Monday, February 21, 2011

2011 - Overdue Update!

Hey Everyone,

Hope you're all haveing a great winter...Been great here - definitely a "real Canadian" winter - have had our far share of freezing cold days and more snow than we've had in a long time. Skiing - X country & downhill and snowmobiling has been great.

Ice fisherman have found a fair bit of slush though - due to some early, heavy snowfalls. Still it sounds like most are doing quite well with their catch.

Spent today getting pictures together for our web sites. Took hours - we have around 300 to add. Gary our webmaster extroadinaire is going to groan when he gets the file. Huge thanks to all you people who have sent us pics from your adventures in Quetico country. If any of you have more please send such thing as too many.

Of course doing that got us in a real mood for all things Quetico. I wishe I was heading in there tomorrow for a canoe trip....oh well...hopefully get a few days in during May.

Some park updates....

No increase in camping fees this year!

There's a new reservation line to book your permits...the # is still 1-888-668-7275 or 1-519-826-5290 internationally. The call centre hours are 07:00 - 21:00 ...EST I think. Of course, if we're outfitting you, as always we'll take care of the permits for you.

Sounds like this service will be an improvement on previous years. I guess they listened to all the comments from guests & outfitters and have addressed concerns. Here's hoping!

Will update fishing licence fees soon. Remember if you've been to Ontario fishing in '09 or '10 REMEMBER TO BRING YOUR OUTDOORS CARD!

Getting geared up for the season - literally. Getting ready to order odds & ends of gear - paddles especially plus other stuff.

Due to demand we're expanding our retail in our office. Look for lots more souvenirs, more map selection, more tackle and some other supplies for your adventure. It'll take a couple of years to get our inventory up to where we want it, but we hope to become a complete one stop HQ for your Canadian wilderness adventure. Let us know what you'd like to see!

Will post again soon - a quick thanks to all of you for making 2010 the busiest year in our history! We look forward to seeing you again and meeting lots of new people in 2011.

talk soon!


Saturday, April 24, 2010


Warm, dry.....what are the implications on your canoe trip?

Here's a portion of what I wrote on the "Fishing Blog"....

The spring break up came earlier this year than I ever remember.....In the past, if you were to check back through history, the date when the ice is "out" on Banning Lake (ie when you can get a boat in the water), is around April 27. We're usually ahead of land locked lakes due to the river current.

Last year the ice was out pretty much on schedule on April 27. At that point, I spewed out my predictions on how everything should be just ducky...spawns on time etc etc.....The problem was though, that it took forever for the water to warm up after that. It seemed like we were stuck in May weather through most of the summer. It was cold & wet, but overall the fishing was very good.

So, in light of last years lessons, I'll be cautious at spewing out my predictions this year. Mother Nature gave me a well deserved slap in the spring / summer of 2009 and showed me who was really boss.

This year though has been a complete exception.....we had some friends launch a boat here & go fishing on April 4!!Daytime temperatures have been in the 70's (20's for you Celsius types).

There was little run off and we basically have had no rain all for a month + . Water is low....very low for this time of year. We already have a fire ban.

Right now the pike are spawning in the back bay....that's at least 1 week, maybe as much as 2 weeks ahead of the normal time. Surface temps on the water are between 8 - 11 celsius. This can be a good thing for our fishery....early spawns, longer growing seasons....some warm years in the past have spiked fish populations and helped produce larger fish on average.But it's not necessarily all that simple. There is potential for more negative circumstances as well.

In this weeks Atikokan Progress, Jessica Smith wrote a fantastic article on the implications of an early spring. The effect on both the fish and the wildlife. You really should check it out... here's the link....

Of course, if you're fishing on your canoe trip, the early spring may well have an impact on your angling success....maybe good or maybe bad.

But there are some other very important considerations..

It's April 24 and we already have a fire ban. No real rain in sight according to any long term forecasts that I've seen. It could be one of those years where the fire ban goes through most of the summer. For those of you bringing your own, you may want to take some time & make sure your camp stove is in good working order. You are required to have it & use it in a fire ban situation. No camp fire sof any type. And pack it near the top of your pack. If you get checked by Rangers, they'll want to see it.

Also if you've routed yourself through some of the many creeks i n Quetico / White Otter, you may find some of them dry or near dry. A creek that is a nice meandering paddle in normal conditions may turn into a "lining" situation or maybe even a portage.

Of course, if it stays dry the mosquitoes may not be as bad. Plan for them and other bugs anyway though.

And if it's dry, chances are it'll be always bring good sunscreen & a good hat.

And then there's the a warm, dry year, we tend to have poorer berry crops. When this happens, look for the bears to be more proactive in raiding campsites and often more tenacious. They could be very hungry in a dry season so make sure (like you would anyway) that you have rope and capability to hang your food pack.

But - hey....this could all change and turn into a cold, wet summer so who really knows? That's part of the fun of these canoe trips....dealing with the elements.

Anyway, we're getting ready for the busy season. Bookings for canoe trips are starting to really pick up (they always do when the waether warms up in the spring).

We haven't bough any new canoes (yet) for this season. We'll be putting fresh verathane on the kevlars in the next week or so.....picking up some new camp stoves and paddles and other odds and ends of gear....

Working lots on the camp facilities.....

Also - as you know, our complete outfitting packages include a continental breakfast on the morning of the day that you put in.

We'll now offer breakfasts to all groups (if they want it) - complete & partial. We'll have rates for continental as well as rates for "full" breakfasts.....bacon, eggs, toast, potatoes, crepes, pancakes etc etc...

We just need to know in advance if you want breakfast and what you'd want.

Our new house that includes a kitchen and small dining room has allowed us to expand this service. We've received tons of requests for it in the past, so we're finally able to do it!

Anyway - keep in touch....Any of you groups who haven't submitted your canoe trip menu yet please let us know what it is as soon as possible. We keep some of the "canoe food" on hand, but also order from British Columbia & California so we need some lead time....

Talk to you all soon!


Talk to y'all soon!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fishing licence & Quetico Camping Fees/ Wintersport Update

Hey Everyone,

A quick update with fishing licence info / prices....

For non-residents of's the new licence fees...

Non-Canadian Resident Temporary Fishing Outdoors Card and Application only. Valid for three years. Annual licence tags must be purchased.$9.00

One-year Sport Fishing Licence Tag (for holders of a valid Outdoors Card)$69.50

One-year Conservation Fishing Licence Tag (for holders of a valid Outdoors Card)$42.75

Eight-day Sport Fishing Licence *$44.50Eight-day Conservation Fishing Licence *$25.75

If you were to Ontario last year & bought a licence, you should have received your plastic "Outdoors Card" in the mail...IMPORTANT....remember to bring it with you this year...otherwise you'll have to purchase another one. I know it's only $9, but why pay double? You may need that $9 to replace the classic Rapala that a monster pike tore off your line!

And Quetico fees for non residents (per person per night)....

Age 6 - 17 $6.00
Age 18+ $14.00

Quetico fees for residents of Ontario (per person per night)

Age 6 - 17 $4.75
Age 18+ $11.00

As always, if you're being outfiited through us, we'll take care of all your permits (reserving & issuing)....remember Quetico takes park reservations up to 5 months prior to the entry date. Entry is limited, so if you have some dates in mind, give us a call or send us an email and we'll get the ball rolling!

Anyway...the last few days here have been unseasonably mild....which is a really nice change.

Our cold weather in December & early January made for some great ice on the lakes....lots are out ice fishing this weekend enjoying the warmer weather.

I guess they've started grooming some of the snowmobile trails....we've got snow, but could use some more...I'm sure we'll get it. Still enough to get around on the sleds though.

Mount Fairweather - Atikokan's downhill ski hill opened last weekend. Conditions are pretty good...more snow wouldn't hurt. Wyatt was out skiing there last weekend.

Lori's been out on Atikokan's world class cross country ski trails and reports that the ones she was on were "very good".

Me? I haven't been out doing much yet....made a few rounds on our snowmachines....getting bugged by Lori to go with her cross country skiing. gotta get some skis, but in the meantime I may tag along with snowshoes....Who knows...maybe I'll get a hole drilled and get some ice fishing in this week?

Hope you're all having a great winter so far!

Talk soon!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Update

Hey Everyone...Hope you're having a great Christmas season, and that this posting finds you all healthy & happy! A couple of quick updates....

We received about a foot of fresh snow - great fluffy powder - on the weekend. Snowmobiling has been awesome, although the snowmobile trails aren't open or groomed yet.

Atikokan's world class cross country ski trails are open though. Looking like another great year for skiers!

I'm hearing rumours that Mount Fairweather - Atikokan's downhill ski facility is opening soon. Should be a great winter for that too.

We're making a big rink on the ice on the lake today. As we had some cold weather in December with no snow, the ice is nice. Shouldn't need too much flooding to make it very good.

For anyone considering cabin based trips next summer a quick FYI...June is filling in really quickly. Let us know if you have any dates in mind & we'll hang on to them for you!

Anyway - take it easy everyone. Hope to talk to y'all soon!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Quick Update!

Hey everyone...

Been a great year here in Quetico Country...some great canoeing, fishing & loads of stories & memories created.

We had several milestones, including doing some outfitting up in Woodland Caribou Park & the Albany River....pretty cool.

Anyway - a quick couple of items....


We now have a Facebook page ....we are updating it more frequently than this page (not that that is very hard - but we're getting better). Search Facebook under "Branch's Seine River Lodge" and become a fan. We love seeing your posts & pics!


They've fixxed that huge of right now, I'm guessing that it'll be open for next season. I have heard that it was fixxed due to the fact that the loggers are working down there again.

Everything else is going great here....hope the same for all of you....

Hope to see some of you up here on Atikokan's world class snowmobile and cross country ski trails (not to mention our fantastic ice fishing). We will be open - but with limited cabins available so call ahead.

Talk to y'all soon - hope to see some of your comments on our facebook page!


Monday, July 27, 2009

Mack Lake Fly In

Hey Guys & Gals,

Quick post to let y'all know that, due to low water levels on Greenwood Creek, you can fly into Mack Lake on Quetico's east side (for the time being)...

Here's an excerpt from a notice from Quetico today....

Due to current low water levels in Greenwood Creek access into Mack Lake is being made difficult, therefore we have opened up the option for groups to fly directly into Mack Lake.

In accessing Mack Lake by aircraft we will only permit landing in the eastern bay of Mack Lake (near the border). We also ask anyone flying into the lake to access it by flying outside of the park boundary on route to Mack in order to reduce complaints about aircraft noise by those seeking a wilderness experience in the park.

If levels of rainfall during the remainder of summer make Greenwood Creek passable then we will expect everyone to paddle in this way once again.

We had two groups last year do a fly in to this area...the first had to fly to Clay, just outside the park...the next group however benefited from this same scenario last year & flew to Mack cutting much paddling time off their route. Nice little bonus...

BTW - we still are taking fly in / paddle our groups for those trips....I will be putting a trip price together that will likely be a week long, complete outfitting, including the fly in & a pick up at the take out point....We will outline a great route for this, through some awseome country....slightly longer jaunts will be able to check out the Chain Falls area early in the route.

Anyway - gotta get going....refinishing canoes & getting ready for our annual canoeing rush in early August. Talk to y'all soon!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Heart of The Continent Partnership

Hey everyone,

A quick post to let you all know about a great organization that we recently had the pleasure of learning about.

Heart of the Continent is a group of people & organizations from both sides of the Canada / US border that are working together to find ways to benefit the lakes, forests, wildlife & communities / people of this vast area.

Specifically speaking, this "vast area" is the largest public greenspace in North America covering 5.5 million acres and including Quetico Provincial Park, The Superior National Forest, Voyageur National Park & the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness.

These folks are very pure in motive - they're "non - political" which I really liked, and in my dealings with them they are a class act.

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Quetico & The Superior National Forest there is a rotating group of 9 people that are canoeing pretty much a circle around the area in a 24' voyageur canoe. They hit Atikokan for Canada Day on July 1, they're supposed to be in International Falls today for the US celebrations (btw - Happy Independence Day to all our US friends!), heading down through Crane Lake, over to Grand Marais, Grand Portage & then finishing at Fort William near Thunder Bay for the Rendezvous & Dragon Boat Festival (on July 17 & 18).

On July 2nd, we welcomed them at our camp for breakfast as they paddled through. It was great meeting them and a great learning experience. The contingent that we met had a vast array of experience, from scientific knowledge to historical expertise, and of course a love of the land that presented itself in many anecdotes. They were passionate, creative, good spirited, humourous and energetic.

To bring awareness to one of the issues facing the area, the bottom of the 24' voyageaur canoe was painted with many of the invasive aquatic species that jeopardize our ecosystem.

The group that we welcomed included:

Rich Kelley, Chair of Heart of the Continent Partnership and Trustee of
the Quetico Foundation from St. Paul, MN

John Rafferty, Member of Parliament - Thunder Bay/Rainy River, resident
of Fort Frances,

Pamela Cain-Hawley, Curator of Fort Frances Museum

Spencer Scott, 2nd year student at Lakehead University,

Brian McLaren, professor, Lakehead University - Forestry, Thunder Bay

Darryl Bathel, retired, Department of Natural Resources - Fisheries -
Duluth, MN

John Radosevich-Craig, Superior National Forest Volunteer and group chef

Liz Roat, U.S. Forest Service, Superior National Forest, Duluth, MN

Robin Reilly - Superintendant of Quetico Provincial Park, Atikokan

If you'd like more info on this very worthwhile organization their website is:

Anyway, here's a couple of pics from their visit....