which was pretty much crappy through their whole stay...High winds have been a standard this summer....yes it has been rainy at times, and it has been unseasonably cold, but the strong winds seem to be the most consistent weather feature this summer.

The Haulotte / Hardin group was up again from Milwaukee.....the guys, like the Welch's had bad weather....the inclement, inconsistent weather seemed to produce smaller walleye for the guys, but Gerry & Scott in particular switched it up & worked the shoreline & had a great time with smallies.

Both Brian & Larry Killeaney were up again with their respective groups....as usual they did very well walleye fishing...which is a niice reward when you're out in the cold, wet conditions.

The McNabb family was up during thsi time period and, as always did great with whatever they seemed to go after. The bulk of the group like the bass and did really well with those (am I starting to sound like a broken record?).....Mike did manage to get some out jigging for walleye & a couple of times & they had no trouble at all catching them. BTW - David got a few nice bass on his fly rod late in the week (around the 3rd of July)....the mayflies started & it was just what was needed to get some smallie action on the fly!

Another thing that happened really quick in early July is that the weeds took off. I've never seen them "pop up" that quickly - it seemed almost overnight. Needless to say, all thos bays that were free & clear of weeds a couple of weeks ago are now loaded with them, so you may wish to keep a few weedless lures in the tackle box...especially if you're throwing for pike.

We weren't quite as busy in early July as usual, but it's starting to gear up again now...

The Klocksien's have been doing great with walleye numbers....again, wind is a hallmark, but they are making it work. Thanks to Dale Stus for some great guiding this week.

A few check ins today should bring some new things to report later this week. We have some new groups checking in, some old guests of ours, and some groups that are new to us but veterans of the Atikokan area, so it should be fun!

If you're coming in the next few weeks, be prepared for virtually any kind of weather.....

Water is average....not too high, not real low.....for those of you who guage it by the rock in our back bay, it's maybe 3" - 4" above the surface right now.

The 'eyes seem to be anywhere between 15' or so feet to 25' give or take. Good old jigs, Lindy Rigs / Little Joes as always, plus some Thundersticks, Raps, Wally Divers that'll give you 15' - 18' depths should be good.

Smallies still hitting topwater, but many will be moving deeper soon....some of our biggest smallies last year were in August off of 25' ledges (guys jigging live bait for walleyes).

I always like using buzz baits for pike in the weeds this time of year....I never go pike fishing without my 1 oz red & white daredevil though....plus trolling with big Raps can usually produce some nice ones this time of year.

Like clothes, prepare for any type of fishing.....topwater, shallow, deep water....live bait & all kinds of artificial....As much as there are rules and consistencies in fishing there are tons of inconsistencies & the so called "rules" are blown apart every day ....whatever works for you. Stuff that I can't buy a bite with, others hammer 'em with. You never know...when it comes down to it, there really aren't any rules...go out, try different things & have fun. The only thing I can really say with certainty is that the fish are in the lake. After that, the ball's in your court (& we're in your corner to help any way we can)!

Talk to y'all soon!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Stats From The Mitchells!

Hi Guys & Gals,

I have a few things to report....nothing earth shattering - just conditions etc....will do so in the next few days.....

I just received an email from Steve Mitchell - he & his wife Debra just spent a couple weeks bass fishing here....their 2nd trip after being here last August as well.

If my memory serves me correctly, the first few days of angling for Steve & Deb this year were a little slower as they figured out where the smallies were in the earlier part of the season....after that though, they did awesome as you'll see.

As promised, Steve kept stats on their fishing & tackle used.....I love reading this stuff. It helps with tackle selection for others plus it's just darn interesting....anyway, here's Steve's email....

Hey quent, sorry I have not got you the results yet,but here we go. we caught 500 total fish,358 bass,135 pike,and 7 walleye, a big bonus for us. by the way they tasted great. we had a great time and look forward to coming back next year.
12" under 75
12 1/2" 5
13"-14" 41
14"-15" 53
15"-16" 97
16 1/2" 8
17"-18" 49
18" up 30
79 bass over 18" is really great fishing in any book.
the largest bass was 20 1/2"
the largest pike was 32"
the largest walleye was 22"
top water was the most productive as we caught 229 on a chug bug,devil horse, and jitterbug. sure paid off getting up at 3:30 each morning.
next was the zoom super fluke in bumble gum, white,smoke and silver
last was a variety of soft plastics creatures,paca craws and tubes in white, and black blue tails.
again we had a great time and look forward to doing it next year. if you have any questions, email and I will help anyway I can. Talk to you later. Steve and Deb

There ya have it....great stuff eh? Steve & Deb worked very hard, but it paid off big time....they found those early mornings before the sun got real high & hot gave the best action...a time of day that many people don't fish anymore.

A note that all the bass & pike were released....just a few 'eyes were kept for a meal.

Like I said, I'll post some other current info soon, but I just wanted to pass this along....part bragging them up, but also some great info for any new anglers coming up bass fishing...

BTW Steve - pretty nice catching 7 walleye on topwater and or shallow conditions.....wish I was that lucky....

Here's a couple of pics...will post the rest on the main web page soon....

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another Update

Hey - I'm posting 2 days in a row...that's a record...

Anyway, it's been a busy day...biggest news is that the walleyes turned on in big way for the Milow group....everyone in the group did great with the 'eyes today....saw lots of fish....all kinds of sizes....from little ones all the way through to lots of nice ones...

Most of the guys & gals were jigging with live bait...I believe they said around 15'....Cjad & Betsy weren't getting much action jigging but they started really getting into them in a big way by trolling the ledges with Wally Divers...

It was a hot day - everyone is about 3 shades darker from when they went out this a.m.....the wind was negligible .....the fishing Gods smiled today....

Oh - & hey...remember that I mentioned that 10 year old Jarrod caught a nice 29" pike? His sister Ellie caught a 30" tonight....and Jarrod even came over to tell me about it. Now that's a classy fisherman!

The Sell / Klug group went lake trout fishing today.....it's been hot the last few days so the lakers are starting to dive. Joe tells me that they were suspended between 60' - 80'...still they did very well including a real nice 8 or 9 pounder...

Mitchell's are wrapping up a very successful bass fishing trip with another great day......

Still a few boats out, so I may have to do a second post tonight....we'll talk to y'all soon!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fishing Update

Well, it's been a busy couple of weeks since my last post....

Hey - remember when I was spouting off that ice was out on time....the pike & walleye all spawned on time....the first couple of weeks looked like it would be consistent & predictable? Well....

The problem was that, although things happened on time, we still continued to have colder than usual weather.....after all those first benchmarks of the season, the weather stayed cold (& wet) and in a nutshell, the water took forever to warm up.

The result? Well, for the most part, the walleye fishing was pretty good throughout.

The pike though.....many groups, starting with the Krings reported that they were lethargic - acting like musky....lots of follow ups ....not a lot of action. Even when they bit, many didn't fight like they usually do. Miranda Lake was great for pike action though for the Krings....

The bass seemed to be taking longer to get up to their spawning beds....water warmed up quicker upstream, so that action was a little quicker there......

The Frazier / Epley group did very well...mainly looking for smallies....they were the first to find the warmer water. Gary & Lisa stayed 4 or 5 days longer than the rest of the group, and it really paid off. They did amazing their last few days.....on the one day they counted, they landed 80 fish...some great sizes.....and they were all released to grow even bigger for next year.

The Schroeders' were back....3rd or 4th trip ....first one in a few years. It was great to see them again. They had some good walleye, and a some nice lake trout at Big McCauley Lake....

The Otto group was up for pike & encountered the situation I described above.....kind of lethargic...

The Lynch family did very well......the kids in the Powell group seemed to have a lot of fun with topwater smallies (based on the number of topwater plugs that they bought)...

The Greenwell brothers were up....Bill for the 1st time....I think it was Paul's 3rd trip....they did good with the 'eyes & got some really nice pike as well. Paul's really worked on his walleye jigging technique & it seems to have paid off.

Rick Stewart was up...Daniel couldn't make it this year.,...Brandon Candler came with him. They had a great day pike fishing on Miranda & got some nice smallies.....really nice smallies....did I mention that Rick caught a 7 pound smallmouth?

Most of the groups found the walleye slow during this period....when I mentioned this to the Flier / Finlayson guys though, they looked at me like I was crazy. They did very well upstream with walleyes, even better downstream plus had some great 'eye action on some nearby lakes as well. When I said that others were finding that the walleyes weren't biting well, Josh said "I've never seen them not biting here!"....'Course they've been coming for years & years to the area and ALWAYS do great......even in -40 in January when they come ice fishing.

That's the thing with the walleye - they're finicky, and usually take the longest to figure out. Once you do, the action can be fantastic....lots of the "system veterans" find that the walleye are almost "too easy" to catch. At the same time, many newer groups often struggle.

Talking to our great MNR Area Biologist Brian Jackson (who always seems to have time to patiently answer my barrage of questions), walleye nettings on the system last year(?) showed stable numbers versus 1999......that's good news....but the real good news is that the number of 'eyes over 18" increased by 8%!

So basically, the walleye are there....the people that are consistently having trouble getting them should mainly look at where they're fishing, and technique (including bait / tackle). They're obviously doing something different than the vets who have no trouble most times......most times it seems to be location.....and many times it's just not getting your bait down deep enough. I've seen "new guys" from a few years back struggle with the 'eyes, but work at it....try different techniques / tackle / bait / locations etc....now a lot of those guys are the "system veterans" I talk about.

Right now, about half the guys in camp are doing really well with walleye. The Murphy group is back...they're trolling & getting some great walleye & pike....using plugs I believe....Thundersticks.....they're getting nicer fish with the artificial bait than the guys using jigs / Little Joe's & live bait. The live bait guys tend to do much better with numbers, the artificial guys do much better with size.

The Mitchells' are here now ....in their second straight week of hard fishing. The fishing has gotten better & better for Steve & Debbie over the last week and a half. They're mainly smallmouth anglers and are literally tearing them up......I've never seen numbers like they're getting....plus lots of big bass too. They fish hard & it pays off.....they work the shore....they even have been catching some great wallyes working the shoreline(!). Steve has kept stats this year & I'll post them....like I said they're doing great....somehow the smallies are getting even more numerous & bigger....

The Milow group is in camp....a big group....having some trouble with the 'eyes......that's only a matter of time....some nice pike & lots of nice smallmouth. Mike & Kyle K were tearing up the smallies & pike the last few days.....Chad actually beat his record of a 38" pike .....he had caught a few 38"...thought he was cursed...finally got a 39" this year! 40" + can't be far behind! Betsy caught a great bass - 6 lbs I believe...Jarrod Olson got a real nice 29" pike - way to go Jarrod! They're all out fishing right now ....Gerald & Terry were out for a bit this a.m. & said that the 'eyes were starting to cooperate for them....should be interesting to see how they do.

Joe Sell & Co are in camp....haven't spoke to them in a couple of days, as are the McKenzie group for the 1st time....lots of lines in the water, so should have lots to report....plus the Killeaney's are coming todays, the McNabbs & Haulotte group Saturday etc etc....lots of fun coming up....

The pike by the way are back to their normal, vicious, aggressive selves. People are catching lots.....some nice ones too....the usual activity...attacking walleye & other pike as you reel them in.

The bass continue to be amazing.....they always have been, but I've never seen the action like some of these groups are getting....loads of numbers, 18" 19" - 20" 21" ......loads of 3 lbers, 4lbers....a bunch of 5 lbers...even 6 lbers & 1 that hit 7 lbs. And they're topwater...loads of action.

Anyway - gotta go....talk to y'all soon!

Now though?


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fishing Update

Well, the first few weeks have started off well....except for the weather which has been mainly cold & quite wet. Water levels remain high....for all you who are wondering & call to ask, surface temps are around the mid fifties (farenheit).

The Schaffhauser group was up in late May as usual......and, as usual did very well almost everywhere they went. The guys have been coming to the area for years......they fish varied waters near here & do great with all species. They fish hard, but it pays off...hope to gut some pics from them soon...plus any tackle pointers they may have (feel free to leave in the "comments here guys!).

First time at our camp, but veterans of the area, the Hollander group did very well too. They were our first group to hit the lakers (outside of Quetico) this year.

The Endres party was up last week - first time to the area. The guys did quite well considering this....actually they did better in lousy, windy weather than any other conditions. Although last week that was pretty much the story with the weather....lots of wind especially.

Dan & Alan fish all species.....they left some advice for the pike. They said the pike were still pretty inactive - not a lot of fight in them....lots of follow ups etc. Their best bait for pike was a "Manns 5 1/2 Platinum Black Swimshad". They said almost all their pike were caught on that....It's a shad type rubber bait...the nose is harder and helps the hook stay in place. The guys said it's great for going through weeds & nasty conditions. It reminds me a lot of a large Vibrotail which I used to use a lot (& still would if my suppliers wouldn't always backorder them on me). My tried & true Daredevils & Raps took a back seat to this swimshad this past week.

The guys found walleye drifting....some nice ones, but we're also starting to see more & more of the smaller ones showing up. Minnows seemed to be the bait of choice for the 'eyes.

They caught lots of nice smallmouth. The bass continue to be the marquee with their numbers & size.

We have a very busy week this week - actually very busy right into July. We have the Krings in this week who always deliver, the Schroeders - first time in a few years and they always do well, the Fraziers who did great with the smallmouth last year & are bringing some friends / family with them this time around, the Finlayson group, plus a bunch of new groups. And that's just this week - I should have lots to report the next entry. I'll try & get details re: tackle / techniques that are working for y'all!

To that effect, please feel free to email me or post in "Comments" tackle / techniques that I may be missing. No matter how long we've all been fishing, there's always stuff to learn. Hopefully this blog can become a good resource for anglers coming to the Atikokan area (or anywhere for that matter!).

Talk to you soon!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Passport Required for US Citizens To Re-Enter US

Yep....after years of delays, it appears as though that you will need a passport to re-enter th US effective next Monday June 1 2009.

There's lots of stuff on the web regarding this.....here's one link that may help.


If you don't have one & you're stuck here in Canada - great - we've got lots to keep you busy!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May Update

Hey Everybody.....

Quick update...

Well, we're in the thick of it now....so far so good. Walleye opened last weekend (May 16) and that usually is the official kick off to the season....

That said, the walleye fishing has been great......sometimes a bit slow action wise, but many days / evenings the action has been great too. The only problem opening weekend was that it was hard getting the 'eye's under the slot (18"). Lots in the 19" - 20" range....pretty much all males.

Lori's brother Scott was up from S Ontario with his daughter Heidi, and they did great with walleyes....ditto Darryl & John from Atikokan.

Saw a few smallmouth opening weekend.....19" - 20"...very nice smallies.

The Benson group from Nebraska were up this past week & officially opened our new American Plan dining services....the guys did really well overall.....after a day or so, they really got in the walleye groove....good action & some nice sized ones.....including a 25". Also another nice bass - 4 + pounds and some pike. They also did a day in Miranda where they caught lots of pike.

BTW - cleaned a 13" smallie for the Bensons & it had eggs.....reinforcing that, one of Pauls S's group last night caught a 20" right up near the shore, so look out....topwater smallmouth action is about to begin! Based on the last week and a half, we've seen a bunch of trophy smallies already - 4 pounders almost seem the norm (without anyone actually fishing for them!). Should be a great bass fishing year again.

Anyway - will update y'all again soon!


Saturday, May 9, 2009

WMU 12B Now Open For Non. Res Deer Hunt & Other Hunting Stuff!

Well, after years of hoping, the Ontario MNR has officially opened WMU 12B for non resident deer hunting.

Prior to this, non residents were only allowed to hunt in WMU 11a...a great deer area, but with 12B open it gives us hundreds more square miles of wilderness to choose from.....much of 12b doesn't see many deer hunters at all. Plus, our camp is actually located in WMU 12B (a mile from 11A).

I canvassed my guides a few years back, and they all said they'd hunt 12B if it were open for their American hunters. Not sure if they still would, but at least we have the option!

12B will have the guide requirement (1 guide / 2 hunters) for non residents of Ontario just like 11A, so our Non Resident Deer Hunting Packages will remain the same.

Seasons for 12B non resident deer hunters are Sept 19 - Oct 9 for bow only. Oct 10 - Nov 15 for rifle, bows, muzzleloaders & shotguns.

Of course for all you Ontario resident deer hunters you can still choose tags from either area. For your doe tags, it's best to get them in advance (prior to heading to our area) - especially for 11A which is the most popular area & usually sells out all the tags each year.

Having said all that, we've been seeing lots of deer this spring. Any of you who know our area know this is a good sign. Often you never see any deer along the road, with all the thousands of miles of dense cover our area provides. Seeing them seems to indicate a decent winter survival. We thought there may have been quite a bit of winter kill between the deep snow last winter & all the wolves.

Animals of all type are on the move.....seeing lots of moose including two part albino calves the other day. Got a video of one of them ....will try & post.....The moose survey of 12B last winter showed an increase in population, as did the survey for 11A the year before. All good signs!

Grouse are looking good....hopefully they'll have a good year for reporoducing. Seeing lots around right now though.

Bears all over the place....ditto timber & brush wolves & all kinds of other small game

Should be some great fall hunting this year...I'll update you all with anything important!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Open Water

Hey everyone....

Quick update re: breakup....

Everything is right on schedule here this year......we could get a boat onto Banning Lake from the camp on April 27.....most other area lakes are pretty good now too. The 27th has been a real common date for final ice out in Banning for the last 40 or so years. We're always a little early compared to other area lakes due to the river flow.

Of course, the ice out / water temp. affects much as far as fishing goes...especially when spawns will happen & in turn the early season action.

The last few days, the pike have been hard at the spawn in our back bay.....after early years in '06 & '07 & a real late year in '08. we're back to average in '09.

Talk to ya'll soon!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Stanton Bay Road Washout

A quick FYI - Stanton Bay Road is washed out......anyone with Pickerel Lake entry permits to Quetico will have to enter Pickerel via french Lake until further notice....

Here's an email I just received from Ontario Parks.....

In early May a break in the Stanton Bay Road grew from a hole to a full breach. Late ice melting and high water has washed out the road to make it impassable. As of yesterday a break of approximately 50 feet x 13 ft (16 meters x 4 meters) was formed. The gap is expected to widen with further rain and possible thunder storms forecast over the next few days.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Forest Companies who use this road are monitoring the situation and investigating options. The road is impassable and will likely remain so throughout the summer. Site evaluation and project plans will be considered during this period. The wash-out has occurred in a location that has had frequent culvert and fill repairs. Potential future treatments may require bridging or similar more expensive responses.

Park users with French Lake - Pickerel Lake permits will need to enter Quetico through French Lake for the foreseeable future..

As always, I'll keep you posted with future developments!


Friday, April 24, 2009

Coming Soon - Fishing Season

Been getting lots of calls about ice out.....looking good - here on the Seine, the ice is 20' - 100' from shore....should be able to get a boat in next week.

Other lakes without river flow are a little further behind. I know lots of you want to get at some early lake trout & other action. I'll let you know the minute it's a go. In any event - we're 'way better off than this time last year.....should be able to get some good spring time action soon.

Just as a quick note though - the walleye opener last May was great - here's a couple of pics from "the opener '08"....

The weather was nasty - cold, windy....but the fishing - particularly the walleye was great.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lower Marmion Lake Walleye Fishing

Great news for many of you Marmion Lake fanatics.....walleye fishing has been re-opened.....like many of you know, the fishing is terrific on Marmion, & we have every reason to believe that the walleye fishing will be world class...http://www.atikokanprogress.ca/articles/2404/1/Marmion-walleye-fishery-recovered--angling-vlosure-lifted-after-11-years/Page1.html

Friday, March 27, 2009

Krings Party Pics June 2008

Bear with me - I'm going to try & get a few of the Krings groups pics up from last June....

Looks like some nasty snags where they were fishing!
Nice 25" 'eye!

19.25" smallie!

The guys had a great time and their experience on the Seine was very apparent with some of the action they had....I'm guessing they'll have a bunch more pics for me in a couple of months so I better get going!

It was great seeing their fishing action, but it was even better having some pints with them & yakking about pretty much everything...

I'll put some stats up from their trip too....everything from # & size of fish to how many beer were consumed!
Riveting stuff eh?

Early Season Fishing

Hey Everyone,

Just a quick post...with this new format, I'm hoping to stay more current with my updates & especially photo posting.....

I'll be sharing a few stories /pics from last year...we have tons of pics to go up....2008 was one of the overall best years fishing we have seen on the Seine Chain. I even got out a lot more often (and caught a few too)....

For now though, we're really looking forward to a great 2009. Our bookings are (touch wood) looking terrific, with a very high number of old guests coming back. We have all the regulars that come up every year (sometimes twice or three times), plus a whole lot of groups that came once or twice a few years ago that all seem to be coming back this year.....

It's great having new groups come, and we're blessed with quite a few...and it's sure nice to see old friends again.

Anyway, we're hoping to kick it off this year by April 23 for some lake trout, pike & smallie fishing with the Blackwelder group from Florida. This'll mark a number of years that Earl has been up in early spring....last year we had a late ice out & it wasn't doable.

Of course, we're hoping for another early (or at least average ) ice out this year.....Anyone who's interested check in with us re: ice condditions. I know lots of you are chomping at the bit to wet the line for some great laker & pike fishing ASAP....if Mother Nature cooperates we sure will as well.

Will keep y'all posted!