Monday, August 25, 2014

Fishing Etiquette 101 - Distance Between Boats


Bow Narrows angler Troy Downs' shirt says it all
If there is one beef about other anglers that we hear from our guests, it is that someone else crowded-in on them while they were fishing.
Last week a man and woman fishing in one of our camp boats had just caught and released a nice walleye when suddenly one of the Fall Walleye Classic boats "pre-fishing" before next weekend's tournament roared right up alongside. Although such boorish behaviour is legal during the tournament (you just can't hit the other boat), it is a thoughtless, obnoxious act when it is perpetrated upon someone who is just fishing for recreation two weeks before the tournament.
Two years ago I was nearly swamped by a tournament pre-fishing boat as it did donuts at low speed around me. The boat's five occupants had their eyes glued to multiple fish-finders to see if I had revealed to them some secret honey-hole. They cared nothing about the huge wake they created or that me and my dog, Sam, were holding on for our lives.
Just like the couple, I fired up my motor and headed back to camp. This isn't what fishing is supposed to be about. I am not always so easy-going.
Once I was fishing by myself on a still evening and could hear a boat coming far off in the distance as it crossed a large bay. Eventually I heard it enter the narrows and finally turn into the long bay where I was floating, jigging quietly for walleye.  Mine was the only boat in the entire mile-long bay. The boat, which was from another camp, had two occupants. It had nearly gone by my location when I was obviously spotted. It did a 90-degree turn and, to my astonishment, stopped 15 yards away. The two anglers had just commenced to fish when I switched to a large red-and-white spoon and cast right into the middle of their boat.
"Are you nuts?" one of the red-faced anglers asked.
"Sorry. I'm just not good at SHORT casts," I thundered.
They left.
Obviously, they were driving around the lake looking for someone to fish beside, the same as the pre-fishing tournament boats did to me and to the couple.
This is rude, unacceptable behaviour.
Fishing is a meditative, spiritual exercise for most anglers. They like to be left alone. We should all respect that.
I have been asking our anglers this summer what they think the minimum distance between boats should be. The answer is 50 yards unless the other boat's occupants are someone you know.
 I would agree with a couple of caveats: unique fishing spots such as below a rapids can't be claimed by just one boat; and, during the exact day of a tournament, it is unrealistic to expect tournament anglers fishing for money to respect anything else.




Sunday, August 24, 2014

Kirchenoberstorte, more than a mouthful

Cook Sophie Kurucz just gets bored making the usual desserts and so, from time to time, tries something unusual. Enter Kirchenoberstorte, a cherry, custard, layered chocolate cake covered in whipped cream.
It was delicious, absolutely delicious, but took an entire afternoon to make. It was just too much. So strike Kirchenoberstorte from the future menu.
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Ursus americanus crosses the narrows


This black bear (Ursus americanus) was caught on camera by angler Bob Preuss today as it swam across a narrows in Red Lake near Bow Narrows Camp.
As the second photo shows, Mr. Bear lost no time getting back on dry land and out of sight.
We're still seeing about equal numbers of bears and moose. Normally moose sightings would far outnumber bear.
Although bear numbers are up and moose down all over Northwestern Ontario, there were lots of moose last summer and the scarcity of sightings this year are probably more to do with the weather than with drastic population changes.
It has been wonderfully dry which has eliminated most of the biting insects that can send moose streaming to the lake for relief. It also has been cool at night and warm-but-seldom-hot in the day. Again, moose are more inclined to stay in the shade in such weather and not come all the way out to the lake. In very hot temperatures moose will spend most of the day right in the water.
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

There are now assists on every dock

BNC staffer Brad Donovan holds assist that was pre-fabbed on shore

Assist is pushed under side stringer and lifted until bottom brace meets bottom of decking

Top brace is attached and bolted through decking to brace below.

Close-up shows bracing above and below deck

Finished product. A second assist was added to left side of dock
We succeeded in installing dock-assists on all the crib docks this summer making these handy devices available now to all guests in every cabin.
The dock-assists and dock tying rings are positioned so that when the boat is tied up, boaters can step onto a seat in the boat and, holding the uprights in each hand, pull themselves up onto the dock.
They have been universally welcomed by everyone, even those who don't have knee, hip or back problems although the latter group is who we were trying to help out.
We made them for all the floating docks last year and it took some head-scratching to invent ones for the crib docks this summer.
The photos show how we accomplished it. By bracing the assists both under the dock and from above, they are super-solid.
Although the bracing does extend onto the walkway of the dock, no one seems to stumble over them, even when the braces from assists on both sides leave only a foot or so of room in the middle.
These crib docks are four-feet wide, decked with rough-sawn, two-inch planks and with log (jackpine) stringers.
We used conventional two-inch pressure treated lumber for the assists, 5/15 lag screws for fastening the units together and 3/8-inch bolts to tie the top braces through the dock decking to the bottom bracing. The assists are also fastened to the log stringers using 5/16 lag screws.
I would estimate each assist took two hours to build and install and cost $60-$70 in materials.
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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Another day comes to a glorious end

Bow Narrows angler Dean Matzke snapped this awesome photo of a Red Lake sunset. It's worth staying out on the lake until the sun goes down each evening just to see the show.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Brothers do great on the big walleye


Nathan Manni caught and released this impressive 27.5-inch walleye (top) while his brother Josh placed a close second with a 26.5-incher.
The two boys were here two weeks ago with mom Amy, dad Scott and grandfather Tom.
As usual, they caught a ton of walleye.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Music to cook fish by

Father and son, Gary and Jeff Barg of Wisconsin, fired up their bagpipes to entertain the rest of the group who were cooking supper outdoors.
This marks only the second time the pipes have been heard in camp. Our oldest son, Matt, also plays the pipes and had them here years ago.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Excitement in the sky yesterday



This Ministry of Natural Resources water bomber made a half-dozen bombing runs on Brigitte Lake yesterday. It may just have been a practise exercise as we saw no signs of smoke.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Great summer for topwater pike fishing

Live Target Walking Frog took this nice northern pike
Zara Spook Junior also works well. Note the calm water when we use topwaters.
I've had the best time this summer using topwater lures for northern pike.
I usually only get a chance to go fishing after supper and this turns out to be the ideal time for using surface plugs. The wind is calm and the lake is usually like glass.
Although it has taken me several years to get the hang of using the Live Target Walking Frog, it is now my all-time favorite pike bait. The key, I've found, is not to use a steel leader. Instead I use a smaller snap-swivel. This change seems to have made all the difference.
You fish this lure by twitching your rod, reeling up the slack and twitching again. You can do this very rapidly, making the lure hop left and right all the way back to the boat.
Pike often come sailing completely out of the water when they strike the frog. Although they frequently miss the lure altogether, I've learned not to set the hook when I see them airborne because in some instances, they grab the bait on the way back down.
Without a doubt, I would rank the Live Target Walking Frog as the absolute best top-water bait for northern pike.
A near second, however, is the Zara Spook and Spook Junior. I've had good luck especially with the Junior, a smaller version of the Spook.
I've also caught pike this summer on Live Target's rubber frogs but they don't work nearly as well as the hard-bodied Walking Frog. As I have mentioned before, I always turn the double-hook on the rubber frogs downwards because pike virtually never get caught with up-turned hooks.
I use all these top-water baits anywhere there are weeds along the shoreline. It seems they produce the best when you pop them along very briskly.
Brad Donovan, our outside worker this summer, caught a 34-inch pike on the Walking Frog. Alas, I had forgotten my camera!
We have caught a bunch of nice pike on the Frog. In fact, it may appeal especially to larger fish.
It is such a thrill to see pike sailing through the air, doing back-flips and swirling at the topwaters that it is difficult to use conventional below-surface lures again. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Hey! That's no walleye!

It's a sauger, a close cousin of the walleye.
Bow Narrows angler Paul Styve recognized it right away when he caught this one near camp last week. Saugers have a mottled pattern to their backs and most importantly, don't have any white showing on their tail fins as do walleyes.
They taste the same as walleye and are counted as part of your walleye limit. Paul released this one.
We only catch a few sauger each summer; however, if you went ice fishing on Red Lake you would catch many more. They bite especially well in the winter.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Photographer has an eye for wildlife

Lonnie Boyer snapped this shot of a female goldeneye duck with one duckling.
Lonnie left camp just a week ago. The tiny size of the duckling is a comment on the late spring we had here at Red Lake. The ice didn't melt until May 20, I believe. As a result all sorts of wild things that hinge on ice-out are either later than normal or, in this case, smaller.
The fact the hen only had one offspring is also unusual. These ducks would normally have 7-10 young ones. Mind you, tiny ducklings look mighty tasty to northern pike!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Lots of bears seen and fewer moose

Black bear swims near Bow Narrows Camp
Who is that masked perch fisherman? It's Foster Lundy!
Michelle Lundy snapped this photo of a black bear swimming in Red Lake. It is probably the sixth bear sighting our guests have reported.  That is probably about normal. What is abnormal, however, is the lack of moose sightings. So far we have only seen a handful. Normally moose sightings far outnumber bears.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The beat goes on for big fish

Jane Bechtel struggles with 43-inch northern pike
Troy Bechtel shows off large golden-hued walleye


HI Dan 
Here are a few pictures from our trip.  I have to say I caught the biggest fish I have ever caught in my life!  Wow! 29" Walleye and 43"Northern.  
Jane Bechtel


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dead moose is finally being eaten

A leg and ribcage is all that's left. Photo by Lonnie Boyer
Nothing goes to waste in the outdoors but the critters who would have liked to eat this dead moose have been stumped all season by the fact it was floating in the water. Our anglers reported finding the moose floating first thing this spring. It was still there last week.
Now today Mike and Lonnie Boyer found where the moose has been dragged up on shore and mostly consumed. Black bears are the most likely scavenger but it also isn't impossible that a wolverine could have dragged the moose.
Once a big animal has ripped open the hide, which can be up to 3/4-inch thick in places, vultures, eagles and ravens will clean everything up.
This moose most likely fell through the ice this spring. Had it occurred during the winter, some carnivore, especially wolves, would have devoured him on the ice for sure.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How a camp operator attends tourism meetings

Brenda is on the board of a couple of provincial tourism groups including Tourism Northern Ontario which has monthly meetings, usually by teleconference. She is a representative for camp operators and this photo is a good example of how busy a camp operator is in the summertime.
Brenda has the meeting on the speakerphone while she peels potatoes for lunch.
We simply don't have time just for talking, unless it can be done while we accomplish something else at the same time. My longest conversation with Brenda is when I talk to her on the phone from town to get her grocery order.
We've always said that if one of us dies during the summer, we'll just chuck the dead person in the freezer until the end of the season.
We're just kidding of course. We can't spare the freezer space.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Nice lake trout caught and released today

Loren Conkle shows off a beautiful, plump, 34-inch lake trout
Jerime Williams got a sleek 37-incher
The Conkle-Williams group, in camp this week, are one of the few any more who try deep lake trout fishing. They did so today and caught and released several beautiful lakers.
Some people are under the misconception that trout brought to the surface from deep water subsequently die. In fact, lake trout are about the only fish that can make this transition safely. As you pull them skywards they released bubbles from their air bladders. As long as you don't handle them roughly and return them quickly to the water, they are fine.
All lake trout on the Red Lake water system must be released.
Lake trout are making a slow comeback after their numbers dwindled in the late '90s. We still catch dozens of lake trout annually but most are taken in the spring when they are near the surface.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Seen today along Red Lake Road

These bears seem to be eating wildflowers
Lonnie Boyer snapped some great shots of bears along Hwy 105, the Red Lake Road, today on her group's way to camp. This mother bear had three cubs. It's rare for a bear to have more than two.
Our guests are seeing more bears than normal, both along the highway and also while fishing here at camp. It seems we are seeing more bears than moose this summer.
A couple of our anglers spotted a bear swimming that was blond in colour. They described it as the same tone as a golden retriever.
By the way, fishing last week was excellent. I heard several long-time guests comment that it was the best fishing ever for them. Lots of big walleye and northern pike were caught.
The weather too was spectacular. This entire summer has been blessed with warm-but-not-hot temperatures in the daytime and very cool weather at night. We have had very little rain.
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Saturday, July 26, 2014

It just gets better and better


Debi Cesario hoists a beautiful 26-inch walleye
Carl Cieplik with a 40-inch northern pike
Carl, Tommy and Brenda Cieplik
Dear Dan and Brenda,

Have you ever gone on a vacation that was such a wonderful experience and left such lasting memories that you were afraid to visit that place again, in fear that your expectations are that of the first and you don't want anything to be different?  Well, I have to be honest, my first experience at Bow Narrows Camp left me thinking that nothing can get better than that so I was a little afraid to join Brenda, Carl and Thommy on their trip this year.  I was worried that last years trip could never measure up nor bring me new excitement.  Wow, was I wrong!!!!!!!

Once again, Bow Narrows Camp has done it.  You have given me another vacation that will be talked about and remembered for years to come.  My only goal this year was to beat Thommy in fishing, which I accomplished with a 26" walleye.  Carl caught the biggest pike at 40".  That in itself was great, however, your camp added so much more to this vacation.  The cabin with its breathtaking views, the beautiful boats, the courteous and friendly staff and the meals, ahhhh yes the meals.  All of these things made this vacation another that will forever be in my heart and always on my mind.  As in the past, I will HIGHLY recommend your camp as one of the wonders of the world. 

Thank you again for making dreams come true.

Debi Cesario


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