Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Last of this year's lake trout planted

Bow Narrows staffer Brad Donovan scoops trout from a tub in the rear of the Lickety Split into the waters of Red Lake near Potato Island
Missing left pelvic fin marks this year's trout
The Ministry of Natural Resources, helped by guests and staff from Black Bear Lodge and Bow Narrows Camp, released the last of 45,000-49,000 lake trout fingerlings into the west end of Red Lake Monday evening.
It was the second half of this year's stocking. The first fish were released a week ago. The MNR drove their truck from the Dorion hatchery right down to the dock at Black Bear Lodge where guests and the camps' staff ferried the fingerlings in pails to waiting MNR boats and Bow Narrows' Lickety Split.
The fingerlings were released in fine condition in the area between Slay's Bay and Potato Island in about 100 feet of water. The young trout were expected to move quickly to the bottom and stay there for several years before reaching weights of two to three pounds and moving higher up in the water column.
The little trout will eat tiny prey such as freshwater shrimp for the first few years. Their deep location should keep them hidden from larger predators such as big lake trout, walleyes and northern pike. After they reach a couple of pounds they will need to seek out larger prey themselves and will move higher where there are ciscoes, shiners and smelt to feed upon.
This year's plantings can be identified in the future because they are missing the left pelvic fin. The MNR hatchery clips a different fin each year from the stocked fish, rotating around the body.
This is the 10th year the MNR has re-stocked Red Lake with lake trout but it is the first time that the fingerlings have been released at the west end of the lake. The fingerlings came from eggs harvested from wild lake trout in Pipestone Bay, north of Bow Narrows Camp. They were raised in the Dorion hatchery which is east of Thunder Bay. The fingerlings are 18-months old at the time of release and are six-to-eight inches in length.
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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Update on Cork, our chocolate Lab puppy

Cork among the dandelions. Photo by Herb Pozdro
Cork takes a break on the path outside the lodge
It's a good thing we have so many patient, kindly guests because our six-month-old chocolate Lab Cork is keeping everybody on their toes. Obviously, lots of these folks are "dog-people."
Set anything down and away it goes in Cork's mouth: fish gloves, rags, kindling, worm boxes, boat scoops, water bottles,  beer bottles, charcoal lighter, tools, papers and cardboard -- well, you get the idea. One group even had a full bottle of whisky taken (our outside worker, Brad Donovan, got it back.)
All in all though, Cork is starting to fit in as a camp dog. The scenes above aren't typical for him yet but there are more and more times when he isn't running and jumping and barking excitedly.
He has fallen off the dock repeatedly and has just decided he likes to go for boat rides, especially to empty the fish guts. That was a favourite pastime for our previous dogs too.
Incidentally, on Tuesday we saw a white pelican near the fish gut rock. That is only the fourth time I have seen these magnificent birds that can have wingspans of 114 inches. I believe only the California condor has a larger wingspan in North America.
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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Northern pike are especially beefy this year

John Overbeeke let this thick-bodied pike go yesterday
Maybe it's all the walleyes in the lake or maybe it is the rivers of four-inch-long emerald shiners we saw last summer but for whatever reason, northern pike are about as chubby and strong as they can possibly get. They are certainly well-fed and are giving everybody a thrill so far this season.
Just like the walleyes have been the past few years, pike are pumped-up and full of fight.
Our anglers are releasing lots of big ones. Nobody is keeping any above the slot size. Way to go, guys and gals!
Incidentally, the new Lucky Strike conservation nets have been given the thumbs-up by our anglers. They are easy to get fish out of and have handled many pike over 40-inches without a hitch.
That's one in the boat in the photo above.
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45,000 new lake trout for Red Lake

Josie Slavich, 5, lets a couple lake trout go off Black Bear Lodge's dock while mom Jillian gets a photo and biologist Lori Stitt makes sure she doesn't do a header off the dock. Guests at Black Bear pitched in to help bring pails of fingerlings from the hatchery truck to the MNR release boats.
Biologist Toby Braithewaite transfers lake trout from hatchery truck to pails
Bow Narrows worker Brad Donovan helps transfer trout to the MNR boat. That's Myles Perchuk and Lori Stitt operating the boat.
The Ministry of Natural Resources released the first half of 45,000 lake trout into the west end of Red Lake Monday night by accessing the lake through Black Bear Lodge. It is the first time since the MNR began restocking Red Lake with trout that the fish have been released at the west end of the lake. The remainder of this year's trout fingerlings will be taken through Black Bear next week.
Black Bear Lodge is about four miles east of Bow Narrows Camp and is located just off the Potato Island basin, between Wolf Narrows and West Narrows. This is one of the historically-best areas for lake trout. Black Bear Lodge is accessible via a logging road.
The MNR has been gathering eggs from lake trout in Pipestone Bay each fall for about 10 years. The eggs are raised at the MNR's Dorion Fish Hatchery, east of Thunder Bay, and the fingerlings released back to Red Lake 18 months later. Until now the fish have been released at the east end of Red Lake, sometimes by boat but also through the ice in late spring.
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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Atmospheric phemonena today

Scene from the dining room as a thunder storm passed by this evening

Looking out the Lickety Split on the way to town this morning
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Friday, June 6, 2014

Another Moose club member

Dean Davidson with 38-inch pike

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A day in the life of the "Moose Club"

Bob Preuss with 43-inch pike

First forest fire of the year, as seen from Red lake

Jim Border with 40-inch pike

Loon on the nest
Bob Preuss's group was in camp this week, all vying for membership or renewed membership in the coveted "Moose Club" which requires at least two pike caught and released that are 32-inches or more.
As usual, Bob clicked his camera away on non-fish interests too, including a plume from a forest fire which ignited Wednesday not far from Madsen, near Red Lake. It soared high in the sky until it was attacked by Ministry of Natural Resources firefighters and water bombers.
Northern pike are biting well; so are walleyes, and lake trout, and mosquitoes and black flies.
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