Canadian Fly In Fishing
Canadian Fly In Fishing

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Ready for a fight!

We are ready for anything.  Including the Reopening of the Border!  Half of our camps are all ready to go and the others are being cleaned up as I move around saving cabins from the fire.  We do have bad news though.  Blackbirch cabin is gone due to the fire.  I will give more details in my story.

 We have been dealing with fires for almost a month and I have not been home very much.  I have been up north almost every night since the end of June, preparing camps for the fire as it gets closer.  The fire we are dealing with is very big and started at the end of June, SE of the Cherrington cabins.  It now stretches from west of Cherrington, south of Blackbirch and goes a long ways east to Vee Lake, where as of yesterday, it had stopped on the entire south shore of Vee, the east side has burned into a huge area with lots of lakes and slowed down considerably.  Rain is possible in the forecast so let’s hope we can get some moisture and put this one behind us.

 

Around July 1, I headed north to Cherrington because we heard a fire was close.  Once I got there I could see that I was staying until it was dealt with.  I have been getting pretty good at predicting when the fire will come.  That is not a good talent to have if you have to be doing that week after week.

We would have 2 days to prepare.  There was a fire crew at Cherrington when I got there putting up a sprinkler system.  We are very grateful for that, without it we would not have had anything left.  I brought our own pump and hose so I began flooding the bush behind the camps starting at the Bay cabin because that is where it was going to come from over the high ground.  2 days proved not to be enough time.  

At 2:30 on July 3rd, I went for a quick flight to check on the fire.  It was a very short flight.  The fire was going to be here in an hour….. The firefighters and I kept flooding and waited for the fire.  It came.  Hard enough we had to retreat as it was tree topping at 3:33 on July 3.

Once the wall of fire hit the wet bush it stopped. Just like that.  The fire crew began putting out the flames and I began moving our pump to the Point to get ready for the next wave.  

As I got the hose set up near the outhouse at the Point, I could hear it coming again.  The sound is like a train. And when it fires up, you know it is coming.  There is a high rock behind the Point and when it came over that rock it was moving fast.  Time to get out of the way.

The fire came and rolled right over the Point cabin and was headed towards the Lodge.  The cabin disappeared in the flames and smoke.  I was standing on the rock in front of the cabin and the fire was paralleling us.  The fire crew thought I was nuts as I was giving it the finger and yelling at it. πŸ™‚ 

The fire charged over the cabin and the cabin appeared in the smoke with the sprinklers still running, no flames on it!  Then the fire continued towards the Lodge and Bay cabin.  It hit the next wall of water and slowed down and then it didn’t take long and away it went again, heading towards the Lodge.  I dragged the burning hose out of the fire and began putting it out as the fire moved on.  The fire burnt the MNR fire hose so then the sprinkler system went down.  The fire crew then had to back away in a boat, as the fire was burning right by the fuel shed.  I came by boat from the Point, no pump set up now and the fire is 10 feet from the building.  So I grabbed a bucket. Lol.  I put it out as best as I could with a pail, then went and got the pump.  As the fire by the fuel shed was mostly out, I hear flames again.  Looking at the Point, the trees right by the fuel tank are going up to the top with fire.  So I load up the pump and go and put those out.  We repaired the hose that burnt shortly after and the sprinklers were back up and running.  I slept there that night, so did Dustee.  When the fire hit, I put her in the airplane.  She knew bad things were happening.  She was covered in burnt pine needles inside because I forgot to close the windows.  I left her home for the next fires.

The best way to describe it is that it was violent.  Tall trees and having it hit at the hottest time of the day.  It was 90+ that day.  Every fire I go through, I learn more about preparation and assessing the weak points. 

The fire crew spent the night at Showalter’s cabin but I stayed up till 11 pm putting out hotspots around my cabin.  I slept great (with the sprinklers running all night) as the fire continued to burn around both sides of the bay.  The landscape has changed but the trees will grow again. 

 

The fire crew stayed and put out the fire around the camp.  I was moving to BlackBirch.  No more fire crew help for me as they were needed elsewhere but I was very grateful to have had them for this fire protecting 3 cabins.

The Blackbirch chapter of this story was different.  I had about 3 days to prepare.  Soaking the hill behind camp and over the ridge.  All while the sprinklers were wetting down the camp.  The fire came slowly against the hot southwest wind.  The sights and sounds as it burnt the big timber on the east end of the lake were wild.  huge plums of smoke, fish biting like crazy, all as I was getting rained on by burnt pine needles and even full on pine cones!

The fire came in the morning on July 9.  Slowly,  it was much easier to deal with than the Cherrington fire.  Although I didn’t have enough hose to reach the far side of the ridge, so I was prepared this time with a water backpack and a bucket.  It was hard to keep the fire from getting across the rock as it was so hot and so dry.  I had some trying moments but was able to protect the whole area and walk the fire to the west shore much easier once I got into hose distance.  My one weak point was that the point west of the cabin had a bunch of dead wind blown trees.  I stopped the fire from reaching that area.  I spent another couple of days putting out hot spots around the cabin and felt confident that it would be ok…..

I left for home. Feeling good.   We can see hot spots on a satellite website and the next couple days we could see the fire getting out of hand once again around the cabin and across the lake on either side.  The next day we had 90+ degrees and a hurricane wind out of the SW changing to west.  I had enough sense to know that it was not a day to be in the air or in front of a fire.  No one could get in to fill up the sprinklers, although I don’t know it would have saved  the cabin in that wind.  The fire looks like it came from the trappers cabin to the west in a long wicked charge.  Ignited the trees on the point, burnt hard up to the edge of the water by the outhouses.  Jumped to the cabin and that was it.  It had to have started underneath or on the roof.  It burned from the inside out.  This is the last picture of the cabin at Blackbirch when I left.

The BBQ was 8 feet away and only melted the knobs.

We have plans in the works already to replace the cabin and hope to have it done or almost done by fall.  One positive, the shed (full of gas and propane), the boats and motors, both outhouses and even the gazebo are still standing.  We only have to build a cabin.  We will do our best and we now have a carpenter on staff πŸ™‚ 

The fire, same fire, also headed for Vee Lake during that windy day.  It ended up right south of the camp, west as well as east.  I then went to stay there until this passes once again.

I had a full sprinkler system set up running on the cabin as well as 4 nozzles and 2 pumps.  I am getting smarter and more experienced with this fire business.  I took enough food for 3 days and beer for a week and then was there for 8 days.  I ate a lot of fish. πŸ™‚

 

The fire came 2 days after I got there.  It crested the hill at 8 pm.  Much better time of day for it to come near.  I was hoping in the evening and overnight that the fire would calm and slowly burn towards the lake.  I left the sprinklers running that night and then things started to change in our favor.  The wind switched to the east and it got a lot cooler.  I had one more full day of waiting and watching and patrolling the island to watch for jumper fires.  Then it always gets really smokey before something good will happen.  I got socked right in with smoke but that night it rained!  More than half an inch.  Not a ton but enough to help me out and pretty much squash the fire near the camp.  Cherrington and Blackbirch did not get any rain.  So that side of the fire still survives.  So far the fire is holding along the entire south shore of Vee Lake.  I will be back tomorrow to keep an eye on things and start to ready the remaining camps.  Lets hope the rain comes.

 

As for the excitement of the border opening up again.  The only thing I want to remind all of our guests after all the Bulls#!t we have endured.  Get back to a simpler life, a simpler trip.  Less electronics, less junk.  Keep your weight down, leave that sh!t at home.  Bare minimum.  You will be much happier for it.  And so will I πŸ˜‰

 

This was some pop cans that came up at the portage at Cherrington.  Garbage from the 1980’s when the fire went through last.  Growing under a tree for 40 years.  Pretty much preserved.  

Staying Positive

Amik Outposts now has their own account on Instagram! Rena and Taina are going to maintain our new account and keep up on the content from a different point of view.  Please tag us in any of your new or old photos taken while fishing with us in the past.  Pass the word around to your group as well as your families.  We would appreciate it.  Here is the link.  @AmikOutposts

This is a sight that will make everyone jealous…. or angry. 

We are back in the bush!  We have the airplanes in the water and have been in the bush a few times.  Water levels are slightly down but we have had some rain.  The bush has turned green now and with the moisture, we are past the risky time of forest fires for now.  There was a number of fires already burning but have since been put out by the last rainfall.  The sky is clear and clean.

We took a load of motors to Cherrington and spent the night on the weekend.  Of course we had to take our newest addition George for his first airplane and boat ride.

It was a crazy windy day but we once we had unloaded and got the camp fired up we were going fishing!

Here is the first fish of 2021.  The first one to be eaten as well πŸ™‚

We had a tough time staying on the fish in the big wind so we headed to the rapids and fished from shore.  The fish were biting hard there.  So were the black flies but it was windy enough to keep them at bay most of the time.  Jack is already a good fisherman. He fished hard with his little rod but didn’t catch any fish that day but he sure had a good day. Fishing with us, being in the bush, and an Otter ride.

It is cool to have our Grandkids walk in the same footsteps our kids did at Cherrington.  I have taken the place of my Mom, being the patient one who gets asked a million questions.  It is great. πŸ™‚

As for the serious part of our life.  We have to say that we have such great and understanding guests who care about us and our business.  We appreciate you so much.

We are rolling our people and deposits over to 2022 as we hear more on each unconstitutional border closure as it is pushed upon us.  We are only addressing the groups right now that are affected up until June 21st.  Some guests have re-booked for later in the season, hoping for the border to open soon and some have moved over to 2022.  We are holding out hope for some better news one of these days but that seems to be a tall order in Canada.  

We will survive.  We are smarter than your average bear and willing to do whatever it takes.  We will keep in touch and be ready to go when the border finally opens.  In the mean time, we have been fortunate enough to get a little flying work for the Otter, flying for some construction companies in the north. It isn’t much but at least it is a start.

 

We will be ready…..

Being an eternal optimist, I am always holding out hope and hoping that the border will open again soon.  We have gone through every emotion imaginable during the past year numerous times.  Mostly anger and disbelief that we have shuttered the world’s economy for something that has a higher than 99.9% survival rate.  

We have started to get ready for the upcoming season even though we do not know what the future holds.  The airplanes are our biggest expense and they are not like having a car that when you need it that you can just turn the key and go.  Maintenance needs to be done, paperwork needs to be filled out, training needs to be done.  We have to make decisions on insurance, taxes, etc etc.  It still costs us to stay in business, despite not having any customers or much income.  We have had a plan all along but it has just changed 12 times in the past 12 months at least!  

There are a few words you will never see me use anymore. V!ru$, P@ndem!c, Co^!d, or anything to do with the Bullshit that we have been forced to endure.  

Here is a great well written article from one of our associations we belong to which really sums up how all the camp owners are feeling up here as we wait patiently for our friends and guests to be allowed to cross the border and enjoy nature.

We do not have anything new to report at this time but we will be letting you all know as soon as we do.  I have a gut feeling that something good is going to happen yet…..

Thank you Gerry from Sunset Country for writing this, we appreciate all you have done and continue to do.

 

The sights, sounds, and experiences of Sunset Country are unmatched anywhere in the world. This place stirs the soul of every angler, hunter, paddler and adventurer who casts a line, swings a gun, or sets up camp among its pristine, pine-studded shorelines. 

Whether it’s escaping from the hustle and bustle of urban life, or simply seeking a deeper connection to the things that really matter – clean air and water, abundant fish and game, and quality time spent with family and friends – you’ll find what you’re looking for in Sunset Country.

Days begin with colorful sunbeams dancing across one of 70,000 fishable lakes, highlighting the birch trees and awakening the resident chickadees. Cool breezes carry the faint scent of pine as a reminder that tall buildings, long lines, work deadlines and annual performance evaluations no longer matter – at least for a while. 

The cry of a passing loon alerts you to grab your coffee and head down to the dock, because the hungry walleyes that swim in these crystal-clear waters wait for no one. The silence is pierced only by the hum of a small but stout outboard, carrying you past granite bluffs and isolated islands to your destination: a pristine reef, hidden just beneath the surface and teeming with fish, just as it has been for generations.

 

Noon is highlighted by Sunset Country’s most sacred tradition: shore lunch, complete with fresh walleye, hot beans, and fried potatoes and onions all cooked to perfection over a crackling fire. Then, it’s time to head out to chase more fish; perhaps lake trout from the inky depths, or musky prowling near the wild rice beds that you spotted during the world’s best morning commute. 

Or maybe, as the green leaves of summer fade to dazzling shades of crimson and yellow, it’s time to don an orange vest, load shells into your gun, and march through the pines and alders in search of grouse. Fins, feathers, and fur – you’ll find them all in Sunset Country.

Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Happily, these experiences have been a reality for many thousands of Americans who, for generations, have made annual trips to this sportsman’s paradise – that is, until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. A halt to non-essential cross-border traffic stopped the flow of anglers, hunters, and adventurers across the border, and for many Sunset Country resorts, restaurants and guides, those same dreams have become a nightmare. 

 

“I take calls from people that have been visiting the area for generations that are beside themselves. They are really upset that they can’t cross the border. I spoke with a gentleman the other day that was pretty choked up. This would be his 50th year to vacation here and he had to cancel,” said Gerry Cariou, Executive Director, Norwestario Travel Association Inc. A trip to the wilderness areas of Northern Ontario is a rite of passage for many people – one which the pandemic has temporarily suspended.

 

Paradise and the Pandemic

March 16, 2021 marked the one-year anniversary of the pandemic wall between the US and Canada. Throughout the past year, there would be periodic discussions of border open dates; however, each time, the government would provide only three days’ notice of a potential border opening. This of course caused a host of problems for travelers, but it was also extremely challenging for the wilderness areas of Northern Ontario and the resort owners and guides that live and work there. Not only were American guests trapped south of the border, but with such short notice, resorts also couldn’t offer reservations to Canadians, as they could end up double-booked if the border were to unexpectedly reopen.

Can any business survive without revenue?

The wilderness area of northwest Ontario boasts more lakes than people. It consists of 60,000 square miles of woods and waters and supports a population of around 68,000. Over 70,000 lakes blanket the area, with the largest being Lake of the Woods. Because of its northern climate, this area has a short operating season; during the prime travel month of June, there are more Americans in Sunset Country than Canadians. 

The pandemic has had a huge impact on tourism, especially for sportfishing. Going back to the 1920’s and 30’s, tourism has been almost entirely reliant on American visitors – but not this year. Many operators live throughout the winter on deposits made by visitors for peak season travel and accommodations. When the border closure was announced, many would-be visitors started requesting the return of their deposits. This created quite the dilemma-how would the resorts, and the people that work there, survive? Many of these resorts have had no income since October 2019. Could you live on 10% of your income for 24 months? 

At least 90% of guests to this area originate in the United States. Area resorts can’t replace those numbers without the return of the American anglers and hunters. Indeed, while Americans tend to stay a week or two in Sunset Country, Canadian residents may only travel for a short staycation: a couple of days or a long weekend. 

Pandemic impacts on Sunset Country tourism have been worse than just about anywhere else. Here, nine out of ten resorters have experienced a 100% revenue loss. The Canadian government has offered loans to help, but at this point, the area has already lost two irreplaceable seasons. 

 

Legendary angler Gord Ellis guides out of Quebec Lodge in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He commented that the angling sector of the Sunset Country economy lost $380 million last year. “No one knows when it will open up. It’s pretty gloomy,” Ellis noted. Consider this: Thunder Bay has a population of 120,000. Their tourism sector lost between $80 – 100 million dollars – devastating for a town of this size – and this is just one example. “During the summertime, 70-80% of my guide trip clients are American anglers, said Ellis. “I didn’t see them at all this year. I picked up some Canadian resident customers but not a lot. It’s frustrating, but I know the whole world is affected. We just try to take everything day-to-day. There’s no way to know when it will change.”

But eventually, things will change and we will happily get back to normal. The pandemic border wall will crumble and once again, American anglers, hunters, paddlers and adventurers will move freely across the border. Sunset Country resorts, restaurants and guides have welcomed tourists to their lakes, streams, hills and forests for generations – and they’ve missed you more than you know. While so many things in the world that we all share have changed dramatically during the past year, the waters and woods of Sunset Country are just as you remember them – wild, teeming with fish and game, and of course, home to world-class hospitality. They look forward to hosting you once again!

To begin planning your next Sunset Country vacation, visit visitsunsetcountry.com

For information on traveling to Canada, visit travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/

Back to the Prairies

It was a long shift. I am back from the North for the first time since last fall.  Like many outfitters we have had to take on another job to ensure survival as the Border Closure continues to plague our Industry.  I was fortunate to find a job that I enjoyed, kept busy at and was right where I belong, in the bush.  

 

We had some warm weather at times this winter but it was -38 C when I left on Saturday. Pretty normal amount of snow, almost up to your waist in the bush.

Dustee and I saw a Lynx and got to watch it for 15 minutes. It was not concerned with us at all and Dustee knew that she did not want to tackle that cat πŸ™‚

 

I had a friend stop by on skis to say Hi a couple of times and to bring me some essentials.

As we are approaching 90 days or so from the start of our season, we are in the dark as anyone as to when the USA/Canadian Border will reopen.

It is impossible to make any kind of a long term, or even a short term plan when the government moves the goal posts further away month by month.  Please do not hesitate to email or call us if you have any questions.  As soon as we have any information regarding Non-Essential Travel across the border we will pass it on.

Please bear with us as we wait anxiously for better days.  I think there are plenty of people who need some time in the bush away from civilization right now…..

Happy New Year

Happy New Years to all of our guests.  We are looking forward to a different year than the one that just passed.  I am sure everyone is thinking the same thing.  We are always positive type people and try to look back and think about what went right this year.  We have a second Grandson, I got to spend a lot of time fishing, flying and working one on one with my son in law Aaron, we did quite a bit of work on the camps, found some work to ensure our survival, shot 2 moose so we have plenty of meat, and most of all…. we are very booked up for the 2021 season!  Plenty of good things happened that we are grateful for.  We understand that a positive attitude and outlook will bring a better result than a negative one 😁 

This is only the second time Rena and I have not spent New Years together.  The last time…. I was in the bush, stuck in bad weather flying on skis.  This year I am travelling around by chopper and a Sherp.  It will be party time when I get home.  

Here is the link to our Online Shop in case someone is in need of a late Christmas gift.  Thank you to everyone who has made orders so far. Amik Online Shop

Dustee and I went to Loree lake today and picked up some trail cameras I left in the fall.  After a quick look, there was a few moose, some beavers, a lynx, a wolf and some foxes.  I will do a blog when I get home in a month about what happens in one place in the bush over a few months.  Here are some pictures from our outing today. 
I didn’t even tell her we were going flying. She over heard us talking and went and got right inside.  She is so smart.


 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!  We hope everyone is doing well and has plans to get together with family and friends during the holiday season. Regardless of what your so called health officials want you to do.  This year has been one for the books and continues to be.  I will be in the bush for awhile yet.  This Christmas will be spent at Knox Lake.  Not far north of Loree lake.  I am staying through the holidays until the end of January. The days will be getting longer when I get home.  It will be a bit of a long shift by the end. 4 and a half months.  I refuse to be β€œtested” so that is the trade off. I just am not leaving, and staying in the bubble, which I have been in since the last spring.   Good thing Rena grew up in the military and being apart for long periods of time was part of it.  She is looking after all things important and I am doing what I do.  Spending the winter in the bush, working and having a purpose 24-7, with no one really telling me what to do.  

 

We wish all of our guests a very Merry Christmas and a Great New Year!  We can’t go any where but up, rest assured we are doing well mentally and physically.  We are looking forward to next season, Taina, Aaron and the boys are loving the business as we did when we got started. We make a good team and are looking forward to the future.

 

I don’t have too many pictures but I do have one achievement to share, I am fortunate enough to have caught fish in each and every month of the year this year on the hook.  I have a lake near me on both sides that have plenty of fish down the winter road a ways.  I have been packing and checking ice depth.  I also like to check what is going on under the ice.  Walleyes and like are in 4-6 feet of water and were hot and heavy the first time but have slowed down as it is almost -30 now at night. Winter road crews and caterpillar mechanics have been working up here as they get prepared to clear the right of way for the line. My job is always changing, catching choppers, some hauling pick up trucks and equipment, servicing generators, plowing snow, hauling water mostly and camp stuff, the sewage in extreme cold is fun. πŸ™‚ as long as you have things running right. 

We appreciate all of our guests and all the phone calls as we emails of support. We run a tight ship and are ready for what ever puts itself in front of us.  

 

Here are some pictures from the north.

This is home. Knox lake in the distance. That’s where the water comes from.

 

 


I only had one rod. So I made one from some small jack pines and fire line. They worked awesome.

I had tools to take back to Loree and also had to pick up my fishing gear. Dustee had to come along of course.


Our online store is also still going well. Here is the link for that as well. It is on the menu page at the top of our website. 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Keep on Keepin on.

We are alive and well.  The snow is flying and the lakes are freezing up. Rena is back in Manitoba looking after the bookings and any questions people have.  The airplanes are put away but I have not left the North yet. Whatever we need to do to survive will be done.  

 

I am getting a first hand look at the lakes daily.  I stayed with the construction company that we were cooking for at Loree and Findlay.  I took a job as camp maintenance guy.  The camp is 10 miles north of Loree and is in the middle of no where and houses 17 guys.  Once the winter road opens up in the new year there will be a 100 plus man camp to put the powerline in to the north.  The guys working up here are mostly people from where we live in Manitoba.  I fit in quite well with the construction crowd. πŸ™‚ At this time, they are opening up a few more rig camps from where I am and beginning to clear the bush for the line to go in.  Just like being an outfitter, my job is different everyday.  Helicopters coming and going, I haul water in a Sherp through the swamp over a mile, this is the biggest part of the work.  I also look after some huge generators, sewage plant, shovel and plow snow and what ever else might creep up to fix.  Jack of all trades, master of none.  By the time Christmas rolls around it will be 8 months since I have been home.  But these times call for action and we do not want to get behind to the banks or especially the government.  Good thing I like to work. πŸ˜‰ I could go on and on about the Bulls#$t going on in the world but I try to stay positive.  Our opinions are strong, we love our Country and our American Cousins.  We stand with you and for Democracy.  Although these things are becoming harder and harder to defend.   We miss our guests and appreciate the support we have had through all of this.  Thank you.

We are also very happy to announce the arrival of another Bush Pilot.  George Shawn was born Nov 9th at 2pm in Thunder Bay.  A healthy boy, quiet so far.  Jack will have a friend for life…..

 

Here are some pics of what has been happening…..

Aaron and I each got to moose hunt quite a bit once our guys left for work.  We both got on to some moose and stayed close to them whenever we could get out.  I called in this beauty at the end of Sept on Loree and a few days later Aaron was able to get a shot at a nice spike bull at Findlay.  The freezers are full again πŸ™‚

 

As with most times I am successful during a moose hunt, the sky shows me that it is time.  This was the sky 10 minutes before I was able to call out my moose.  Even after all these years, the beauty still takes my  breath away.  Soon after this picture he grunted and came to me like a freight train.

The lake I am hauling water from is a mile from the camp and only 6 feet deep.  We moved an old boat over there to get around and check depth.

I had my flag in my pocket from the base in Red Lake and put up a flag pole at camp.  The flag is tattered and worn just like our economy and our country.

The Sherp will go through anything.  Bog, water, snow, or whatever.  I am hauling 300 gallons of water at a time and am starting to get a good road smoothed out.  Dustee is with me of course and loving being up there as well.  The guys around camp are ecstatic to have her around,  everyone feels better with a dog to pet.

Please remember to shop at the Amik Store for some great Christmas gifts.  We have teamed up with a company in the USA who looks after the embroidering and printing as well as the shipping.  Here is the link to our Online Shop.  It is also located at the top left on the front page of our website.

Shop Amik Store Here

Take care.

A Season to Remember…….

Another season is almost complete and another moose hunt begins in a couple of days.  For the first time ever, I will be able to hunt for myself on opening day.  We have had a weird and uneventful summer.  I have spent more than 5 days a week in the bush all summer so my blog has suffered.  Aaron and I caught A LOT of fish this summer.  It was a hot one in the north, with timely rains and very few fires.  Nice water levels and cool nights.  It would have been great if we had guests to enjoy it with…….

 

We have had great support from our guests throughout the summer and really appreciate the phone calls and emails expressing their concern.  We have some big news for our website.  You can now buy Amik Gear on our website.  This is open to our US customers only.  We have teamed up with a company in the US who will take the order, make and ship the merchandise to you.  We have a couple of logos to choose from for hats, shirts and hoodies. There are all sizes and items for all of our fishermen.  We are sold out of much of the larger sizes quickly at the base in Red Lake so the BIG guys in your family might want a gift from the Amik store.

Here is the link to Shop Amik.

https://amikoutposts.itemorder.com/sale

 

We did find some unique work for ourselves.  Due to restrictions on Northern Communities, construction workers need a place to stay when they are doing bigger projects.  For the last month, right up until freeze up they have been staying with us every night, helicoptering in and out each day to their job sites, we supply Breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Aaron has been cooking at Findlay and I have been cooking at Loree.  We both take pride in our cooking and Aaron has worked in many work camps in the north so he knows how bad the food can be.  Our guys love the food and accommodations, fishing in the evening and the beautiful scenery so much that most guys haven’t wanted to go home.  This might go until freeze up, which is fine with me.  Staying away from the Internet and Cell service is the best part, I highly recommend it.

Aaron and I meet up every second day either at the rapids to work at Findlay or Loree for the day or he comes and picks me up with the 185 and we work somewhere else that day while our guys are at site working for the day.  Here are some pictures I have taken recently.

Taina, Aaron and Jack were great to have around this summer.  There is a new one on the way soon.  After freeze up, not during hunting season.  Well planned. He has become a good pilot and is comfortable in the airplane.  Aaron is off to a good start.  Jack too, he went on quite a few flights this summer.  I will have an extra passenger tagging along soon. πŸ™‚

Dustee has lived the life this summer.  She got to spend as much time as we did in the bush.  She is happy.

We have been cutting our own lumber and did many projects and odd jobs around the camps.  Here is some of our handy work at Cobham Morley.

Roles have reversed.  I used to cut and my dad would nail them.  Now Aaron cuts and I nail the boards. πŸ™‚

The lumber mill is also good for making countertops and shelves.  Loree lake has a new section of countertop.

I have a few honey holes on Loree that produce every time.  Even the pike are bait.  I caught 2 fish on that half digested pike the next day.

We hope everyone enjoys the Amik Store and finds something that they want or give as a gift.  We appreciate it.

We Miss Our Guests!

It has been hot in the north!  The temperature stayed in the 90’s for quite awhile.  We have been trying to stay busy but the heat has slowed us down.  Aaron and I have spent a lot of time together.  Good thing we get along so well. πŸ™‚

Our friends and family have been trying to do their part to help us out.  We have had a number of groups book a few trips with us recently.  It isn’t much but it is something.  At least we had a reason to start up the Otter!  We have been working on trying to get some Canadian business with the border remaining closed.  It is a difficult sell to get Canadians to do a fly in trip.  They have great fishing within a few hour drive, many have their own cabins with okay fishing right out from their dock.  Our friends and family know how special it is to do a fly in, this year we had quite a few more first timers come along and they really loved it.  We always say that to people “You can tell someone how great it is to be in the North, but until you experience it, you don’t know what you are missing”

There was 13 of us!  We fished at Cherrington.  My brother brought a group of guys and my hockey buddies also had a group.  We went over the pull over one day and had a big shorelunch.  It was great to be able to spend time with all these guys and show them some of my favorite spots on Cherrington.  We fished, laughed, swam to stay cool.  Some of us even fished in the lake…..

It was so hot and Aaron said, just drop me off in that 3 feet of water.  It was deeper all around him and he caught 6 or 8 fish in half an hour.  4 boats were circling him catching fish and having a blast.  

Farmer ingenuity at its finest!  Some of my buddies needed some shade.  Why not just make your own.  It worked.

There are a few fires burning but nothing too serious right now.  We have had quite a few timely rains.  The water is up but not high anymore.  Usually it goes down as the summer goes on.  This fire should be pretty much out as we had some rain  for a few days and it cooled off finally.

We have caught an incredible amount of fish so far this summer.  We don’t take too many pictures but here are a few of the ones we caught the other day.

Of course we had room on one of the trips taking another family friend in to Cherrington so my new flying partner wanted to come.  Jack sure loves flying.  He sees every plane go by and it is either Poppa or Dad in the plane. πŸ™‚  He sits on my lap for most of the flight holds on to the controls and puts his hand out the window, just like me.

We need lumber to finish some projects that we planned on buying this spring.  That isn’t happening right now so we are going old school.  We found a chainsaw mill and are cutting our own boards from the bush.  Aaron loves the new mill and we have lots to do now.  A couple of camps need a new dock and others will have walkways replaced.  We will treat the boards with wood preservative when we can.  Some of the boards we are replacing were cut 23 years ago when Rena and I were living at Cherrington.  The bush lumber lasts at least as long as store bought pressure treated lumber.  It will be much easier in some cooler weather though.

Rena continues to work with our guests trying to keep everyone happy moving dates and juggling to make it happen.  We do not know when this border issue will be resolved but we are doing our best to stay positive and keep our chins up.  I have my own strong opinions about what is going on and it is all political.  We can see the temperature of the people rising up in both countries and if the left gets their way in the USA like they have here in Canada something is going to boil over.  That is all I am going to say about that.  We are ready.

Even through all of this, I still have a smile on my face and have an optimistic outlook most of the time.  I recognize how my attitude directly affects everyone around me. πŸ™‚ We are doing our best to better ourselves every day without spending any money, using up things we already have.  We are healthy, we are together, Jack is great to have near us and things can always be worse.  Although I don’t know what is worse than this.

I will keep the blog updated as to what we have been doing as I know there are hundreds of our guests who are dying to be up here.  Stay positive.  Stay informed. 

Staying Positive

We have been staying busy and staying as positive as we can during this time.  Aaron and I have been up north 5-6 days a week since the ice went, opening up the camps, cleaning, cutting brush and using up lumber that we already have.  With no income forecasted for a while yet we are being creative and diligent as to not spend too much but also enjoy life and maintain our sanity.

We do not know any information on the border opening yet and remain hopeful that it is going to open up.  Rena has been busy working with our guests daily to reschedule for next season as well as moving many guests later this season.  Our people still need to get their fishing trip in!  When the border does open, we will be busy! And busy late into the season.  Regarding this so called “Virus”, we still cannot believe that the world economy has been shut down for something that has a 98 or 99% survivability rate.  Governments have gotten drunk with power and are now afraid to let go of it.  There are a lot of things going on in the world and keeping people locked up for 3 months was probably the worst thing that ever could have happened using Fear as the weapon.  There is no “Virus” here.  I could go on and on but it is too maddening.  A common sense approach and we could open things up again, but COMMON SENSE doesn’t exist much when it comes to government.  All we hope for is that we can get back into business soon and do what we do best.  

We all attended a Protest/Rally in Vermillion Bay on Saturday.  Almost every outfitter in NW Ontario was there.  They are all pissed and distrust our government as much as I do.  We have become very good friends with many of our colleagues in our 25 years in business.  NW Ontario has a small population and we are forgotten about all too often.  Tourism supports almost every industry in Ontario.  Thousands of jobs and Billions of dollars are generated in our small region.  We are all hurting since we cannot have our guests come across the border,  associated businesses are feeling it as well.  If you want to look it up and follow on Facebook the group is “Tourism Matters”.  Here are a few pictures from the Rally.

This my cousin Darrell from Sioux Lookout Ontario.  He is also a second generation outfitter.  

Staying away from the internet and my cell phone has been the best thing this spring.  When you are in the bush, you forget about all the negative stuff.  We have been working but we have also been doing some fishing.  Quitting time has been around 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon, happy hour starts early and then we go fishing.  We have been staying at Cherrington and travelling to each camp from there to clean and do what jobs we can and more since we have the time this year.   Taina and Jack came up with us for a week and my Nephew Kale has come to work for us for a couple months.  A real family affair.  It was  cold at the beginning of the week but once it got warm the Blackflies came out!  They were bad enough I would classify them in my Top 5 worst Blackfly times. Lol

Spruce Beetle Jack
I couldn’t get far from my shadow, and Dustee was always near.  She was always keeping an eye on Jack too.

We caught fish everywhere we went.  Below the rapids in the beginning and now they have moved to some of the bays and narrows.  Fishing was better on the warm days versus the colder days.

The poor seagulls……  they are waiting around each camp.  Hungry.  No fishermen, No fishguts.  

The slow spring has allowed for Aaron and I to train in the 185 a lot.  He is a good pilot and I have had a pretty easy time training him.  Pilots either have “The Touch” or they don’t.  Aaron seems to have it.  Now is the time for getting experience.  I will continue to show him everything I can and hopefully he will work his way into the Otter in the coming years.

This is what our guests are probably missing the most.  The silence and views the bush offers.  

I will do my best to keep updating the blog with any information we get as well as the pictures of what we have been up to.  Thanks to all of our guests who have been great in supporting us and willing to make things work looking forward.  We appreciate you.  The fishing will be as good as ever and the camps will be in tip top shape when you get here.

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