Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bull Moose Camp fishing trip day 4

After a few days of fishing, even the clouds begin to look like fish. This cloud was over the big part of the lake, watching over my father and I as we had a big late morning/early afternoon of Walleye catching success out by the buoys. We decided to try out the double bouy spot, parking outselves in between, and had some success with some smaller fish then got a few larger ones when we shifted positions slightly. This said, I may have topped my father's record for the smallest catch with the little walleye pictured in the photo below. Again, don't go snickering--it takes some skill to get a little fish like this on the line! (though not much skill to lift it into the boat once it's hooked!) 
In general, this was a day of getting rained on then skies clearing off, then the same happening again. Only finally we seemed to have a clearer idea of where the clouds were going. At one point every single area around us seemed stormy except for one strip of blue sky and we managed to stay under that strip of blue and out of the big rains until the clouds blew off. This, considering our skill the day before of trekking straight into the storms, was a real exciting development for us. We were, after all, just happy to be generally dry and thus not chilled. So, with that in mind, we fished... and fished..... and fished. Here are a few pics from the day:
Jen with a nice (edible) size walleye, though perhaps just a little smaller than the ones we did keep

Dad getting the hook out of the fish. Note the medical equiptment used? Handy.

Not a huge Northern, but he fought like he wanted to be bigger! I was pleased when I caught him.

Our keepers--food for a few days--fish cakes, baked fish, fried fish and some we are taking home (allowed 2 Walleye each on our conservation licence. 2 Northern too but we are not going to take all of that--fish are best eaten just after catching them in the lake after all!)
And so it was that another day of successful fishing ended... followed by the last of the "big storms"--in case you are unclear about why the sky is entirely red here, it is the sunset reflecting off of the oncoming rain as it begins to cross the lake heading towards us. Tremendous! And thus some really spectacular sunset photos to close another lovely day! 
The last storm of the day begins to head our way across the lake. We stand out by the dock and watch it come.

The entire cloud is tinted pink by the sunset--the rain crossing the lake reflecing the pink in a striking and also omnious manner. The slow arrival of rain (that looks like red rain!)
My father, Fred Dee, under the Bull Moose Camp sign as the red rain heads our way.
Dad takes a picture of me as we watch the sunset and the oncoming red rain.

Another undoctored image at sunset--the sky the most magnificent shades of red and pink and purple and blue.

Fishing Day... three

There seemed to be no clouds that my father and I did not want to motor directly under for a solid drenching on DAY 3 out on Upper Goose Lake here in Ontario, Canada. One thunderhead in particular was looming and ominous so we decided not to stay out on the lake but rather to head in to camp. However, this just meant that we motored straight into the storm (which was not a thunderstorm, just a good drencher in the end) and rode with it to shore--later in the day I talked to some guys that had been fishing just a little beyond where we had gotten spooked and they said they only got sprinkled on. Not us! As my father put it "it was like someone turned a fire hose on us for 5 minutes". To which we can both say rain gear is not really prepared. It held up great on all of our other soakings, but this one was just too much--in part perhaps because I was holding our rain gear pants in my hands and saying --which one is whose? just before the sloshing got started--so we were both tugging on the gear when the skies opened up. In fact, as we boated home I saw a massive line of indentations cross the water in front of us and turned around perplexed when my dad had that alarmed "oh, wow, we are going to really really get wet" look and after that one line it was upon us--or shall I say we advanced properly into its center? And that is how we kindly brought the storm with us--as we were both travelling at what seemed the same speed!

Back at camp we took HOT showers and changed out of our wet things and admired the wild rainy and windy moment which oddly passed right on through leaving bright sun behind. So, as we were not to be
deterred, out we went for another fishing moment--and we had a nice time casting for northern on a shore and around some of the islands that are just to the east of camp. I caught about 4 small (but not tiny in the least) northern on a surface spinner bait--which is a ton of fun as the fish comes up over the surface to really grab the thing. All were let loose again and we tried fishing another shore but after getting rained on some more and no longer getting bites, we decided it was time for dinner. 

Of course, part of Day 3 was dad catching the smallest fish thus far. Now fishermen like to tell tall tales of the big one that got away or the big one they caught, but rarely do you hear a fisherman spinning a yarn about the tiny wriggling little sprite of a fish he managed to get into the boat. But really, they should. Because it is not all that easy to get the tiniest little fish caught on some of the optimistically large hooks we use. And so, to commemorate the fabulous deed of catching the tiniest fish on the trip, here is the photo I took to mark that great moment in fishing history for dad:
What was spectacular about the cloudbursts that travelled through bringing rain off and on, however, was the sunset. In fact, the sunsets on day 3, 4 and 5 have been spectacular (tonight is the eve of day 5 and so I am doing a little backlog blogging tonight). Here are a couple of photos from the magnificent sunset on Day 3:
Undoctored photo of the magnificent sunset over Upper Goose Lake from Bull Moose Camp by Jennifer K Dick
The view of the dock and sunset by Fred Dee

Two boats in for the night with the sunset across Upper Goose Lake by Fred Dee

The blinding ray of sun crossing the lake as if towards us (my photo!)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Fishing at Bull Moose Day two--sun then rain followed by gourmet dinner

Woke at 7:40am to see that a few groups were already draining their boats of the overnight rain and packing them up with gear to head out while I brushed my teeth in a daze and waited for the ani-itch cream to take effect on some of the mosquito bites acquired overnight as my dad also began getting ready for the day. We had a lingering breakfast and set up some new line on a casting reel so that we could rotate from casting or trolling for northern along the shores or islands to minnow and "Berkley Powerbait 2 inch power grubs" fishing in deeper water for walleye. We set out into a very very sunny late morning full of optimism as we boated over the glassy, serene lake: 
Dad and I in the boat ready to head off.

"selfie" with dad out on the boat as we crossed Upper Goose Lake on this sunny bright morning

But alas the fish seemed to like the hot day less and though we had some success catching a bunch of tiny walleye and a small northern, we were not as excited by the shoreline spots we were trying out and so headed to some places at the very far far end of the lake. There, too, we did not catch much but we had an amazing encounter with an eagle that flew over us many times very close and seemed about to hunt down a fish I'd seen come to the surface not far from us. In the end, though, the eagle veered off and headed high into the skies and day.

HOT and a bit tired, we pulled the boat up against the shoreline of one of the islands and ate our packed lunch while floating in a bit of shade. Then we tried trolling for a bit and when that only got another smallish walleye we headed back over to the spot we were last night. There, again, we had far better luck (and thus dinner panic was over). Dad even caught a nice sized walleye that was too big to keep--21 inches--seen here:

After we'd caught our dinner, we anchored at our personal hot spot to cast a bit more for catch and releasers, hoping for the big one. Dad began to complain that he was too hot under the late afternoon sky just when I pointed out a large dark cloud heading our way. As it grew closer, it became apparent that the cloud was not alone and with the low rumble of thunder not far enough off we hoisted the anchor and headed back towards camp--and just then it began sprinking. This seemed perfect, a nice cooling off, but about halfway across the large lake I suddenly saw an odd line of indentations make a quick stripe over the water. As my mind caught up to what it was, it was already too late--the massive downpour was upon us. Dad was calling out for rain gear jackets and we did our best to zip them up as the torrent came along with some winds. We could still see the sun on a strip of lake which we chased and chased, bringing the storm with us all the way back to camp. Soaked. really SOAKED, dad said that was it, we were in for the night--after 5 1/2 hours in the boat and soaked through, shoes, clothes, etc I acquiesced. We cleaned the fish while still dripping wet then cleared out the boat and began to hang things out to dry over our picnic table--as the rain had already stopped and left a softer sun in the wake of the storm.

Now, to close out our day Dad is making us dinner--a chippino red sauce with the northern pike from yesterday and some of the walleye we caught today, a can of clams and tiny shrimp in a spicy red sauce, which we are going to put on some spinach fettucini. The neighbors gave us a cob of corn which we will have with it to make this a real gourmet dinner at camp! And, what's more, Dad brought a jar of fois gras for hors d'oeuvres and we even have a bordeaux blanc--a mouton cadet--which has a lovely tangy lemon edge to it. This is really fishing in style!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

FlightS and fishing day 1

Sunrise--we woke at 5am and drove from Balmertown where we had stayed the night in the Nature's Inn to Red Lake for the 6:30am flight--Upon arrival at the Chimo airlines bay on the lake, we had our gear and food weighed and were also weighed on a giant scale with a few other people who were to take the flight with us--this year in a far larger plane than the 2 seater with ear phones we took a few years back. After loading up the planes, we sat and watched the fog come in and then ever so slowly the tower up on the nearby hill became visible again and it seemed the fog had officially gone back out.... and so we hopped into our little plane:

Our pilot looking optimistic as we make what will be a first of 2 attempts to head out of Red Lake and off to Bull Moose.

Flight to Bull Moose Camp take 1--it seemed to be going so great, the pilot looked confident, we lifted off of the lake and headed over the first sets of trees and other lakes and then.... fog and clouds and a U-turn. As seen in the second photo above--out the window, a vision of the fog closing round us sending us back for what would be a lingering morning in Red Lake as we waited for it to burn off. Despite this, Dad and I looked happy and not at all as nervous as we probably both were (or, at least I am speaking for myself here). 

In the photo above--waiting out the fog which is above out little bay which sat in a bowl of mostly clear air. We went off for a coffee and donut nearby then sat around on benches and got acquainted with many of the fishermen and women who would be spending the week with us. Just after noon it began to rain and it seemed that the day would be entirely lost as darker clouds were looming. But it was as the rain picked up that the pilot came re-charging out of the office and said "OK, it's now or never"--and in fact another, little plane had gone out about 10 minutes before to test the airs and had radioed back in--the sky might have looked darker to us, but in fact it was far clearer up high--as this picture from round two--the successful flight to Bull Moose Camp shows. A lovely view out over the expanse of trees and lakes and trees and lakes. 
The far clearer view out the window this time, despite the fact that we took off in rain. Lakes and trees and nothing else (no towns, no roads, no humans) as far as the eye can see.

Arrival on Upper Goose Lake--the water landing sooo smooth and there is the camp--ahnd our cabin is the right wing of the building pictured here (cabin 4)
One at Bull Moose Camp we offloaded the plane in a tight line and used dollys to roll the food and gear to the cabin where I set up the kitchen and rooms while dad got our poles set up and ready to head out onto the lake and catch some Walleye. It was, in fact, the perfect fishing afternoon--overcast and the weather was neither too hot nor too cold. We got sprinkled on from time to time but never soaked and the fish were biting like mad. Here are some photos from our first afternoon out--Dad and I in "our" boat for the week--boat number 5. 

The boats have all been super rigged out with new engines which are powerful and quiet at once. We sped down to one of the farther ends of the lake and tried our luck at a few spots en route, to no avail, then happened on a spot my father recalled was a good one from his past visits and we could hardly get the fish off the hooks before we had another bite. 
My first fish of the trip--a little but not mini Northern Pike. Dad had also just caught a little walleye.
We often found ourselves having to wait for the net for our slightly bigger catches, though it is true that we caught a lot of smaller (14-16inches) walleye, which we tossed back too. The max size is 18 inches that one can keep, but we took a few pictures with one of my larger Walleye--a 23 incher--pictured here: 

And dad caught a 37 inch Northern Pike with what seemed a HUGE head! Pictured here:

I thus added him to the "brag" board for today for catch and releasers--we took these pics of him with the fish before we watched the fish swim happily away to perhaps eat some of those walleye.
Fred Dee makes the brag board--with the 37 inch northern he caught on our first afternoon!
At the end of our afternoon we had also kept our limit for the day (see us pictured below with our 3 meals) which has provided us with a wonderful fish fry dinner and also provided dinner of fish for two of our fellow campers who did not yet get out on the lake. PLUS we have some fish left for the morning. So certainly there would never be any reason not to get this kind of licence. BUT as we have eaten our fish, we are certainly going to be motivated to get back out there tomorrow and catch dinner again. 
Back on land, I began cleaning the fish and remembering how that worked but dad quickly took over while I snapped some picks of an adorable groundhog and chatted with some of our neighbors.
We went out for a last little boat ride and attempted to catch larger fish by casting down a nearby river but the fish who seemed to try for our bait were so small they could not get our optimistically large hooks into their mouths. But it was fun to watch them leap out of the water for my floating spinner a few times. Here is another camper's boat coming back in, and then a final evening scene of the boats now on the beach for the night. A light rain patters on the rooftops and there is an amazing silence here, so far from civilization. A wonderful first day at Bull Moose Camp.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pre-fishing: the travel northward

Arrival at our family's cabin along Lake Sisabagama, WI the other day with my father--We were greeted by a double rainbow between sun and thunderstorms, and one of the rainbows reflected across the water towards our dock.

Then, waking up yesterday to watch this blue heron walk along the edge of the lake then hop up onto our dock where he hung out for a bit near the ducks.

Now? In Balmertown, Ontario heading to bed--as in the morning we will take a hydroplane from Red Lake to Upper Goose Lake to stay at Bull Moose Camp! Postings of the fishing journey to will follow!