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!