Thursday, December 31, 2009

You should be getting your Outdoors Card soon

Everyone who was at camp or who otherwise fished in Ontario last year should be getting their new non-resident (or resident if they are from here) Ontario Outdoors Card in the mail.

Don't throw it out! You paid $9 for this last summer!

From now on always bring your Outdoors Card when you come fishing in Ontario. We will swipe it through a machine and put a little sticker on the back and presto! you have your new fishing license! No more tedious filling out of license forms.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources made applying for the Outdoors Cards mandatory for non-residents last summer. Ontario residents have had them for about 10 years.

If you forget to bring your card or haven't got one yet you'll have to shell out another $9 to apply for a new card when you get your 2010 fishing license.

So how do you remember to bring your card when you come up to camp this season?

One person said he planned to put it with his passport since you must have those also to cross the border now.
Another idea is to put it your tackle box. We have been providing people with license holders the last couple of years; so, you could just put it in there, inside your tackle box.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

June reservations for fishing becoming available

View out back of the Lickety Split
Anyone who has been waiting for a cabin to come open in the month of June should check out the Reservation Availability button on the right side of this page.
My letters requesting deposits from guests with existing reservations are finally reaching their destinations and as always happens, some people who booked a cabin last summer are now not able to come as planned. So there are openings in June and other months where there were none a few days ago.
We now need to hear as soon as possible from guests who have reservations but have not sent deposits. We need to know 1. Are you still coming as planned and if so when will you send us a deposit to hold your reservation? 2. Are you coming but your group size has changed? 3. Are you not coming?
We require a deposit of $100 per person for all guests over the age of 12.

You can use a personal check for the deposit or can use Visa or Mastercard by calling us at our winter phone number: 807-475-7246.

We would like to move quickly on the deposits so we will know if there are openings for other guests who have been inquiring about coming.
As always, your deposit is fully refundable upon 60 days notice of cancellation.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yes, deer, there is a Santa Claus!

Christmas visitor
buck whitetail head to bird feeder

This was the scene out of many of our windows today, Dec. 23.

Deer which seemed to have been sucked off the surface of the earth during deer season are now strolling around the yard like so many pets.
They beat the birds to the bird feeder to eat sunflower seeds.

Deer season, incidentally, closed Dec. 15.

Merry Christmas everybody!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fast and effective way to make fishing lures

making your own fishing lures
prism tapes

"Do you have any lures in orange? Anything at all? Right now if you've got a lure with orange you can sink the boat with fish. I had one orange spoon and I got it stuck in the rocks!"

This is a common bit of conversation at camp. It's not always orange that the fish want. Sometimes it's red or blue or silver or gold, etc.

If we have anything with the right color in our little tackle store the entire collection is snapped up. Then people want to know if we have any paint in the right color. However, paint is a slow solution. A much better and instant fix is to bring a selection of fishing lure prism tapes.

Prism tapes are absolutely great for modifying spoons and spinners. You just peel off the back and stick it down. It lasts for years.

These tapes come in countless shades and colors and also have holographic and other reflective finishes.

I've discovered that I can make my own ice fishing lures for about 1/100 of the cost. I just buy generic spoon blanks and then add tiny bits of the reflective tapes. These lures are not only cheaper than buying ready-made ice fishing lures, they work better as well.

As you can see in the photos, each strip of tape cost me just 50 cents.

These tapes also come in unusual shapes such as zig-zag and tiny circles.

However, if you want to make your own shape just cut it out with tiny scissors. I find the scissors on my Swiss Army knife work nicely.

You can find the fishing lure tapes at sporting goods stores and on-line catalogs.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Fishing trips cost less this year with tax rebate

We've just received great news!
The Foreign Convention and Tour Incentive Program, known simply as the federal tax rebate to our guests, will apply to one-half of the new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).
This is an increase of 38% and means our fishing packages, after the rebate, will cost even less than last year!
Here's how it adds up (all figures are Canadian funds. The cost in U.S. depends on the exchange rate but will probably be slightly less):
Our American Plan package costs $860, the same as last year. With the new 13% HST the total is $971.80. The rebate recoups half of the HST; so, the rebate will be $63.17. The net cost of the package then is $908.63.
Last year the package was also $860 but with the combined provincial and federal taxes came to $957.61; however, the tax rebate only amounted to 2.5% for a total of $22.71. The net cost then, for last year, was $934.90.
So our American Plan customers this year will end up paying $26.27 less than they did last season once they receive their tax rebate.
Likewise guests coming on the Housekeeping Plan will pay $18.93 less after receiving their new rebate of $47.74.
The new HST begins July 1, 2010. Guests coming to camp before this date fall under the old system and will pay the old taxes. The previous taxes amounted to two per cent less on our packages but then the tax rebate was also less. So guests coming before July 1 pay exactly what they did last season.
Bow Narrows Camp fishing packages meet the criteria for the tax rebate and our business has been pre-approved by the tax authorities for our guests receiving the rebate.
With rebates of $63.17 for American Plan and $47.74 for Housekeeping Plan, you can't afford to forget to apply.
We will give you the form for the mail-in rebate when you pay for your fishing package at camp. You must fill it out and mail it along with your original invoice once you get home.
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Johnson Silver Minnow -- ultimate weedless spoon

Johnson Silver Minnow
When it comes to pulling a spoon through weedbeds for northern pike, nothing beats a Johnson Silver Minnow.

This old-time favorite will come not only through the weeds but also through trees, rocks and just about everything else.

The key is to keep that adjustable weedguard turned up so it is just above the single hook. This deflects the weeds but bends down when smacked by a pike.

I like the red-and-white, silver and gold colors best but it's worth getting this spoon in many colors.
You can make this lure about a hundred times more effective by adding a trailer to the single hook. As the photo shows here, my favorite trailer is a plastic curly or twister tail.

This is hooked through the side of the plastic worm, not skewered on like you would with a jig.

The tail needs to be positioned so it is exactly in the sternmost curve of the hook to give the lure its fantastic wiggle that pike find irresistible.

This lure should really come with its own hook sharpener because if you don't keep the hook needle sharp you will miss most hook-ups when a fish strikes. In fact, if you are getting strikes and not hooking fish you always need to sharpen your hooks with any lure.

Retrieve this lure so it develops its maximum wiggle -- too fast and it just spins, too slow and it comes in like a little underwater boat.

Always keep your rod tip low on the retrieve. This makes the lure run deeper.

You also need to really set the hook when it is struck by a fish since you must sink that single hook into flesh.

But that single hook is also a great advantage of using this lure. You can quickly remove it from the fish's mouth and get back to casting for more.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What is the best size of walleye to eat?

perfect size walleye for eating
A conservation concept that has really taken hold is the knowledge that there are certain sizes of fish that should be kept and others that should be released.

Bow Narrows angler Paul Stowick holds up a great eating-size walleye in the photo above. It's not too big but has plenty of meat.

In short, big fish should always be released. They are the top breeders and carry the genes for fast growth and large size that we all want to see passed on to other generations of fish. Every time you release a big fish you are helping build a healthy fish population.

In walleyes, it's best to release all fish over 18 inches even though Ontario fishing regulations allow you to keep one that big or larger. I think the intention of the regulations was to allow an angler to keep a trophy for mounting purposes.

However, the truth is the fish replicas that all taxidermists now produce are far superior to a real-skin mount. They look better and they last forever, unlike a natural skin mount.

All the angler needs to do is measure the length and the girth and take a photo. The big fish can then be released.

Still, no one would begrudge an angler for wanting a memento of a once-in-a-lifetime fish and the thrilling fight it put up.

The problem comes from some fishermen who use the one-over 18-inch rule to just keep the heaviest fish possible for eating. This harkens back to the day when anglers proved their prowess with great stringers and coolers full of fish. That day passed away about 20 years ago but a few people haven't heard about it. Today's anglers want great fishing, not the slaughter of as many fish as possible.

Besides it being unhealthy to fish populations to keep big fish, it's also unhealthy to the angler.

Fish bio-accumulate natural and man-made toxins from the environment. The bigger the fish and the longer it has lived, the greater the level of these toxins. This is true for every water body on Earth, from ponds to oceans.

So getting back to walleye, what is the best size to eat?

I would say 14-18 inch walleyes are about ideal. One fish of this size will easily feed one person.

Walleyes smaller than 14 inches just don't have much flesh on them but from a conservation standpoint it would be better to eat two small walleyes than one over 18 inches.

Walleyes reach sexual maturity at 18 inches. So keeping one 18 inches or larger removes one from the breeding population. Keeping smaller fish isn't as detrimental because many of them wouldn't make it to sexual maturity anyway. In Red Lake a lot of them end up as food for giant northern pike and even lake trout.

Walleyes under 18 inches also cook better than large ones; their fillets are thin enough to cook evenly whereas on big fish you need to over-cook the thin portions of a fillet in order to cook the thickest section.

Man, I can almost smell those fillets cooking right now!

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