Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Four-year roofing project completed

Cabin 3 was the second-largest roof
There were times when I didn't think I would ever say this, but our massive re-roofing project is done! We have now stripped the roofs of every building in camp and installed new 25 year shingles.
I wish I had kept track of the number of shingle bundles over the four years we worked on this project but judging by the 90 that we did this season, the total was probably 360 to 400.
The second-largest roof and the oldest was Cabin 3, completed in late August. A portion of this building was built by original Bow Narrows owner Bill Stupack in the 1930s.
The largest roof, of course, was the lodge, which I believe we completed two years ago.
Other than Cabin 3, buildings done this season were Cabins 4 and 6, the generator building, the fish house, the water plant, the recycling building and the water plant. And oh yeah, we also re-roofed the porch on Cabin 9 which had been damaged by a falling tree.
The total weight of the shingles we laid over those four years would have been 25,000 pounds!
That sounds like a lot but we also removed probably three or four times that much weight in old rolled roofing.
Whew! I'm glad we're finished.
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Saturday, October 3, 2015

It was the summer of the big pike

Charles Howard, 41-inch
Terry Leonard, 37-inch
Sue Nosko 39-inch
There will be a lot more pictures to come, once I get home and can transfer some of the photos our anglers e-mailed me to my computer, but here are the first few showing the extraordinary season it was this past year for big, big northern pike.
Many long-time anglers landed their personal bests this year. I must have heard a dozen people say "Today was the best fishing day of my life." It was truly spectacular. Not only were there a lot of long pike hooked, but they were extra thick as well. Thirty-plus-inch fish liked to warp your rod. Pike anglers had a blast.
Early-on in the season we did very well on bigger lures, and by bigger I mean up to six-inch plugs like the Spro and Suick. But as summer came on the big lures faded in popularity and the regular two-inch spoons and spinners like Mepps #4 and #5 seemed to produce the best.
Throughout the year, anybody who tried top-water baits like the six-inch Zara Spook and the Live Target Walking Frog, were thrilled to find that northern pike won't hesitate to take to the air. Lots of them become completely airborne. In one case, the very first pike a dyed-in-the-wool walleye angler caught when he tentatively tried the Walking Frog was a 36-inch fish that came completely out of the water and inhaled the frog when it came back down.
Later in the summer and in the fall, buzz baits along with spoons and again, the topwater lures, provided great action.
I'll let Pete, one of our last fishermen who just had a fantastic afternoon on pike after spending days coaxing reluctant walleye to bite, sum it up: "I drove hundreds of miles and spent a thousand dollars. I don't want to sit in the boat and just do this all day (here he pretends to hold a rod in his hand and gently jig it up and down. I want action!"
He and his group tried buzz baits and spoons and soon had giant pike somersaulting through the air and doing back flips. And get this, they also caught two muskies.
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2016 availability now on-line

If you click on the 2016 Reservation Availability button on the right side of the page, you should now be able to see what's currently available for cabins next year.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Why no blogs?

A bunch of reasons: no connectivity,  no time, idiotic computer system (8.1).
We lost our old phone system last year and this year have only had our cell to connect with the Internet. If others at camp are using the system, even the phone, everything slows down. I have one hour of possibility to write on the blog. That's at 8 p.m. which is my first chance to sit down all day. Unfortunately it is also the staff's chance to call home or send emails or surf the net. By 9 p.m. the guests are back from fishing and are on the phone or need things.
Another factor has been the disappearance of digital cameras, replaced by cell phones. Instead of letting me use an SD card from a camera to share a photo of a big fish or a moose, people now e-mail me the photo after they get home. It takes such a long time to download the photo on our pittance of a cell signal that it ends up taking my whole time. I will use all these photos once I get back home. Thanks to all for sending them.
I will also say goodbye to Windows and get a Mac. I'm thoroughly finished with 8.1.
I've more time from this point forward and will do my best to post things.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Personal bests caught today

Moose Club members Bob Preuss and Earl Vorpagel got their personal bests on pike today. Bob got a 45-incher and Earl landed a 32-incher. Both big fish were released.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Telephone, e-mail working again

A major telephone outage that began Friday evening and lasted through the weekend was corrected this morning. We were unable to receive calls or e-mail during that time. Everything is back today.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The sounds of no silence

A heron lands in the stillness of an early camp morning
What a difference a day makes.
The one I’m talking about started out with a worker at Red Lake Marine, the place where we tie up our boat, taking out his boom box and playing tunes while he worked on some new docks. I happened to be there waiting for a truck to deliver our new beds. I knew the beds were on the truck; I just didn’t know when they would be delivered and so ended up waiting the entire day.
“You da man! (boom di boom, boom, boom)
“You my main man! (BOOM)
“Been scratchin’ for a livin’, don’t wanna see my baby pout
“When the sun’s getting high, you know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout
“Got an itch in my stomach and I just got to get it out
“So I head out for a sub and soon you all hear me shout
“You da man!’ (boom di boom, boom, boom)
“You my main man! (BOOM)

“Give me mine on flatbread, give me olives, give me cheese
“Give me lots of cold cuts, could I have some peppers please?
“Then stick it in the oven, wrap it up at your ease
“You da Earl of Sandwich, I praise you on my knees
“You da man! (boom di boom, boom, boom)
“You my main man! (BOOM)

Now I’ve got to apologize right here to this worker for not doing a better job at describing the strength of the bass on his boom box. I mean: (boom di boom, boom, boom) is really pathetic. It doesn’t illustrate how your cheeks pulsed inwards and your eyeballs were driven back into their sockets. And (BOOM) doesn’t show how the air was knocked from your gut like a sucker punch to the solar plexus. This was a truly impressive, industrial-strength, boom box.
I also might have gotten the lyrics wrong but no matter, you can ask anybody in Red Lake. I mean anybody. And don’t just restrict yourself to the living. The ones in the cemetery on the far side of town heard it too.
And it wasn’t all rap stuff. There were also country songs.
“When you’re with me, I fly like an eagle
“But when you’re away, I bawl like a beagle.”
 Just a day earlier I had also been in town but it was like a different universe. Red Lake can be noisy with floatplanes taking off from Howey Bay, but not this day. The dock worker wasn’t there either. As I was loading the boat with supplies I heard a low bugle sound and looked up to see seven swans flying overhead.  They are only the second group I’ve seen in Northwestern Ontario.
You frequently can hear loons call too. There is at least one nesting pair in the bay. They usually hang out in front of Red Lake Marine and Chimo Airways. There are ducks and gulls, mink and beavers, eagles and herons, right in front of the town’s main drag. Pretty cool in my book.
And I don’t mean to single out this worker. He’s not a bad guy; just a member of a generation who seem to think there are no other sounds in the world worth listening to except for those stored on their digital devices. And that is a pity.
“You da man!”
We had a very windy day here at camp yesterday and I was thinking how marvelous it is to hear the wind in the tree leaves. Quaking aspen leaves almost tinkle as they shimmer while birch and balsam poplars have more of a bass quality to their rustling. Although pine trees can whisper in low wind, yesterday they were howling.
The waves made a chaotic smashing sound on the rocks but on other days they sing a lullaby, something not lost on the producers of the Solitudes meditative sounds series.  There is also rhythm to the falling rain. These are soul-soothing tunes, ones that let your mind heal and wander.
(Boom, di boom, boom, boom)
In calmer times such as in the evening, you can hear an entire symphony of natural music makers. Hermit thrushes play their eerie buzzy flutes from the deep recesses of the forest, grey tree frogs sing short refrains that are incredibly loud. Toads trill on hot nights. Grasshoppers crackle like firecrackers when they take flight in the day.
But these interesting and intriguing natural sounds are lost on today’s ear-bud-wearing generation who seem never to go a minute without their “tunes.” And on those rare occasions when the ‘buds are not in their ear canals, they hum, to cover the sound of silence.
“Like a bee, ewee, eweegle”
It can make for some frustrating conversations.
Here’s an example with a girl who worked here years ago.
I signal to Megan that I want to talk to her so that she will remove her ear phones. She takes them out but then immediately hums.
Me: “Megan, did you make the beds in Cabin 8?”
Megan: simultaneously, “Ummm, ummmm, ummmm. What?”
Me: “Megan, did you hear what I said?”
Megan: “Ummm, ummmm, ummmm. What? Something about beds?”
Me: “Did you make the beds?”
Megan: “Ummm, ummmm, ummmm. What beds?”
“You my main man!”

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The silver lining to a rainy week

We've had about a week of thunderstorms now and would welcome normal sunny weather again. On the plus side, however, scenes like this one tonight outside the lodge window are pretty common.
Walleye fishing has been good with many large fish being taken. Eaters are harder to find.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

You can now rest easy in every cabin

The last of three boat-loads of beds arrives at camp much to Brenda's satisfaction
We finished replacing all the beds in the cabins this summer. The new beds are Five-Star hotel-quality, and while expensive, we believe they are worth the extra cost since they ensure everyone gets a great night's sleep. They have proven a hit with all, including those with back problems such as Brenda and myself.

The beds are made by North Star Bedding in Sudbury, Ontario. We now have 47 of them, including
 the bed Brenda and I use. At home we have a Tempurpedic memory foam mattress which is exceptionally comfortable and the North Star bed, although not made of memory foam, is equally excellent.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Young ladies are great anglers too

Brittany Scott was here with her father Ray and caught and released this big northern pike. An even larger fish broke her line, dramatically while airborne.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A fishing trip with the boys

It was Isaac Tronrud's first trip

Our dog Cork had the time of his life too

Adam and Isaac Tronrud and Myles Longsdorf meet a three-foot garter snake

There was time for solitude too. Photos by Mike Tronrud
Dads Jon Longsdorf and Mike Tronrud brought their boys fishing and everybody had a ball, including camp dog Cork who must have lost 10 pounds playing football with the kids, swimming and retrieving.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Loons are starting to hatch

Photos by Doug Billings

Notice distance from water's edge

Doug Billings
Bow Narrows angler/photographer Doug Billings snapped these great shots of a loon on the nest a few days ago. Yesterday a couple of other anglers reported seeing the first loon chicks riding on the backs of their parents.
There should be a good hatch of young loons this year as the water level has stayed relatively constant.
Doug's second shot of the loon nest shows its distance from the water. That is about as far away as you ever see them. Many times the nest is only inches above the water line. Rising water levels can wash the nest away but that didn't happen this year.
The last shot shows Doug as he prepared to board the Lickety Split in town at the start of his week. Notice the small amount of gear he brought. I believe Doug gets our Lightest Traveler of the Year Award! I don't believe his luggage weighed more than 60 pounds.
By comparison, we have had guests who brought six times this much. They would be quick to point out that they were doing their own cooking while Doug ate in the dining room on the American Plan. If that was indeed the difference, then they are telling us they consumed 50 pounds of food and drink each day!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Fids are all bitin' gud

"Hey, Dan! How are the fish biting?"
All da fids are bitin' gud.
I said all da fids are bitin' gud.
"You sound funny. What are you saying?"
I can't tock creary cuz I'm midding a font toot.
"What? You sound really funny."
It's cuz I'm midding -- miffing -- a toot."
"Are you saying you're missing a toot?"
A toot! A toot! A font toot!
"Well, if that doesn't beat all! I knew people can be uncomfortable when they can't toot but you're the first I've met whose speech was affected by it!"
No, no. You don't get it. Da fids are all bitin' gud!
"Are fids those really ugly fish that taste like lobster? There's no limit on them, right? You know I've always wanted to catch some of those. And they're biting good, you say. Where?"
No, no! Fissssss! You know, waweyes.
"Are you saying the fids are biting in Wawa? That's got to be 500 miles from here!"
It's da toot.
"Here we go again. I'm telling you, just let it out."
I can't pownounc -- I can't enunciate, ENUNCIATE! I can say ENUNCIATE!
"Good for you."
Pike are bitin' gud and so are da waw -- no, pickerrrrel. You know pickerrrrel?
 "No. Are they related to fids?"
Uh uh. Wook, what do you want to catch?
"I was hoping to get a mess of walleyes, as well as some pike."
"They're biting?
"Well that's what I wanted to know. I'm going to try for some of those fids too."

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Big pike, lots of walleyes being caught

Jon Mueller

Denny Burich

Ron Kucko
Fishing has been tremendous as evidenced by these photos of this long-time group from the River Falls, Wis., area.
Everyone is pleased to see a variety of sizes on the walleye, from itty-bitty ones up to 28-inchers.
The weather has also been wonderful with most days seeing highs in the low 20s C (70s F). The best fishing days have been those with a good breeze.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

First smallie of the year

Smallmouths are not native to Red Lake but are increasinly showing up in the catch
Smallmouth bass are an invasive species in Red Lake and there have only been a few caught at our camp; however, we already got one this season.
Paul Stowick caught this bass a couple of days ago.
We got our first bass about 10 years ago. From that point on we got about one a season until last year when we caught four.
How did the bass get in Red Lake if they are not native here?
The usual answer -- people.
It's always a bad idea to release a new species into an ecosystem and we would just as soon not have the newcomer bass. The reason is the new species will eventually displace a native one. In this case, probably walleye. Red Lake, however, has an exceedingly healthy walleye population and it might take a hundred years for smallmouths to claim a niche.
Bass are lots of fun to catch but not as good eating as walleye. There are lots of great smallmouth lakes now between Red Lake and the Minnesota border but not as many great walleye lakes any more. The Gullrock-Red Lake water system is still profoundly walleye and northern pike.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

How are the minnows?

Do you like being angry? Peeved? Outraged? Perturbed?
How about disappointed? Miffed? Forlorn? Helpless?
Do you like to swear a blue streak? Say bad words? Cuss? Get red in the face?
Is blame your game? Do you like to find fault with others? Feel the world is out of your control?
Then you probably fish with minnows.
These tiny fish are sure to let you down, whatever your expectations.
For starters, they'll die at the drop of a hat. At the slightest variation in temperature or oxygen content, even a cross word or a dirty look and they will turn fins up.
But then, you already knew that. That's why you bought more than you needed. You needed a dozen so you bought four times that number. Three dozen were floaters before you could even wet a line.
Oh well, there goes $15.
Now's the time to figure out why they died. Were you sold old minnows? Was that really oxygen they put in the bag? Did Obama have something to do with it?
When everyone was unloading the boat at camp, when there was a ton of duffel bags, rods and tackle boxes, totes of canned goods, heavy ice-laden coolers, cases of pop and beer to manhandle up the hill and into the cabin, where were you? Looking for minnow pails and slowly pouring out the contents of flimsy plastic bags?
Did you finally finish just after the others carried all your stuff?
Did someone ask, "How are the minnows?"
And was the news grim?
You need more minnows!
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Best week in more than 40 years

Don Ballinger


Audience while fishing

Ray Gildersleeve


The pike are really hefty
Ray Gildersleeve and Don Ballinger have been coming to Bow Narrows Camp for more than 40 years. I say that to give relevance to their statement yesterday that this was their best trip ever.
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Friday, June 5, 2015

Biggest walleye, biggest pike, best sky

Angler Terry Kopecky has been coming to Bow Narrows Camp for years but this year got her biggest walleye and northern pike ever. She also shot this photo of the dramatic clouds we have had the last few evenings.
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The 'Moose Club' is at it again

Bob Preuss

Doug Oslund

Duane Gudknecht
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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Wildlife seen while fishing

Moose photos by Bob Preuss

Calf No. 1

Second calf
Jenilee Peterson photo
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