Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Ice Cutting 2020 Blog

The big event I have been planning for months has come and gone.  14 brave guys headed north to camp to tackle an almost impossible job.  In one week we built a log cabin and put up 50,000 pounds of ice.  This was done in temperatures from -30 degrees to 23 degrees.  We struggled through about 8 inches of fresh snow on top of the 12-20 inches of old snow.  Making sure you have everything you need to take care of 14 people as well as build a cabin, snowmobiles to get you to and from camp,  all tools and equipment to put up large amounts of ice, crossing the borders with much of the stuff turned out to be quite the endeavor.   I would like to report we accomplished all most all of it in 7 days.

The trip started out with me and 2 others going into camp early to get ready for all the work that was to come.  The other bunch of guys traveled from Ohio, Indiana, Texas and Iowa.  All of them joined up in international falls and enjoyed an evening eating pizza and drinking beer.  From there they all headed out to meet me and 45,000 pounds of cabin on a semi in the bush to unload and start moving into Wine Lake.  Over the next Four days we worked in teams.  We had one crew running logs and all the other tools, doors, windows etc… into camp in non stop round trips.  Each trip took at least an hour and a half.  They worked all day at this, many times returning on their last trip well after dark.   

The second team worked on putting up ice at Wine Lake for the last time.
These guys worked tirelessly at cutting and putting up 400 pound blocks of ice.  They struggled this year due to the cold and had many problems with the saws.  Though most of them were experienced they had to work through and overcome obstacles that made the job move slowly.  In the end they tackled the job and worked very hard to make sure it still got done. 

The third crew worked on building the cabin.  My brother, who studied how to build the cabin and put in endless hours prior to arriving, led the team to make sure the cabin was built properly and made sure the project went as well as possible.  These guys worked on slippery ladders and logs through snowstorms and the brutal cold and still were able to pull the project together.  When the other crews finished their jobs, all of the crew worked together to get as much done on the cabin as was possible in the time that we had.

A few of the crew broke off early for a couple days to go fish.  They were able to bring back enough walleyes and perch for us to have a great fish fry on Thursday night.  It was a great way to celebrate all of our accomplishments.  

I wish I could explain how truly difficult it was to do many things in the cold,  wind and snow, with tools that did not want to work or broke because of the cold.  Trying to work high on slippery ladders that would not sit properly in the snow or at angles because of the hill.  The end result however is an awesome cabin that will be enjoyed for many years to come. 

Though we worked from about 8am to dark everyday, the guys certainly found time in the evening to unwind and relax.  Lots of spirits were consumed and lots of cards were played.  Many times the temperature in the lodge never got above 60 degrees but this crew just kept on thriving through it all. 

I will let the pictures tell the story, but just want to thank the guys that worked to make this happen.  They are a great group of individuals that worked together to become an incredible team.  I am truly blessed to call of these gentlemen my friend.  Thanks guys 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Playing Catch-Up

Sorry it has taken so long to write this but it has been an unusual year.  We have had to endure employee issues, as well as truck issues, as well as boat issues.  I believe we finally have finally found our rhythm (although it is 2 months later than I like).  This write up will cover several weeks and bring everyone up to date on weather water levels and most importantly the fishing.

Over the last month we have had many groups come to Wine Lake suffering from over work and the weight of life stresses on their shoulders.  However, when they have left they were fully relaxed and tired for work on Monday morning.  I have enjoyed seeing many people that have been coming here for years and years, as well as, meeting some new faces that have not been to Wine Lake or have not been here in many years.  All have been enjoying themselves and have been greeted with great weather.  We have missed most of the extreme heat that the states have been feeling as well as most of the rain you all have been enduring.  We are at the point where the water is dropping fairly quickly and see nothing changing in the near future.  At one point we did get a rain that dropped 1.5 inches overnight but that has been the extent of our rain.  As I write this we can still get into all the lakes and the water is high enough that we are not encountering to many problems but another couple weeks of no rain and that is going to change. The season so far can be summed up as the only thing that has been consistent is inconsistency. 

We had a very late spring which put us behind water temperature wise as well as weed wise by about 2 weeks.  Everything we typically would see the fish doing the last few years has not been what they did this year.  One day people are catching good numbers of walleye and the next day it takes great effort to just boat enough for dinner.  The people that have tried different techniques or tried places they had not usually fished in the past seemed to do better than those that fished in the places and the ways they usually do (I personally fall into the latter category).   I am a jig fisherman and you can call it lazy but I tend to continue jigging when I should be using worm harnesses or crank baits or even swim baits and top water instead.  We all have to remember it is called fishing and not catching for a reason.  I have grown accustom to dropping a jig and the fish biting.  Well it is not that easy this year.  I only have one reason I can come up with for the sporadic bite and it is the large quantities of bait fish.  In my 4 years here I have never seen so much bait in the water.  At times my depth finder shows nothing but clouds and clouds of bait fish.  The good news is that the fish we are catching are very fat and healthy.  The bad news is they have lots of food to choose from and not always wanting to bite what I am giving them.  The Trout fishing has been consistent as we pulled in another 30” plus last week.  We have had a good year on big trout as we have landed over 10 in the 32 to 36-inch range.  I look for the perch fishing to pick up over the next month as well as the bigger pike.  We have been catching many in the mid to upper 30’s but the over 40’s that we caught so many of in the spring have been eluding us.

In talking with the MNR they have informed me that the 2015 and 2016 hatches were not exceptionally strong for walleye s.  What this means to us is that we are a weak class of 16 to 18-inch fish right now.  I believe this is adding to the inconsistent fishing we are seeing.  They have assured me that this has occurred over the entire region not just here.  We have an exceptional amount of fish in the 20 to 26-inch range which will ensure many more year of great fishing.  I have seen this year that we have a lot of fish in the 10 to 14-inch range which will be great for next year. 

On a brighter note to those that have been up this year, the loons that have had a nest in the bay since May finally hatched an egg and the chick seems to be doing well.  The first eggs they laid did not make it, the second egg they laid hatched and within minutes had an eagle take the chick so this is the third go around for them.  I have to give them credit as the have endured a lot of struggles to get where they are.  It just shows perseverance always pays off.  I will have to say though after over 2 months of having them yelling in the middle of the night every night it will be nice to have the quiet back.

We have several bear hunters coming into camp at the beginning of September and the blueberries are about ripe so fall is not far away.   Please make sure if you are not booked for next year that you give us a shout soon as we only have a handful of cabins left outside of the month of September.  I look forward to seeing those of you who are still coming up.  Quick note RTE 502 is under heavy construction.  If you come through International Falls go west on 11 instead of east.  Take it to RTE 71 North.  Take that to 17 West.  Then go North on 105.  It is 10 minutes longer normally but with the construction will save you 30 to 40 minutes.  Safe Travels

Monday, June 17, 2019

Hold Your Tongue

Samuel Goldwyn

Those of you who know me, know I can be a bit much sometimes. I am stubborn, and I like to be in charge more often than not. I am much like my dad in that aspect. Like him, I naturally like to place myself in leadership positions. My downfall is that when someone does not listen, I do not handle it well. This is not some feminist piece or anything, but the reality is as a young woman, I do not get the same respect a man my age would. I also do not get nearly the same amount of respect as my father. I get talked over, my ideas get passed up, and my opinion typically does not matter. While I don’t have this problem with my dad, I have had this issue with almost every employee he has hired. Typically, the help is around 10 years older than me. What 30-year-old wants to listen to a 22-year-old girl. Because of this, every year I have to fight to be respected. I have to fight for my opinion to matter. My dad is a brilliant man, and he notices my struggle. He offers words of wisdom, and each year I get better and better at how I handle this issue. 

So this year, I finally felt like I was getting somewhere and it all came crashing down. I mean at some point in your life you are going to have to work with someone you can not stand, right? Well unfortunately that point is right now. I am working with that person where no matter what we are doing, we don’t see eye to eye. Pair that with my stubbornness and you get a headache for dad.

In an attempt to quell the situation, and save dad some stress, this year I am practicing the art of holding my tongue. All I can say is baby-steps.

Otherwise this was a really great week. Dad had to go into town for two days to run some errands, but my friends in the Moose cabin took me in, and we played cards to pass the time. I came in a very close second place, but I put up a good fight. It was a much-needed distraction.

We also had a lot of kids in camp this week which brings a very relaxed atmosphere. I always enjoy hearing their fish stories and seeing the excitement on their faces when they talk about all the big fish they had caught during the week.

A big thanks to everyone for being so supportive this year. We want you to know that it is greatly appreciated!