My family runs a float plane service, outposts and a lodge. This is more than a business; it is a life style.
Every year, every season, every day brings something new. I try to blog about life our way.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Life on Viking Island this Summer

As usual we share this lake and island with a variety of creatures large and small.  Just yesterday, while I had my morning coffee, a little weasel came to visit.  He came right up to my chair and then spent the next half hour exploring the lodge.
Our neighbour, Charlie, comes for visits on calm evenings to snack on the clover in front of the Tower Cabin in the middle of camp. When a poplar tree fell during a storm, Charlie had it delimbed and carted away before Hugh got around to the chore.

A garter snake guards the lodge and suns himself on the flat rock outside.  Harmless to us but scary for any wondering mice.

In August the loons gather here for their annual convention.  It is not uncommon for 13 loons to float by the lodge as they conduct choir practise.
One day, Matt Creed came home from fishing and shoot this video of a bear arriving on Viking Island.  I only know of one other time that a bear visited (back in the 1960's) and then we only saw the pile he deposited. 
Note:  This summer has been exceptionally busy for me and blogging had to be postponed but now I have a wealth of material to use.  Hope you don't mind that I will often be out of date. Enid

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lewis Barbera brought a group of 22 people to Viking Island.  Trey Cotey is 9 and grandpa is in his 80's.  Good fishing, good conversation, good times.  Viking Island is the perfect place for a big group to spread out into a bunch of cabins and then cook in the lodge together. 
They are happy with the fishing.
Nick Barbera found the fish on his first day of fishing

Nick and Jace Barbera
No fish, many fly day
The portage to Hatchett is a bit steep.

Kevin and Matt Mitschke
Did catch fish, no flies

I hear lots of laughter, lots of ribbing and just relaxed times with family of all ages.   I hear lots of fishing stories, several cooks working in the kitchen, card games going in the lodge.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Crossland lake with Dan Michalak

Hi Roseanne,
I thought you would like to see a couple of photos from the trip. Probably the best fishing we ever had!
Regards, Dan Michalak

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Billy, the master Angler, and his gang at Rheaume

This is one of those videos that needs no words. 
Just watch how these guys pull in northern. 
 No Net Required.

Produced by Patrick Gunville.  For more of his adventures go to his You Tube Channel

Monday, June 2, 2014

Just another week of fishing Rheaume Lake

Billy Wennlund has been fishing Rheaume Lake since the 1980's.  Now he brings his sons and their friends.  They come the second week of the walleye season which turns out best for northern fishing here in this area. 
Rheaume Lake is 100 miles north of Red Lake, but opens a week or two before the ice is off Howey Bay in Red Lake.  It is on a river system with lots of moving water and has a depth of about 20 feet.
Guests at Rheaume keep some small walleye for eating but otherwise they release everything else.  It seems to be working when you look at these pictures.
All these northern were caught this spring by Wennlunds.

Trent comments, "Just another week on Rheaume Lake"

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mike Martin catches a 36 inch lake trout at Viking Island

The advantage of a late spring is the cold water and excellent lake trout fishing into June.  Mike Martin caught a 36 incher yesterday, trolling in the shallow water.  He picked her out of the water carefully, took a picture and then released her.  She didn't fight much and he felt she was an elder in the waters. 

This girl deserved, and got, great respect.
An Awesome Experience to Catch
and Hold Her for a few Seconds

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Water is High for Douglas Lake

This is the highest water we have seen in years.  Lots of snow this winter might be the cause.  Portages are soggy and there is debris floating on the lake.  Docks are under water. 
We are catching walleye out here, and suppers are delicious.  The flying ants are on the water today, so we'll try for lake trout on the surface.

Water is High!  This rock is usually 3 feet out of  the water.
A Note to Brian:  remember this rock out in front of your father's camp?
My brother Niall couldn't resist checking
out the fishing from Brian's rock.
He left the bucket to mark the rock.
Well Hugh did in good job on this dock.
For the past few years, we were laughing because
you needed a ladder to get up onto this dock,
but now it is perfect!
Gramma's cabin is still dry inside but looks like it is
floating in the lake.  She loves to live close to the water.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

3 days of Fog

From the deck at Viking Island, I give not so
good weather reports to the boys in the office.
The birds look like they are floating on a cloud
with nothing else in sight.
For the past 3 days, the fog has hung over Douglas Lake and Red Lake too. The boys can't get to outposts to clean up and turn on the propane and water. The office in town is full of guests waiting to go fishing at camps that are not ready.... Still fishing is the important part and if we can get them on the lake in a boat they will be happy. Finally this morning the fog lifted, the sun peaked out and a rainbow appeared. Hurray let's fly.

Harriet needed to portage to town
to get to her first day of work at GoldCorp

Finally a ray of Sunshine.

Hurray let's fly.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

VIKING ISLAND OPENER '14 | The crew arrives!

The Beaver takes off over its passengers
The Beaver flew in to drop off Enid, Aaron, Niall, Tom, Agnes, and the cat Norman. Ice was starting to float into the middle of the lake, so the Beaver landed down the lake and Peter picked everyone up with the boat.

The rest of the crew arrives! Niall, Enid, Aaron, Norman, Agnes, and Tom
Work started as soon as everyone arrived! Hugh and Harriet went to see Douglas Creek to make sure the safety rope was still up. It was broken as a result of the high water and ice. Peter, Niall, Aaron, and Charlie hooked up the water and propane, prepped boat motor gas, and started chopping firewood. Agnes and Enid fed the crew. The island looks great, other than high water and lots of leaves. 
Hugh is checking out Douglas Creek
Charlie is hooking up water

Enid is keeping an eye on the lake

Tom is out ice smashing ice

As the afternoon went on, the ice moved very quickly. We had just enough time to fill our beer cooler with ice.

Douglas Lake Fly-By on May 18th

Here we are on arrival...
Ice has shifted and we had a place to land!
Quick, get the fishing poles!

Monday, May 19, 2014

VIKING ISLAND OPENER '14 | Second Attempt: We got to camp!

On Sunday, we took our second flight to Douglas Lake. As we got closer, we saw that, not only could we land, but we could pull up right to dock! No ice breaking necessary. 

Looking NE at Viking Island
Looking NW at Viking Island
It is amazing how much the lake changes in a day!

We called Enid in town and reported that we got to camp. Send out the rest of the crew by Beaver! Meanwhile, Peter got a boat ready to pick up the incoming crew in the middle of the lake, since the ice chunks had started to spread into the middle of the lake. Charlie and Hugh got water and power up and running. The water is high this year so the entire dock area is flooded.
Ice floating in front of Gramma's cabin. The water is very high!

Ice floating beside the Fireside Cabin
Hugh and Harriet
Harriet and Charlie
Peter gets a boat in the water

VIKING ISLAND OPENER '14 | First Attempt: No spot to land on Douglas Lake!

Northern Ontario saw one of the harshest winters on record, which gave way to a very late spring. Howey Bay on Red Lake is still holding onto a wide layer of ice, and camps to the west and north are opening up one at a time. 
Our Beaver sitting in front of an Otter at Chukuni Bridge, where the water is open
With walleye season opening this past weekend, and our guests on the way, we wanted to get to Viking Island to get things opened up. Our crew assembled, and we waited for word from the pilots. On Saturday, we (Peter, Charlie, Harriet, and pilot Hugh) flew to Douglas Lake. Our plan was to land at the south end of the lake, go to “Dock Island” and grab our boat, and then break trail across the ice drifts to the island. When we flew over Douglas Lake, we saw that there was no spot to land, so we headed back to town.

Ice, ice everywhere!
Viking Island is completely iced in. Better luck next time, guys!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

McInnes Lake on May 15

Cal Gosselin, who now flies with Wasaya Airlines out of Red Lake, flew over McInnes today and I see some open water.
It'll be a few days or a week before we actually get on the ground there but that's work out fine.
Orono and Rheaume open about a week before McInnes Lake.
Hugh flew out west today and Douglas ice is looking pretty sketchy.  I'm packed and ready to get there tomorrow afternoon, Saturday am at the latest.

Douglas Lake is covered in Ice... Yikes

Here is Douglas Lake as of last night
Wednesday May 14, 2014
It is sunny today and the weather is supposed to get warmer as the days go by.  My brothers are on their way, groceries ordered and plans made.  By hook or by crook, we'll be at Viking Island come Saturday night!
I'm getting Antsy now!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

May 10: Ice going quickly now.

Optic Lake
Hugh has just returned from flying out west of Red Lake.  The ice is disappearing now and pulling away from the shore.  All is needed now is a wind.  I am planning to be at Viking Island on Wednesday to put things together and be ready for May 17 weekend.
Viking Island

Friday, May 9, 2014

8 days till Walleye Opener

Today it is raining cats and dogs, the ice in front of the house is breaking up and the suckers are running.  Looks like we'll be getting to some lakes on time for the opener? 
Fishing Anyone?

 The "suckers" are running! Another one of those things....Red Lakers just love to hear that the suckers are running. It truly means that Spring is here and soon it will be time to fish out on the open waters again!
This pic was taken just a few hours ago a few km's down Hwy 105 from Red Lake. (thanks for sharing your photo Andrea Fischer)

One more necessary job is to get a boat in the water and run the motor to get the ice melted around the docks. One year while I tried to stop our dock from going out with the ice pack in the wind, I ended up stranded floating down the lake at the mercy of wind and ice. Hugh was not impressed!
Could be the start of a joke?....
How many pilots does it take to launch a boat?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Still Ice Fishing Here in Red Lake area

These pictures tell the story for today.  Even though it was cloudy, weather was warm, fishing was great and yes we had lake trout for supper.   A little trouble getting onto the ice but that old Honda did the job and lugged everyone and their gear to the fishing spot.  Last week's holes are still open so no big chore to get the lines in. 
Arthur lost a rod down the hole despite Trevor getting his entire arm wet trying for a recovery.  Most of us have had that happen before!  Story is that fish was HUGE.