Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The 2013 fishing season in review

Enormous cold front was like nothing we had seen before
Guess what state Lonnie, Mike, Mark and Debbie Boyer are from?
The 2013 fishing season at Bow Narrows Camp was one of the best in our 53-year history, at least for walleye and northern pike.
The season started with a near-record-late ice-out, May 19, if I remember correctly. From then until mid-July, fishing was absolutely fabulous. It was common for our anglers to catch and release 100 walleye or more a day per boat. There were lots and lots of big northern pike caught and released. Our catch-and-release photo board in the lodge is plugged with shots of enormous pike.
Then, the third week of July, a freak weather event occurred. Lonnie Boyer captured it in the photos above. A cold front right out of a Hollywood movie struck. The temperature fell to near freezing and barely warmed up for a week. It was, in fact, the coldest week of the season right up to the end of October.
Walleyes that were in 6-12 feet of water hurried down to their fall and winter depths of 35-45 feet. Lake trout left their summer haunts of 65 feet and came right to the surface. The lake had turned over, something that normally happens in late-September. It was simply incredible.
This should have totally ruined fishing but it is a testimonial to the skill of our anglers and just the abundance of fish in the lake that we still did quite well.
By the first of August the weather and the water had begun to warm up again and the fish mostly returned to their usual depths. We had a warm September which kept many of the walleye right in the shallows, something that some of our fall-time anglers had difficulty adjusting to.
The Ministry of Natural Resources lake trout project struggled to find spawning lake trout in late-September, early-October. The water was just too warm to trigger the usual spawning run by the trout. The researchers did, however, eventually get near their target of eggs to raise in the hatchery.
We had one 50-inch northern pike caught and released last summer. That will have been one of the largest pike taken in all of Ontario. We caught a great many in the 40-inch range.
The last people to fish from our camp were Brenda's sister, Lynda, and her husband, Ron Wink. They came to camp to help Brenda and I close up, do some fishing and take part in our annual family moose hunt.
Ron has a video of Lynda battling an enormous pike. It took 15 minutes before they even got the first look at the fish which ended up not only breaking Lynda's line but her rod in half as well.
As the fish swam away from the boat with three feet of rod it was possible to estimate its length. My guess is that it was probably 50 inches as well.
It was fitting way to end the fishing season for us.

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