Hey everybody....hope you're all having a fantastic winter.
Here in Atikokan it certainly has been a "real Canadian winter". We've had lots of very cold weather and a ton of snow. The last couple of days it's actually been very nice - above freezing - but I hear it's going to dip back down near -30 tonight & follow with even more snow this weekend.
Anyway - just a quick look at some of the things we did last season and some changes for 2011.
The biggest improvement in 2010 was definitely the new fish cleaning house. It's now right by the docks - large, clean, bright, and screened in along with some outside plugs for your trolling motor battery chargers. It received a big "thumbs up" from virtually everyone in 2010. Huge thanks to Howie Hawkes, Lenny Anderson, Wayne Menard, Daryl Warkentin, Cora Warkentin & Wyatt Branch for all the help with it. An extra big THANK YOU to Richard Spilchuk who pretty much was the driving force behind the whole project...from design to the pad and the first nail through the last this was pretty much Richards baby...and it turned out great. Fittingly, Richard cleaned the first fish in the new facility....not exactly sure, but I think it may have been a pike.
Speaking of docks, and thanks to Lenny, Howie & Richard and the others our older docks & ramps got a facelift in 2010. Plus we added a new floater....again this was very well receieved and appreciated by everyone who used them this year. We're planning to add two more new floaters in 2011 and continue to improve the ramps and older docks.
We've got a few things lined up for 2011 on top of new docks....
We now will be offering air conditioning in all of our large cabins. Right now it looks like window and / or portable units. We tend to not get too much sweltering weather - but it does happen. This should help the comfort level during those dog days of summer considerable.
On top of air conditioners, we continue to add newer furniture - mostly couches and chairs to the cabins. I think we'll have a few new fridges this year as well.
For our fishing package guests we now offer trolling motors with all the boats. Right now it looks as though they'll be transom mount...should help lots working the shoreline or slowly working fishing holes.
Facility wise we're looking at reopening our shower house for those guests coming back from remote fishing & canoeing trips or camping. Plus we'll continue to add new siding to the cabins and outbuildings.
One thing that we're really excited about is that we plan to considerably increase the amount of tackle, bait, souvenirs and supplies available in our office. We've always carried some...but we're going to ramp it up this year. It'll take a few seasons to get up to where we would like to be, and we will not stock things that don't work (just for the sake of having stock); but look for a better selection of tackle, maps and souvenirs in our office. This has especially been a demand of our canoeing and remote fishing trip guests. Gradually we'd like to become a real headquarters for these sportspeople coming to Atikokan for the vast wilderness and hundreds of lakes.
Our American Plan fishing packages are doing very well. It is growing at a very fast rate and we appreciate all of you that have joined us with the meal plan. Further to that, a huge Thank You to Jeff McNabb for helping us design our kitchen and to Jeff & Keith McNabb for lining us up with awesome suppliers! If anyone down in Florida is looking for a great kitchen you have to check out Kitchen Creations in the Tampa Bay area. Jeff & Keith are the best!
Slowly thinking ahead to 2012 / 2013 as well...thoughts of a new cabin on the lake and a new, large dining & office facility overlooking Banning Lake....but hey - I don't want to get ahead of myself!
And of course none of this would be possible with out all of you guys & gals coming to our camp year after year. Thanks you all especially!
And - ultimately you wouldn't be coming if it weren't for the fishing & hunting. So when it all comes down to it - that's what we really will be focussing on. We'll continue to actively be involved, keep tabs on new & old techniques, tackle & equipment and continue to work with anglers, hunters, the MNR and all other stakeholders to make sure this great resource is respected and flourishing.
That's all for now....spring isn't far around the corner....starting to really think fishing. Look for the next couple of posts to get more involved with actual fishing & hunting.
'Cuz that's really what it's all about!