Canadian Fly In Fishing
Canadian Fly In Fishing

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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…..

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 โ€œtestedโ€ 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 canโ€™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 donโ€™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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. Thatโ€™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.

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.

Feels Great to be back!

Rena and I have been in Red Lake for almost 2 weeks and it feels great to be back!  The ice is still probably a week away from going out at least.  The weather has been perfect since we arrived.  Warm and sunny everyday.  We have been working around the base and doing jobs we normally don’t have time to do while we are operating in addition to the normal spring cleaning.  The base is great shape and the afternoon sun has been perfect on the deck.  Today though…. it is snowing after raining all day yesterday.  Everything will start to turn green next week if it warms up.

There a ton of birds back and since we have some of the only water around, there is a lot of activity in the river.  Geese, ducks, seagulls, loons, sandhill cranes, blue herons and tons of eagles are here as well as all the other land birds.  For a few days each spring the sound of all these birds is constant.  As it warms up they slowly carry on to the north as spring heads that way.

We remain hopeful that things will straighten out in time for us to have a season.  When it will begin is still up in the air.  We have moved a few guests around that were scheduled in May, we are waiting until we know more on when the border will open before making too many changes.  We have no choice right now than to be patient and be as ready as we can when the time comes.  Aaron and I will be heading north to get the camps ready when the ice goes.

There are many theories and opinions to what is happening to us right now and if you are afraid of what you are being told or not.  Just so we are clear on our stance, we are not afraid, we are open for business.  This virus does not scare us despite what the media and government are trying to tell us.  The time to stand up and say we have had enough is here.  We have been working with our network of Tourism Associations and Airline colleagues to pressure the government about opening up the border to tourism.  We are the Premier Social Distancing Vacation. ๐Ÿ™‚ Where else would you want to go?   There are still guests booking fishing trips for later in the season in some of our open dates, it is hard not to be optimistic when we have such great and loyal guests.  

Here are some pics I have taken recently.

Spring is the time to get the Tulibee’s smoked.  The smoker is at my Mom’s and we always have a day each spring where we get together, have a fire all day, maintain the smoker, roast hot dogs and possibly have a few drinks. 

Until yesterday this is what we had every day.  Perfect days for yard work.

Jack is back!  He is a year and a half now and spends all of his time following Aaron and I around.  This little bugger is going to be fun to have around.  We were raking leaves and he found a hockey stick in the shed to come and help with.

This is what we woke up to this morning.  Hopefully it is gone by this afternoon.  It is supposed to be sunshine for the next week at least.

 

We will be ready…….

Here we are, all in the same boat, waiting to see how this all plays out.  We have been in contact with our first few groups regarding this Covid Crisis and will continue to monitor what is happening with the Canada/USA Border as well as the spread of this virus.  As time marches on we will be in contact with more guests as we learn more.  We are optimistic that this event will go by and we will be able to resume our season at some point, but we have to be able to hit the ground running when it does.

When the border opens up again, we will be ready.  Our plan is to have the camps all ready to go when spring arrives.   I am sure we are not the only ones who would like to be in the remote wilderness during this time.  For us, self isolation is normal everyday life.   Especially when we are opening camps.  As soon as we have some open water we will be in the north getting the camps ready to go.  The airplanes have both had their winter work done and are eagerly waiting to be put in the water. 

Spring is slowly coming through the door.  The birds are back and we have had 2 snows since the crows.  One more and then hopefully spring will officially be here.  Most of the snow has finally melted and the water is still on the ice.  Once the water goes through the ice, there is about 2 weeks that you can still be out there before it gets dangerous.  Our winter fishing season ended one week early due to the lack of demand during this crisis.  Just as we were really starting to catch good again…..

Here are some pics I have taken recently.

The Otter is all ready to go, when the prop comes back from the overhaul shop it will be put back outside to wait for open water.  A pretty normal year for maintenance on the old girl.  I can’t wait to fire that beast up again!

The walleyes have made the move to shore with the melting snow and freshwater working its way into the lake. We had a good year for fishing, catching lots until X-mas and then slowed down until now.  Not a bad part time job.  3 days a week, work outside, eat fresh fish whenever you want, and get paid to feed people.  The weather can sometimes be a pain but we have been doing this so long that we only complain when it gets too warm. ๐Ÿ™‚

We haven’t caught many crawfish this year but did the other day.  Dustee sniffed it, got grabbed by the lip and threw the crawfish about 10 feet!

We had a new ice crack show up during the last couple weeks.  Most people would be nervous leaving the Bombardier parked right on the crack.  With 38 inches of ice you could park a tank there and it wouldn’t move.  

I have been isolating/ angling since our commercial fishing season ended.  I think I have been on the lake everyday for 2 weeks straight!  Dustee comes out on the nice days now.  She is bored since angling is kind of boring compared to pulling nets.

Please keep yourselves healthy as we get through these crazy times.  We will continue to monitor the situation and will contact each group leader individually to work through whatever lies ahead of us.  Stay positive, eat healthy, exercise, if you are at home, maybe go through your tackle box and lighten it up a little……

We are always available for any questions by phone 807-735-9968 or by email amikoutposts@gmail.com  

 

Beginning to turn the corner…

The melt is slowly starting…… March is coming in like a Lamb, I hope not out like a Lion.  I prefer to go with 3 snows after the crows ๐Ÿ™‚

We had a fairly nice and easy winter this year.  Cold (-25 to -30C) a few times but it didn’t stay for too long.  Moderate temperature for the most part by our standards.  We even had some calm stretches, which is the best part of all. There is quite a bit of snow in the north where the camps are but nothing excessive from what I have heard.  Red Lake has snow but not as much as up north.  Hopefully we have a nice spring to follow…….

My brother and I are still out commercial fishing on Lake Manitoba, it is pretty slow right now.  It has been pretty cold and the fish are just sitting there.  We are catching a few, enough to keep us out there getting some exercise as we say.  Dustee is out there with us for the last 8 years.  Only missing a stormy day here and there.  She used to be able to fit on top of a boat cushion.  

Now Dustee casts a pretty big shadow!

She is always with us out on the lake and is constantly watching and hunting.  Staying close on the stormy days and wandering pretty far on the calm days.

Here she is trying to get to an Otter, that is long gone but she thinks she can get it.

Our schedule is changing all the time as we book people.  We only have a few holes left here and there and then some openings later in the season as well as a date which opened up due to a cancellation.  Here are what we have open at this time.  Please feel free to ask for specific dates and we can do our best or add you to a waiting list in case of a cancellation.

Shearstone Lake, May 30 – June 3, 2020 (5day)

Cherrington Bay, May 28 – June 1, 2020 (4 day)

Shearstone Lake, July 2-7, 2020 (5 day)

Findlay Lake, July 22-28, 2020 (6 day)

Cherrington Point, August 3-8, 2020 (5 day)

Cobham River, July 30 – August 3, 2020 ( 4 day)

Jeanette Lake August 6-13, 2020 (7 day)

Please click here if you would like inquire about one of these dates.  We look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for your Upcoming Trip

 

GAS is much more expensive in Canada. Remember to fill up your vehicle in International Falls before you cross the Border where it is cheaper. This should be enough to get you to Red Lake and in some vehicles, back to Dyden where the price is somewhat cheaper than Red Lake. If you are coming from the west and travelling through Manitoba, fill up in Prawda, MB where the price of gas is generally 10 cents less per litre than Ontario.

Weight: Flying an Otter, we try and accommodate every group and the gear they require for a great fishing trip, which should be no more than 100 pounds per person. We do have some flexibility regarding weight but if you and your party show up at our base hundreds of pounds over your allowed weight, you will be asked to get rid of a hundred pounds or more of gear, which is harder than you think. Plan ahead, weigh your personal gear before you buy groceries. You should have no more than 60 pounds of personal gear, including your tackle, depth finder, batteries, sleeping bag, clothes and anything that isnโ€™t food. Have and shop from a menu.  You do not need to buy large quantities of anything and it helps to keep your weight down.  This should allow ample room for the food for your trip. We see a lot of people over pack on clothing, remember that when you are in camp, you will most likely wear the same clothes for most of the week. Another tip is to pack a seperate bag for travelling and leave it in your vehicle in Red Lake with your travelling shoes etc. Leaving anything unneccesary behind. We do our best to utilize our aircraft and your party is entitled to 100 pounds per person. You need to be close to your allowed weight so that the supplies needed can get to the outpost camp and so we can send a cooler of ice with you.

Travel insurance When ever you are travelling outside of your home country, you should have travel insurance. A visit to the doctor for any reason, could add up to big $ if you are not prepared, even in Canada for a simple fish hook removal. If you are injured at the outpost and need a flight out for medical attention immediately, we will arrange for an aircraft to take you out but YOU are responsible for the cost of that special charter. If you have insurance, it may be worth a call to verify that you are covered in Canada.

Ontario Outdoors Card and your fishing licence If you have a green or blue Ontario Outdoors card, even an expired card, make sure to bring it with you when you come to see us. If you have not fished in Ontario in the past or do not have one, we will issue a temporary Ontario Outdoors card here at our base for you. We can renew your card at our base as well and also issue you your fishing licence here in Red Lake.  If you have renewed your Outdoors card online be sure to bring a copy with you when you come.

Groceries and Bait If you need us to help with getting groceries, bait, or beverages for your trip, please remember to get your orders into us at least 2 weeks prior to your fishing trip.

Water  Being that water is very heavy, we are suggesting to our guests to bring a good quality water filter to cut down on flying in bottled water.  These filters are lightweight and can be a gravity feed system or a UV light system.  The water in the North is all natural water on deep moving watersheds.  Please look into this and keep it with your Canada gear to use each year.

Lifejackets We supply lifejackets at our outposts for our fishermen. But we suggest that if you are a large person and require a bigger lifejacket, please bring your own. Also, if you have children coming with you, please bring a lifejacket for them as well.

Your phone and Photos.  We love to get photos from our guests of their trip.  We also worry about our guests dropping their phone in the lake or losing it somewhere on your trip.  We would like to remind everyone who makes the trip north to back up their contacts and empty the photos to provide you with plenty of room for the picturesque vacation you will be on.

Times in and out We do our best to get all of our fishermen in and out of the outposts as quickly and efficiently as possible. We are the only outfitter that will give you a time that you are flying in to the camp and a time that we will be at the dock to pick you up. Barring weather, we are on time 90% of the flights. There are a few things to remember that may affect our time schedule. Here they are starting in the morning.

-We operate on a river and there are times where we have localized fog which backs us up for the day.

โ€“Bad weather When flying on floats, we have to be able to maintain visual contact with the ground. Our aircraft are not equipped for flying into or above the clouds like other commercial jets. Rarely, but sometimes we are a day late getting you into camp and someone has to stay an extra day in the bush. We can only do what Nature allows us to do in regards to flying safely.

โ€“Problems at a camp. If there is a problem at the camp with anything, John must take the time to repair it. It affects the rest of the day slightly.

Please remember that we offer personal service for your fishing vacation. We have 24 years of experience in the tourist business with Amik Outposts, almost since the companies inception. Rena is excellent at helping you pre-plan every aspect of your trip, right down to the last detail. Her experience is a great asset and she will do her best to ensure you have all your bases covered. John with 25 years of flying in the bush knows the country in which you will be flying like the back of his hand. Thousands of hours logged, all in the same area, showing people great vacations. Around the camp, he has been maintaining the equipment since day one.

In order to offer you this personal service we schedule our trips throughout the day. We cannot fly everyone at 5am but we do not send you out with a pilot who is new to the area and has no clue as to how to fix anything around the camp.

We are looking forward to seeing you this summer. We hope these tips help. Remember, you are on vacation. Enjoy it.

Updated Openings for this Season.

Our schedule is always changing as we book people and fill up the camps.  Here are some dates that we have open at this time for next summer.  Have you got your trip booked yet?

BlackBirch Lake May 23-30, 2020

Shearstone Lake May 29- June 3, 2020

Shearstone Lake June 28- July 2, 2020

Findlay Lake July 22-28, 2020

Cobham River July 30- August 3, 2020

Cherrington Point August 3-8, 2020

Cobham Daniel August 22-25, 2020

Loree Lake August 21-26, 2020

 

Please click here to inquire about any of these dates and let the anticipation begin!!!

Why Choose Amik Outposts?

With all of the Outfitters in Ontario, why pick us?  Here is a blog I wrote a few years ago which tells our story. 

Since I wrote this we have added some key people to our business.  Our Oldest daughter Taina and our son in-law Aaron have started to work with us.  We are excited to show them the ropes and teach them all we can to be successful.

This should help you make a good decision on who you want your outfitter to be.  We want everyone to have a great trip each and every time they visit us.  Click on the link below to check out a previous blog.

https://www.canadianflyinfishing.com/2016/01/why-choose-amik-outposts/

Open Dates for 2020

2020 is here and we are looking forward to the year ahead.  Our booking sheet is beginning  to fill up but there are always a few open dates here and there as our schedule is constantly changing.  Here are a few dates for you to consider:

Cherrington Bay June 1-6, 2020

Loree Lake June 30- July 7, 2020

Vee Lake July 14-19, 2020

Findlay Lake July 22-28, 2020

Cobham River July 30- August 3, 2020

Black Birch Lake August 19-24, 2020

Cobham Daniel August 22-30, 2020 (8 day trip for 7 day price) 

We set some nets out on one of the reefs 5 miles out from shore.  The ice really piled this year!  It was mostly 12-14 inches thick and piled probably 40 feet.  We thought the fish might have stayed near the reef…. They didn’t ๐Ÿ™‚ trial and error that’s the only way to find the fish.

Please let us now if you have any questions regarding dates or your upcoming trip.  Click here to email us.

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