Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The sounds of no silence



A heron lands in the stillness of an early camp morning
What a difference a day makes.
The one I’m talking about started out with a worker at Red Lake Marine, the place where we tie up our boat, taking out his boom box and playing tunes while he worked on some new docks. I happened to be there waiting for a truck to deliver our new beds. I knew the beds were on the truck; I just didn’t know when they would be delivered and so ended up waiting the entire day.
“You da man! (boom di boom, boom, boom)
“You my main man! (BOOM)
“Been scratchin’ for a livin’, don’t wanna see my baby pout
“When the sun’s getting high, you know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout
“Got an itch in my stomach and I just got to get it out
“So I head out for a sub and soon you all hear me shout
“You da man!’ (boom di boom, boom, boom)
“You my main man! (BOOM)

“Give me mine on flatbread, give me olives, give me cheese
“Give me lots of cold cuts, could I have some peppers please?
“Then stick it in the oven, wrap it up at your ease
“You da Earl of Sandwich, I praise you on my knees
“You da man! (boom di boom, boom, boom)
“You my main man! (BOOM)

Now I’ve got to apologize right here to this worker for not doing a better job at describing the strength of the bass on his boom box. I mean: (boom di boom, boom, boom) is really pathetic. It doesn’t illustrate how your cheeks pulsed inwards and your eyeballs were driven back into their sockets. And (BOOM) doesn’t show how the air was knocked from your gut like a sucker punch to the solar plexus. This was a truly impressive, industrial-strength, boom box.
I also might have gotten the lyrics wrong but no matter, you can ask anybody in Red Lake. I mean anybody. And don’t just restrict yourself to the living. The ones in the cemetery on the far side of town heard it too.
And it wasn’t all rap stuff. There were also country songs.
“When you’re with me, I fly like an eagle
“But when you’re away, I bawl like a beagle.”
 Just a day earlier I had also been in town but it was like a different universe. Red Lake can be noisy with floatplanes taking off from Howey Bay, but not this day. The dock worker wasn’t there either. As I was loading the boat with supplies I heard a low bugle sound and looked up to see seven swans flying overhead.  They are only the second group I’ve seen in Northwestern Ontario.
You frequently can hear loons call too. There is at least one nesting pair in the bay. They usually hang out in front of Red Lake Marine and Chimo Airways. There are ducks and gulls, mink and beavers, eagles and herons, right in front of the town’s main drag. Pretty cool in my book.
And I don’t mean to single out this worker. He’s not a bad guy; just a member of a generation who seem to think there are no other sounds in the world worth listening to except for those stored on their digital devices. And that is a pity.
“You da man!”
We had a very windy day here at camp yesterday and I was thinking how marvelous it is to hear the wind in the tree leaves. Quaking aspen leaves almost tinkle as they shimmer while birch and balsam poplars have more of a bass quality to their rustling. Although pine trees can whisper in low wind, yesterday they were howling.
The waves made a chaotic smashing sound on the rocks but on other days they sing a lullaby, something not lost on the producers of the Solitudes meditative sounds series.  There is also rhythm to the falling rain. These are soul-soothing tunes, ones that let your mind heal and wander.
(Boom, di boom, boom, boom)
In calmer times such as in the evening, you can hear an entire symphony of natural music makers. Hermit thrushes play their eerie buzzy flutes from the deep recesses of the forest, grey tree frogs sing short refrains that are incredibly loud. Toads trill on hot nights. Grasshoppers crackle like firecrackers when they take flight in the day.
But these interesting and intriguing natural sounds are lost on today’s ear-bud-wearing generation who seem never to go a minute without their “tunes.” And on those rare occasions when the ‘buds are not in their ear canals, they hum, to cover the sound of silence.
“Like a bee, ewee, eweegle”
It can make for some frustrating conversations.
Here’s an example with a girl who worked here years ago.
I signal to Megan that I want to talk to her so that she will remove her ear phones. She takes them out but then immediately hums.
Me: “Megan, did you make the beds in Cabin 8?”
Megan: simultaneously, “Ummm, ummmm, ummmm. What?”
Me: “Megan, did you hear what I said?”
Megan: “Ummm, ummmm, ummmm. What? Something about beds?”
Me: “Did you make the beds?”
Megan: “Ummm, ummmm, ummmm. What beds?”
“You my main man!”
(Boom)







Sunday, July 19, 2015

The silver lining to a rainy week

We've had about a week of thunderstorms now and would welcome normal sunny weather again. On the plus side, however, scenes like this one tonight outside the lodge window are pretty common.
Walleye fishing has been good with many large fish being taken. Eaters are harder to find.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

You can now rest easy in every cabin

The last of three boat-loads of beds arrives at camp much to Brenda's satisfaction
We finished replacing all the beds in the cabins this summer. The new beds are Five-Star hotel-quality, and while expensive, we believe they are worth the extra cost since they ensure everyone gets a great night's sleep. They have proven a hit with all, including those with back problems such as Brenda and myself.

The beds are made by North Star Bedding in Sudbury, Ontario. We now have 47 of them, including
 the bed Brenda and I use. At home we have a Tempurpedic memory foam mattress which is exceptionally comfortable and the North Star bed, although not made of memory foam, is equally excellent.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Young ladies are great anglers too

Brittany Scott was here with her father Ray and caught and released this big northern pike. An even larger fish broke her line, dramatically while airborne.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A fishing trip with the boys

It was Isaac Tronrud's first trip

Our dog Cork had the time of his life too

Adam and Isaac Tronrud and Myles Longsdorf meet a three-foot garter snake

There was time for solitude too. Photos by Mike Tronrud
Dads Jon Longsdorf and Mike Tronrud brought their boys fishing and everybody had a ball, including camp dog Cork who must have lost 10 pounds playing football with the kids, swimming and retrieving.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Loons are starting to hatch

Photos by Doug Billings

Notice distance from water's edge

Doug Billings
Bow Narrows angler/photographer Doug Billings snapped these great shots of a loon on the nest a few days ago. Yesterday a couple of other anglers reported seeing the first loon chicks riding on the backs of their parents.
There should be a good hatch of young loons this year as the water level has stayed relatively constant.
Doug's second shot of the loon nest shows its distance from the water. That is about as far away as you ever see them. Many times the nest is only inches above the water line. Rising water levels can wash the nest away but that didn't happen this year.
The last shot shows Doug as he prepared to board the Lickety Split in town at the start of his week. Notice the small amount of gear he brought. I believe Doug gets our Lightest Traveler of the Year Award! I don't believe his luggage weighed more than 60 pounds.
By comparison, we have had guests who brought six times this much. They would be quick to point out that they were doing their own cooking while Doug ate in the dining room on the American Plan. If that was indeed the difference, then they are telling us they consumed 50 pounds of food and drink each day!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Fids are all bitin' gud

"Hey, Dan! How are the fish biting?"
All da fids are bitin' gud.
"What?"
I said all da fids are bitin' gud.
"You sound funny. What are you saying?"
I can't tock creary cuz I'm midding a font toot.
"What? You sound really funny."
It's cuz I'm midding -- miffing -- a toot."
"Are you saying you're missing a toot?"
A toot! A toot! A font toot!
"Well, if that doesn't beat all! I knew people can be uncomfortable when they can't toot but you're the first I've met whose speech was affected by it!"
No, no. You don't get it. Da fids are all bitin' gud!
"Are fids those really ugly fish that taste like lobster? There's no limit on them, right? You know I've always wanted to catch some of those. And they're biting good, you say. Where?"
No, no! Fissssss! You know, waweyes.
"Are you saying the fids are biting in Wawa? That's got to be 500 miles from here!"
It's da toot.
"Here we go again. I'm telling you, just let it out."
I can't pownounc -- I can't enunciate, ENUNCIATE! I can say ENUNCIATE!
"Good for you."
Pike are bitin' gud and so are da waw -- no, pickerrrrel. You know pickerrrrel?
 "No. Are they related to fids?"
Uh uh. Wook, what do you want to catch?
"I was hoping to get a mess of walleyes, as well as some pike."
Gud!
"They're biting?
Yep!
"Well that's what I wanted to know. I'm going to try for some of those fids too."
OK.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Big pike, lots of walleyes being caught

Jon Mueller

Denny Burich

Ron Kucko
Fishing has been tremendous as evidenced by these photos of this long-time group from the River Falls, Wis., area.
Everyone is pleased to see a variety of sizes on the walleye, from itty-bitty ones up to 28-inchers.
The weather has also been wonderful with most days seeing highs in the low 20s C (70s F). The best fishing days have been those with a good breeze.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

First smallie of the year

Smallmouths are not native to Red Lake but are increasinly showing up in the catch
Smallmouth bass are an invasive species in Red Lake and there have only been a few caught at our camp; however, we already got one this season.
Paul Stowick caught this bass a couple of days ago.
We got our first bass about 10 years ago. From that point on we got about one a season until last year when we caught four.
How did the bass get in Red Lake if they are not native here?
The usual answer -- people.
It's always a bad idea to release a new species into an ecosystem and we would just as soon not have the newcomer bass. The reason is the new species will eventually displace a native one. In this case, probably walleye. Red Lake, however, has an exceedingly healthy walleye population and it might take a hundred years for smallmouths to claim a niche.
Bass are lots of fun to catch but not as good eating as walleye. There are lots of great smallmouth lakes now between Red Lake and the Minnesota border but not as many great walleye lakes any more. The Gullrock-Red Lake water system is still profoundly walleye and northern pike.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

How are the minnows?

Do you like being angry? Peeved? Outraged? Perturbed?
How about disappointed? Miffed? Forlorn? Helpless?
Do you like to swear a blue streak? Say bad words? Cuss? Get red in the face?
Is blame your game? Do you like to find fault with others? Feel the world is out of your control?
Then you probably fish with minnows.
These tiny fish are sure to let you down, whatever your expectations.
For starters, they'll die at the drop of a hat. At the slightest variation in temperature or oxygen content, even a cross word or a dirty look and they will turn fins up.
But then, you already knew that. That's why you bought more than you needed. You needed a dozen so you bought four times that number. Three dozen were floaters before you could even wet a line.
Oh well, there goes $15.
Now's the time to figure out why they died. Were you sold old minnows? Was that really oxygen they put in the bag? Did Obama have something to do with it?
When everyone was unloading the boat at camp, when there was a ton of duffel bags, rods and tackle boxes, totes of canned goods, heavy ice-laden coolers, cases of pop and beer to manhandle up the hill and into the cabin, where were you? Looking for minnow pails and slowly pouring out the contents of flimsy plastic bags?
Did you finally finish just after the others carried all your stuff?
Did someone ask, "How are the minnows?"
And was the news grim?
You need more minnows!
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Best week in more than 40 years

Don Ballinger

Mallards

Audience while fishing

Ray Gildersleeve


Panfish

The pike are really hefty
Ray Gildersleeve and Don Ballinger have been coming to Bow Narrows Camp for more than 40 years. I say that to give relevance to their statement yesterday that this was their best trip ever.
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Friday, June 5, 2015

Biggest walleye, biggest pike, best sky



Angler Terry Kopecky has been coming to Bow Narrows Camp for years but this year got her biggest walleye and northern pike ever. She also shot this photo of the dramatic clouds we have had the last few evenings.
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The 'Moose Club' is at it again

Bob Preuss

Doug Oslund

Duane Gudknecht
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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Wildlife seen while fishing

Moose photos by Bob Preuss

Calf No. 1

Second calf
Jenilee Peterson photo
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In a nutshell, everything's biting

Ross Peterson

Jenilee Peterson

Amy Smith

Troy Hanson and Amy Smith
Our anglers are catching fish like crazy and I just haven't had a chance to write about it.
I'm just going to post a bunch of photos in the coming days and hope each tells their own story.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Two for one on Rapalas

Photos by Matt Andrews

Angler John Andrews had a surprise waiting for him when he reeled in this 37-inch pike a day or so ago. It was caught on the front treble of his blue-and-white Rapala and on the rear treble was a small walleye!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The beat of a different drummer

Dave Myers photo
Bow Narrows angler Dave Myers got this great photo of a ruffed grouse drumming behind one of the cabins last week.
The walleyes are beginning to turn on as the water rapidly warms with the 26 C days (80 F) we've had this week. They would bite better if there was also some cloud or wind. Lots of big pike being caught and released. It seems the lakers have moved to deeper water now.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Season begins with gorgeous weather

Our first official week started yesterday with summer like temps and sunny skies. It is expected to stay that way for the next week.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fish are biting again

Our group of anglers got some nice pike yesterday. The weather looks great from here on. It has been frosty at night but the days are sunny and warm with light northerly winds. Next week, our official opener, should be perfect.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It was like a winter hurricane

Sunday and Monday were the two coldest days I can remember at camp.
It wasn't just the below-freezing temps but the wind that made it feel far colder. I heard that we had gusts of up to 90 km-h and sustained winds of about 50 km-h. It felt like the windows would break at any moment.
Water lines froze and quite a few trees came down. We had minor damage to one dock. Our protected location saved us. Others around the lake weren't as lucky. We know of boats that were sunk at the dock and docks that were badly damaged.
It rained buckets on Sunday turning to freezing rain as the day went on. On Monday we got a bit of snow, just missing the area that got nearly a foot, 100 kms to the north.
Our two cabins of guests never even came outside until Tuesday when it turned back to calm and sunny. When they went fishing they discovered the lake was as muddy as the Mississippi and the fish not biting. The forecast for the remainder of the week is for continued calm weather and sunny skies. By our official opener on Saturday it is expected to be about 20 C.