Friday, August 16, 2013

A Beginners Guide to Portaging a Shower

Here in the north country logistical issues arise daily.  Getting Item A to Point B isn't as simple as placing it in a car and driving down the road.  Since we lack cars and roads in the area, we must focus on solving our transportation issues with airplanes and boats.  Yesterdays issue was getting lumber for a new shower addition from Central Lake to our South Lake outpost. Problem: 4' x 8' sheets of plywood do not fit into our 185 Cessna and are difficult/dangerous to externally load.  My proposed solution: transport the plywood via 12+ miles of waterways and carry the lumber plus boat/motor over three portages.  After some debate (actually very little at all) we eventually decided we didn't want to charter an airplane for six sheets of plywood.  So, I give you a beginners guide to portaging a shower.

Step #1: Find a strong back.
You are going to lift, haul, push, pull and struggle 100's of pounds over various terrain and numerous portages. Tyrol and I are the young bucks here at Big Hook and gladly accepted the challenge.  Well...I kinda had to go since it was my idea.
Ty properly demonstrates proper plywood carrying technique.
Next came pulling the boat and carrying the motor/gas.
 Step #2: Bring a guard dog.  Who knows what you will run across when portaging?

Shadow carefully approves of the boat load

We didn't encounter much wildlife but did see signs of bear on one portage.  Shadow made sure the rabid squirrels stayed up in the trees.

Step #3: Enjoy the scenery.
One of three waterfalls we came across.

The Central/South Lake riverway is an incredibly scenic boat ride with multiple twists and turns, waterfalls, and stunning views.

Step #4: Take a break to catch a fish or two along the way. By far the most important in my book.
A man's gotta fish. 

Below is one of the many 30+" fish we boated after we had delivered the shower materials to South.

There you have it an easy beginners guide to portaging a shower.

A quick fishing report.

This week was warm, still and dry. Daily high temperatures ranged from 70 to 88 degrees.  The majority of the week was dominated with a high pressure system. The fish responded kindly to the weather stability.  No rain all week means the water levels did drop but just a fraction of an inch.  Lake levels at Cocos, Burnt and Central are probably the lowest in at least 15 years.

The magic number for walleye was 20.  20 feet was the depth where most fish were found all week long. Jigging rock piles/points and mid lake humps was by far the most effective technique for finding schools.   Last night pink jigs with a 3/8 oz black head was dominant at Central.

For pike the name of the game is Weeds.  Find a weed bed close to deep water and you'll find a big pike.  Guests have been pulling bucktails through thick weeds and having great results.  Last night I casually tossed a Hell Hound while mom jigged for walleye and was surprised to see pike holding on rocky points.  Most nights have been still and calm, which means top water has been a ball.

Good luck on the water everyone.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Low Pressure Has Left the Building

One of the biggest thrills about being in this business for 29 years is to meet so many great people and learn about their lives.  This year we have seen a significant increase in the numbers of young people coming up to fish at Big Hook.  AND THESE KIDS DO FISH!!   We enjoy hearing their daily fishing stories. The children that have fished here this year have been great and very mannerly.   I think the "Special Bonding" that is reinforced when fishing together with their families and friends really shows.  Catching the big one is only part of the trip.  Thank you for sharing your passion of fishing to the next generation. -Evie Hartle 


Finally, finally and finally a massive low pressure system hovering to the north of the Opasquia Provincial Park moved eastward this morning (8/9/2013).  This chilling low pressure crept its way in last Sunday night and camped out over NW Ontario all week.  The system brought plenty of clouds, rain, wind and chilly temperatures.  The majority of the week, average daily highs peaked around 50-55 degrees, highly unusual for the first week of August.  Water temperatures dove into the mid to low 60's depending which body of water you were on.

Most of NW Ontario was in great need of rain.  The majority of our lakes in the park are flirting with all time lowest levels; this last bout of rain should have provided our water levels a decent boost. Fortunately, the system has moved on and sunnier skies are forecasted for the week ahead.


Despite the weather, fisherman have been getting out on the water and catching some nice fish.  The weather did disperse the large schools and caused the number to drop on some lakes, however numerous trophies have been boated and released this week.  So a long story short, last week numbers were down but the sizable fish were still feeding. 

Most walleye were holding in around 16' of water on most lakes.  SW and Lemonade were the anomalies where guests are still boating fish in 6-10'.   Jigs and Rattle Traps seemed to be the consensus effective lures for fisherman.  Flouro-orange will always be one of my favorite colors on dark days.  Bigger fish seemed to be isolated from the schools, holding in around 20-25' on gradual drop offs.  

When focusing on bigger walleye 25"+, the trick is bringing your patience, as these fish are generally roaming areas alone or in small schools.  When I locate a wind blown point holding lots of fish in the 16-20" range I'll slowly maneuver the boat into 5-10' of deeper water for the bigger females.   

Pike are beginning their fall feed right on schedule.  Numerous large fish have been boated and released with whitefish still hanging out of their mouths.  The fact fish are still feeding with full bellies tells me that they are looking to put on some wait before winter arrives.  Larger baits are now becoming more and more effective for boating that toothy trophy.  My favorite lures this time of year are Bull Dawgs, Bomber Mag Long A's and Depth Raiders outside of the weed beds.  Fishing in the slop you still need to stick with the old faithful Johnson Silver Minnows, Bucktails and assorted topwater baits. 

According to several camps, early mornings and late afternoons seem to be the hot hours of the day for fish in the weeds; both are low light conditions.  Days with high sun and calm I will often try 8-12' rock reefs, casting big deep diving baits. 

Good luck on the water everyone,