Monday, August 3, 2015

July 18 - August 1 Fishing

The last couple of weeks of July were a little quieter for us, but started getting really busy again around the 25th and will be going as such for the next 2 months.

The issue that defined the fishing the last couple of weeks is the fact that our fishermen had considerably strong winds to contend with on and off. The 18th - 21st or 22nd was a period like that....anyone fishing (ourselves included) had to find little inlets....we tried to give anglers an second anchor - which helped a bit. Pete H guided the McKittrick group one day...struggled against the wind but got fish and was able to show them some spots for the rest of the week. We're lucky to be on a system where there re narrow channels and that we're on Banning Lake where the winds aren't as pronounced as they are on larger lakes. You can pretty much always get out  - usually only 1 -2 days / summer where Banning is even too windy  - and people did get out...the strange thing is how it would last for 4 days straight...and not even recede in the evening.

When the winds did recede though, fishing was good. We had a few feeds ourselves. When I (Quent) was out, it was definitely windy and hard to fish, but we were finding walleye at around 22' (before we were blown off those schools. Others went out and had some really good fishing later in that week.

Loris' family was up from Toronto - struggled against the winds, but Wyatt came up and had some really good fishing with them later in the week when the winds died down. We had a great fish fry and lots of action.

The Budrow group were up for their annual trip and did great as they always do....fished out on the Seine and on some downstream "off system" spots.

The Kolhagen's were up for the second time and did very well.

The Rudd's, Handt's, Halgrimson's Miller, Jackie & Buzz  etc were up for their annual trip with their very large group....had some great fishing as they always do. They worked the Seine Chain and a bunch of remote lakes...mainily focused on walleye, but caught bass, pike etc...Jackie got a 37' pike on Pipe - even saw some sunfish on a certain off system lake.  Gene found some crappie like he always does. And they picked lots of blueberries!

The water is still somewhat high....especially for this time of the year...the highest I've seen it at the beginning of August for some time. Not such a bad thing, although there's still a pretty good current going through the narrows, so a little lower levels sometimes translate to a little less current.

Going for the nicer 'eye's in the 25 ' ish always, we're seeing a lot of nice bass come out of those spots as well. Still getting some smallmouth action on the banks at certain times - not like June, but particularly on sunny days there's been some nice ones.

Several pike in the 30"-40" ....several bass in the 18"-20" range. Lakers were a little quieter for the ones that went after them. I didn't hear of any "trophy" walleye the last two weeks, but lots of good eaters and several in the low - mid 20 inch range.

As far as canoeing goes, it's been a pretty busy period...troop 206 from MN was in routing through the White Otter area and had some amazing bass action... the Schardt group picked up their canoes here and did their trip near Dryden and had some really great fishing(!! - our canoes have been away up on The Albany River and the Winisk, but this is a first for the Dryden area!).

The Hartnett / Godfrey group was out for the twenty somethingth time and had a great trip on the east side of Quetico. They had some great fishing as always and reported the absolute biggest bass that they have ever seen...Dave caught & released it, but by the sounds of it, it would have been in the record books.

Had a strange go down thing in one area of Quetico recently....there was a "person of interest"'s the public advisory that was released:

A person of concern has been spotted in the areas of Brent Lake and Crooked Lake in Quetico Provincial Park.  This person is male, Caucasian, with scraggly red-blonde hair and a beard.  He may not be wearing shoes and is believed to not have a canoe.  If visitors see a man matching this description, please stay clear and do not engage him.  Visitors should note the time and location of their sighting and report it to the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-807-683-4200 and to a Park Staff Member.  Visitors are encouraged to stay away from the areas of Brent and Crooked Lakes.

So they wound up actually closing about 10 or so lakes in and around that area !!

This morning we were advised that the restrictions had been lifted ...that they have found this man and taken him out of the park..

Haven't seen something like that before....

Anyway.....getting ready for a busy August...been out baiting bears and getting ready for that stuff....looking forward to seeing everyone that's yet to come this year!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

JUNE 30 - JULY 17

Summer certainly has been making it's way to NW ON.....the last week or so, we've seen some hot & humid weather (although not that "hot" as we're reminded by many of our guests!). Mosquitoes finally have kicked in....June was almost mosquito free - dunno why, but don't really care either lol!

We started out the season with some of the lowest water levels we've seen in fluctuated a bit, but has remained high since mid - late May. The levels weren't as high as the last two seasons (thankfully - that was extreme), but high nonetheless. Now, mid July, they're higher than they usually are this time of year. I wouldn't mind seeing it drop an inch or two - maybe to alleviate some current in the narrows for easier fishing, but overall I have been happy with the "slightly" higher water this season. 

The Groh group was in the last of July / first of June...caught some nice used to fishing a little later in the season.

Second week of July saw quite a few lines in the started out really good and then a cold front and the mayfly hatch seemed to mess up the bite. The Meyer group was in camp for the first time and worked hard against the curves that Mother Nature threw at the fishing this week. 

We saw the Volkman group (welcome back!) pick up some nice walleye early in the week - good sized ones using artificial and trolling. I always preach if you're getting all small walleye, mix up the usually always get better sized fish on artificial and trolling is a nice change up to vertical jigging with live bait. When the bite got a little tougher they mixed it up a bit and found some really good action downstream on the Seine. One thing that's nice about the areas that they fished further downstream, is that the water body is much smaller, and it makes it easier to hone in on the fish. Work every angle you can and it'll happen!

The Reid group was in for their second visit. They worked through the tough bite days and caught and ate fish throughout. I think it helps when there's 10 lines in the water...they kept catching! They tried lake trout fishing for the first time (first time here anyway - not sure if it was the first!), and had a great time. Considering they don't have a lot of experience fishing lakers and it was mid summer they did fantastic. Found them in 80' holes suspended between 30'-40'. Lots of bites - and Brian Sr. landed a 6lb and Brian landed a 10lb! 

The Halgrimson group was back....first visit this year (if you don't count ice fishing!).....worked through the slow days on the Seine and other lakes, and caught lots (of course, I've never seen then not catch lots)...See you guys again in a week or so!

It was absolutely fantastic to see Chris & Jackie Rahnasto (and their kids!) for the first time in 6 years! The Rahnasto family has been coming for many, many years and always do well. I think life got busy - with rising young families etc, but it was great to meet the 3rd generation of the family and see that they inherited the fishing skills - even at such young ages!. This time was no exception ....any talk of slower fishing was nowhere to be heard. I looked out at the lake once and saw their boat trolling around some of the islands and shoreline where people either don't often fish or they don't give the spots much of a chance. I asked Chris how they did in those spots and he said they did great! They caught lots of fish.....they caught nice fish....(did I mention that Chris agrees he gets nicer sized fish trolling - a slow doubt to get the depth), along with catching all kinds of different species off shore in front of their cabin. Hoping to see all the others again next time! 

Chuck G & family are back.....been a couple of weeks so far....he agreed with the few days it was slow, but has had some really good fishing as well....and has been kind enough to explain his (incredibly successful) drop shot set up he uses. Chuck seemed to be rediscovering and enjoying some topwater bass fishing the last few days, but it sounds like another continent of his family will be in and he'll be back to dropshotting the ledges! 

Lori & I got out last weekend ( the 11th I think)...this time to see what was happening with the walleye. We just went out on Banning...very hot day...first ledge we went to (not far from camp), we found lots of walleye at 25'. Well, Lori found lots of walleye (I found some!). It's getting to be the norm - her outfishing me (good guide I guess)... a little more practice on setting the hook and look out! Anyway she landed a pile. We missed a bunch too. We were using minnows - real reason, just thought we'd take the minnows - she had a 1/4 oz pink jig, I had a 1/4 oz orange jig....I often think that colour doesn't always matter, but it was the only difference in what we were doing, so pink was definitely the hot colour that day. And we did see a few mayflys on the water. 

Lots coming up....Lori's family is in from Toronto so we should be out on the water with them - will get some reports up! And in the next week or so we will be starting to build a new cabin in place of #4 - the old log one we dismantled a few years ago.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Quick couple of things

Rainy and kind of humid weather wise.....but what are you going to do? Sounds like nicer days are coming tomorrow. Mosquitoes are still strangely low key. Don't know why, but we'll certainly take it!

Just wanted to note a couple of things quickly.....warmer weather seems to have arrived...and the walleye (and others) are starting to head deeper. As a lot of you mid - late summer walleye anglers know, 25' ledges are usually a good bet as far as summer walleye go (and some nice bass & pike come from those ledges as well).

Anyway, we're seeing some people starting to get the walleye at this well as some big bass, but one thing I always like to point out is that many overlook the opportunities to fish walleye in (under) the weeds during the summer months - and much, much shallower. Rick & Joe from IL reported catching some nice 'eyes in weeds to underline this point. Just wanted to point that out as an option that is often overlooked in the summer months.

The Groh party is in, and Donna started the trip out catching a nice 37" pike off the docks. Good way to start!

More to come!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Quick Update - Late June topwater bass

Well, Lori & I got out this evening for a couple of hours - just going for bass...It was a pretty good evening overall. Weather was beautiful....lake very calm. We casted the shores...wanted to get a handle on what was happening with the smallies.

Anyway, I had a couple shake off or hit short....landed a little pike. Lori did much better....including a really nice 18" smallie. Very fat - great fish...would have liked to take a picture, but we didn't bring a time.

We used topwater plugs - even though it's a little later in June. You can use topwater all year, just you won't get the sheer numbers that you get in early June. My hula popper didn't produce much action. Switched to some type of chug bug (or a reasonable facsimilie)  and got a lot more interest from the bass.

Lori used a Torpedo all night, and she had the best luck. It was only a couple of hours, and we got some decent action. Only fished Banning - all within eyeshot of the camp. The action increased considerably on the south shore  - just at dusk when we were making our way back to camp. Likely between 9:00 - 9:30 p.m. The swirling seemed to increase too - seemed to come much more alive just before dark.  The bass were hitting likely 5-10 feet from the shoreline, but many were swirling further out.

Slow, patient retrieve worked best. Cast it out, let it sit, slowly jerk it back. Make sure, after the "jerk" that you reel in so your line is taut while it's sitting there before the next. Missed a couple due to loose line and inability to set the hook. All the bass hit when the bait was idle.

Purposely avoided weedbeds in order to avoid the pike - aside from the one I caught, that worked out. But the pike were doing some swirling of their own in the weeds. Likely could have had some fun with them tonight if we felt so inclined.

Weeds are really coming along...forming quickly. Didn't catch the water temp as we didn't bring  depth finder.

All in all looks positive for working the shore in the next little while...will get out this weekend and try & give some more updates.

Fishing Update June 14-26

Been a tougher week fishing this week (since the 20 or 21), but Amber, Adam & the Danielson's from Minnesota did terrific with walleye and lake trout (good sizes & good numbers) and I'm seeing the Benston group bringing in quite a few 'eyes - some nice ones and lots of good eaters. Newer groups in camp, so it can be hard without all you Seine Chain veterans. Some people are saying that the bass are a bit on the shy side...seeing smaller pike, but no real notable sizes yet this week. Strange because the bass and pike have been very aggressive. The weather has been really crazy though - seems like September.....storms coming and going.....the forecasters are pretty much batting at 0% for the forecasts this week. Won't be long and it'll break though!

Water isn't moving up in temp in a real hurry - still in the mid 60's for the most part. Weeds are developing really quickly....water is staying fairly high - likely about average for this time of year. Nothing like last June though...and bugs are not bad at all (yet!).

Earlier on this period, the Krueger family was up - Dean's second trip this year.....they did terrific as always....some great walleye on the Seine and they did terrific with lake trout on Big McCauley & Little Joe. Pics from their trip going up on FB soon as well as some from Dean's first trip with the guys in May!

The Rogers group was back for the second time and absolutely hammered the smallmouth. The Uebelhach group was up for the second time as well.....I heard about a lot of really big bass with them as well.

The Murphy / Binotti group were up and did great as always.  Hardly saw the guys as - aside from the night when the Hawks won the cup (!!), - they seemed to be on the water an awful lot. They got their walleye fishing out of the way early in the week and had fun with pike and bass later in the week....

and the Emery group was back for their second trip and also did really well.

It was wonderful to see Rita Scholl & the kids again. We all miss Paul, but it was such a great thing for you to come up and fish the areas that he loved so much. And, based on those stringers and pictures (awesome bass Bethany!) you brought in, I'd say that he taught his considerable angling skills to you all! 

Steve & Jo Mitchell wrapped up their trip of bass fishing....reported as their best in the 7 or 8 years that they've been coming (and that's saying something!)....a comment from Steve....

Canada Wow what a trip we had. We caught 551 total fish 2 perch, 7 walleye,91 pike, and 451 bass. We caught 88 between 17-18", 58 between 18-19 inches, 17 between 19-20 inches, and 3 between 20-21 inches.This is the best we have ever done. I would strongly recommend branches seine river lodge to any one looking for a fishing trip. 

I gotta say that it is great to hear someone that has been coming for several years - and has always done great - report that this year has been their best yet! Looking forward to the tackle stats Steve...and I gotta steal some of those pics from you as well!

Anyway, nothing extreme conditions wise...things are progressing along. 'Eyes moving to their summer "holes"...I'd think by early July that we'll be looking for those 25' ledges for them as usual. Had a 19" bass get caught with some guys today fishing deep for they're starting to move as well....but you can usually get action in the shallows all summer. The fact that it seems like it's been mostly smaller pike getting caught along the banks, I would say that those big ones are moving deep as noted...things happening like they always do. The weed formation is coming along quickly and will open up some different angling opportunities...and the lakers on the remote lakes are going deeper, but as shown this week, are still very catchable!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fishing Report - May 30 - June 13

As always, early June has been crazy busy - but in a good way.

Water levels are kinda wonky this year....they were low, then high, then low....then in early June they went high again.....quite high, but not like the last couple of Junes'. Weather has been back and forth too....mostly pretty good so far this month, but some rain - including a huge downfall last weekend that helped raise the levels.

The Schaeffhauser / Richards group wrapped up a very successful year....walleye and bass. They often fish remote lakes that they are familiar with, but have gotten pretty good on the Seine Chain and had a couple of really good walleye days.

The Paquay group were back....3rd year...and did really well again.

The Martin's were back for the second year and did fantastic with all species....they never strayed far from the camp but caught lots of walleye, some great bass numbers and sized and lots of pike including a handful over 30".

The Frazier / Epley group had another great year - some great bass action plus 'eyes to eat. They hit it hard and they are rewarded for it for sure!

The Rose group flew in from Oklahoma to maximize time on the water....and it paid off - they had  absolutely amazing smallmouth fishing - big numbers and big sizes.

The Glisson group did well learning the chain....had some good action out here as well as a very good day fishing the Seine below the Calm Lake dam and a really productive day with pike on Miranda Lake.

New groups - the Goodrich party, the Koenig party, the Voltz party started figuring the out on the chain.

The Berry group were back - first time in June vs late summer when they usually come. Dennis' boat had some really nice walleye caught, while the Bonsett's boat did really good with the bass.....their best action came fly fishing on Banning. Great to see some people taking advantage of some terrific early summer smallmouth bass fly fishing action!

The Przyborowski group was in from Green Bay and Curtis & Gordon had some terrific slow day was offset by a couple of really good days. See you guys in January!

The Eslinger group was back.....they did very well on the Chain and had a couple of really good pike days on Miranda.

Steve & Jo Mitchell finished up one week of two - so they're still at it. Those of you who know Steve know his passion for bass fishing and his record keeping. He has had some amazing years here....I don't want to jinx it, so I won't spout off any of his stats so far, but it seems like it is a record setting year for trophy bass as well as overall numbers....getting daily updates and wishing him & Jo luck! Next report I should be able to provide some specifics.

We welcomed our first few Quetico groups in....the Holbeck group was back and had a really good - albeit not too aggressive (by their standards) - canoe trip. The Phillips group had a great trip..The Spero group just left as well and had a great time as always....The 17' Souris River kevlar's we just added are getting thumbs up all around! See you in Chicago in January Mark!

So the last few weeks have been excellent overall fishing wise. Very much what you'd expect in early June as far as action and conditions go....The walleye have been hitting very well for those who are going after them....yesterday morning saw some really great walleye action. As usual, good numbers - lots of good eaters and varying sizes.....some in the mid 20" range. Minnows seem to be what most are using with leeches next and crawlers behinds that along with some artificial.

The pike have kicked in their attitude...lots of smaller ones...a number in the 30" - 40" range, and lots attacking walleye and stringers...all the classic pike tackle - buzz baits, Raps, twister tails, lures.....and pretty much anything and everything else.

The bass have been absolutely incredible. The numbers being caught (and released) are huge...and the sizes continue to impress. The number of 18"-20"+ we're seeing just seems to keep going up and up. The ones having the most success are still putting the tackle right up on the banks.....the water temps are varying between 65 - 75 on the chain, so different areas are at different stages of the bass spawn - pre, post and mid depending on where you fish. Still all very shallow. A variety of tackle being reported that is working well...Mepps Black Fury #2 with a tail, white wacky worms, flukes, various plastics....chartreuse worms, hula poppers, jitter bugs....all what you'd expect.

Actually have been seeing s fair bit of perch....the Eslingers had a good shore lunch of perch one day - which you don't hear that often here. Odds and ends of crappies - better numbers upstream, but no one has been targeting them the last couple of weeks.

The Seine Chain continues to be where our anglers spend the most of their time, but during this period we saw groups on Lerome Lake for some great bass, the Seine below the Calm Lake dam - for some really great pike, walleye and bass action, Miranda saw a few days of absolutely great pike action, Pipe Lake for walleye, Big McCauley Lake for some really nice lake trout (sounds like they were in the 30' range). We will be adding some boats to some amazing lakes this summer - likely not until a little later though....A few groups this week have already checked out some different waters, so I'll update on that next week.

One thing - and again I don't want to jinx it - is that the mosquitoes haven't been too bad at all (at least by our standards, and compared to the last couple of summers)....don't know why....perhaps the dry spring? Anyway, we'll take it!

Still in the thick of it....full this week with mostly repeat guests, so should have lots to report in a week or so!

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Pretty busy week here at SRL.....

I know that most of our guests fish mainly on the Seine, but that doesn't mean we don't have a lot of other lakes to choose from. In this past week, aside from the Seine Chain Lakes - Calm, Banning, Chub, Little McCauley & Perch, our guests also could be found fishing Bold Lake, Dovetail Lake, Joe Lake, Miranda Lake, Niven Lake, Big McCauley Lake, Factor Lake, Warner Lake and Lerome Lake. And that doesn't come near the total of other options they could have chosen. As well we had one day last week when we saw a good variety of fish species all in one day: pike, smallmouth, walleye, perch, crappie, lake trout & splake. Pretty cool. And it's only May 28!

Anyway, things are ramping up. The Kruger / Kotil group just left and had another great year...they caught some nice fish - lots of action. Good numbers of walleye - some big pike and some really good lake trout days.They worked the Seine & a few remote lakes.
Dean K with a nice May pike

As the pic above indicates, it seems that the big pike have emerged from their annual "funk" I wrote about last week. Saw several in the high 20" range last week, quite a few between 30"-39"...still waiting for a 40" + inches this month, but it shouldn't be long as their activity has heated up. 

The Stults group are just finishing up - first time here. They explored a lot of the system and seemed to do well with pike. Gave us a great "poor man's lobster" recipe for pike. Looking forward to trying it.

The Schaeffhauser / Richards group is in camp. The guys (& girl) have already done really well - on some remote lakes plus had some great walleye action ob=n the Seine - not very far from the lodge!

Walleye seem to be a bit scattered, heading to their summer holes....already deeper that last weekend. Bass slowly moving towards the banks....gonna be a great smallmouth year again! Water temps seem to be 57-63 or so.

Picking up the first of a couple new Souris River canoe tomorrow, and a another Lund Fury / Honda boat upgrade package early next week.

Water is low, but came up again the last couple of days. The good news about the low water is that the narrows are quite fishable - unlike May / June the last couple of years with the high water & fast current.

Raining now....I better post before I lose the internet!


Sunday, May 24, 2015


We're a week in since the walleye opener last weekend and getting pretty busy. Wrapping up some of the spring renovations and welcoming anglers from all over.

Last weekend - opening of the walleye season - was a challenge for weather. Opening day - Saturday - was pretty nice. Everyone in camp had walleye for dinner - fishing was good. Wyatt was up for the weekend and did very well with some of his friends. Lori, Kiana, Tegan & I got out Saturday evening and did very well with the 'eyes. Good action and, after seeing a number of smaller ones in the beginning, got into some really nice ones. All very close to the camp.

The weather over the next couple of days was nasty - cold, tons of rain and even a few inches of snow. It cut into some fishing time, although the folks that went out in the worst of the weather did do well. The past 4 or 5 days have been beautiful weather wise, but I'm hearing that the 'eyes are biting very lightly....gotta stay focussed to make sure you feel those hits. Lots of smaller pike being caught - seems like the big ones are in their post spawn lethargy the last couple of days....getting reports of follow ups by some monsters, but not biting. Of course that should change in the very near future. In the meantime, we suggest experimenting with the tackle and the presentation. I had a good talk with a well known trophy pike guy a while back about this period where the big pike are in a bit of a funk, and he experiences it regularly. He developed a piece of tackle that he swears brings them out of this. Haven't tried it yet, but soon!

The bass are already impressive....already have seen a lot of 19" - 20".....they're slowly working towards the's going to be another great smallmouth year here.

Had the Tackett group in last week for the first time, and they were a big help reporting a lot of the above stuff to us as we were pretty busy on land at the camp. Great meeting you guys! Brian Young was in from Colorado - another first time Seine Chain guy - and did really good. Great chatting with you about all kinds of stuff. Check out some of the pics Brian took on our Facebook page - including a really neat rainbow we saw on the water. Watch for many more - he'll be sending some really nice shots once he's home - including some amazing northern lights from last week.

The Hollander group from MN is in and doing terrific with the lake trout - thanks very much for giving us a taste Brian!

The Kotil / Krueger group is back in camp for their annual trip and already have been doing well with the 'eyes on the Seine and on some remote lakes.

Put our first canoe group in on Friday, and we're taking delivery of some new, awesome, Souris River kevlar canoes this week!

As well, will be adding another Lund Fury "upgrade" boat to the fleet this week.....the popularity of the upgrade package has been amazing!

Like I mentioned, wrapping up some reno's we've been working on as once June comes, there's no way we can keep doing them. Prepping the two big cabins for right now they look kinds "bare" lol - but are still almost like new inside.

All our terrific friends from Atikokan have been helping as always - Spilchuks, Halasz', Warkentin's, Howie (with Mark W) with the mechanical & welding work....Ridings have chipped in too. There's no way we could be this far along without all of you!

Will try & keep the posts regular this year!