Monday, March 5, 2018

Ice Cutting 2018

Hi ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another year at Wine Lake Camp.  The year started off pretty well as we just finished ice cutting.  All members of our team made it home safely and we had no real accidents which means it was successful.  We did receive a very nice helping hand from a lodge owner from quite a distance away when he and his girlfriend decided to ride out and help us for several hours.

2 weeks prior to our trip I received a phone call that the older Indian trapper that has had a cabin on Wine Lake for over 50 years had passed away from a heart attack.  His name was Gabe and some of you may have met him through the years as he would stop by from time to time and we would help him when we could.  His family had contacted me and ask if we could help move all the lumber for a new cabin Gabe was going to build this year.  It was laying in the bush and they had no way of getting it to their site.  So the group and I met up with them the day after we arrived and we moved all the lumber for an entire cabin to their current cabin site so they could build it this summer.  It took us over 6 hours of shoveling snow and moving stacks of lumber on sleds pulled behind our snow machines.  By the end of the day we were exhausted, but Elaine the daughter made a meal fit for a king for all of us to eat.  Great day overall.
The weather was extremely cold and we had lots of snow.  I am hoping the snow helps to bring up the lake level from last year as we ended the season with not being able to get into Mud Lake and Ghost Lake.  The beaver actually blocked the Anishinabi Falls completely and we had no water coming over the falls at all.  I have been in touch with the MNR and the Gabes family and feel we should be able to get the beavers removed from the falls area and the dam busted open in the Spring.  This should help bring the water level up even more.

On Sunday we constructed the Ice ramp and got ready to cut the ice on Monday.  Early Monday we got started.  The temperature was -24 F with out the wind chill.  We worked hard all day but because it was so cold we could not keep out saws from freezing up to quickly which really set us back.  We finally got into a rhythm by late afternoon but did not get all the ice put up.  So back to work we went on Tuesday to finish putting up the ice.  When we started the next morning, we had to clear away 3” of new ice that had formed on all the open water.  You could actually walk across and jump on the new ice.  We got the job finished and the ramp tore down just at dark making for another really long day.  The actual ice was great though.  It was 20” thick and of that only 3” to 4” of that was what we call slush ice (it is the ice that melts the quickest because it is built with air in it.  We estimated the blocks at 550 to 600 pounds each.

The next 3 days we spent exploring and fishing.  We put over 150 miles on the snow machines and fished 4 different lakes as well as Wine.  We caught a bunch of walleyes, a few trout, a couple really big perch and some burbout.  We ended our week and our stay with a huge fish fry the last night with onion rings.  It really makes you long for the summer days when that is done daily and in much more comfortable temperatures.

I would say the average temps for the week were about -2 to -3 during the day and -10 to -20 at night.  The high for the week was 14 one day and low was Monday of Ice cutting at -27.  Even with the cold we had a great time.  Remember this summer when you put your fish in the ice chest or have a whiskey on the rocks that what went into providing that and how great our seasons truly are.
I really want to thank the people who worked really hard up there this year as it could not be done without them.

See you all very soon and look forward to another great year at Wine Lake Camp!!!!!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Old and New Friends

Fall has finally begun to show here at Wine Lake. We are starting to see at lot more yellows and oranges. The leaves are beginning to change and the mix from the usual green landscape is a great view to behold. 

You know the saying, "April showers bring May flowers", well I hope that "September rain will make the water level rise again". We are really starting to get rain on a more consistent basis but despite its efforts, the water doesn't seem to have risen much, if any at all. I feel like a broken record talking about the low water every week, but it really has been astonishing how much it has changed over the course of the year. 

Normally just the tip of the tall rock is exposed

The bay behind the main dock

This week we had 3 groups staying in camp. The Simmons party of 12, the Schulte party of 10 and James and Dan staying in the Walleye. It was a really fun week with some really awesome and happy people. The Schulte party were first timers staying at Wine but not first timers fishing the lake. They really enjoyed the magnificent Walleye fishing that Wine Lake has to offer. 

The Simmons party were mostly returnees with a couple of rookies thrown in the mix. They had us join them for a fish fry on Thursday night and by the amount of fish that was fried up just that night, I'd say they had no trouble finding the fish this week! 

Wednesdays tournament was a lot of fun despite the rainy day that it started out to be.

Everyone got in the spirit and came up with fun team names that seemed to fit each team perfectly. By the time 3pm rolled around and it was time to measure fish, it was a really beautiful day. 

They winners of the tournament were Ray, Erik and Greg(absent from picture), and had their fish caught by 9am. They won the tournament with 3 Walleyes(18", 18", 17.25") Their team name; the MFer's(I'm sure you know what it stands for...)

The Walleyes are still going deeper as people are now marking and catching them in 35-50ft more and more regularly. 

Friday night we had quite the storm here. What started out as just lightening, thunder and a little rain turned into a massive hail storm with the biggest pieces of hail I have ever seen in my life. The hail came down hard for at least 10 minutes but luckily left no damage to anything here at camp or any cars at the landing. 

One of the nicest things to hear at Wine Lake is when a new group says they can't wait to come back next year! Saturday morning we heard a lot of that from the first timers which put huge smiles on our faces. It just reassures us that this prestigious camp is run the right way and the beauty and tranquility of this place always gives people the vacation they are looking for. 

Biggest Catches 

29" Walleye - Erik Schulte

13" Perch - Chris Williams

18.5" Bass - Daniel Wood

40" Pike - James "Buddy" Emerson

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

It's Been A While

I'd like to apologize for my 6 week hiatus from the WEEKLY blog...I know, I know, you're all thinking I'm just lazy but really we have been very busy around here.

Because of my long absence from writing, the last 6 weeks worth of blogs are going to be all mashed up into one.

August 5-12 "Family Week" 

We had a big fish fry with Nicks friends and family with a lot of good food and some fun and games. 

Maddie celebrated her 21st birthday! We had a great dinner, cake and some fun partying that night too! 

Dion Sr. and Dion Jr. won the fishing tournament on Wednesday.

It was a really fun week with a lot of great friends and family of Nick that made the week extremely enjoyable!! We look forward to seeing you all again next year. 

Biggest Catches
27" Walleye - Dennis Dube
13" Perch - Dion Perry
28" Laker - Dion Perry
18.5" Bass - Jeff Skinner
37" Pike - Donna Adams

Aug. 12-15

The rollers really got messed up this week and we had to pull the whole system and fully rebuild a brand new set of rollers. The water had still been dropping so we also had to space the rollers out further to make it reach the water on both sides. 

Bob and Jim won the fishing tournament this week with some nice size Walleye and Pike. 

The Wolf cabin(Ken, Chris, Dale, Phil) gave us quite a few laughs while they were here. Things mysteriously just showed up around camp this week. We must have found nearly 30 rubber ducks in different spots around camp. We found a bowling ball on our porch, and a giant pair of woman's underpants hanging on the line one morning. Lots of signs left on the outhouses and all around the boat house. They left restaurant menus in their cabin, a birdhouse for the dock, and an alligator head for the boathouse. It was like Christmas morning meets scavenger hunt every morning while they were here and we all enjoyed it immensely!

Big Catches 
26" Walleye - Spencer Lerum, Bob Kauffman
31" Laker - Jim Iott
18.25" Bass - Chris Little
40" Pike - Phil Lusenhop

August 19-26

Nick ran out of gas while bear baiting one day and was stranded on shore for 2 hours before a boat passed by and towed him back to camp. Jim Pabian was able to poke fun at Nick during Wednesdays tournament by presenting him with a way to fix his problem. 

Brothers Jay and Brian Pabian won the fishing tournament with 3 really good Walleye. 

We had to move an outhouse this week and we had a lot of willing participants from the Pabian, Fisher and Heskett groups to help lift it. The move went really smooth and turned the stinkiest outhouse into the scent-free outhouse! 

The water is still dropping this week too and making portaging and getting into lakes harder and harder. 

Big Catches 
26.5" Walleye - Marty Vanhorn
12" Perch - Tom Jonston
34" Laker - Pete Fisher
18.5" Bass - Phil Lusenhop
40.5" Pike - Phil Lusenhop

August 26- Sept 2

We had our first bear hunter of the fall in camp this week and he got a nice bear on the first night of going hunting. It was quite an adventure because when Nick and I were going to pick him up in Ghost, our boat broke down and we all had to spend the night in the woods. Jody rescued us first thing in the morning though and Nick and Jeff and I survived and now we have a pretty cool adventure story. 

Clifton and his wife Bethany won wednesdays fishing tournament with 3 great Walleyes. 

The fish started going deeper this week. Walleyes are now starting to sit between 18-35ft with some being caught a little deeper. 

The water will not stop dropping and is exposing rocks that haven't been seen for years. 

Big Catches
27.5" Walleye - Jon Wysong
36" Laker - Lenny Klossner
19.5" Bass - Jen Kern
41" Pike - Carl Oswald

Sept 2 - 9 

We got a lot accomplished this week! Nicks brother and some of his friends came up this week as well as my parents and Jody's mom. 

The roof on the Duck got re-shingled. 

A new pergola got built on the dock. 

We moved another outhouse. 

Got the new Gray Water hole cribbed out. 

Pulled the boat ramps further into the water and made the fish house ramp safer and sturdier. 

A couple boat motors, our lawn mower, generators, and the main lodges solar all got a tune-up. 

A new deck for the Eagles Nest.

A big Wine Lake THANK YOU goes out to Chris, Jackson, Bruce, Tim, Mike and Uncle Jim and to my dad Doug for all they did all week!

They also got to enjoy a lot of fishing this week too and did really well catching the Walleye! Chris also got a nice bear on his second night here. 

Jody and I got to do some fishing with our parents which was really fun and Jody caught a 37" Northern Pike one morning! 

Chad and Darren or "Hammer and Nails" won wednesdays fishing tournament with 3 really good looking Walleye. 

Dave, Terry, Ben, Chad and Darren have a little competition of their own when they come up here. They have the prestigious "Walleye Cup", which is won by the fisherman who catches the biggest Walleye of the week. This years winner.... BEN with a whopping 27" Walleye!!! Way to go Ben! To go along with that 27"er he also got a 40" Northern Pike!!! Ben really is the "Fish Whisperer"!

The Walleye are staying deep and the water is still dropping. Mud and Ghost are extremely hard to get into and the portage has had to be tweaked a little with so many rocks now out of the water and in the way of the boats. 

Biggest Catches 
27" Walleye - Ben Parsons, George Filbur
36" Laker - Kelly Cosgrove
19" Bass - Derek Peterson
44" Pike - Josh Peterson

Sept. 9-16

The rain has finally come, but not nearly enough! Last week gave us a bit and this week gave us a bit more. We had a lot less sunny days and far more cloudy/rainy days. Somehow though, the water is still dropping! We think from the start of this year the water has dropped 30+ inches. Not to mention, at the beginning of the year it was down a good 4-6" from last year. 

We encourage everyone at home to be doing daily rain dances for us! 

With the rain and clouds also comes a lack of solar power. We have installed new energy saving bulbs in all of the guest cabins that seem to be really helping keeping the solar up and running. 

We have been having to run the generator almost every day though to power the main lodges solar. 

Rick and Sal won Wednesdays  tournament with 3 perfect 11.75" Perch! They just beat their cabin partners boat that brought back 2 perfect Perch and a 17" Walleye!

Biggest Catches
25.25" Walleye - Sal Aquino
36.5" Pike - Rick Tylar