Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mitchell's Stats & Fishing Update!

Hey Everyone,

Here's some stats from the Mitchells' which I know many of you are waiting for. Steve's logging of info is terrific to check out for all you fishing junkies like me....

Hey Quent,
Sorry it has taken me so long to get these to you. Here are the stats for 2010 .We caught 426 total fish, 300 bass 125 pike, and 1 walleye. Last years numbers were a little better 358 bass to 300 this year. I think I can explain why. Last year when we got there the water temp was in the 50's this year it was in the 60's. I personally think the bass had already spawned and gone back out to 10-15 feet of water and only came to shore to feed, therefore the bigger bass were not relating to the shore as they were last year. I heard in camp both weeks we were there from other fishermen how the bass were not on the shore. Just had to work a little harder this year. The weather this year was not as kind to us as last year windy and cloudy most days, with some rain. By far the most productive lure was soft plastics creature baits ,paca craws, flukes, and hula grubs. Work them slowly on the bottom and you will catch fish . Top water baits, popr's, chug bugs, tiny torpedo's and jtterbugs also caught some fish. Also we caught fish on a various crankbaits, jerkbaits, and rubberskirted jigs. All in all we had a great time seeing you and Lori, same time! same place! next year can't wait!!

Steve an Deb

pike 125
12" under 70
13-14 81
15-16 97
17-18 44
19 up 8
1 walleye
Biggest bass 20" we caught 3
biggest pike 34" we caught 2

Great stuff eh? It was great seeing Steve & Deb again - and a few followers of Steve's stats got to meet him. Lots of "fish talk" in the yard while they were there.

The last week of May / first week or so of June saw the biggest shoreline action from the smallies on the beds.

Right now there is still topwater action - not as much as June - but in the past couple of weeks the fishing overall has been fantastic. We're seeing a lot of 20" + smallies coming from the deep water (ie 25' ish) - plus the walleyes overall have been great. Some of the biggest average 'eye's I've ever seen here. Lots of guys using artificial so that helps size wise - but live bait has been doing great not only with numbers but with size as well.

Plus had loads of pike caught that were described as "huge girth" - "fattest pike I've ever seen"..... we really have seen an spike in the perch population on the chain this year. More than I've ever seen - some nice ones too - I'm thinking that maybe our friendly neighbourhood northern pike population are enjoying this perch renaissance as well?

Anyway - been a great year so far - still looking forward to much more fishing action!

Talk soon!


Saturday, June 26, 2010

2010 Update

Wow - I can't believe it's the end of June already.....time flies - it's been very busy - one of our busiest Junes' ever - which is great!

Been a strange year - we had a very warm spring - as mentioned earlier, we had people in boats by around April 4. Usually the ice isn't even out until at least the end of April. Water levels are low - about a foot lower than usual on the Seine Chain....spawns were all early likely around 2 weeks early each.

Had some groups in during early May for pike & trout fishing. Most did very well.

The walleye opener was a little slower than usual. The week prior the 'eyes were hitting like crazy - people fishing other species threw a lot back.....the early spring & spwan moved them out of their traditional locations for opening week.

Late May & early June were overall pretty good for walleye though. Many smaller ones, but we've seen more 28" - 30" than I've ever seen - acouple 30" + already and quite a few in the 25" - 28"....still seeing lots of smaller ones though - everything from 6" - 7" - 12" - 14" +. Happy to say that the vast majority of the bigger fish were released, along with many of the smaller....

One of the big developments this year is that I've seen people bring in more perch than ever. We alwys saw the occasional one here & there, but this year the numbers were 'way up and many i the 3/4 - 1 lb range. A very nice surprise. Not sure what the implications of that are as far as what that indicates for the "big picture" on the Seine, but people are enjoying a lot of tasty yellow perch this year!

Late May & early June the smallmouth fishing was absolutely terrific. Many new groups that came asked why we don't "brag it up' more.....honestly sometimes it sounds like an exaggeration. We do say we have world class smallie fishing, but we had groups here this year that have fished at lodges that were specifically trophy smallmouth lodges and did better here - hands down. Crazy numbers and loads of trophies. They were on the topwater a little early this year, and the groups that hit that found the action almost unbelievable. By mid to late June they had already moved a little deeper, so were a little tougher to catch....BTW - Steve & deb Mitchell just left & Steve will be sending his annual smallmouth report. Last year they hit the topwater bite; this year the smallies were out a ways - a different dynamic with weather / conditions so a different type of bite for them this year. I'm looking forward to Steve's report as I know that many of you are as well.

the vast majority of the bass were released - I went weeks where people were catching loads of fish & still I never had to empty buckets from the fish house.

The pike were much less hesitant than last June when they were famous for follow ups but not actually biting. The pike bite has been pretty good this year - of course loads of smaller ones, but quite a few 40" + so far. I think we've seen more trophy pike so far this year than we have in a long time. Again - most released.

Other stuff ....

Thanks to Richard, Howie & Lenny, our docks are in better shape than they have been in a long time ....bought 1 new one - more to follow.

Also thanks to Richard, Howie, Lenny,plus wayne, Daryl & Cora we have the frame of a new fish cleaning house right by the docks. Waiting for the steel roof to come in, and, when finished, it'll be a terrific fish cleaning facility - including stainless steel counters, power otlets etc.

They've also all cleaned our grounds up in a big way - the debris from all the windfalls we've had is mostly gone....a lot better looks wise in our yard!

This will also provide a number of electrical outlets at the docks for trolling motors plus lighting for those nights that you stay out into the dark!

Howard H - mechanic extroadinaire tuned up our outboards and cleaned up our props & skegs this spring - huge help and very much appreciated by all!

Richard S has been the driving force behind these and many of the other improvements at the camp the last couple of years and we can't thank him enough! We'd be several years back in improving the camp (and our home) if it weren't for Richard. Most of the improvements over the previous season that you repeat guys notice when you come into the yard is due to Richard. Plus many things that you can't see. We owe him big time!

American Plan has been going great - very busy with the meal plan through late May & early June - hoping it continues!

BTW - many pics to come on the site .....

Keep checking our Facebook page under "Branch's Seine River Lodge - starting to post lots more specific comments & pictures.

talk to y'all soon!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring Update sure is a strange year.....

The spring break up came earlier this year than I ever remember.....In the past, if you were to check back through history, the date when the ice is "out" on Banning Lake (ie when you can get a boat in the water), is around April 27. We're usually ahead of land locked lakes due to the river current.

Last year the ice was out pretty much on schedule on April 27. At that point, I spewed out my predictions on how everything should be just ducky...spawns on time etc etc.....The problem was though, that it took forever for the water to warm up after that. It seemed like we were stuck in May weather through most of the summer. It was cold & wet, but overall the fishing was very good.

So, in light of last years lessons, I'll be cautious at spewing out my predictions this year. Mother Nature gave me a well deserved slap in the spring / summer of 2009 and showed me who was really boss.

This year though has been a complete exception.....we had some friends launch a boat here & go fishing on April 4!!

Daytime temperatures have been in the 70's (20's for you Celsius types). There was little run off and we basically have had no rain all for a month + . Water is low....very low for this time of year. We already have a fire ban.

Right now the pike are spawning in the back bay....that's at least 1 week, maybe as much as 2 weeks ahead of the normal time. Surface temps on the water are between 8 - 11 celsius.

This can be a good thing for our fishery....early spawns, longer growing seasons....some warm years in the past have spiked fish populations and helped produce larger fish on average.

But it's not necessarily all that simple. There is potential for more negative circumstances as well.

In this weeks Atikokan Progress, Jessica Smith wrote a fantastic article on the implications of an early spring. The effect on both the fish and the wildlife. You really should check it out... here's the link....

Anyway, we're full steam ahead for the 2010 fishing season....right now we have a group on the Namakan River, another coming in today for some bass & pike fishing on a nearby lake, and some lake trout anglers due in later this week. Although the dry weather is a huge issue, it's still terrific to be out in the boat in April fishing with just a T-shirt on....

Been great talking with y'all lately. I gotta laugh how, once the weather warms up I get a whack of phone calls / emails from people just chomping at the bit to wet a line....keep 'em coming.....and thanks to all of you who have reserved as well......we're working at improving the camp every year for you.

Further to that, we're busy getting the camp ready to open.....Cabin #3 is getting a complete facelift on the inside & some new siding on the outside. There's lots of fresh paint going on the outside of cabins.

Water will be on on most of the cabins this weekend. Doing some finishing work inside the big new cabins (ie the "classrooms").

We've ordered lumber and have made plans to start the new fish house in early May, plus we're looking at 2 new docks along with fixing up the 3 older ones....

Might not be all ready by the walleye opener next month, but will be sometime this year!

Talk to y'all soon!


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fishing Licences / Boat Regs Snowmobile Trails / Ice Fishing etc

Hey Everyone,

A quick update with fishing licence info / prices....

For non-residents of's the new licence fees...

Non-Canadian Resident Temporary Fishing Outdoors Card and Application only. Valid for three years. Annual licence tags must be purchased.
One-year Sport Fishing Licence Tag (for holders of a valid Outdoors Card)
One-year Conservation Fishing Licence Tag (for holders of a valid Outdoors Card)
Eight-day Sport Fishing Licence *
Eight-day Conservation Fishing Licence *

If you were to Ontario last year & bought a licence, you should have received your plastic "Outdoors Card" in the mail...IMPORTANT....remember to bring it with you this year...otherwise you'll have to purchase another one. I know it's only $9, but why pay double? You may need that $9 to replace the classic Rapala that a monster pike tore off your line!

I've written about the new boating regulations that took effect in Canada last September before in this blog. As there's still lots of questions I'll address it quickly...

Basically, if you're renting boats from us, we now go through a checklist with you (which you sign off on)....basic operations and safety issues. As many of you know. if you rent boats & motors from us, I usually spend 2 - 3 hours out on the system with you going over hazardous locations, reefs, fishing spots and motor really, adding a check list to this is no big deal.

If you bring your own boat & motor, you don't have to worry about getting certified unless you are spending 45 days (or something like that) even you guys that come up 4 separate weeks per year you're still fine as is.

Ok - feel better?

Anyway...the last few days here have been unseasonably mild....which is a really nice change.

Our cold weather in December & early January made for some great ice on the lakes....lots are out ice fishing this weekend enjoying the warmer weather.

I guess they've started grooming some of the snowmobile trails....we've got snow, but could use some more...I'm sure we'll get it. Still enough to get around on the sleds though.

Mount Fairweather - Atikokan's downhill ski hill opened last weekend. Conditions are pretty good...more snow wouldn't hurt. Wyatt was out skiing there last weekend.

Lori's been out on Atikokan's world class cross country ski trails and reports that the ones she was on were "very good".

Me? I haven't been out doing much yet....made a few rounds on our snowmachines....getting bugged by Lori to go with her cross country skiing. gotta get some skis, but in the meantime I may tag along with snowshoes....Who knows...maybe I'll get a hole drilled and get some ice fishing in this week?

Hope you're all having a great winter so far!

Talk soon!