Friday, August 20, 2010

Fall is in the air

The steam leaving the water each morning is evidence that fall is right around the corner.

This is caused by the water being warmer than the cool morning air. By mid-morning the temperature is warm again but the nights are nice and cool, perfect for sleeping.

Other signs of autumn are the birch trees which are changing from green to brown. They will eventually be bright yellow.
The leaves are turning earlier than normal this year, maybe because spring came earlier too.

Unmated loons are ganging up out in the big water where they seem to have wild bachelor and bachelorette parties -- whooping and hollering and splashing around, just for laughs it would appear. They will be the first loons to head south. Unfortunately some of them will be heading to the Gulf of Mexico and its oil spill.

The severe cold front we had last weekend also had a chill on the fishing. Fishing wasn't back to normal really until Friday, too late for guests who departed this morning. They did have a pretty good day Thursday before they left.

Everyone took the downturn in fishing in stride. There isn't much anyone can do when the temperature falls to 40s F from 80 F overnight.

The pike bit pretty well but the walleyes at first were just gone. Fishermen did well on them by Thursday, however.

I remember the aftermath of another cold front a couple of years ago. I asked one of our fishermen if he had seen anything on his fish finder in a spot where the screen was lit up by fish the previous day.

"Nothing but tumbleweeds," he replied.

The best guess is the fish are plastered right to the bottom where they don't show on the finders' screens. Whatever it is they do they sure aren't active for a few days. The good news is that they always eventually must eat again.

The weather since last weekend has been gorgeous and a welcome respite for our guests who are coming from hot and humid conditions down south.

I want to thank all our friends who alerted us to the solar storm a couple of weeks ago and the northern lights this would cause.

As luck would have it, our skies were cloudy both nights when the lights would have been out.

Oh well.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Temperature plummets as cold front hits

We've just had our first major cold front of the summer.
The temperature fell from nearly 80 F to the 40s over the weekend. This was accompanied by very high winds and rain.
The front has now moved through and the temperature is supposed to get in the 60s today with sunshine. Each following day is expected to be warmer and also sunny.
What does this do to the fish?
For the walleye it will almost certainly start an exodus of fish from the shallow water to their normal deeper spots, something many of them were doing anyway due to the photo period -- it's that time of year.
Most of our fishermen were catching walleye last week on the edges of the big water in about 17 feet. The fish now may have moved to 20-25 feet in the same spots.
A few fishermen last week were still getting lots of walleye in 6-12 feet in the shallow bays but I would guess that will have ended now as the fish move off to warmer, deeper water.
It's really that time of the season when this normally happens anyway. The cold front will just make it happen all at once.
We still catch the walleye. We just fish their late-summer, fall locations.
I wouldn't be surprised if northern pike fishing gets a boost from the cold front. They will still be in the weedy bays, just on the deep side of the weedbeds. And without the large number of small walleye that they've been feeding on all summer, they'll be hungrier and more aggressive.
We've caught some very large pike the last few weeks.
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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Get off the lake when you see this cloud formation

This squall line was at the base of a thunderstorm that moved through camp a week ago.

Such squall lines always spell danger. They are the edge of a high wind, how high is impossible to predict. It might be 30 mph and it might be as high as 130 mph (in the case of a wind shear).

Sometimes the clouds in the line can be seen rolling. The line moves toward you very fast.

If you are out on the lake and see such an event, go directly to shore and tie up your boat. You might also prepare yourself for extremely heavy rain and sometimes hail.

If you are near camp, come into the dock but don't try to outrun the clouds for a long distance. If you aren't sure you can get to camp before the storm, go to shore instead and take cover.

This particular squall line and its thunderstorm dumped about an inch of rain on camp in perhaps 30 minutes as well as pea-sized hail.

The blast of wind from it was probably 40 mph.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lots of camp apparel choices this year

We have a bumper crop of Bow Narrows Camp apparel items this year including these sweatshirts modeled by staffers Landon, Kristina and Emilie.

There are also several choices in t-shirts, a camo hat and a black mesh-back hat and a toque (in the U.S. you might call it a stocking cap or a watch cap).

We also have a vented, many-pocketed guide shirt and a new fishing vest.

Finally, we also have a new shipment of our popular black and brown Bow Narrows Camp coffee mugs.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Bonaparte's gull now a regular resident here

I first saw Bonaparte's gulls about 10 years ago. We had a late spring snow storm and the next morning there was a flock of these little gulls in the narrows in front of camp.

That summer a few nested in Pipestone Bay and have continued to return each year.

This year the birds, which act more like terns than gulls, are being seen right in the narrows.

They seem to be catching minnows along the shoreline, all the while making a distinctive raspy call. The photo above was taken along the islands going into Trout Bay.

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Fishing off the dock can be very productive

Each week one or two cabins discover that fishing off the dock can yield great catches of walleye.

Here our staff try their luck off the main dock in front of the lodge while others are fishing off their own dock in the background.

These anglers are catching lots of walleye.

The best technique seems to be to use slip bobbers with live bait, either on a very small jig or on a hook with a small sinker above it.

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