Sunday, February 16, 2014

2013 & 2014

Hello to everyone! Like most of our guests, we're in the middle of a vicious winter that just won't let go. I won't get too involved in winter talk, as I think everyone has had enough of it.

A few things going on this winter though:

Last month (January 2014) a guy (not from this camp unfortunately) caught a 43" lake trout ice fishing. An awesome fish. Near record class. They caught the action on video and the video has gone viral. Don't want to say exactly where he was, but let's just say that many of our anglers are familiar with that area (and likely watching that video in envy)! Very cool & congrats to that lucky angler!

We, with the help of friends, started the renovations of Cabin 1 last fall. That's the small framed cabin overlooking the lake between the larger cabins. We're guessing it is about 70 + years old. Quite a history....the former owners (pre-1967) used it as their residence, and prior to that it's been said that for a brief period it served as a Quetico ranger station. It was always a favorite over the years for many of our guests, but although structurally it was good (except for the foundation & floor joists)was needing some TLC. Well, it's been raised 4' and has new footings and a new floor - nice & solid. We have it pretty much gutted down to the studs and are about to start the rebuild. For all intents and purposes, it'll be a brand new cabin come May. It'll be a nice 2- 3 person cabin with a beautiful lake view. Most everything - including windows & doors - will be new. Going to work on it this afternoon and will post some pics of the progress.

Just started designing a new "lodge" that we hope will be open for 2015. It's going to be nice - great lakeview, deck. Planning on a pool table and some other rec stuff. Looking forward to many good times in it - including winter action.

We're happy to report that 2013 was our busiest in the 47 or so seaons our family has had the camp. Thanks to every one of our guests!

It was certainly a different kind of year.....some observations:

Latest ice out we've ever seen. We weren't getting boats in until May 11 (usually it's the end of April) - and we're usually a week earlier than other lakes due to being on a river system.

Then we rolled into extreme water conditions. The first half of the summer was higher than I've ever seen, the second half was the lowest I've seen since around 1978. Fall rain brought it back to around average before freeze up.

The walleye were overall very good. They continued the system trend of the last few years where the average size is going up each year. There were many times throughout 2013 that the wallaye fishing on the Seine was the best I've ever seen. Seems like a lot of the fish that came out of some of the big spawns we've seen over the last 10 years or so are growning up giving better sizes and even bigger spawns.

The bass continue to amaze. Great numbers and sizes....good variety of sizes too,smaller ones, lots of 16" - 18",  but we're seeing more and more 20"+. We saw a lot in the 20" - 21" this year and a number even larger. With many of our smallmouth anglers practicing catch & release, there's no reason to think that 2014 will be any different.

Still lots of smaller pike, but we did have quite a few 30" - 35" this year and quite a few that broke 40". Although it always happens, I think there were 'way more reports of aggresve (ie crazy) pike attacking other fish as people reeled them in. All species too....including other pike.

Crappie are continuing to show up in the system, although are still pretty elusive for our anglers. The first bunch we saw this year were in the bellies of pike. Gene R. from MN seems to be the one guy who can figure them out and land some.

Perch were caught here and there all summer - the guys from W VA, got into a bunch of nice ones right by the camp. We also saw more whitefish caught than in recent years.

Off system lakes were very productive....had some great walleye and bass action on a few of some good pike. The waters with the lake trout gave our guests some excellent laker fishing. Looking forward to expanding into some new and seldomlyfished waters in 2014!

Likely the best biting species of the year though was the mosquito! I think that some periods were the worst for the critters that I've ever seen. And we didn't have an exclusive on them - I heard reports from all over N Ontario that it was the worst year for bugs in a long time. Here's hoping that's one bite that doesn't rival 2013 this year!

Great time at the All Canada Show in Chicago last month, and Lori will be at the Progressive Insurance St Louis Boat Show for 5 days starting February 26. Please come out and say "hi!".