Tuesday, September 27, 2016

That's a Wrap!

The vast boreal forest of
birch and poplar were changing fast to fall colors
For me it is always a sad day to close the doors at Big Hook Camps for another fishing season. I sigh when I realize it'll be another six months until I get to experience the calming effects the Opasquia Provincial Park offers.  The lapping of the water on the boats, the distant cry of the loon or just the huge smile on a fisherman's face when they land a quality fish are just a snippet of what I reflect on during the winter time.  However, in the grand scheme of things six months really isn't all that long and as we speak I am getting excited to know the 2017 season is just around the corner.

Cool misty weather settled in during one of our final days
at Big Hook
First off, a huge thank you is in order to all of our guests.  Steve (dad), Evie (mom), camp dog Shadow, and myself wouldn't be able to offer the Big Hook experience without the support of all our wonderful clientele.  Thanks again for choosing Big Hook Camps as your NW Ontario fishing/outdoors destination.  We already have an incredibly busy 2017 lined up; the weeks are filling amazingly fast.

Dad and I put the final closing touches at Central Lake and departed with Shadow in the 185 Cessna for Eagle lake on Friday September 23rd. The fall colors were really beginning to pop last week.  Birch and poplar leaves quickly changed to vibrant yellow and oranges.  Several days, flocks of geese and sandhill cranes continued south bound over head.  We also woke up two mornings to decent frost and lake fog.  The day before flying southbound to Eagle Lake I witnessed a cow and bull moose standing side by side south of Central Lake, the moose rut is another tell tale sign fall has arrived.

Fall Close Up  

New walls at Cocos
Overall, we experienced decent weather for shutting down all the outposts and main camp. We also managed to accomplished the majority of our projects among the camp closings.  One of such projects was tearing out the old interior paneling at Cocos Lake. New tongue and groove pine was installed and it truly brightens up the cabin along with a new entryway door.

Chunky fall 26.5" wally at Central Lake CPR Sept 13th
Another chilly project we undertook was replacing the old dock crib at West Lake.  After spending a day in the frigid September water pulling rocks from the old crib and winching the saturated logs from the lake; we were able to set the dock on a newly crafted crib foundation.  Several other projects such as replacing rotten foundation boards at SW lake and leveling the battery shed at Central we also completed.  Many more projects and updates are in line for the 2017 season.

We have a long list of items for our next adventure up the winter highway.  Fingers crossed for a some cold weather...well maybe just after I get a chance to catch a couple musky first.

Good luck on the water or in the woods this fall everyone!


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Winding Down

With just one week of business left on the schedule here at Big Hook Camps, we are in the initial stages of closing up shop for the year.  The 2016 season has just absolutely rocketed by.  As we enter the month of September, fall is truly in the air. The leaves on birch trees have suddenly turned a
Cedar waxwings are cleaning the berries
from the mountain ash trees
 striking yellow, flocks of geese and sandhill cranes can be heard flying south and temperatures have descended with day time highs in the 50's.  Weather wise, September is always a volatile month here in the Opasquia Provincial Park.  This month sees every season; sun, rain, ice and snow are all possible.  Today's forecast: mist and rain with clouds in the tree tops and a high expected around 48 degrees.  While tomorrow we are forecasted to see sunshine and 70 degrees; typical September


Despite some windy conditions last week fishermen were still boating some quality fish.  Several large walleye were pictured and released.  A dandy 28" eye from West and another 30+" walleye from South topped the list.  Fish however were extremely deep, with most being found around 25 ft of water.  Vertical jigging 1/4 oz or 3/8 oz jigs while back trolling to hold on a spot was by far the most effective way to entice those deeper fish.  Trolling deep diving reef runners also managed to catch walleye.  

41.5" Central pike (CPR August 23rd)
Pike have been transitioning away from weed beds as the foliage begins to die.  After guiding
yesterday I noticed the weeds are beginning to brown and wither away.  Casting or trolling crank baits along rocky shorelines has been the most productive technique.  Also, plenty of pike are hanging around deep reefs with the walleye.  Using a leader, try jigging for the deeper pike with a 4" or 5" rubber tail.  The cooler water temperature, yesterdays surface temperature was 62, has pike favoring slower retrieved baits.  A 42" pike was boated and released at South Lake, caught on (you guessed it) a jig.  


As the season winds down we are able to accomplish some projects at the outposts.  The new grey water systems have been installed at every outpost.  Cocos will be getting an interior face lift with new tongue and groove knotty pine walls. A new entry way door will also be installed at Cocos.  Hopefully the weather cooperates tomorrow and I'll be able to set a new crib for the dock at West Lake. We have several other projects lined up however, the weather is always a limiting factor as camps close up.  A snowy and wet fall can prohibit us from accomplishing everything we have planned.  Such is life in the north woods, here you are completely at the mercy of Mother Nature.  

Good luck on the water this fall everyone!
Cool wet weather brings out hundreds of species of mushrooms