Tuesday, October 16, 2012

From Summer Straight to Winter

The north country forgot to include fall as a season this year.  A pleasant August gave way to a chilling September.  Temperatures began to plummet around the 10th of September giving way to snow and many many chilly nights.  Several mornings we woke up to powder on the ground and frozen water lines.  A short stroll to the lake with a bucket in hand is the only means to a morning cup of coffee while waiting for the day to warm the water lines.  Dad and I managed to close up camp and depart the Opasquia Provincial Park on the 23rd of September.

A nice fall walleye from South Lake

Our customer numbers begin to dwindle come September. As I have noted above, the weather this far north can be unpredictable in the fall. One day the temperatures could reach 75 F only to be followed with snow the next.  Another reason for customer decline is families with kids returning to school.

I managed to chat with Sandy Lake Seaplane this week and get a weather update.  Several heavy snow storms dusted the area early last week.  About 4-6 inches carpeted the ground.  Amazingly, the east end of Southwest Lake was already beginning to ice over!  However, glancing at the current temperatures a warming trend looks to melt the current snow levels.

A pair of swans visited us at Central all summer.
Fishing wise, falling temperatures in September can provide superb action.  Numbers are more difficult to find however size can dramatically increase.  Fish begin aggressively feeding to pack on pounds for a long cold winter.  Most walleye and pike begin exiting the dying weed beds and migrate to moving water, rocky points and deep reefs. However, once the lake turns over fishing halts for several days.

For example, on September 19th I took a trip to South Lake and managed to fish for about 4 hours. During our short time we trolled some deep cut banks with Berkley Flicker Shads in about 18-25 ft of water with decent success.  We really started pounding the walleye on a deep rock pile in about 26 ft.  A simple 1/2 oz jig with a 4" yellow twister was the magical combination.  We didn't catch a ton but the numbers between 20-26" were amazing.  Just two days later we began noticing murky water throughout the park, sure enough, the lakes were beginning to turn.  Those were the last fish I caught this season.

Year End Projects    

Despite some sub par weather Dad, Tryol and I managed to accomplish some projects among the camps.  The first project tackled were renovations at South camp. All the old particle board interior was removed and replaced with tongue and groove knotty pine.  In the process of renovating I managed to fire a 3 1/2" nail into the palm of my hand with our Paslode Nail Gun.  A quick trip to the nursing station for a tetnus shot and some anti-biotics and I was good to go.  The new interior siding really brightens the cabin.  A new crib and pressure treated dock was also constructed at South.

Another big project that required much coordination was replacing the solar grid at Central.  I discovered this July, that the 18 panels powering our main camp fell into a warranty recall.  After verifying the poor power output, submitting numerous forms and explaining to the solar company where exactly these panels had to travel, 18 brand new panels were shipped from Scottsdale AZ all the way to Central Lake.  Now that is a journey!  After taking dozens of pictures of the current system, I had the confidence to replace the grid.  Two days later I gave myself a pat on the back, the new system was performing like a dream.


In the video I have posted to the right are a couple of moose that decided to play across the lake at Central.  It truly was a unique experience.  I have never witnessed moose so tame.  For two days they played and frolic'd while we worked on closing up the camp.  You can hear Shadow barking like crazy in the video, all her noise didn't seem to bother the young moose one bit.

We Thank You

I cannot express my deepest gratitude to our guests enough.  I sincerely enjoy visiting with everyone over the course of the summer.  From myself, Mom and Dad, we extend our biggest thanks to all of our clientele for choosing to share the beauty of the north country with us.  We look forward to swapping fishing stories with everyone at the sport shows this winter.

Good luck on the water to everyone in their fall adventures.

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