Thursday, January 29, 2015

Broken rod evidence of small lure-big fish

Kinsey Baughman with Little Cleo that caught rod-breaking northern pike
If you look closely at the small spoon my great-niece Kinsey Baughman is holding, you will see it is a 2/5-ounce Little Cleo in silver and blue with a hammered finish. This photo was taken right after a big northern pike snapped her rod in half. She still landed the fish, the size of which I now forget.
When it comes to catching northern pike in the summer, no one does it better than my family who comes each year during our Family Week, the first week of July.
It isn't unusual for each boat to catch and release 50-100 fish in a day. How do we do it? We cast small spoons, spinners and jigs. The spoons are 2/5 to 1/3 ounce, favourite spinners are the #4 and #5 Mepps and Blue Fox, the jigs are 1/4-ounce with 3-4-inch twister tails. Sometimes these are in the form of Beetle Spins which is basically just a jig with a hair-pin spinner attached to the eye.
The small lures catch big pike and small pike. They also catch a bunch of walleye. We even get quite a few perch.
The key is that we make thousands of casts per day each. It isn't difficult when the lures are so light.
Incidentally, we have a great many people who break rods on fish each summer. In fact, we had three broken rods in one day last fall. In the latter three cases, the individuals were fishing alone and were trying to net the fish with one hand. The big pike made lightning-quick lunges beneath the boat and the rods struck the boat's gunwales.
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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Timber wolves right behind whitetail deer

9:35:56 a.m. Deer at left crossed frame in 2/5 second. Another deer is at top right

9:38:25 a.m. First timber wolf is 2 minutes, 29 seconds behind the deer

9:38:40 a.m. He leaves at left and a second wolf enters the frame

9:38:54 a.m. The third wolf appears,
This is about as close to photographing wolves in the act of killing deer as I have come here at our home in Nolalu. The deer in the first photo are flying by. This camera clicks in 2/5 of a second once it detects motion. The deer disappearing at left crossed the entire field of vision in that split second. The deer at upper right was completely gone when the shutter clicked again five seconds later.
The first wolf appears less than 2 1/2 minutes behind the deer. He isn't alone. The next one comes along 15 seconds later and the third one four seconds later still.
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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Emergency fire-starting trick

 In Northwestern Ontario you can find a great emergency fire starting material -- birch bark -- everywhere -- almost.
I was moose hunting a few years ago and got dropped off by my mates on a point so I could watch the back side of a grassy bay where moose might come to feed. It was windy, snowing and raining and turned out not to be fit for man nor beast.

In pretty short order I got chilled, despite my warm clothes and rain gear. I decided to give up on the hunting idea and just sit by a fire until I got picked up. I always carry a butane lighter in my hunting vest, able to light thousands of fires, if needed. To my chagrin, there wasn't a birch tree on the entire point and the mainland was a mass of blown-down, sopping-wet, dead balsam firs. I could not come up with anything dry to start the fire. If only I could have gotten a small flame going, branches from the dead balsam would dry out in the heat and it would have been no trick to keep the fire going. Despite all my experience in the bush, I could not get the fire to burn. I ended up doing jumping jacks for about three hours.
When I came home to Nolalu that fall I was telling my story of woe to a teacher-friend of Brenda. Harry Sitch said the exact thing happened to him moose hunting one time although in his case he had waded out into a beaver pond to retrieve a fallen moose (a far better story!) From that point on, he said, he carried an old waxed milk carton in his pack (or vest, I forget which). The carton is waterproof and when lit, burns for several minutes, enough to ignite the tinder in a campfire under any conditions.
It was a good tip. Just cut the sides of the carton in strips and fold them back and forth over the base of the carton. The whole thing collapses to about the thickness of a deck of cards. When you need it,
just fluff-up the package a bit and place it under the tinder.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What makes a perfect day for fishing?

This kind of weather doesn't "reflect" so well on fishing. Vic Fazekas photos

Vic Fazekas with nice fall-caught walleye. Note the chop on the water.
The old saying is: "even a bad day at fishing beats a good day at work."
When it comes to catching, however, the weather conditions are better some days than others.
Clear, windless days are great for suntanning, for swimming, for photography, for seeing deep into the water and for "just feeling great." They are also the worst for catching fish. The very best conditions are when there is a chop on the water (small waves), is overcast or is partially overcast.
I would like to coin a new saying: "The wind is your friend." It is often the factor between a spectacular fishing day and a dead or mediocre one.
Ironically, though, if you listen to many anglers talk back at camp, wind is the enemy. It prevents them from fishing the way they wanted. That's the key -- fishing THE WAY they wanted.
There is a skill to using the wind to your advantage and it starts by recognizing that there are times where you will need to change your method just because of the wind. For example, if you like to anchor and fish vertically, this is going to be out of the question on very windy days because your anchor will drag. If you have a very good anchor, such as a Danforth, that will dig in and hold you in high winds, then you are also going to need to let out four times the rope as the lake is deep. In other words, if you are fishing in 30 feet of water, a common depth when fishing Red Lake in the fall, you will need to let out 120 feet of rope for the anchor to work. You have so much line out that your boat will swing drastically from side to side, so much that you will seldom be over the spot you wanted to fish. A better decision would be to change locations where it isn't so windy or to cast or troll for northern pike until the wind drops.
Larry Pons with hefty walleye caught on overcast, choppy day.
Except for the fall, walleye fishing on Red Lake is almost always best on the windy shoreline. Why? We really haven't a clue but some possibilities are because the waves make the light dance beneath the surface and acts as camouflage for the fish as they tear into baitfish schools, or the muddied-up shoreline provides feed for schools of minnows which attracts the fish, or the minnows themselves get blown against the bank, or the wind blows all the warm water against the bank, or who knows?
Whatever the reason, you can just look at the wind direction and figure out where the walleyes will be biting the best: on the windy shore. It usually works the best to troll, usually backwards to slow you down but sometimes it is just too windy for this and you must front troll.
Something that more and more of our guests are bringing with them are drift anchors. These canvas or nylon cones are fastened to the boat and thrown overboard and significantly slow down a boat's motion. Using these it is possible to drift and jig in walleye hotspots on windy days, and also just to slow down the boat's trolling speed.
There are some days where it is just too windy to fish the windy shores. In these cases the best places to fish are usually on the protected side of islands and points. Treat the big waves like you would the current in a river; you want to fish the sides and eddies of the current. Anchor in the calm water and pitch a jig into the current (waves).
Windy days are excellent for front-trolling artificials, like Rapala's Shallow Shad Rap. You can keep adjusting your speed with the throttle handle as the wind gusts and wanes. Lots of times the fish are extremely shallow in these conditions -- even just six feet of water -- so work closely to shore.
Northern pike like windy and cloudy days too but unlike walleyes, are as apt to be on the lee side of the bays as they are on the windy side. That's why it is usually a better bet to fish for pike when it is extremely windy. You can do so in protected waters and don't have to deal with the wind so much.
As always, casting is probably the best bet although you will do well front-trolling too. Pike love the weeds and it is usually easier to cast in these spots than to troll.

A good tactic is to fish the big bays when there isn't much wind because there is more chance of a chop. Jason Pons photos.
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Sunday, January 18, 2015

What causes fish wounds and scars?

Skin is missing from top of walleye's head. Photos by Larry Pons

Every once in awhile you catch a fish with a gash in its side, a fin missing or a sore of some kind. What causes these things?
It's a dangerous world if you are a fish. There are predators everywhere: other fish, bald eagles, ospreys, otters and people. Often you can make an educated guess about what happened.
It is unusual to see skin missing from the top of a fish's head. If it had a torn lip or gill, you could surmise it was the result of a fisherman. But the wound right atop the head in the photo above makes me think this walleye had escaped from a big northern pike. The entire top of a pike's mouth is a mass of small teeth, all pointed toward the throat. When a pike catches its prey it usually first grabs it in the middle and after a period of time, lets go and grabs it head first.
Most fish swallow their prey headfirst because the fins all collapse as it goes down the throat.
Somehow, this fish may have wriggled loose from the vise-grip-like hold but lost its scales in the process.
A wound that is more frequent is the gash type on the side, shown in the bottom photo. This is most common on northern pike. In this case, the wound has healed entirely, just leaving a scar, so it could have occurred years ago. Many of these types of wounds either come from the pike thrashing in the shallows while spawning or from fighting with another fish. Northern pike become territorial once they reach a certain length, about the mid-30 inches. They will defend their bay or cove against other similar-sized fish.
Sometimes you catch very large pike -- 40 inches or bigger -- with a fresh scar on its side or back. This will most certainly be a territorial fight scar. Nothing is trying to eat a 40-inch pike!
You also see fish with a rash that encircles its body, often right behind the gills. This is the telltale wound caused by fishermen who handled the fish either with dry hands or with a very rough glove. You should always either wet your hands or better, use a wet, soft, plain cotton glove when handling fish that you intend to release. This prevents your stripping away the slime layer on the fish's skin that protects it from viral and fungal infections.
Small red holes in the skin are almost certainly bloodsucker wounds. Incidentally, bloodsuckers that get on live fish are about the size of a pea. The long lake leeches you see swimming around the shoreline only feed on dead fish.
A puncture wound on the side, especially if it is matched by a puncture on the opposite side, was likely made by bald eagles or ospreys.
Chunks of flesh missing from the face of a fish could have come from an otter. This would especially be likely if the fish was small.

Jason Pons with a nice-size pike with an old wound on its side

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

How to find more information on the blog

There are more than 800 postings on this blog, almost all of them about fishing and outdoor life in Northwestern Ontario. But if all you do is scroll down on your screen, you will just see the latest 20 items. How can you find more? There are a number of ways.
One of the best is to put a topic in the little search window at the top of the page. That will bring up 20 postings on that subject. Be aware that there are likely far more than these 20. At the bottom of the page will be a link to the next group of 20 postings. And at the bottom of that page will be another link to the next 20, etc.
Clicking on the link at the bottom of the page is also just a way to work your way backwards through time on the blog. It's been going on since 2007!
Finally, a third way to find more things on the blog is to look at the archive of postings on the right side. There will be a link to each month for this year and titles of blogs for that month. There is also a list of years. Click on the year and it brings up the months. Click on the month and it brings up the titles.
Newcomers to Bow Narrows Camp or to fishing in Northwestern Ontario can do a lot of research on equipment, lures and techniques and get a good feel for life in the Boreal Forest just by "hunting" around on the blog.
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

This moose was bit by a wolf!

Ham string shows wolf bite. Photos by John Andrews
Bow Narrows Camp angler John Andrews sent me a CD of photos he took while at camp the first week of the season in 2014.
He had a couple of shots of moose along the Red Lake Road or Hwy 105. Upon enlarging one, I noticed the telltale wound of a wolf attack. Wolves grab onto the hindquarters of moose while they are trying to run away. Once the moose is slowed down, others may grab it by the nose or anywhere else. But sometimes the moose escapes, as happened in this case.
I've seen this exact wound before. One fall, back in the old days when we offered commercial moose hunts at Bow Narrows, our hunters got three sets of cows and calves. This was back in the days before the selective harvest and a hunter could shoot moose of any sex.
This exact wound was on the hind legs of both the cow and calf  in all three instances.
At the same time our hunters could hear wolves howling right in the middle of the day, something quite unusual.
Another moose has ragged coat, probably result of moose ticks

Water over road as a result of winter's deep snow melting
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Monday, January 12, 2015

Plenty of timber wolves around this winter

There are four wolves in this frame. One is walking away over the two wolves' heads. This scene is about 75 yards from our house in Nolalu, ON.
Everyone on our road in Nolalu is talking about all the wolves this winter. They just seem to be everywhere. Our neighbors worry about letting their little children play outside unsupervised.
We worry about Cork, our chocolate lab. He can hear the wolves howling even from inside the house.
The wolves have about cleaned-out the deer on our 65 acres. My daily walks on our trails show fresh wolf tracks every night and rarely any deer sign. I have a ton of trail camera photos of them, almost all of them taken at night. It has been like this since we got home in November.
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Saturday, January 10, 2015

What's the story with the moose skull & antlers?

This small bull moose rack which is hung on a tree by the fish house was one I got with my family a few years back. It's the size moose we are looking for: big enough to provide quite a bit of meat, but young enough to be tender. I would guess it was just a few years old.
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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

This couple fished "their way" and succeeded

Tom Demory

Carolyn Demory
I love it when people come fishing to Bow Narrows and do something totally different from everyone else and catch fish!
Tom and Carolyn Demory was a couple who did exactly that late last August. While everyone else was fishing in one type of location, they tried another and guess what? They did just fine!
Sometimes you just need to follow your instincts. If your gut tells you there should be fish in an area, then go with it.
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Monday, January 5, 2015

Everybody has room for nature's best insulator

Jacket and shell are ultimate cold weather gear for travelers

Puffy jacket looks too big for small pocket in duffel bag

But it stuffs right into that tiny space
Years ago I wrote about a cheap, down-filled jacket sold by Cabelas that I figure is the ultimate packable clothing item that will ensure you will never be cold on a fishing or hunting trip.
I have had one of these down jackets for years. It has gone on sale at Cabelas in past seasons for just $29!
Anyway, if you've never owned a down-filled item, you might not be aware how small a space you can pack it into. When I was leaving camp last fall I took a couple of photos of where I packed my jacket. It was in the end pocket of my duffel bag, a place I normally would fit about a dozen pairs of summer socks.
You might notice a bit of duct tape on my jacket in one of the photos. The Achilles heel of down garments is that their fabric rips easily. That's why I almost always wear my jacket inside of a waterproof but breathable shell. But if you do rip it, there's always duct tape!
We're in the midst of a cold snap here in Northwestern Ontario. But even in actual thermometer temps of -30 C (about 20-below F) with wind chills in the -40s, my combination of the down jacket inside the shell jacket is perfectly comfortable. In fact, it is my go-to-town outfit.
Down is nature's best insulator and you don't need to pay hundreds of dollars for garments made of it. It packs in such tiny spaces that virtually every traveler has room for it.
See Jacket for original article.
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Saturday, January 3, 2015

New conservation fishing net in action

Ken Chipongian nets fish one-handed. Photo by John Andrews
Wish I had found this photo when I wrote about our new conservation fishing nets a few postings ago. It is a great action shot of a single angler, in this case Ken Chipongian, netting a big fish by himself. As you can see the long handle of the Lucky Strike conservation net allows him to hold the net under one arm while he deals with his fishing rod and reel.
Ken was fishing at camp the first week last season and by the looks of it, was anchored and probably using dead bait when photographed by angler John Andrews.
You can read more about the conservation net's attributes by clicking here.
It is the most impressive net I have seen and will be in all our boats in 2015.
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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Some larger lures to try for big northern pike

6-inch Spro
For decades smaller lures outperformed larger ones for northern pike at Bow Narrows Camp and the west end of Red Lake, Ontario. But life doesn't stand still and patterns and trends change. For a couple of years now some of our anglers have seen good results with larger lures. By larger, however, I mean within reason.
One such lure last summer was the Spro six-inch sinking model, shown above. Tom Cieplik first brought this lure to our attention in July and quite a few anglers tried it afterwards and agreed. It's a pricey devil, though, so you probably aren't going to fill your tackle boxes with them.
Five-inch Super Fluke
Tom and his family liked the all-silver model but I wonder if the one above would be even better. It really reminds me of a redhorse sucker, a bottom feeder that is present in our lake and I'm sure makes a tasty morsel for any pike.
Another new lure, or at least new to us at Bow Narrows, was the Super Fluke. We had a group in late-July or early August that caught a bunch of big pike on this soft plastic bait. I think they fished it on a plain 1/4-ounce jighead but they might have had the jig-spinner rig shown here. They used the five-inch fluke, I believe, and cast it right into the shallows and then reeled it straight back to the boat, rather than jigging it.
I have written a couple of times about a great surface lure, the Live Target Walking Frog. This lure is about 5-6 inches in length and both "hops" and "walks the dog" as you pump your
Walking Frog
rod tip while reeling it back to the boat. It is an excellent surface bait and works great any time the water is calm such as in the evening.
The Zara Spook is another great surface bait. Again, the best length is about six inches. You are probably seeing a pattern to the sizes mentioned here. These baits are bigger than the 1/3-ounce to 1/2-ounce spoons we have recommended elsewhere on the blog, but they're not foot-long pieces of kindling either as are some musky plugs.
Northland spinner bait
One lure that has always worked fairly well is the spinner bait. Regular bass-sized spinner baits work pretty good but if you want to up-size you can go as large as, you guessed it, the six-inch long model. Two nice features about this bait is the single hook (sometimes there are two single hooks in tandem) and the fact it is very inexpensive. A pain with some of the lures however, is that it takes either a tiny rubber band or a split ring to keep your leader from slipping out of position on the bent-wire frame where your line attaches. I like the models such as the Northland which have their wire frames bent completely into a ring for your leader. Both single spinners and tandem spinners work well. Because of their affordability, you can carry a bunch of colours
Mepps No. 5
It's not new but the good-old Mepps No. 5 continues to be a top producer for big northern. It is curious but the even-larger Mepps Musky Killer has never worked very well on Red Lake. It is basically the same spinner as the No. 5 but with a double-long bucktail and, I believe, two sets of treble hooks.
The Mepps No. 5 isn't all that big, probably four inches in length. It has one set of nice, large treble hooks that are easy to extract from a pike's maw. The Mepps isn't as cheap as the spinner baits but you can still afford to carry a half-dozen with you.
It only happened to one angler last summer, to my knowledge, but the Rapala Tail Dancer also took some deep northern pike. This man was trolling off reefs in about 16-feet of water in June when virtually everybody else was catching pike in just a few feet of water. This just goes to show that all the fish don't do the same thing at the same time.
Which size Tail Dancer did he use? I believe it was the six-incher.
The 1/3-1/2-ounce spoons continue to work better than longer models at our camp.
Rapala Tail Dancer
For sheer numbers of pike as well as big ones, I would still recommend the smaller lures. But there may be times when these larger baits will do even better at attracting mostly big fish. One such occasion is when fishing in walleye locations. Lunker pike lay around these spots, ready to pick off any smaller fish that act injured. Many people have had these behemoths grab the walleyes they are reeling in. Bigger lures might just be the ticket to trigger those strikes in these spots.
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Monday, December 29, 2014

A New Year's resolution for all fishermen

The dawn of a New Year is nearly upon us and once again fishermen everywhere are thinking of resolutions to improve their sport for the next 365 days.
"I resolve to get up each day before dawn and be out on the water to see the first ripples made by a feeding fish."
"I resolve to learn five new knots that will help me tie stronger leaders and therefore prevent fewer break-offs."
Oh, balderdash! You might as well resolve to wear skinny jeans and date a super model. It takes you an entire pot of coffee in the morning just to focus and you don't even know the name of a single knot!
Let's get real. When it comes to making resolutions, you need a lot of help. That's why I'm here. If you want to resolve something, resolve to eat a gallon of pickles. It will do wonders for your fishing next summer.
"But I don't like pickles," you whine.
My goodness, maybe you should first resolve to quit complaining! Will eating a pickle kill you? Of course not. Neither will 50 pickles which are about what's in a gallon jar.
"What kind of pickles? you ask.
I knew you were a finicky eater so I didn't specify. Eat whatever you like. My personal preference would be whole kosher dills. Ummmm! But you could eat bread-and-butters or sweet pickles, even gherkins...
"Could I eat a quart of four different kinds?"
You're a lot of trouble, did you know that? I guess you think that four quarts make a gallon. Or maybe you would like to eat eight pints; that makes a gallon too. While you're at it why don't you go for the limit and eat 64 baby food jars of assorted mashed pickles!
No! I didn't say eat a plethora of pickles from various-sized jars for a reason.  You need the gallon jar!
"But I don't like pickles," you sniff again.
OK! You win! Resolve to eat a gallon of pickled eggs.
Once you've eaten the entire contents of the jar, wash it out thoroughly. It's not necessary but it shows a touch of class to also remove the label.
Next go down in the basement or out to the garage and get your tackle box and bring it inside and place it on the kitchen table beside the open jar.
Then, as some tenor sings Auld Lang Syne on the TV, take each and every lure that either you haven't fished with or which hasn't caught a fish in the past three years and place it in the jar. Now you see why you needed the big one.
It's natural to shed a tear at this time, so don't feel embarrassed. But you can take comfort in knowing that you aren't throwing away these old friends that have accompanied you on so many fishing trips.
No, you are going to preserve them in the hermetically-sealed jar right on a shelf in the den or the garage and use it to regale the grandkids for years to come!
And now here's the best part. See all those empty slots in the tackle box? They're right next to the lures that did catch fish in the past three years. What better time to get more of these proven producers in other colours and sizes than in the depth of winter!
See! Making resolutions isn't so hard once you know what you're doing.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry and Peaceful Christmas Everyone

To all our guests, friends, family and other readers of the blog, Brenda and I wish you Merry Christmas. May you all find peace and joy in the New Year.
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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cork has settled down, thank goodness!

There's a twinkle in this mischievous Cork's eye. Photo by Leo Dean.

Cork is a great swimmer and retriever

I'm sorry I ripped apart that thing you wanted

A more sedate Cork walks a snow-covered trail here in Nolalu
We all had to struggle last summer to stay patient with our new camp dog, Cork. Like a lot of young chocolate labs, he had no end of energy and mischievousness. I knew lab puppies were a handful -- I've had four of them now -- but it still was a struggle for me to get through this stage. I just made up my mind to outlast the puppy and hold on until he became a more settled dog. Fortunately, that stage has arrived.
Cork, who turned 1 the first of the month, is now a really good dog. He is absolutely excellent at traveling. We took him with us to B.C. and he would ride for hours in his crate for days on end with no complaints. He also was quick to do his business when we stopped for breaks and would eagerly jump back into the crate when it was time to move again.
I think the yard at camp will look like less of a disaster next season. Last year Cork dragged every loose branch and stick for hundreds of yards into the yard where he would shred them into hundreds of pieces. The yard continuously looked like we had just gone through a major storm. He also stole everything he could grab from everyone at camp. The goal, of course, was to get people to chase him.  I was thoroughly sick of that game by the time we left camp.
Now Cork loves walking with me on the trails around our home and has a healthy fear of the wolves that are everywhere nearby.
He has an excellent nose which I hope to put to good use next hunting season. We didn't get much hunting in this past season for one reason or another.
Until about mid-summer last year Cork was a barker. Then, during our Family Week, the first of July, my nephew Mac suggested trying an anti-barking collar. It worked immediately on his dogs, he said. So I got one and boy, he wasn't kidding. The barking problem was history. Cork hasn't worn the collar for months now but he only barks when there is a good reason, such as when he wants back into the house.
Cork loves to retrieve and also loves the water. He still needs improvement on returning the dummy to hand but there's lots of time to work on that.
Thanks, everybody, for helping us get past the hyper puppy stage.
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Excellent exchange taking place on U.S. funds

We're getting guests who are paying for their entire trip by credit card right now to take advantage of the excellent exchange rate on U.S. currency.
One of our anglers e-mailed me today to say he got an exchange rate of 14% with his Mastercard.
The Canadian loonie has been falling steadily all fall and winter, the most likely reason for which is the equally cascading price of oil. Canada is a major exporter of the commodity and the fortunes of our currency seem partly tied to it.
So the game everyone is probably playing right now is to figure when the oil price has bottomed out and therefore the point when greatest exchange can be realized.
When we make a charge to your credit card it is in Canadian funds. If you are from the U.S. the credit card company automatically calculates the exchange rate and makes the corresponding charge to your account in U.S.
In the angler mentioned above's case, a charge of $1,100 Canadian ended up being $945.95. That works out to a savings of 14%.
When coupled with the 6.5% HST mail-in rebate which American guests can get on their fishing package from camp after returning home, the savings becomes 20.5%. Nice!
And with low gasoline prices that are likely for next summer, there may never be a better time to come to Canada!
Credit cards may have other charges, such as a foreign purchase charge, that lower the realized savings. The only way to find out if there are such charges for your card is to contact the card company and find out. Our angler above had no such extra charges from his company.
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Minn. law to affect all boats coming to Canada

Whether you are bringing your own boat from Minnesota or are from some other state and just passing through Minnesota, you will need to take a course this winter and get a decal for your boat in order to pass through Minnesota on the way to Canada.
On-line and home-study courses begin Jan. 15. It is said to take about 30-minutes to complete. Cost of the program has not yet been determined.
The purpose of the program is to stop the spread of invasive species.
For clarity's sake, I'll repeat that this is not just for Minnesota boaters. It includes boat owners from other states who will now need to take this course and get the decal in order for them to trailer their boat through Minnesota. You can learn more about this new law at the following website:

Lee Wright of Wright's Wilderness Camp on Gullrock Lake brought this matter to the attention of NOTO (Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario.
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Total switch to Lucky Strike conservation nets

MNR fish and wildlife tech Jeff King uses conservation landing net to take lake trout from pens on our dock to spawning station aboard Eagle Falls Lodge's pontoon boat in September. The nets work great and let fish be released without harm.
Last spring we purchased seven or eight Lucky Strike conservation landing nets to see how they performed.
These basket-style nets got such rave reviews from our guests that we will get them for all the boats next year.
The nets have a flat bottom which prevents big fish from being bent into a U shape. Most walleyes lay perfectly flat across the bottom. At the same time the nets are quite deep and have handled the biggest of pike with ease.
Mesh in the nets is smaller than normal, is coated lightly with rubber and prevents most hooks from becoming caught. I should note that they are not rubber nets, just rubber-coated.
The nets have long, heavy aluminum handles and this feature comes in handy especially for anglers fishing by themselves. Several single anglers told me last summer that they were able to brace the handle under their arm long enough to net a fish and put down their rod to finish bringing the fish into the boat.
The nets are quite expensive, about double what traditional nets cost, but since their mesh doesn't get caught in hooks or fish's jaws, they should last longer. They are probably worth the extra cost.
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Egli's Wool Shop one of a kind

It you are driving between Dryden and Vermilion Bay on Hwy 17 (the Trans-Canada Highway) you go right past Egli's Sheep Farm.
I highly recommend you stop at this unique establishment and look at their incredible selection of wool and sheepskin products.
In these days of cheap made-in-China crap it is wonderful to know there are still high-quality apparel items for sale. This is the real deal: sheepskin everything, woolen everything and a lot of it made right there on site. Other items are from Newfoundland, Iceland, the Andes and Scandinavia.
I own just about one of everything in the store: mad trapper's hats, sheepskin gauntlets, woolen mittens, sheepskin neck warmer, sheepskin boot liners, even a full sheepskin I keep on the chair.
They have things for men, women and children.
Their website is:
They also have a mail order service which could be handy this Christmas season.
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