|About a month ago I found myself in British Columbia sitting in a little bar called the Elephant and Castle in the back of the Delta Airport Hotel with a good friend from Owen Sound, Denis Bester. Now the Elephant & Castle is a meeting place for anglers heading in and out of British Columbia’s many saltwater resorts. It’s a place where arriving anglers come to get the news on how the fishing has been and what’s the best tackle to take. It’s also a place where sportsmen just leaving the lodges come to brag about their successes before heading back to their home cities, which are often scattered from Miami to Montreal or Seattle to Dallas.|
It’s amazing who you’ll bump into over an Alexander Keith in a little bar. While Denis and I were recounting our past week’s success a fellow resembling a living version of Paul Bunyan , both in size and outfit, approached our table, pulled back a chair and put out his hand in greeting. Over the years I’ve met a lot of people and I’m the first to admit that the old memory isn’t quite as sharp as it use to be, but this fellow I recalled fishing with on Alaska’s Kenai River just a little more than a couple of decades ago. It was a time when the Pacific Northwest salmon and trout fishery was booming and back home on my own Great Lakes the newly introduced salmon sport fishery was exploding.
The Paul Bunyan look-a-like was from the State of Michigan and it wasn’t long before we got to talking about how things had changed on our favorite fishing grounds over the years, the fish we had caught and the future of our favorite sport both on the west coast and the Great Lakes as well.
He brought up the subject of an 80 pounder I had taken on the Kenai on one memorable trip more than twenty years before. He also noted, that while the crowds had increased on this world famous river, it was still possible to consistently catch and keep over-sized monsters. He also noted that the Great Lakes salmon fishery on his side of the lakes, especially on Michigan and Ontario was seeing a rebirth.
I countered back that I’d recently had the opportunity to drift spawn and pull plugs for steelhead on the Columbia and had trolled cut baits for salmon in a number of British Columbia resorts and the West Coast fishery looked great to me and the future looked bright for a number of years to come.
He then quizzed both me and Bester on the present day salmon fishing on our side of the Great Lakes, specifically Lake Huron, Georgian Bay and Lake Ontario…….talk about wanting to cry in your beer. For more than a week we had put those memories of recent Great Lakes fishing trips way back in our memory banks and now they were about to be dragged out again. I noted that the Owen Sound salmon fishery had all but collapsed and overall fish sizes were down on both Huron and Georgian Bay. As for Lake Ontario, the spring salmon fishery along the west shore from Grimsby to the Niagara had gotten off to a great start in the spring, but had fizzled to a trickle by the time mid-summer had come around.
Now it’s important to remember that here was one fisherman who lived on the Great Lakes just as Denis and I did. The only differences being that he lived on the other side of the border. It’s pretty obvious to this angler that if fishing is great on one side of the pond and poor on the other then something is fishy and it just happens to be on my side of the pond.
Before I go any farther, I want to state that my side of the Great Lakes has a lot going for it. Bass and perch fishing down on Lake Erie these days is as good or even better than ever. Lake St. Clair is cleaner and clearer and producing more bass, musky and perch than anytime in history. Go to the east end of Lake Ontario and you’ll find that the Bay of Quinte really does have the world’s best angling for walleye and the Niagara River has world class musky fishing in the upper portion and down below the angling for steelhead, salmon and trout is in one word…awesome. And anyone who’s visited Lake Erie for open water steelhead trolling has to agree that it’s second to none.
It’s just that when it comes to trout and salmon fishing on Georgian Bay, Lake Huron and Lake Ontario, we are losing it on our side of the lakes and losing it fast! And for the last time here are the reasons for the collapse of salmon and trout fishing on our side of the Great Lakes……
- DECREASE IN BAIT STOCKS
- FIN CLIP IDENTIFICATION EXPERIMENT
- POOR QUALITY OF FISH BEING STOCKED
- IMPROPER STOCKING SITES
Decrease in Bait Stocks
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the average size of our salmon and trout has plummeted over the past five years. American studies have shown that the start of the food chain is being greatly impacted by foreign invaders, especially the zebra mussel and the quagga mussels. Down on the bottom of our Great Lakes’ food chain is a form of freshwater shrimp that has been a major source of feed for smelt, alewife and other species of herring. The mussels have all but wiped out these shrimp and are bringing about a collapse of our bait fishery and in turn are hurting not only the size, but also the overall health of our salmon and trout. Georgian Bay salmonids in particular are exhibiting signs of this lack of a strong forage base.
What still mystifies me is why we continue to stock hundreds of thousands of lake trout into this body of water. If you are familiar with the Georgian Bay lake trout stocking program, you know that the ministry’s intent is to establish a self-reproducing, self-sustaining lake trout fishery for the bay. Some chance of that in the waters from Meaford to Wiarton, Ontario where hundreds of thousands of lake trout are stocked annually at a mind boggling cost to the Canadian taxpayer. As fast as the lake trout can grow to catchable size, the greys are being slaughtered by commercial nets being set by both white and Indian gill netters. Yes, sport trollers catch a few of these lake trout, but very few. Gill net sizes set in this section of Georgian Bay make for catching perfect sized trout for grocery stores and restaurants, but they seem to harvest the majority before us taxpaying anglers can find them.
Here’s an idea from this taxpayer. If I can’t catch them and the government is truly intent on establishing a self-sustaining lake trout population, then why isn’t the government smart enough to stock these expensive little lake trout yearlings a long ways from the dangers of the gill net fishery around Owen Sound, Meaford and Wiarton? That should mean that the lake trout have a better chance of surviving to do what the biologists want them to do and at the same time we don’t have tens of thousands of lake trout putting a dent in the bait fish population.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-lake trout by a long shot. They make for a great bread and butter sport fishery if they can prosper. But I’ve sat in on too many lake trout study programs to realize that it’s all but impossible to achieve the goals of establishing natural lake trout with an intense gill net fishery in the same pond. Better to stock steelhead and salmon in this corner of the Great Lakes…..these fish are supposed to be off limits to commercial gill net fishing……I believe?
FIN CLIP IDENTIFICATION EXPERIMENT
Watching the television series, catching a few minutes of me yakking on the radio or maybe reading a newspaper report may have some of you tired of my moaning and groaning about differences of opinion with the Lake Huron Fisheries Unit of the Ministry of Natural Resources here in Ontario when it comes to removing a belly fin from a baby chinook salmon. Bluntly put, the idea and the experiment are both asinine.
Five years ago, Owen Sound anglers were experiencing some of the best , if not the best salmon fishing on the Great Lakes. It was decided by the brain trust at the Unit that each and every three inch salmon leaving Community Fisheries Involvement hatcheries at Sarnia, Southampton, Owen Sound, Gore Bay and Thunder Bay would be identified as hatchery fish by the removal of one or more belly fins, either a ventral or pectoral. In some years, both ventral fins were removed. Then also, ten percent of each hatcheries’ fish had the small ‘tag’ adipose fin removed and a metal tag inserted in the their snouts.
Remember, the good Lord put fins on a fish for a reason. Fins act much like flaps on the wings of an airplane. They help a fish to dip, dive and generally maneuver. Take the flaps away from a plane and it can’t fly. Take the fins away from a baby salmon and it can’t swim, at least not enough to track down bait to eat and survive. Thanks to the Walker Strike Vision Underwater Camera (www.walkerdownriggers.com) we were able to document just that. The few salmon that did survive found it almost impossible feed and grow. Most died.
Some salmon have survived to return and provide a token fishery, but the majority are wild fish, born in local streams. These wild fish face the harsh realities of cold Ontario winters before they even enter the world. Unlike hatchery fish that are hatched and reared under ideal conditions, wild salmon hatch more than two months later. Most do not smolt out of the rivers and enter the Great Lakes in four months like hatchery stock, but instead, spend as much as twelve extra months in the river. This extra year in the stream relates to much smaller wild salmon than hatchery stock.
Still, with the hatchery fish dumped in the stream, with one, two or even three fins removed the survival plummeted. Instead of tens of thousands of hatchery fish coming home to the Owen Sound fishery , the fish are few and far between and the great angling is thing of the past.
Surprisingly, it seems that no one in Ontario decided to check out the fact that on the west coast where salmon have been raised and released for more than a century, no biologists from California to Alaska mutilate three inch chinook fry by removing belly fins. Yes, some adipose fins are removed and nose tags are implanted…but belly fins are not removed. On the American side of our Great Lakes, a few minor projects have been carried out with a belly fin removal, but for the most part it’s adipose fin removal only.
It’s interesting to note that as of the autumn of 2004, all American states on the Great Lakes are looking at a new ‘transportable fish identification station’. This unit is driven up to the hatchery by way of transport truck. The tanker is set up outside of a hatchery and the fish are pumped in and out of the transport unit where they have an adipose fin only removed and a micro tag inserted in their snouts. The fish are never handled by human hands.
By the way, I inquired what Yankee biologists thought of removing a belly fin from fingerling chinook salmon. Almost to a man, the biologists believed the little fingerlings were too small to be put through the trauma of a slice and dice ordeal.
Yes, there are some salmon are returning to the fabled streams of the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island, but the runs are only remnants of the good old days and for the most part the fish carrying all their fins and are wild stock. The truth is, hatchery fish that went through this act of multilation during their last days at the hatchery did not survive.
I continue to ask the same old question….why not give out fishing rods, instead of diplomas to every biologist when he leaves university?
Poor Quality of Fish Being Stocked
What would happen if Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant fell in love with a female midget and had children? One thing is for certain, don’t expect the kids to ever play pro basketball. It just isn’t going to happen.
Now let’s take that same genetic theory and apply it to the fishery when selecting brood stock for taking eggs for our hatcheries here in Canada. Common sense should dictate that we should only select both big male and female fish if our desire is to achieve a big fish sport fishery. Timing is also important. We should also select the timing of our egg takes to correspond with the timing of the sport fishery we want to establish. Taking eggs during the early stages of spawning run, genetically should mean that the offspring will not only enter a river early to spawn, but also arrive to a designate staging area early. In turn this should mean an early sport fishery.
I’ve taken part in salmon stripping operations around the Ontario side of our Great Lakes for more than three decades and it still amazes me just how we continue to blunder our way through our various egg taking operations. For starters there’s the size issue. I for one always select the biggest males and females for sperm and egg collection. It seems only obvious that big parents should produce offspring that under the right conditions will grow to be big and strong as well. Why is then that I’ve witnessed time and time again both volunteers and ministry staffers stripping eggs and sperm from smaller adult fish? At times, I’ve even observed collectors stripping milt from precocious ‘jack’ chinook to mix with the eggs from overgrown female salmon. That’s a real reverse of my Michael Jordon, Kobe Bryant theory. How about Kristie Allie settling down with Michael Jackson…say it ain’t so, but in some of our weird but not wonderful Great Lakes’ egg collections it seems anything is possible. Again, if you want big fish, you start by targeting big adults during the egg take.
It also pays to go to the wild as often as possible for your brood stock. With salmon this is an easy choice, but steelhead, browns, lake trout and other species we often keep brood stock over a number of years in our hatchery system. Many times in the past we’ve used their offspring to continue on as an easy source of eggs. Michigan has a super idea for collecting steelhead eggs. They utilize the Manistee River as an annual source for capturing wild steelhead and collecting eggs from these fish.
Improper Stocking Sites
Don’t all wild steelhead and salmon enter rivers to deposit and fertilize their eggs? Then why do volunteer clubs and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources continue to waste our valuable hatchery stocks by releasing fingerling and yearling smolts off breakwalls and shorelines around our great lakes. Yes, there is the protection of a stream for developing eggs and hatching fry, but just as important is the imprinting factor. During the smolting stage salmonids are naturally chemically imprinted with the scent of a natal river. This same imprinting takes place in our hatchery salmon when they are stocked far enough up a river system. But where do we continue to stock many of our valuable salmon stocks?….along beaches and breakwalls.
Along the Ontario shores of Lake Huron volunteer clubs continue to waste the salmon they raise by stocking them on beaches and off breakwalls. A dozen years ago, the Province of Ontario got into the act of stocking breakwalls, rivermouths and shorelines. Golly, at just about the same time our Lake Ontario salmon fishery went for a nose dive as well.
This past spring it seemed as if the Lake Ontario salmon fishery was on the rebound. The western end of the lake experienced a sport fishery that hadn’t been witnessed in years. Too bad these fish were raised and released in New York hatcheries. Those in the know realize that Great Lakes’ salmon migrate around their given lakes in counterclockwise rotations. Those fish that were being caught off Grimsby, St. Catharines and the Niagara River were just moving and feeding and waiting to enter their release streams on the other side of the border.
Think back twenty years ago to the good old days of Lake Ontario salmon fishing. It was easy and exciting to go down to the lake to catch a limit of big spunky salmon. Twenty or more salmon guides worked out of the port of Bronte and double that number made their living out from Port Credit. Today only a few guides work the Credit and even less call Bronte home. Why? As many as half of our salmon these days are stocked along the shoreline and not up the river. Our fishery is poorer for it.
And once again, where is the sense in planting lake trout directly under the commercial gill nets that are strung out along many of our Great Lakes beaches.
|Looking for fantastic wild steelhead fishing, within a few hours drive of Toronto? Some of the hottest, but also under-fished drifting action takes place along the north shore of Lake Huron and Lake Superior from October right around until the spring rainbow spawning runs. There’s a young fellow up there by the name of Brendon O’Farrel (www.thesteeledge2002.com) who guides the rivers of Manitoulin Island, as well as the shores of Huron and Erie and his success rate as a river guide is second to none.|
Do you need a guide for fishing this stretch of the northern shoreline? You bet! Believe it our not, some of the best rivers are where you wouldn’t expect them to even be. In many instances a first timer would drive right by them without noticing their potential. Just as confusing is the fact that most of these rivers are hit or miss. For the first timer it’s more often or not a case of miss and not hit.
Again, if you’re looking for fishing that can often be rated as world class... give O’Farrell a call.
|John Valk, the head honcho at Grindstone Angling (www.grindstoneangling.com) adds that it would be even better to compliment a heavy annual steelhead stocking with a significant number of yearling brown trout. Valk notes that the upper Saugeen could become the premier river on the continent for both brown trout and steelhead. Think about it, phenomenal steelheading from September around ‘til May and then upstream drifting and fly fishing for dynamic brown trout from May through ‘til September.|
While the hatchery truck is bringing healthy steelhead and browns up to the Saugeen, they might also want to make a stop at the Sauble River. That way if one stream is out of shape, chances are the other will be fishable………someone please suggest this to an MNR biologist that fishes.
On the subject of John Valk, here’s an outdoor businessman from Waterdown, Ontario who’s really come up with a bright idea. He is one of the few to import the west coast drift boat into Ontario for guided fishing trips down the Saugeen and other big provincial rivers. I had the experience of drifting the Saugeen back in July with Valk in search of smallmouth bass and the trip was a real eye opener. This flow is mind boggling in size and beauty. The full potential of the river can only be achieved by floating the stream. There are miles and miles of river open to anglers that can only really be reached by boat. The scenery on the trip is spectacular and the real potential of the Saugeen can only be realized on one of Valk’s drifts.
It was on a six hour downstream drift that Valk tossed the idea at me. Here’s the suggestion I made back to Valk. He should take a couple of biologists and possibly the Minister of Natural Resources on a trip down the river. Give them a rod, a few fishing tips and maybe then we can make some headway in upgrading this river to its full potential.
|Looking for a great wilderness fishing vacation in Ontario in the coming year?|
I think it would be almost impossible to beat the angling in Patricia Vacationland (www.heartland.on.ca) located up in the far corner of northwestern Ontario. Myself and the crew enjoyed two stays this past summer to film the fantastic walleye, pike and lake trout the area has to offer.
In particular I have to mention both Big Hook Wilderness Camps (www.bighookcamps.com) and Birch Lake Lodge (www.birchlakelodge.com).
Big Hook Wilderness Camps is owned and operated by Steve and Evie Hartle. Located 185 air miles north of Red Lake, Ontario, Big Hook offers freshwater fishing second to none. This wilderness operation is located in the Opasquia Provincial Park and there really is a big walleye holding behind every rock in this multi-lake region.
Hartle has cottages located on six secluded and strategically located lakes. The cabins can accommodate up to eight anglers and are equipped with just about anything and everything, including trophy fishing to make for a once in a lifetime angling adventure.
|Still on the subject of steelhead, here’s a suggestion to the Ontario government that I’ve been mulling over for years. Why not take the Saugeen River and make it Canada’s finest steelhead river. Yes, the big stream already is a natural magnet for drifters during the autumn and spring, but it could be a lot better. In fact, with a little ‘TLC’, the Saugeen could be just that ….the country’s best steelhead stream.|
We do have a degree of natural reproduction taking place above Denny’s Dam, but the river has never experienced excitement like the 70’s when Michigan strays entered the system by the thousands. If Ontario ever gets serious about providing world class fishing at the Saugeen, then why not aggressively stock the river with 100,000 eight inch plus yearlings annually far upstream above Denny’s. Stocking the right size yearlings, the right strain of steelhead and stocking fish in the right locations would create fantastic spawning runs and a sport fishery second to none. In the past, the ministry has either utilized the wrong strain of fish, stocked in the wrong location or stocked fish that were too small to achieve adequate survival.
Some hard line regulars to the Saugeen might voice their opinions against this idea, but open your eyes guys, fishing for the most part really is hit or miss on the Saugeen. I’m only suggesting a put, grow and take fishery until natural reproduction really does provide a super fishery of its own. Say in twenty years or so.
The stocking of the Saugeen could also be backed up by a token stocking of 10,000 steelhead in the upper Sauble. At times, this river is in shape when the Saugeen is high and muddy and would act as a great back up system to fish.
Again, when I’m talking stocked steelhead, I’m referring to trout that are at least eight inches in length, are only identified by a clipped adipose and a fish that is released far enough (say 10 miles) upriver to properly imprint to the system. In the past, hatchery raised steelhead have been too small, often mutilated with fin removal and stocked too close or right at the river mouth. Did I hear someone say pass out the fishing rods or diplomas?
Take a quick forty-five minute Otter flight northeast of Red Lake and you can land on a true walleye fish factory called Birch Lake. Your hosts, Barry and Edith Labine, will guarantee the walleye to always be on the bite and usually that bite takes place just a few minutes from camp. Birch Lake is also a lake trout hot bed, with trophy fishing the norm and not the exception. The Labine’s have a right to brag about their lodge, the meals and just about everything else associated with their operation, but really it’s the non-stop lunker walleye action that will be attracting anglers from around the globe . In one word Birch Lake Lodge is awesome!!!!
For more information visit our Fishing Holes Page.
Lake Erie Smallmouth Bass Tip
It’s already been mentioned that Lake Erie’s bass and perch fishery is coming back big time. Believe it or not, but a lot of the improvement can be attributed to the zebra mussel population explosion. The water clarity of Erie has improved due to the mussels filtering out zooplankton. The clear water has resulted in population explosions for the perch and smallmouth as well, even though it might be a short term improvement for the fishery.
Reports are that yellow perch are increasing in numbers and size from one end of the lake to the other. Smallmouth bass fishing is best around Kingsville, Port Colborne and Fort Erie.
|It seems the smallmouth are shifting their feeding habits over to another saltwater invader, the goby. These ugly little critters are not only the ugliest fish in the swim, but the fear is they will spread throughout the Great Lakes and then right across the country, affecting fish stocks from coast to coast. For the time being though, the Lake Erie smallmouth are just loving them. Try a gobby imitator in the form of a Berkley Tournament Power Tube or Power Tube Minnow in emerald shiner, blue-shad or smelt (www.purefishing.com).|
|Here’s a complaint that will probably tar me as a racist, but truthfully, I’m only being a realist. Heck, don’t even attempt to brand me a racist, you can call me a mongrel though, I’ve probably got more strains of different blood in me than anyone else wetting a line in Canada today. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but isn’t it time our courts got tough on that small segment of new immigrants to Canada that go about abusing and destroying our fishery and then fall back on the excuse that they didn‘t know better or even worse aren‘t familiar with the language or the rules of the land? These are the people that come to this country for a better way of life, yet don’t want to play by the rules and in this instance I’m talking the fishing rules.|
|Out in British Columbia our bottom fishery up and down the coast, wherever the water can be reached by car is being hard hit by a small minority of immigrants that hook and keep way more fish than the regulations allow. The same holds true for our shellfish stocks. They’re in big trouble due to illegal poaching.|
British Columbia doesn’t stand alone with this type of problem. Take a drive up to the Kawarthas, Georgian Bay or even the Lake Ontario waterfront . In most cases, if the fishery is there, it’s getting raped. Too many fish, big, small and even those resembling more minnow than gamefish are being hooked, ripped or netted from our waters.
Like I said, I’m not a racist, but a realist when it comes to this problem that is really damaging our sport fishery. In some cases, the problem does exist within the growing Asian community, but I can make a trip down to the Bronte , Credit, or even in my own backyard on the Sydenham and watch a group of fresh arrivals just off the boat from Poland or the Ukraine running up and down the stream with nets flailing over their heads . By the way, I mention those two countries in particular being I’m a honky with second generation ties to the Ukraine and my better half’s parents got off a boat from Poland more than a few years ago.
No matter where we or our parents have immigrated from the laws of the land have to be respected. I’m so tired of watching offenders attempt to brush off their crimes on the water by falling back on that old “I don’t speak English” or “I don’t read English” or “I just arrived in this country and didn’t know better.”
If someone wants to enjoy the benefits of Canada, then they should play by the rules established in Canada. If you think I’m kidding on the severity of this problem, bring the subject up to a conservation officer when you meet one.
We have to admit that there’s still a stigma in Ontario concerning coho and chinook salmon. Thirty years ago it was difficult to get some conservation officers to enforce the snagging and other river violations when it came to Pacific salmon as they entered our Great Lakes tributaries. Sorry to say, but here we are three decades later and there’s still the problem of not giving the salmon their due, especially when it comes to stopping the illegal slaughter of the big fish as they enter the tiny streams and rivers that run into all of our Great Lakes. The greater majority of our conservation officers are well aware of the salmon’s importance to communities all around the lakes, but there are still those few individuals that will turn a blind eye to idiots in hip boots that are running up and down our salmon streams. Believe it or not, but there’s a major black market in Ontario for Great Lakes’ salmon roe and it’s not a bait market. Fresh Great Lakes’ salmon roe is a hot item as a delicacy in some Ontario fish stores. Here’s hoping our Natural Resources Ministry realizes that.
Here’s one other question that should be answered. Is there a backbone somewhere within the Canadian Tackle Manufacturers Association? The manufacturers could be a major force when it comes to protecting and improving our sport fishery from coast to coast. It’s time the manufacturers who profit from the fishery take the bull by the horns and start urging all governments to do more for the fishery. We’ve seen it work on the British Columbia coast when the lodge and tackle industry get together to fight a cause. Why not here in Ontario, particularly on the Great Lakes? Do we forget just how popular the coho and chinook fishery used to be on Lake Ontario? If they are going to reap the rewards, let them work a little to improve our fishing. That way we are all winners.
The last newsletter also praised the way the Federal Fisheries and Oceans has been working with the tackle and tourist industry to turn the Pacific sport fishery around. The glory days are back on the coast, but now the question is for how long? Believe it our not, but every level of government from provincial to federal fails to give proper due to the fisheries within our provinces and the fisheries out in the ocean. Talk is now that the feds are looking at cutbacks to the British Columbia hatchery program. It’s obvious to this scribe that Paul Martin never received a fishing rod when he was handed his diploma. When it comes to governing the saltwater fishery, it’s entirely up to the federal government. With ninety-five percent of our politicians living inland, is it any wonder our saltwater fishery on both coasts could be short changed in the very near future?
It’s never too late to improve or protect our sport fishery here in Canada. Just remember who really is the boss over politicians and government staffers. It’s obvious that we either vote them in or our taxes provide them with paychecks. Too many anglers are afraid to speak up and speak out. Let’s all get a little stiffer backbone and preserve our fishing future.
|Outfitter and Lodge Spotlight|
|Had the opportunity to visit Red Pine Wilderness Lodge (www.redpinelodge.com) back in September and have to say that Lady Evelyn Lake just north of Temagami still has what it takes when it comes to providing great accommodations, meals, that true wilderness experience and super fishing. Here’s a fly-in lodge experience without the additional costs and conditions that go into fly-in wilderness fishing. For starters there really is no plane to board., but you just can’t drive or for that matter even boat in to Red Pine Wilderness Lodge. Would you believe that if you bring your own boat, which many anglers do, the staff at Wilderness will have it portaged around a towering hydro electric dam. The dam not only keeps the water in, the lake up and the fish contained, but it also keeps most day and overnight anglers out. Didn’t I say wilderness?|
Lady Evelyn is 28 miles long and is graced with some of the finest reefs, sand and gravel shoals and cool, deep water that you’ll find anywhere in the north.
And when it comes to hosts…it’s impossible to find a better pair than James and Janice Bowden the head honchos of Red Pine Wilderness Lodge.
Here’s a camp that handles upwards of 36 guests, as noted the accommodations are great, the fishing is superb and food in downright scrumptious.
|Not all of us, love ice fishing or for that matter our winter weather all the time. If you plan to head south for a week or two this summer, do yourself a favor and travel to the Florida Keys. Once you get there, go no farther than Bud n’ Mary’s at Islamorada (www.budnmarys.com). This is the place where fishermen meet. A dozen big ocean charters and double that number of backwater skiffs are available to take in a little tropical fishing at its best. Winter finds big dolphin, swordfish, marlin and barracuda just out from the shores of Bud n’ Mary’s. Back in the mangroves there’s bonefish, shark, yellowtail and mangrove to keep you fishing until your arms fall off.|
Just be careful though. When you get to the Keys, you have to watch out you don’t catch a dose of Keys’ Disease. It creeps up on you slowly and before you know it, you don’t ever want to head back home.
|Before you store your boat for winter click on to www.poliglowproducts.com and browse their site. Poli Glo is a product that’s not a wax, but instead a clear coat which is five times glossier than wax. There’s no scrubbing, rubbing and buffing. This high gloss product will maintane the new look shine on a boat up to twelve months in the Florida sun and up here in Canada we should maintain the bright look for at least double that.|
Here’s a product that is great for boats, motor homes, travel trailers and trailers.
Better yet the second, third and fourth time around is even easier.
|The folks at Brecks have brought out an all new big spinner bait that musky and pike just going to die for. The Mepps Marabou Musky in tandem and single hook systems comes with an all new marabou tail and oversized Colorado blade that will keep this flash attractor up and over the weeds, yet in the all important kill zone of the big ones. The marabou material that disguised the ultra sharp trebles not only offers vibrant colors, but also offers and attractive pulsating action… Mepps, I just gotta have one!|