Archive for July, 2011

Now That’s More Like It!

July 31, 2011

Welcome back.

Things are certainly looking up around here!  The weather has been nearly perfect:  80ish and breezy by day, low 70’s at night.  We still really need some rain, though.  The burn bans continue and will until we get a good downpour. 

Fishing last week was very, very good!  Dale’s clan from Indiana returned for their second year.  Their results this year were much, much improved over last.  They spent a lot of time in 5th Lake.  A couple of days were too windy for 5th, so they found some fish around Johnson’s Island and in the narrows leading to 3rd Lake.  They were using minnows.  Seems like 14-20′ is the depth for walleye right now.  They also caught some just right northerns.

David was here last month with the guys and returned last week with his wife.  They, too, had very good fishing!  They had walleye to eat when they wanted, caught many small northerns AND Nora released a 25″ walleye on Friday!  We like weeks that end like that–almost guarantees a return visit;)  They promise to get me a photo soon (hint, hint).

Speaking of photos, Bill and Steve were new to us.  They brought Bill’s two sons and had a ball.  Between them, we added six new photos to the Conservation Awards page (  three bass and three northerns.  These guys also found eater walleyes and released a 22″er (I have the photo somewhere but can’t find it right now).  I’ll put it in next week’s entry.  They were using worms and just seemed to know what to do. 

Our other guests had a good time and caught some fish.  Our other Dale’s family enjoyed some r & r and the kids enjoyed the pedal boats.  Dale caught some nice perch right off their dock!  Jim caught one of the pet northerns, but Gruper saved the day and got it back in the lake!  We had a great potluck, with everyone in attendance.  Overall, we had a super nice group of people in Camp last week.

This week’s folks are pretty cool, too!  We have a pair of brothers and their sons who have been doing incredibly well on walleye.  We have several repeat offenders who are off to a good start.  We’re pretty warm today and a bit windy.  We were REALLY windy yesterday, to the point where some folks didn’t venture far from home.

Before we get on to another photo fest, I have sad news and happy news.  Bill Leopold, a fine gentleman who fished Wabaskang for many, many years, passed away last week.  Bill was a retired Marine, a devoted family man, and a good friend of Tall Pines Camp.  He shared my love of ice cream.  He will rest in peace and forever be present in the fine sons he raised.  God bless you all.

On a happy note–and to assure us that new life comes at good times–Bentley Andrew Smith was born to Rachel and Kurt this week!  He will most assuredly be an avid angler.  His grandparents, John and Nita, have been blessed with their first two grandbabies within a year of each other!  Let the spoiling begin!  Congratulations, Rachel.  Please send me a photo soon (and thank you for the sympathy card for My Girl).

I have a plethora of pictures to share with you!  Some of them are incredible.  Where to start…

Mark and Sandy were here much earlier in the season.  The trip was a birthday present to Sandy from Mark.  I loved her scenery photos:

I’ve always said I love seeing things through my guests’ eyes.  Her appreciation of the sky, water, and sunsets reminds me of what we have here.  Sandy also caught some wildlife photos. Here are loon eggs and a moose:

Oh, and they found an unbelievable amount of perch during their stay:

Sandy promises to return.  She went home and created a souvenir for her garden:

Next up: Dave and Sharon’s family visited a few weeks ago.  Fishing was tough for them but they still had a wonderful time!  Lindsey enjoyed catching the minnows in the bucket!  Here she is sound asleep at the end of a long day with her “catch” on her lap:

Her brother Hunter was into bigger fish:

All of the kids that week had a good time together:

Sharon got a couple of really good loon pics.  I LOVE this one–don’t think I’ve ever seen this caught on film before:

Jess, Joel and Rhett were here a few weeks back.  Rhett released a nice smallie that I posted right away on the website.  However, I’ve been sitting with a few more photos.  Here are Rhett and Joel with a nice northern:

and Rhett with a good northern and perch (doesn’t do the perch justice next to that northern, though)

This merganser shot is hilarious!

Jess, too, caught some good sunsets:

Reggie enjoyed the trip as much as his family:

I shared most of Debbie’s photos last week.  However, I saved many of her sunsets–they had good ones each evening.  I’ll close with them today and meet you here next week.

Last but not least, her buddy Bruce:

Weather, fishing & photo update

July 24, 2011

Greetings, Followers.

First I’d like to thank everyone for their kind words and support during this past week.  Adjusting to life without Stinky LaRue has been difficult.  You’ve all been very sweet and we truly appreciate it.

There’s been a lot going on around here.  Fishing two weeks ago was probably the worst we’ve ever seen.  Our guests were great, though, and made the best of things.  Everyone was finally able to catch something but they really had to work for it.  Gruper released a 19″ bass but could not buy a walleye.  Perhaps it was due to the previous week’s mayfly hatch(?)  Perhaps it was a change in the weather(?)  Who knows?  May we never see a week like that again!

Last week’s fishing was much better.  Weather conditions were awful for fishing–bright, hot, windless, etc., but folks were able to get on all species.  Bruce released an 18.5″ smallie.  I’ve put his photo and Rhett’s from a few weeks ago on the Conservation Awards page of our website (  Bruce and Debbie also got onto perch, especially on Friday, and walleye.  Brian’s family did well on perch and northern.  Larry and Ruthie found some walleye as well. 

We went out today.  Water temps on 2nd Lake are at 70.  We caught several walleye (I got first and most, Gruper got biggest) in around 15′, though one was at 21′.  David and Nora caught walleye yesterday and today.  David was here just a few weeks ago with the guys so he may have a slight advantage.  However, conditions are significantly different than when he was here last.

Weather everywhere has been wicked this summer.  We have been no exception!  Last week saw four days near 100 with heat index.  It was miserable.  We have been as hot and dry as we’ve ever seen.  Fire restrictions include no charcoal grilling.  There are 100+ fires being fought in NW Ontario as I type.  Here’s a shot of a smokey sky last week:

That fire was north of Red Lake!  Our guests came in from the Lake because they couldn’t see much of anything.  Some said it was difficult to find the narrows leading to Camp.  We finally got some rain last night–a welcome shower.  We sure could use more.

Hot, dry conditions tend to bring out the animals.  A bear did a drive-by visit last Friday night.  He got into some garbage, walked along the shore line (Larry didn’t take his picture, though), and walked on some guests’ decks looking for more garbage.  He left a couple of deposits

and welcomed Brian’s family in a big way

before moving on.  We’ve not seen him since and hope he keeps meandering along.

Four straight days of extreme heat brought out the fun in Brian’s family!  Austin and Dad played catch,

went tubing,

 and went fishing with Mom

Not satisfied with bear prints on their car, they took a drive and found some night eyes:

belonging to this

Bruce and Debbie LOVE the heat!  They enjoy time in Florida and Mexico when they’re not home in Illinois or hanging out at Tall Pines Camp (Bruce enjoys a guy trip every June).  They braved the heat and fished up a storm:

They took pictures of babies,

spotted a rare headless goose,

taught everyone in Camp how to make bulldogs from towels,

and considered shearing their sheep


Lucky for the sheep, the weather turned downright cold on Friday.  We went from near-naked to fully layered in July!

And that sucks

But seriously folks, I should probably get some work done around here.  I have a TON of photos to share with you (thanks to everyone for sending me good stuff).  I’ll try to catch up on them next week.  Until then, here’s a sunset I caught this week (we had many from which to choose):

Shasta Claire, aka Stinky LaRue: ? – July 14, 2011

July 17, 2011

Some 14 years ago my sister and I were running errands.  I needed to stop at the bank.  While Rebecca waited in the car I ran inside.  There by the door was a cute yellow tabby cat with beautiful eyes

I finished my banking and decided that if that cat was still there I’d take her.  My sister, reading my mind, was shaking her head “no” when I emerged from the bank.  I picked up the cat and headed for the car.  Steve has allergies and our beagle would not be happy, but I love cats and we could work around any problems.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Honestly, I ran an ad in our paper to which there was no reply.  I made an appointment to find out more about this cat who I’d decided to call Shasta.  The vet knocked her out, shaved her, and discovered that she’d already been fixed:)  Someone had loved her before me.

Shasta had the most personality of any cat I’ve owned.  She was hilarious!  Her antics started when she’d drive Steve and our beagle Belle crazy.  A neighbor reported seeing her climb our porch swing and poop on the roof!  It was around that time that Gruper even started to “like” her.  She communicated clearly.  She pointed out a snake to me once and tried to tell me she’d seen a bear another time.

Though early nicknames included Puss and Punkin’, Steve gave her the nickname she loved:  Stinky LaRue.  It honestly made her smile:)  I still called her Chassa most of the time, my special name for her.

Initial plans were that Shasta would not come to Canada with us.  She made a clear point at that time and we relented.  What a great decision.  That cat LOVED her life up here!  She couldn’t wait in the spring for signs of “time to go.”  She was a good traveller and especially enjoyed getting to sleep on a real bed in the hotel (I’d get one for Steve and one for Chassa and Mama). 

My girl’s experiences in Canada were the likes that cats dream of.  She saw moose, bear and pine martin for sure.  We think she must have encountered a coyote or wolf at some time, based on her reaction to the stuffed one in the Bear’s Den.  She loved to spook the ducks and geese.  She’d pull an all-nighter about once a season–scaring me to death.  She rode in the golf cart and visited the dump.  She was so damned adaptable.  You could usually find me by looking for her; she kept me good company all season long.  Here she is examining a crayfish her dad found:

Stinky definitely had (at least) nine lives!  To get to the bank where we found each other, she’d had to cross any one of many busy roads.  When diagnosed with congestive heart failure last summer, the x-ray revealed a pellet in her hip.  That explained the arthritis she suffered.  She dislocated a hip this spring and put it back in place herself–showing us that she could walk all over Camp and even jump from a stump onto the dock! 

We believe it was a heat stroke a couple of weeks ago that began her demise.  A couple of days later, she rallied back and ate a bird on the deck.  Since she had never done that to our knowledge, we think it was on her bucket list.  The meds for her congestive heart failure were never guaranteed to fix her forever.  Last August the vet said maybe a month, maybe a year.  She gave us 10+ months more of good quality time, something for which I’m grateful.  I had asked of her one month last summer–time to heal from much larger emotional wounds suffered by our family.  She gave me so much more.  I already miss her so much…such a super companion.  There was no doubt that she would remain up here.  She has a nice spot in the campground where she can enjoy Canada year-round.

I grabbed some of her best photos here.  She LOVED to play and had different games/toys including



and crunchy bag–the indication that she wanted to play NOW

Her sense of humor was her strongest asset.  She knew when she was being funny and enjoyed making us smile:

All of her playing and humor inducement led to her very favorite activity, sleeping:


My laptop screensaver is my favorite photo of her:

Rest in peace, My Girl.  ‘Though you weren’t much of a hunter on Earth, perhaps you’ll decide that bird was good and get to find many, many more in your new home:

Sunshine and mayflies and 80’s–oh my!

July 10, 2011

Well, last week was a week of very warm weather, no wind, lots of sunshine and a mayfly hatch.  Given that, you’re probably expecting a poor fishing report.  NO WAY, JOSE!  We actually had a pretty darned good week of fishing in some not-so-good conditions.

Water temps are in the low 70’s so we figured the walleye would go deep.  However, most of our guests were catching them in 8-12′ of water.  Drifting, jigging, trolling–all produced results again this week.  The live bait of choice seemed to be minnows though folks were doing well with crawlers, too. 

We saw plenty of perch again, many of which came from a nice little spot on 2nd Lake.  Charlie, Donna and Anna had success with walleye and perch on that spot most of the week:)  They were new to the Lake, as were nearly all of our guests.  Rick, Geoff and their boys had a blast!  They explored quite a bit of the Lake and spent a lot of time at Gawley’s Bay.  Ricky released a nice 22″ walleye:

The guys came in with a nice batch of eaters:

I stole this photo from their camera–it made me smile:

Potluck was another raging success!  Darryl and Raemona MADE ice cream!!!Our guests would never have missed us if we had stayed in the house.  Folks ended up fishing together the next day!  That’s how it should be, we think.  As always, potluck provides the opportunity for folks to put on their Sunday best.  Steve W. made a great fashion statement, though he’s a bit conflicted (check out his hat vs. his shirt):

Gruper and I have a new mom in Camp.  He found her sitting on her nest.  We’ve since seen here itty-bitty babies and hope to get a photo soon:

We visited an island on 1st Lake to see if we could spot an eagle some guests had reported behaving oddly.  We didn’t see the eagle but we did see another bird:

Let’s use the zoom:

Don Got took a nice photo of Eldon while he was here

and Robin snapped this shot of an eagle carrying a fish in its talons!

Don Got also sent some photos from their trip a few weeks ago:

Looks like the Bear’s Den had enough for dinner:)
David’s group of two weeks ago got into some nice slot northerns:

They were a super nice group of guys and we hope to see them again next year

See you later this month, David (nice hat)!

Don Got captured a couple of good sunsets during their stay a few weeks ago:
I caught a couple myself last week.  There were many to choose from:


I close asking you to keep My Girl in your thoughts.  She had what we think was a heat stroke a week ago last Friday.  She rallied back a bit but seems to be fading fast.  She still ambles down to the Lake for a good drink

and rests by the trees

and lets me love on her a bunch.  She’s in no pain so we’ll let her hang around.  Say a good word for her:)

Family Fun!

July 4, 2011

Greetings and Happy Independence Day to you all!  May you have great activities planned with family and/or friends.

Last week was very family-oriented.  We had all new bodies in Camp, except for Bobby and Jeff who had each been here a zillion years ago and Lee and Cindy and Sonny and Kathy who’ve all been here many times and stay several weeks (yeah!)  We had 10 (yes, 10) kids in Camp as well–that’s a lot for us:)

Fishing started a bit slow for everyone.  We were warm–mid to high 70’s–and windless.  Several guests were struggling with where to go, what to use, etc.  Gruper and I headed out to see if we could do any scouting.  I guess it was only fair that he had a good day since I’d done so well the previous week.

We did quite well in a short amount of time on 5th Lake.  It was a little rough.  You may notice that Gruper was dressed for his favorite type of fishing:  jigging with one hand and bailing with the other!  It did not rain one drop but he needed full rain gear as he operated the boat.  We were in 14′ of water and doing our vertical jigging thing.  On the way back we spied several of our boats in the 2nd narrows.  Turns out they were doing quite well also!  The walleye in particular had really turned on in that area, despite bright blue skies.  They were a bit shallower, and the guys were drifting through and doing well.

We had a very helpful group of anglers in Camp.  Bobby turned out to be quite impressive.  He shared many spots with other guests.  He caught walleye and perch right here by Camp!  His technique was trolling with a shad rap(?)  It worked quite well for him.  On Friday, July 1, he tacked smallies as that’s the day the size/limits change for them.  He also decided that we needed a Wall of Shame in our fish cleaning house and added the first exhibit:

He hacked up his basket with the prop!

Many of our young guests came to fish!  We had met Evan and Jake at a sports show earlier this year.  We could tell they knew what they were doing.  They brought their friend Brock, and these boys fished HARD all week.  They were good at finding all species.  Brock released a 22″ smallie.  Two other young guys, Rhett and Nicholas, also released big smallies.  You can see them all on the Conservation Awards Page of  our website:

The kids were all so well behaved and found ways to keep themselves occupied when they weren’t fishing.  Here are a bunch of them posing with a rare find:

Later in the week Rhett and Carter found a teeny, tiny turtle:

Miss Artessa spent A LOT of time in the Lake:

Audrey sported darling green toes (this one’s for you, Mr. Horak):

I think it would be safe to say that the week ended up very well for our anglers.  Fishing got better and better each day!  We were able to do some conservation education/awareness as well this week, which made it great for us.  We will take Chuck’s suggestion to verbalize our expectations instead of just having them in print form in the cabins. 

We’d like to thank everyone for choosing to make us a family vacation spot last week.  It was nice to finally meet Ed, Robin and the boys:)  Chuck’s family had a great time and seemed to embrace the family time.  Even our new couples and guy group (David, et al) fit right in with our very social group.

I raided Max’s camera.  He released a 24″ walleye that you’ll see on the website.  He also had some other cool stuff:

That's a deer swimming.

His friend Rusty was glad to see him for a walk one day:

He photoed a particularly good perch catch (with a whitefish!) a couple of weeks ago:

He captured a nice sunset:

It’s nice to see our Camp life through his eyes!  Thanks, Max.

I’ll close with a reflection I caught this morning.  Have a great 4th and a good week:)