Friday, July 13, 2012


A snippet from Evie Hartle

July 11 was another birthday for me at Big Hook in the great white north.   A special evening dinner was planned but the days first objective was to meet the Hawker fuel tanker with 8100 L of fuel at Sandy Lake at 8:00 AM.  This is a year where the ice roads to Sandy were poor, so all of our boat fuel has to be flown in by plane to Sandy Lake, transferred into a holding tank and then into five gallon jugs and flown to each outpost camp. This is incredibly challenging and labor intensive. Planning the logistics involved to fly in fuel was a new event for us and was surprisingly difficult.  The first step was reserving fuel from Winnipeg, then contacting an airline to haul said fuel.  Once the fuel arrives in Sandy how do you transport it from the airport to the float base? We managed to locate a fuel transfer truck.  The whole process was quite the learning experience. 

Back to the day at hand, our plane taxied and departed the water at 7AM from main camp.  Steve and Nathan flew to Sandy Lake to meet the Hawker, however to their surprise the arrival time had abruptly changed to 4:30 PM.  So, change in plans for the day.  The guys decided to fly over to Southwest Lake to build a boat ramp in the sweltering 90 degree heat.  The warm humid air held all the correct conditions for thunderstorms to build.  At 4:30 the transfer of fuel was on schedule (for the second time) at Sandy and was completed. However, Mother Nature deterred the guys from flying home to the Hook. The main camp had thunder and lighting from 4:30-7:30, so the special birthday meal was put back in the refrigerator for another night.  Nathan and Steve did manage to fly back to main camp around 8:30PM when the storms moved east.  To my surprise, they had flown a bakery birthday cake in for me.  Everyone in the camp enjoyed the birthday cake at 9:30 pm on a day that was no piece of cake.  Then, the real fireworks began.  What a wild and crazy lighting storm we had! Never in our 22 years up here have we ever seen such dramatic lightning storms. West and Cocos reported golfball size hail and three to four inches of rain in 30 minutes from that super weather cell.  The water level at West Lake shot up a foot in a matter of hours.   

Fishing News

As Mom mentioned earlier, we have been sweating through a heat wave in the Opasquia Provincial Park.  The average temperatures the past week have been hovering in the high 80's to low 90's.  Yesterday, I did see the thermostat peak at 101 degrees.  No air conditioning in the cabins means the lake has been frequently visited.  The warm humid weather has developed some interesting thunder storms the past couple of evenings.  

The water temperatures have been climbing through the low 70's up to 74 in some shallow bays.  The water levels, with the exception of West Lake are sitting around normal.  Answering the big question is: are the mayflies done hatching?  The answer is.... yes.  The mayfly hatch started to falter early this week.  The fish have had a chance to digest the winged insects and have begun to acquire an appetite again.  The walleye have been surprisingly scattered through the water column.  In this heat, I fully expected fish to be hanging around 20 ft. However, while guiding yesterday afternoon I located massive schools anywhere from 4-25 feet and they were hungry aggressive fish.  

Pike are now holding consistently in weedbeds.  With the hot sunny weather the evening bite has been the most productive.  Top water baits have been explosive.  The top bait the past week though, has been the Johnson Silver Minnow with a white twister trailer. 

Burnt Lake
A 44" Burnt Lake Pike
The fishing at Burnt has been fantastic according to the current guests.  A monstrous 45" pike was boated and released along with several other cruisers.  Moose Creek held several large fish.  The larger walleyes have been boated on the north section of lake.  Another amazing fishing story, is the huge perch being boated.  Perch topping at 13" have been boated on worm harnesses and small spinners. 
Central Lake
Central battled mayflies the beginning of the week but the hatch has ended and the fish are getting aggressive.  The north narrows has shrugged off a slow start to the season and has been producing numerous trophy fish.  Walleye are moving from weed beds to deeper reefs.  I have located fish at every depth and on just about every spot.  The West rapids is holding massive amounts of fish.  Frisco bay is great with a south or east wind.  In this heat we have been swimming a lot off the dock.  An amazing amount of fish have been schooling under the floater.  Yesterday, no joke, I chased school of 30-50 fish while snorkeling.  Tyrol, our camp hand, landed a 5 pound walleye while jigging off the dock.  
The rapids has been navigable for the past several weeks.  Fishing in the river has been hot.  Under the rapids is always a great spot to try for a last minute pick up for dinner. Duckling Island gave up a 42" pike.  The weed edges in most spots have been holding some nice walleye.  
Another Burnt Lake monster
Not much new to report from Lemonade, fishing has been excellent.  Favorable has been producing nice pike in the usual spots, Pike Alley and spots to the east.  Pike have moved from the shallow creeks into deeper weeds.  Walleye point is still one of my favorite spots for big walleye. 
I haven't spoke much with the guests at South.  They have been pounding the water sun up to sundown.  They noted in a message the fishing was picking up after a massive mayfly hatch.  
The mayfly's didn't slow down the bite one bit according to guests.  Four guests reported they boated and released 150 walleye in one single spot! Lighter jigs 1/4 oz with yellow tails have been the magical lure along with a perch colored Wally Diver.  
The deeper reefs are coming alive with the hot weather.  Guest have reported schools of 20-25 inch walleye have been located jigging along 8-16' humps.  Weed beds in the fish bowl and the horse shoe have been great in the evening.  

Good luck on the water everyone!

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