Weekly Fishing Report
We are now in full ramp-up mode. Soon enough we will be at the lodge getting ready for another great season. Some random musings from my key-board:
- We are excited to announce that Karl Kalonka (The Extreme Angler) will be returning this spring (1st week of June) to film another bass show! However we plan to throw in a little twist. Along with the great bass fishing that time of year he will also catch a few 30 inch walleye and some crappie to mix it up. Karl really wants to show the diversity of the lakes and in the first week of June that should be an easy task for sure. If you want to meet him we have just one cabin left June 1-4. Here is your chance. Great guy and wonderful teacher!
- Speaking of which we will be working with Karl to outfit the lodge with Strike King top-water baits. The same lures he used on last years show will be hanging on our wall.
- The remodeling of cabin 1B will be done by the opener. As we have discussed it is a beautiful 1 bed-room with glorious views of the sunsets. We have decided to add a small hot-tub off of the back deck for its guests. A nice upgrade and wonderful way to end a day on the water.
- We have ordered the last 3 fully equipped Crestliner boats for the main lake which means the fleet is complete. EVERY boat will be an 18 foot bass boat with casting deck, Yamaha 50, full electronics, leather seats and new Minn Kota trolling motor. We also will be swapping out the 40 hp Mercs with new Yamahas. We can think of few lodges in Canada with such a high-end and new fleet.
- We are finalizing our staff and for those of you that follow us on Facebook you will already recognize the name Jake Malolapszy. He is our newest guide and is an expert fly fisherman specializing going after pike. We are excited to have him join our experienced team.
- Speaking of which Sam and Janet (our world renowned chef and her husband the dock manager) will be returning. Janet is already working with Virginia on new items for the menu and Sam has a whole list of new idea for the boats and docks.
- I just finished up my St. Croix rod order for the summer. Another dozen or so high-end rods for our guests to use, always complimentary of course.
One other item of interest. For those of you not aware, if you get a guide for any part of your trip you are entitled to half of your sales tax refunded by CRA (Canadian form of the IRS) after your trip. That's right, 50%! With sales tax at 13% the average tax on a trip is $750 half of which is nearly the same cost as two full days of guiding! So essentially a guide day or two (or longer) is free! This is an absolute no brainer plus you get the added benefit of hands on experience on our waters and a helping hand into portages.
Guides are strictly limited so I encourage you to reach out to me if you want to pick up a few for your upcoming trip. Again, the CRA mails you a refund check after your trip. It doesn't get much better than that!
And finally reservations are at an unprecedented pace (ahead of last year's record summer) so if you have particular dates in mind please reach out. We should be back to normal for ice out this spring which means May will be incredible. By far my favorite time of the season. Lake trout off the docks, bass concentrated and hungry, pike sunning themselves in 2 feet of water and hopefully walleye off the spawn. It doesn't get any better than that.
As many of you know I live in Boston in the off-season with my family. If you have been watching the news we are about to get slammed with a potentially historic blizzard starting tonight, Monday. It is almost a certainty that power will be lost as we get two and maybe even three feet of snow with hurricane force winds into Wednesday.
So, if I don't respond in a timely manner it's not because I'm fly-fishing in Belize. I'm probably lying under a salt truck.
So much for fall. In many parts of the country it has already started to snow, including Hawk Lake. Cold temps quickly make me dream about spring fishing. Just a few updates.
Just this past week I was back up in Thunder Bay for the annual Operators Tourism Conference. Over 350 lodge owners, ministry officials, vendors, agency representatives and supplier were there for 5 days of great informational meetings, networking and fun. I also was lucky enough to give a presentation on fly-fishing in the industry which was well received. And to top it all off I picked up two brand new Lund boats at the silent auction. Not on my radar but hey, when you see a good deal you need to pounce!
So, we are actually ahead of our boat upgrades next year. We had already planned on purchasing the last 2 Crestliners for the main lake (rounding out the fleet) and this is an unexpected surprise. We will think about where to deploy these. For returning guests these are the exact model as the new boats on Mud Lake, with casting decks, walk through seats etc. Very nice.
Based on the meetings I am also in the process of setting up several additional fishing shows at the lake next summer. I should know more soon when I will be able to announce who and when. We are also in talks with the people at 12-Weight to see if we can't stock our shelves with some of their excellent sun-products. For returning guests my gloves come from this special niche company.
Reservations are on the up-tick (common as families get together for the holidays) and next summer is shaping up to be another excellent year. We are planning on bringing back many of our experienced staff and guides and are finishing up staffing now.
On Monday unfortunately I have to head into Boston to have one of my shoulders repaired. Too much stress from trolling motors and batteries last year apparently. So I will be out of touch for several days as I recuperate. If you do not hear from me in a timely fashion do not worry, I will respond as I am able later in the week.
Also, for those of you NOT on the newsletter (and if you aren't, yet you read this blog you really should be) our annual ice out contest has started. For new guests and readers, correctly guess the ice out date at Hawk Lake (main lake only) in 2015 and you will win either an evening of private fishing with Ted or a HLL guide shirt. One guess per fisherman. Send me an email here.
Have a great holiday with family and friends and just remember, 6 months from now walleye season opens!
What a summer it has been. July continued to see some exceptional walleye fishing and the bass fishing was to-notch. Once we got into August the walleye fishing as expected slowed considerably (they go very deep in warm water) but the top-water bass bite was excellent. A cooler summer for sure which made for some wonderful evenings. Just last night we even saw the northern lights, a special treat.
Fall weather is now creeping in and the water temps are dropping with leaves starting to turn. The walleye should start to turn on again as they come in from the deep chasing the last of the bait fish and our September fishing should be excellent.
Just a few more weeks before we close up after one of our best summers in many, many years. Wonderful guests new and old have walked through our doors and it was a pleasure seeing everyone having a wonderful time. A quick shout out to Don who came up with his buddies last week for their first trip ever to HLL. They had come looking for walleye but August is just not the time to target them. He was unfazed and I personally fished with him for 2 days, having a blast. Many bass (when walleye fishing is dead you go after another species, a great thing about HLL) including a 19 inch fish. Don, thanks for a wonderful time.
Quick scheduling note. June of 2015 is just about sold out with July and May starting to fill up. Let me know if this is your timeframe and we can get something on the books.
Talk to you soon,
Hello all. Been far too long since we have updated the blog we know it. Again, we put pictures on Facebook and Instagram nearly daily so be sure to look us up there. Since our last update our guests have been fishing like mad and the results have been the best we have ever seen.
To start, just yesterday a first time guest (just 11 years old) caught a new world record smallie. At 24 ½ inches this beast easily weighed close to 9 pounds and bests the current Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame record for catch and release (also caught on our lakes) by ½ an inch. We do not have a picture of the fish on a measure, so we cannot certify it however it was put on the tape in front of 2 other fishermen, including one of our guides for all of you naysayers (the internet loves to poke holes). And to be fair to the other records holders out there, since it was only ½ an inch larger than the current world record it would be pushed back to 24 inches and only tie the record. All that being said it truly is a remarkable catch!
While the bass fishing has been excellent the walleye fishing continues to amaze. We have easily had over fifty fish 30 inches or larger. One group last week left after catching 34 fish 28 inches or larger including five over 30 and one 32 inch walleye (caught by a 7 year old). 3 days ago Sandy Sanders caught a 34 inch monster (definitely in world record territory, and yes we do have this on a tape) which was one of the largest we have seen in sometime. And for the second year in a row a 40 or larger was lost at the boat. Just a matter of time until we officially get that bad boy in our boats and in the record books.
While the fishing has been red hot the weather has been how shall we say this…a mess. Just now it is 50 degrees with a howling north wind. We had one of the biggest storms we have ever seen sweep through last night with 80 mph gusts and the destruction was everywhere. Many trees down, and cabin 2 received a new sunroof. But luckily since we took down over 30 trees in May all around the lodge we dodged sure catastrophe. We have seen fronts last as long as 3 days with nothing but rain (very rare), high winds and even hail. This has made for some interesting fishing to say the least. Talk about being nimble in a boat. Bass are STILL on nests in some areas guarding their young. And just 3 nights ago our second may-fly hatch occurred, shutting down bass fishing considerably for spin fishermen. Although to be fair the 24 inch smallie came at the height of the hatch. Two nights ago I personally ventured out to the narrows at dusk. Nearly an hour after the sun set and with a full moon glaring down I saw something very rare. A may-fly hatch. Within minutes hundreds of thousands of insects rose to the glass like surface all around me while I bathed in the moonlight. As they rose all heck broke loose and the waters erupted in chaos as bass (and what I have to believe were walleye) went bezerk. It was like we ran across a school of stripers chasing mullet. A beautiful sight.
We are looking forward to all of our new guests coming through our doors and still have several additional fishing shows that will be taped this summer. We still have some slots open and would love to have you with us as we close out one of our best seasons ever.
What a difference a few weeks make!
Since our last update the walleye fishing is the best we have ever seen it (at least in my 16 years at the lodge). After the walleye spawn ended it was slow, very slow. But once they decided it was time to feed, feed they did. We have been catching walleye in all of our spots. Lots and lots of them. And they are shallow (8-12 feet of water), big and voracious. Yesterday one fisherman (just one) caught 15 over 8 pounds in a single day. Last night I personally fished for 15 minutes and caught 2 over thirty inches. Every evening multiple 30s hit our nets with dozens in the high 20s. We have never seen anything like it.
The bass are just completing the spawn and starting to also get active, with top-water fishing beginning to turn on throughout multiple out-lakes. Lakers are still being caught as an added bonus.
Bill Spicer of The New Fly Fishermen filmed a TV show last week and had a wonderful time. The footage he shot was incredible. In fact they brought a drone and got some gorgeous shots 600 feet in the air over the lodge, main lake and Wolf. I have never seen anything like it and will post some snippets shortly.
We are meeting new fishermen every week intermingled with our returning guests and the lodge is bustling with activity. June is setting up to be the best fishing in many years.
From winter to summer all in a week. Just 9 days ago our lakes were frozen and today we have a nice breeze and 80 degree weather. Our first guests have come and gone and the lodge is in full swing.Water temperatures are in the high 60s on nearly every lake and bass nests are starting to dot the bays getting ready to spawn. The walleye finished spawning last week and are now just starting to bite (the week after their spawn it can be quiet). So our first guests of the season concentrated on pike, lakers and bass (in that order).
Lake trout has been excellent with one of the largest we have ever seen (35 inches) caught two nights ago right in front of the lodge by new guests Mike and Leslie Enloe. On the same trip they also netted a 44 inch pike in Mirror lake and a 23 inch bass (one inch of the world record). All in just 2 days fishing. What a trip for sure! The fishing has now started to accelerate and the walleye bite is finally turning on.
Speaking of which we have set yet another catch and release world record. Last night one of our guides netted a 30 inch walleye on a fly-rod setting the 10 pound tippet record. The paperwork has been submitted and we are now actively seeking out more monsters. As each day passes the walleye fishing will only get better, the bass fishing will explode and the summer will be jumping, One other note, Phil Canale got into a huge school of black crappie on Mud Lake, a special day indeed.
We are awaiting Bill Spicer of The New Fly Fisher to arrive next week to film a new episode for the lodge (last year's show aired yesterday by the way to rave reviews) while new and old guests alike walk through the doors to experience the magic we have all around us.
Current water temps are on the low 40s. Lake trout being caught, but they are still deep (should come up shortly). Walleye pre-spawn is on. Males can be seen very shallow on certain reefs waiting for the females. Sometimes dozens of them. Patiently waiting. A 40+ inch fish was spotten this morning in 3 feet of water. We know they are in here, and this seasoned guide confirmed what we have seen the past several years. Once the water hits arond 45 degrees the spawn should be on. Pike are shallow but not aggressive, although some have been caught. Bass deep. Very warm weather coming in this weekend and everything will turn on very quickly. Let the games begin.
We are calling ice out on May 20th this year. Congrats to Jim Beresford for his correct guess. Let the season begin!
Hello fellow fishermen. Been awhile since I have updated the blog (although Facebook and Instagram have plenty of updates) so I thought I would give a quick update. We arrived at the lodge 2 weeks ago to 3 feet of snow and 2 feet of ice. A winter wonderldand for sure, unless you are a fisherman. We actually ice fished a few evenings on Hawk Lake, a first for us. Since then the weather has been all over the map. Warm one day, cold the next. This morning we awoke to 2 inches of snow! Not good. This is shaping up to be an extremely late ice out. The lake is still very much frozen although starting this weekend the weather looks beautiful from then on out. We will miss our opening of this Friday but I suspect sometime next week we will see the lake on its last stages of ice. Cliff Lake by the way just opened up this afternoon.
I have been in touch with our early guests and will continue to do so as this magical date comes. That being said water temperatures are already pushing 40 and when the ice does finally go out the fishing should be white hot (as the weather should be in the 70s almost immediately).
We are looking at one of our best summers ever. For those of you NOT on the email newsletter list Karl Kalonka (i.e. The Extreme Angler) has confirmed his trip later this summer and The New Fly Fisher's Bill Spicer will film a second show in early June. We are very excited to meet them both.
I will keep this short as we are still taking on some huge projects including a new septic field, new kitchen, new/old cabin complete remodel, two new bathroom floors in Cabin #6 and putting an entire new fleet on the lakes (assuming the ice breaks sometime soon). Oh and if anyone knows how to install a commercial kitchen fire suppression system give me a call.
Sunday morning and I am packing up the truck with the final goodies for the lodge and in just a few hours will be pushing off for Hawk Lake. I had hoped to have been there 2 weeks ago but another historic winter put a crimp in the best laid plans. Oh well, in just a few days I will be driving down the driveway to my favorite place in the world. Still lots of snow and plenty of ice but in just a few weeks the water will appear, lake trout darting to and from the shallows as loons build their nests.
We still have plenty of availability and with the late ice out July fishing should be incredible. Boy I can't wait.
See you soon.
We just received the newest edition of Lund Magazine and lo and behold we made the cover!
We hope you enjoy the article and pictures from last summer.
Spring is here. Okay, the calendar says spring but in Boston it snowed today and as I type this the great lakes are 97% frozen, the most they have been since the mid 1990’s! 8 foot snow drifts adorn (or is that bury) the lodge with 3 feet of ice on the lakes. It is hard to believe that we will be opening the lodge in 6 weeks and in 2 months you will be walking through our doors. Where has the winter gone?
A couple of notes. First is ice out. Right about now we start to get worried emails and calls regarding when the lakes will be clear to fish. Yes, it has been a brutal winter everywhere and yes we have plenty of ice. However the large amounts of snow have helped insulate the lake ice to some degree (or else we would have 6+ feet of ice). Also, it’s not just about the harshness of the winter but the weather in the spring (March and April) that affects the ice out the most. The worst of winters can be quickly overcome with warm, rainy, windy weather. Last year was the latest ice out on record for us and we still opened up right on time. However to alleviate any fears for our first guests ALL deposits can be moved and applied to future trips if your trip is cancelled due to ice on the lakes. We do not anticipate this happening but hopefully this helps you sleep better at night. Honestly, the staff and myself are going to have more issues with ice as we need to get up to the lodge earlier than usual and we most certainly will be looking at frozen lakes (we will for sure take plenty of pictures and post for you, it is always a beautiful site). A quick tangent. One of our new guides this year is coming all the way from Ireland. Colin is his name and he owns his own fly-fishing guide service in Ireland but has always wanted to fish Canadian waters. We can’t wait to learn some new tricks and see him in action as he guides our fly-fishermen.
On a more cheery note we have just ordered the last of the Crestliner boats for the main lake, bringing the total to 11 18 foot boats with casting decks, high-powered engines, electronics and tons of room. Fly fishermen love them, walleye fishermen enjoy being able to troll the main lake in silence and guides and large parties really like the extra room that comes with these boats. This will complete the upgrades for the main lake (two years ahead of schedule). We can pretty much guarantee that every party will get a new boat during part or all of their trip, which is great to say. However, there will be rare situations where a party may not get a brand new boat for a part of their trip. Right now, out of 110 days we are open there are only 2 days where we will break out the 16 foot Lunds (with full electronics, electric start engines etc.). In the incredibly rare case when this occurs we will pre-assign the boats ahead of time to ensure everyone gets a crack at them. Please do not ask as an inordinate amount of planning by Sam and I goes into boat assignments. In nearly every case (actually every case I believe) each party will have at least one new boat. So, for example if there is a party of 8 with 4 boats assigned they likely would get at least 2 if not 3 of the Crestliners (again in the rare case we have more than 22 guests). Also, for new guests keep in mind most of the time you will be fishing the out-lakes anyway.
On a related note we have continued our out-lake upgrades. We have completed replacing all boats with leather swivel seats, replaced all safety kits and will be replacing older motors with brand new Yamaha 4-stroke engines. They purr like kittens and are great on gas. Within the next 3 years we expect every engine on every out lake to be brand new. Speaking of new, we have just been accepted into the St. Croix lodge program. What does this mean? Well for starters it means our loaner rods will start to be brand new St. Croix Premiers along with matching reels. We expect to replace most of our rods with these beautiful hi-end rods. We will still have plenty of others rods to choose from (also note that children will be given less expensive more durable rods) but we believe this is a wonderful upgrade. I cannot think of any other lodge that lends out St. Croix spinning rods and Orvis fly-rods. We hope you like them.
And finally we have purchased a fly-tying station that we will put out in the main lodge. For you fly-tiers feel free to sit down before dinner (or anytime) and try your hand at some of your favorite patterns. I have been tying clousers for weeks at home and will put them to good use.
We hope you enjoyed the Al Lindner fishing show that aired last month. We were told by Lindner productions it was one of the best received shows they have ever filmed. With over 300,000 web-page hits in 4 days and hundreds of phone calls we cannot disagree. Speaking of which Al Lindner, Dan Sura and Jeremy Smith are looking to come up in May to fish on their vacation if you can believe that. They are hoping to arrive sometime during opening week. If you missed meeting them last year this might be your chance to pick their brains and see a legend in action. We also have several NHL players coming up in June (which for me is exciting as I live and breathe hockey) which will be fun as well.
Reservations have been coming in at an unprecedented pace. We still have a few openings in May (from the open to June 2nd), one cabin in the middle of June, 2 cabins over July 4th and then sporadic availability in July, August and September. March and April will see an uptick in reservations so if you are thinking about a trip this summer by all means give us a call. And finally as previously stated we are accepting 2015 reservations. We have locked in over 20 trips so far for 2015, most of which are in June. As current June guests will book as they depart this spring we expect June and July 4th to sell out a year in advance. If you know you want a trip during this timeframe the sooner you can get it on my radar the better. We are still expecting our 3rd TV show (The New Fly Fisher) to air any week now which will be the final cap to a wonderful 2013 season. We hope you enjoy it.
The next update will likely be from the lodge. Please keep the emails coming, we enjoy hearing from all of you. Spring is here!
We trust you had an enjoyable holiday season with family and friends and are staying warm wherever you are. If it makes you feel any warmer the lodge has seen temperatures as low as -35 degrees this past week, so it could be worse! A couple items of note:
First, we just had a last minute cancellation in June. Coupled with a few other dates this is what we have left in June: May 29- June 4 (6 nights), 7-11 (4 nights), 8-12 (4 nights) and 21-25 (also 4 nights). We still have availability from the open in May until June which in my personal opinion can be THE BEST fishing of the season. Read the blog from last year and see the hundreds of fish caught right after ice out. When the Lindner trophy walleye show airs in 2 weeks we expect May to sell out (as we open on the same day as the walleye opener). Just a heads up.
Speaking of which, Al Lindner's 2 fishing shows have been slated for airing on their web-site. You can follow the link and see when they will air in your city but in general starting January 24th it will be broadcast worldwide on Fox Sports, WFN and The Outdoor Channel which pretty much covers every TV in the country. We hope you enjoy it. Ironically at the same time we will be working the fly fishing show in NY city and as such we expect it to get a little crazy. And to throw fuel on the fire the week after (starting January 28th) we will be off the grid as we spend some time with our chef and her husband (and dock manager) Sam in the Bahamas chasing bonefish. We realize this timing may not be ideal but all events were scheduled many months ago independently of one another.
When we return we will confirm new reservations and return calls/emails in the order received. For new customers we apologize for the delayed response during this period but again we will get back to you! And not to beat a dead horse, but for returning customers that have not yet booked please let us know your thoughts. We don't want you to get locked out. I have already received some comments from guests on seeing times/dates disappear.
And finally, for the first time ever Orvis will be hosting a 4 night Smallmouth Bass fly-fishing school in late July. This is the first event of its kind and will feature Orvis professional fly-fishing instructor Peter Kutzer on-site teaching fly fishing to a select few (only 8) guests. For guests looking to learn how to fly-fish or more experienced fishermen that want to learn about smallmouth tactics, techniques, hands-on casting instruction etc this is a rare and unique opportunity for you. There will be classroom presentations (I will also present), on the water instruction and guided fishing the entire time. The entire lodge will be reserved for just 8 guests meaning the staff to guest ratio will be 2-1! Plenty of service for sure. For a complete itinerary go directly to the Orvis web-site here. This just hit the airwaves and we expect it to be sold out by the end of the month. If you are interested call me ASAP and I'll get you signed up.
That's it for now. In just 3 months we will be opening up the lodge and looking forward to another incredible season.
We hope you are enjoying the holiday season with family and friends. We too are busy and eagerly awaiting next spring's May 17th open! In just a few months we will be heading up even earlier than normal to work on some exciting improvements and even more upgrades at the lodge. One indirect upgrade you will all benefit from are two new stoves for Chef Janet. The lodge as you know was built in the 50s and we think the current cast iron stoves are original, if you can believe that. They have served us well but time stands still for no one (or thing) so this April we will roll up our sleeves and remove an 1,100 pound stove and replace with two state of the art ovens, an 8-burner gas range and 36 inch flat-top stove. No easy task considering the current kitchen was built around the stove and will literally need to be cut into pieces!
On a different note we received the first cut of the Al Lindner Angler's Edge show and put it on the main web-page here. We think it came out beautifully and can't wait to see the final episode next month. We have been told by Lindner media to expect a huge surge in calls and interest when it does air throughout the country. Ironically this will be at the exact same time we are working our first fly-fishing show in New York city. As such we strongly encourage our returning guests that like to book later in the spring to call and reserve in the next 4 weeks. Already reservations are at a record pace and with this media it will only get more tight. As it is, June is essentially sold out (just 2-3 slots left). Again, please let us know your intentions so we can make sure you can come and see us next summer!
And finally thanks to all of you that sent in pictures for our new brochure. We will be using several of them with the most prominent one sent in from Morey Rozon. His picture of his son Kevin standing on the bow of the boat fly fishing as the sun is setting was so spectacular that it will be the new cover shot! Thanks Morey!
Have a great holiday everyone and we will talk to you all soon.
I just got back from the conference. Had a great time meeting other lodge owners, provincial leaders and various companies that support the industry. These conferences are a great way to keep abreast of industry trends, new products and even regulations that affect all of us. Several items of note:
- We will be attending our first ever fishing show this January 24th - 26th in Somerset, New Jersey (just outside of New York city). If you happen to be in the area by all means let me know and come out. We would love to see you!
- We are in the process of accepting credit cards for the first time in nearly 22 years. Hopefully this will be set up by the time the holidays hit. We will let you know.
- We also will be trying out a new on-line reservation system. We are currently working with an industry leading vendor to set up Hawk Lake Lodge on a new software platform that will allow our guests to instantly see availability and summer specials. Guests will be able to book cabins on-line, requests guides and correspond with us 24/7. If we are happy with the new system it will augment the many personal phone calls and emails I already receive. Please keep in mind you will ALWAYS be able to call us and discuss a trip. This system is just another tool for all of you.
- And finally we will be expanding our wireless network throughout the peninsula. We are aware that sometimes the signal strength is in and out throughout the resort. In an effort to boost the 'mesh network' we will be doubling its size with more wireless routers.
That's all I have for now. Have a nice weekend everyone.
I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the nice fall weather in many parts of the country. Hawk Lake has seen its first snow of the season and the lake trout should be spawning shortly. Deposit requests have gone out earlier this month. As such every year there are guests that are just not able to make their original dates work. Therefore right about this time dates that have been sold out start to instantly appear, albeit briefly.
If you were interested in a June trip and were told that your timeframe was sold out please reach out ASAP as we have several prime weeks that have literally just opened up and will be gone before Thanksgiving. See the contact page for current openings or call us directly.
These dates have been reserved since July.
On a different note many more things in the works. Looking to have additional TV shows filmed in 2014 including Karl Kalonka of Extreme Angler fame. More upgrades are in the works across the board, from boats to couches, additional staff to more goodies in the tackle shop. We are still eagerly awaiting Al Lindner's show(s) this winter with some of the largest walleye he has ever filmed along with Colin McKeown's The New Fly Fisher which had Colin filming a wonderful father/son episode on Wolf, Mud and Hawk Lake last summer. When they air we will broadcast via our newsletter as well as here.
Next week I am heading back up to the middle of Ontario for the annual lodge owner's conference with many of my colleagues. I am looking forward to learning new industry trends, seeing exciting products and connecting with other lodge owners. It is always a great way to hear about ideas that will make Hawk Lake even better.
Keep the emails coming. As snow begins to creep into the forecasts I like nothing better than talking fishing to keep my fire burning.
Summer 2013 Update
2013 Fishing Wrap-up
And so another wonderful summer has come to an end. As I write this the lodge is all closed up for the winter. Lines blown out, docks removed, cabins boarded and all the boats put away. The summer has come and gone in an instant. For the first time in many years the lodge was at 100% capacity (when you take into account when we were at over capacity) and for that reason it is just now when we can take a step back and reflect. To be honest, as I walked out of the quiet lodge this week I couldn’t believe the summer was at its end. Where did it go?
My 31 hour drive home left me plenty of time to think about that question. Thanks to the Meister family for the wonderful dinner and lodging for me and Ginger on our way through. A nice respite for sure.
Just 4 months ago we arrived to a lake that was completely frozen over, in the middle of May. A first for us and one of the latest ice outs ever. Who could believe that in 4 months we would see the progressions of all 4 seasons, not in such a short time anyway. As we arrived the ice was melting quickly and in less than a week 18 inches of ice over 19 lakes literally disappeared overnight. The spring was so early that we witnessed walleye spawning, lake trout STILL in deep water and pike cruising the shallows looking for warmth. Normally when we arrive we are catching lake trout off the docks. But as the ice receded and left us with water temps in the mid-30s it was too cold for these beautiful fish!
In just 10 days or so the quiet landscape and fishery sprang to life and before we knew it we had fishermen walking through the doors seemingly unaware that winter had just ended. With the late spring the fish had plenty of catching up to do and our first guests of the season from the Thiel and Hill parties to Phil Canale and son caught hundreds of fish. Pamela and John Thiel set their personal best of 105 fish in 7 hours on Cliff lake including a 48 inch monster pike. The Hill party caught 280 fish (again, still in May) in just 3 short days and from that point on we were off to the races.
The Johnson’s had a wonderful time seeing spring bloom all around them and the Stobart party of 14 (their first trio to HLL) had the best fishing trip in 40 years with many big lake trout, walleye, pike and bass…..the HLL grand slam. Glynn and Barbara, guided by myself from time to time enjoyed the quiet time while crushing the bass on Mud Lake. Glynn in fact did NOT want to catch walleye and we actually left several spots on the lake because all we caught were walleye! Go figure…..
The Saia group (also first time guests) had a wonderful family reunion and caught plenty of fish while enjoying the beautiful weather that June had to offer. Steve Yearout enjoyed his 65th birthday with us and Josh and the Lakin boys and dad had one of their best trips in 10 years setting several personal bests in bass and Walleye while dad Tom Sr. learned to go after our trophy bass with a fly-rod. Good choice Tom.Cody Heche got into some seriously big walleye, his last big trip before entering the peace core (good luck!), while Bob Cunha and crew hit ‘Baldy’ day and night in search of our monster walleye.
As July ended and August rolled in we saw huge swings in weather patterns, with very cold weather. One week we were turning on the heat, the next plugging in air conditioners. This unusual and crazy weather pushed the fish all over the map but our fishermen rolled with the punches. As many of you said during these few weeks here is a time where Hawk Lake Lodge really shows its colors and character. With a myriad of lakes to choose from, our fishermen had options. A new guest commented that had they been at their old lodge and the fishing shut down they would have been out of luck and had nothing to do but stare at the water. In our case deep discussions were had every night at happy hour as we took notes on each lake. What was working, where, how and why. Comparing those notes with weather patterns helped everyone become better fishermen and made sure that everyone could catch fish even in some of the worst fishing conditions imaginable. One example. When the cold weather hit in August some of the clear lakes slowed. But our dark stained lakes as well as some of the shallower ones kept right on trucking. To ALL new guests this is the number one reason why happy hour on the deck each evening is a must.
As August turned to September the weather stabilized and we saw many new faces. From the Delano clan who had a family reunion from family members all over the world, to Ron Cordes of the Federation of Fly Fishers and famous fishing author who got to experience HLL for the first time. Ron and his buddy Jeremy hunted fish all over with his fly rod and caught some goodies. He even left one of his books on the fireplace mantle for all to enjoy. Thanks Ron!
The summer ended with many long time guests putting the exclamation point on a great season. From Big Tube, Mike, Sandy and Walter to Tom Smith (who just crushed the lake trout on Wolf Lake, and I mean crushed), to Phil and Jordan (coming up with new baits on Mud, thanks…I think) and new couples the Hisers and Gulicks. Speaking of which we had one couple who had been married at the lodge 10 years ago at the same time another couple was on their honeymoon. What are the odds of that? And for all of you thinking about a wedding on a lake (and you know who you are) I can’t think of a better place……..
In between all of these wonderful times of seeing old friends and meeting new acquaintances was a flurry of activity. New portages were cut and boardwalks installed on Wolf, Portage and Bass lakes, cabins 1, 5 & 6 were re-painted along with the decks, new boats arrived (from Crestliners to our new fishing Pontoon boat), the tackle shop saw more goodies (wait till you see next year!), out-lake motors were torn apart and re-built (not ONCE did we have an issue with bad gas or carburetors this year on ANY out-lake) and we purchased a new side by side Cub Cadet for out-lake travel. Speaking of which we opened back up Bear Lake, the first time in 7-8 years and boy were we rewarded! Many, many bass in the 14-16 inch range. Just a blast. A couple more years and that will be a go to lake for many.
And then of course were the camera crews from the production companies. Kyle Randall started us off with The Wilderness Journal and he couldn’t fathom how we could catch so many huge fish. I guided him one day and chuckled to myself as I honestly don’t take pictures of any walleye less than 30 inches while he had never caught a 28 inch fish and was blown away with how many we had. This show by the way is airing this weekend in the mid-west. Once it does I will try and post the full video on the web-site as well as Facebook. Then was Al Lindner and crew. Not much more to be said that hasn’t been already and to say we are looking forward to the show(s) this winter is an understatement. When a 31.5 inch walleye might not even make the final cut you know something special happened. The lodge also acquired Al’s boat which you will see next spring. Should be fun. And finally Colin McKeown and his son returned to film a second show, concentrating on the father-son aspect of fishing. I had a great time guiding them (even in the tough, cold August weather….go figure) and can’t wait to see the show.
To all of our guests new and old we thank you for a wonderful summer. We have received notes from many of you and look forward to catching up with you during the winter. The best way to keep abreast of what’s going on at the lodge is to sign up for our newsletter, ‘Like’ us on Facebook or hook up with us on Instagram. I will be posting plenty of updates all winter long up there to keep the juices flowing.
We will see you in just 8 short months.
Ted, Virginia, Caroline & Sophia
Our last guests have just left and I am drifting quietly in The Narrows as dusk approaches. The crystal clear reflections of the pine and birch trees stare up at me from the water and nearby I see 3 beavers scurrying about readying their new home for winter. Loons call out from a distance and a mist begins to rise as the moon climbs above the trees.
For the past 20 minutes the water has been exploding all around me as bass, large bass chase the last of the summer minnows. They too are aware that fall is in the air and they are not going to miss an opportunity to fatten up for the winter. In every direction I can see and hear splashes, jumps, see Vs and dorsal fins. Sometimes one fish will chase the same bait for 10 feet in a mad but calculated attack. It's as if a switch was thrown and every fish within 100 yards of my boat has 30 minutes to find their last supper. Even birds are swooping down and joining in. Is this Hawk Lake or Nags Head?
At first I frantically grab rod after rod. Looking for that perfect bait to cash in on the feeding bonanza. A fly rod with multiple patterns is joined by floating Rapalas, Husky Jerks and finally as the feeding frenzy diminishes jigs. I silently curse under my breath as my rod to fish ratio is not what I have to come to expect. Yes, some big fish, but this should be even easier I say to myself. I then take pause and put the rods down. I listen. And watch.
Hawk Lake is saying goodbye. Its letting me know that there are far too many fish for any one fisherman and they will be here when I return in the spring. The postcard of an evening is the bookend to a frozen lake 4 months ago, when the moonlight glimmered on the ice and the massive pack groaned and shrieked throughout the evening.
A peace settles upon the lake and with me. What a perfect way to end the summer.
The weather has finally stabilized after one of the coolest August months we have ever seen. The cold weather pushed the bass down deep which is the last place we would expect to find them in the middle of the summer (not because of cold temps anyway). Normally at this time of year its the extreme heat that holds the bass hostage. Just the past 3-4 days have finally seen some warm and stable weather and the bass fishing has picked up accordingly. The top-water bite is back on, especially in the evenings. One positive outcome of the cold weather is that once it warmed up fish made up for lost time and have been actively feeding ever since.
Our arriving guests are in for some fun.
Sam and his crew have been hard at work grooming our two most difficult trails, Wolf and Portage. Both needed some serious work and after nearly a week of pruning, trimming and woodwork they look better than ever. You will not recognize them. Sam built nearly 100 feet of new boardwalks meaning no more muddy feet. Here is just one of the boardwalks on portage, just finished yesterday.
Yet another storm system has come and gone last evening and we are finally into a stretch of warm, stable weather. The next few weeks should see temps in the 70s with plenty of sun. The topwater bite should pick-up and the evening fishing should be excellent. For those fly-fishermen this is the perfect combination as smallies will be looking for surface flies. Just two nights ago the mirror like lake saw an explosion of smallmouth activity. By the looks of the takes on the water you would have thought you were fishing in Montana, as the ripples resembled trout rising to a hatch. Just the smallest of ripples could be seen as large bass quietly sucked in insects off the water. Often times smallies will explode out of the water chasing dragonflies or minnows. But when their quarry is less nimble the less energy spent pursuing them the better. Needless to say the fishing was good and on a fly-rod, nirvana.
Greetings from Hawk Lake.
Our computers crashed last week and we are just now getting back on-line. Sorry for the delay in the blog, but we should be up and running from here on out.
July came and went in a flash and during that time we had some excellent fishing. As noted on our Facebook page and weekly newsletter we had world famous fishermen Al Lindner and Dan Sura here filming several fishing shows. Al and Dan got to experience our amazing fishery and when they were done we were told it was one of, if not the best trophy walleye fishery they had ever seen. In just one afternoon and evening Al, Dan and myself caught 9 fish over 9 pounds, with 8 walleye 30 inches or larger including a 31.5 and a 34 inch monster. All on camera. Al could not believe the size of the fish. The smallest fish he caught I believe was 26 inches if you can believe that.
We are eagerly awaiting the finished product and will share more updates from Al as they come together. The show will air sometime this winter. Stay tuned.
July weather and fishing has been interesting to say the least. From hot and sunny to cold, rainy and windy. The weather changed rapidly and sometimes with little warning. Storms were often violent pushing fishermen off the water and in front of the fire or in the hot-tubs. As such the fishing ebbed and flowed right along with it and made our fishermen take pause and think about tactics as the fishing changed from day to day. One day top-water ruled and the next day fishermen were finding fish in 25 feet of water. Most fishermen know not to take anything for granted and to be nimble when hitting the water. Lakes turned on and off at the switch of a button so many evenings were spent discussing tactics, reviewing maps and strategizing our next moves. I can't remember when so much thought went into a day on the water. For one thing it made us all better fishermen and it also gave us a chance to truly learn new approaches.
The walleye fishing has been exceptional as more 30+ inch fish than we have ever seen have hit our nets. We even were seeing lake trout in Wolf and Mirror lakes just last week which just made our day.
We are now in the throes of August and we are looking at an excellent finish to a wonderful season. Colin McKeown will be filming the last of our 4 TV shows starting next week and he is excited to explore some of our out-lakes with a fly rod in hand. We have also just ordered a brand new pontoon fishing boat which will arrive any day now. For an additional nominal daily fee your group can all relax in the plush seats while fishing and enjoying the main lake. If you are interested in booking the boat for a portion of your trip shoot us a line and we will reserve it for your party. What a great way to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Bookings are coming in strong for 2014 and June is quickly selling out. If you know that June is your timeframe for a trip please let us know. And finally, we just had a last minute cancellation for our last week of this summer, August 31st through close (September 8th). This week has been sold out for 9 months and is one of the most highly sought after of the entire summer. The foliage is beautiful but the fishing can be incredible. It is a 2 bedroom, 4-bed cabin. If you are interested in a last minute trip during one of the prettiest times of the summer let me know. It will not last long.
We look forward to seeing you all next month and hope you are having an excellent summer.
Greetings from Hawk Lake.
We have been remiss in our updates here I know. The first 6 weeks of the season have gone by in a flash. Where to begin. After one of the latest ice outs ever the fishing picked up where we left off last year. Bass were plentiful as they moved in for the spawn (now complete) later than normal. In fact the late ice out saw the walleye spawning while guests were here, a first for us. Imagine a dozen 33 inch walleye sitting in 18 inches of water waiting for the females. Quite a sight, and a first for me.
A few highlights after our first month. John and Pam Thiel, our resident fishery biologists had their best day on the water, ever. 105 fish in 7 hours, several walleye pushing 30 inches and to cap it off a 48 inch pike in 3 feet of water while bass fishing. Well done guys! Because of the late spring the walleye fishing is just now taking off. The television show The Wilderness Journal had a crew here last week to film for 5 days. We were excited to have them. However they left after just 26 hours. Why? Because they got more footage in one day that would normally take a week at other fishing lodges. They could not believe how good the fishery was, especially when we could catch 30 inch walleye at will, something we did on several occasions all on camera no less. Needless to say they were ecstatic and will likely be returning next year for a second show.
New guest Lou Scannura caught his first 30 inch walleye and then spent the rest of his trip hunting smallies with a fly-rod. Because of the late start the top-water bite was a little slower than normal in mid June but he still had a blast. It’s just over the past 10 days or so that the bass fishing has just exploded as the spawn is complete and bass are getting more aggressive. Speaking of which Tom Lakin was on a guided day at Wolf lake with yours truly and wanted to give the fly-rod a try. Tom and I got out the fly-rods with some bass poppers and as Tom put it ‘had the best day of fishing he has ever had anywhere in the world’! He and I caught well over 100+ bass, all on a fly-rod and all 15+ inches or larger. In fact the action was so heavy at one point that between the two of us we had a fish on every 3 minutes for 3 hours before we finally had to pack it up and head in for dinner. I have never seen anything like it and will be telling that story for many years. Well done Tom.
We are eagerly awaiting Al Lindner to arrive next week and then Colin McKeown of The New Fly Fisher in August to film his second show in as many summers. We still have some availability the latter half of July and 1st 10 days of August. If you would like to meet Colin here is your chance. As I mentioned before we are now accepting 2014 reservations and just today have decided to accept 2015 reservations as well. Some parts of June in 2014 are already sold out. As such we have parties booking in 2015 to ensure they get the weeks they want. With 3 more shows this summer and several national publications set to come out we expect many periods to be sold out by mid fall before the rest of the season fills up by the end of this year.
We look forward to seeing all of you this month and will certainly post more updates as we have time. Again, for daily updates and pictures LIKE us on Facebook or Instagram. Lots of fun pictures from our guests.
See you on the water.
Spring 2013 Update
Greetings from Hawk Lake. Our first guests of the season have come and gone and we are ramping up for the deluge of guests that will be walking through our doors shortly. We opened up to the chilliest of times. Water temps hovered around 37 degrees, with freezing overnight temperatures. Our first guests saw one of the worst storms we have seen in many years. Howling winds and rains pounded the lodge for 2 days, with 6 foot swells flooding every boat in the water (33+). The lodge even lost power for nearly 24 hours, a first in a long time. However our guests rolled right along and enjoyed grilled toast, dinner by candlelight and flashlight escorts to their cabins.
Many new guests ask how long they should come up for and this storm is a great example of what we tell them. When travelling on any fishing trip I recommend a minimum of 5 nights. Anything shorter could mean disaster if weather blows through. So while we had quite the storm (and fishing slowed quickly), once the weather cleared the fishing improved right along with it.
Current water temperatures are a chilly low 40s on the main lake bay (over 400 feet deep) to high 50s in the bays and even higher on the out-lakes. With the warm weather we have been having the fishing has just exploded. On a related note, I thought this year I would keep a tally of how many 17 inch and larger bass our guests caught. I have seen other places list the number of trophy catches on their web-sites (i.e. this year we caught 118 trophy bass) and thought it would be an interesting exercise. Bear with me, I’m going somewhere with this. So upon departure of the Hill party (3 guys for 4 days) I got out the note pad. Their answer was 104 bass 17 inches or larger, @ twenty 18 inches and up , 5 or 6 19s and one 20 inch fish. I put the notepad away. So much for that…..
So yes, the fishing is just taking off including the walleye. Last night saw 4-5 29 inch walleye and one 30”. And get this. The 30 inch fish (caught by yours truly) was caught in 3 feet of water under the bridge on a grub (the same grub I used to catch a lake trout earlier in the day on Wolf lake no less). Unreal. This fishery never ceases to amaze me. I thought I had seen it all. During the past 5 days there have been several 100+ fish days per party, and the fishing is just getting going. Those guests about to arrive are in for some incredible fishing. I also would like to send my congratulations out to Tom Smith. Tom is a long time guest who comes several times each summer with different goals in mind each trip. Early season he has one thing on his mind. Lake trout. Tom works all the lakes and spots hunting them down and is a wizard with a fishfinder. All his work paid off this trip as he netted a 32 inch monster (with a 19 inch girth!) this week. That fish was nearly as big as the mount in the main lodge, to give you some perspective. Well done Tom!
A couple of scheduling notes. If you are looking to come later in the summer we are just about sold out starting mid August. From August 11th to close we have just one cabin left. That being said, if your plans are flexible we have a few dates in June (and the next week), mid to late July and early August. Again, if you can swing it I would come up in the next 10 days as the fishing reaches its mid-season peak. Once we hit June 8th its very tight until mid July. And finally we are now accepting 2014 reservations. We are estimating that in 2014 we will be completely sold out. If you have a large party and or have dates that will sell out quickly please let me know so we can start to block some cabins off. This would include June, July 4th weekend and the last 2 weeks of the season into September which are already seeing some action.
One other note. While I enjoy updating the blog as much as I can I can’t get to it nearly as much as I would like during the summer. For nearly daily updates, pictures and videos LIKE us on Facebook. With technology being so convenient I am constantly updating Facebook with pictures and tidbits all the time. One shot from a phone on the lake and with the push of a button its uploaded for all to see and comment on. Also, if you use Instagram I also am posting pictures there as well. Our account is #hawklakelodge.
Virginia and I look forward to seeing all of you this summer. Please keep the emails coming as I enjoy hearing from all of you.
I had to do a double take this morning when I drove over the bridge across the river to Cliff Lake. Yesterday there was ice on 75% of Cliff. Today it was all gone save for a couple of patches here and there. Higher winds today should get the ice pack moving and expose weaknesses. We can see many cracks and a few channels through the ice on the main lake. A good sign.
Welcome to Hawk Lake!! We arrived last night after a 31 hour drive to a quiet and peaceful lodge. All cabins and boats are accounted for and no major issues appear to have surfaced. Our docks are where they are supposed to be (unlike last spring when they were 2 miles away!) and everything is in its place.
Today we started the laborious task of opening up the lodge as our new guides arrived throughout the day. We have been busy non-stop getting things in order and all systems operational. And now for the question most people have been asking, how are the lakes. As suspected they are indeed frozen, a full two months later than last year! That being said the warm weather has put the ice in full thaw mode. The north end of the lake (coming off the river from Cliff) has receded a full 200 yards in just 3 days, and the ice is starting to pull away from many shorelines. With warm weather next week and wind this weekend the lakes should be ready in short order.
For our first guests of the season we will continually update this blog to let you know how it looks. If I had to guess I would say 10-12 days until ice out, perhaps sooner. We plan to drive boats all day long to help speed up the break-up, which has speeded up the thaw by as many as 3-6 days!
Here is a picture I took this morning from the skeet dock. While cumbersome the ice sure is beautiful.
We hope you have had a pleasant winter and are as excited as we are for the fishing season to begin. Warm weather has finally graced NW Ontario which will slowly start to break down the 3 foot ice pack on our lakes. In just a few weeks we will be heading into the lodge to begin preparations for another wonderful summer. While we may not have been fishing the past few months we have been busy preparing even more upgrades, special trips at the lodge, and scouting new lakes (thanks Google Earth).
Here are just a few things you will see this summer:
- We will be replacing nearly ALL of the portage lake boat seats with new, high-back leather seats, just like you find on the main lake boats. These seats will allow you to relax and fish in comfort as you hunt fish all day long on the out-lakes
- We have our eyes on two lakes to our South that look to have excellent fishing. Our guides will be scouting them in May and if we like what we find we will be requesting boat caches on these lakes from MNR (fish and wildlife)
- More cabins will start to see upgrades. From soap and shampoo dispensers to new floors, new paint inside and out to furniture.
- New emergency kits will be put in all of the boats along with anchors and ropes
- Upgraded path lighting
Also, for those of you that are not on our newsletter or may have missed it we will be hosting world renowned fisherman Al Lindner in July. Mr. Lindner will be filming his fishing show the week of July 15th. If you are interested in meeting Al, swapping stories at happy hour and seeing how a TV show is filmed here is your chance. We have just a few cabins left during that week. It should be an incredible time and we are very much looking forward to it!
On a related note our first national fishing show, The New Fly Fisher aired this week to rave reviews. The host filmed last spring and we are just now seeing the finished product. The show is shown on several networks including the World Fishing Network (WFN), PBS, NESN and Create TV. Once it has been shown on all channels the first time we will post the entire episode here. We hope you will enjoy it as much as we enjoyed filming it. The show ends with the host catching a 30 inch walleye on a fly-rod. As our fishermen know a fish this size is fairly common on our lakes, but what is not common is catching one on a fly. We learned after the fact that this same fish would have broke the catch and release world record on 10 pound tippet had we sent in an official entry form. Oh well, that will give plenty of fly-fisherman something to shoot for this spring!
The next update will likely be from the lake as we head up there in a few weeks. We will be sure to let you all know current water temperatures, fishing conditions and fish cycles. Speaking of which we have been asked by Orvis to provide weekly in-depth fishing reports on lakes in NW Ontario. So starting in May you will have another tool at your disposal for those planning their trips.The link is here and on it you will find in depth reports for fly fishermen (much of the information is also very much applicable to all fishermen). From water conditions to fly patterns. We hope you enjoy it.
Because of last minute schedule changes we have availability in every month this summer, unheard of so late in a season. This includes the highly sought after June and July timeframes as well as the last week of the season (September). These times have been sold out for nearly 6 months so if you have been thinking about a trip this is your chance to experience Hawk Lake Lodge during the prime time. Call us (617 820-4056) or email me if interested as there are many parties swirling around. Once the last cabins are gone that's it until 2014. And finally based on demand we are now accepting 2014 reservations. If you have a large party or will be coming at a time that is usually busy then the earlier you can get on the calendar the better off you will be.
Have a safe holiday and we will see you on the water.