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!!!!!