Lost caribou hunters found in bowhunting forum

Merle and Scott Meszaros

The Caribou Hunters: Scott and Merle Meszaros.

In late September of 2014, Merle Meszaros and his son Scott hunted barren ground caribou with Webber’s Lodges and Henik Lake Adventures. We thought they’d had a good hunt with us, but it had been awhile since we’d seen or heard from them. Until…

We found them in this hunting forum at Bowsite.com! And we’re glad we did! They had nothing but good to say about their caribou hunt with us!

Merle (Dad) goes by the name of BIGHORN on the Bowsite Hunting Forums and Scott’s handle is MatthewsMan. They too, were hoping their hunt would be memorable based on their early forum posts.

It was.

The father and son team flew by private charter from Thompson to Nejanilini Lake and then jumped on a Super Beaver for their final flight to the Caribou Camp at Baralzon Lake.

Merle got his first bull early and Scott got his on the second day of the trip.

“The Guide had to get the boat and tow him to shore,” said Scott. “Getting it out the velvet came off like crazy, so we pealed it all clean and then took the photos right on the shore.”

Scott Meszaros with caribou Bull

Scott Meszaros with caribou bull.

The weather on the trip was cold and windy with a few hours here and there of sunshine and warmth. There wasn’t a single bug all week, and the wind, water and waves also cooperated.

Caribou Camp Baralzon Lake, Webber's Lodges, Henik Lake Outfitters

Caribou Camp at Baralzon Lake.

“My second bull I was hoping for a real monster,” said Scott. “Like some of the ones the rifle hunters in camp were putting on the ground, but the fourth day I went ahead and took this guy for a skull mount.”

Scott Meszaros with second caribou.

Scott Meszaros with second caribou.

“The meals (our camp cook was Jody) were phenomenal,” said Scott. “And the guide we had (Jason) was really well versed on ecotourism due to his polar bear tourism stuff. Our Camp Manager Troy only got a few hours while hunters were out and shot this bull on the small island camp was located on. This was maybe 300 yards behind camp.”

Camp Manager Troy with caribou taken 300 yards from camp.

Camp Manager Troy with caribou taken 300 yards from camp.

After harvesting out, Scott said there were some nice bulls that actually came by camp, even with six or seven guys standing in full view on a hill. In total 23 hunters harvested 46 bulls. Hunters at a highly reviewed competitor’s camp weren’t so lucky, with six of their eight hunters not even managing to sight a caribou.

Caribou at Baralzon Lake.

Caribou at Baralzon Lake.

“When I shot my Shiras Moose last year Dad asked me what I still needed to get to finish the ‘Super Ten’ with archery,” said Scott. “And I told him I still needed a caribou. He sort of shockingly said, ‘That’s all you still need?’”

With the oldest of three children leaving for college last fall, Scott thought it might be as much as eight more years before he had chance to hunt caribou, but Merle wanted to see his son achieve his “Super Ten” milestone. Dad set up the hunt that made Scott’s dream goal become a reality.

“I feel very fortunate to have experienced this hunt with my Dad,” said Scott. “I am really thankful for all he and my mother have done for me in my life. I hope that someday I can do the same for my children. Our hunt was fantastic. It really was a trip of a lifetime for us.”

Caribou on Baralzon Lake.

Caribou on Baralzon Lake.

“I can’t stop thinking about this hunt,” said Merle. “I have had guided hunts in Alaska, Colorado, New Zealand, Namibia and South Africa, but this was the best one yet. All of the hunters, guides, cook and camp manager got along famously. The two hunters from Australia had everyone laughing. I have gone on six guided hunts and this was the best one without a doubt.

“Scott forgot to mention that our drinking water came straight out of the lake. It was some of the best water I have ever tasted.”

Merle also had a few tips to pass on in the forum.

He said to watch out for the Jodi, the cook, if you’re into cribbage. Jodi lost the first seven games in a row to him but she came back to take six straight. Breaking camp to go home probably saved Merle’s bacon.

Baralzon Lake Caribou Camp Crew

Baralzon Lake Caribou Camp crew. Can you spot the cribbage player?

Merle was also happy to have purchased a new pair of LaCrosse 800 boots to take with him, and that WindShear clothing and a rain suit were a must to fend off the weather. He added that a spotting scope would just get in the way and that their 8 x 30 Swarovski Binoculars were okay but 10 x 42 would have worked better.

“I gave my range finder and a pair of GORE-TEX gloves that I had not yet worn to our guide,” said Merle. “I got a big smile and a hug from him so he obviously appreciated getting them. Here is a picture of our guide with my bull.”

Henik Lake Adventures Guide with caribou

Guide with Merle’s caribou.

“My happiest times I have ever experienced are hunting with my son,” said Merle. “Bar none! I can’t imagine a hunt being better than this one.”

Merle will be 70 in a few months and he mentioned in the forum that his body was starting to give out on him. He’s hoping to harvest a couple of big bull elk this fall with his son.

“Because this may be our last hunt together,” said Merle.

It was an honor to host you and your son, Merle, on what may have been your final caribou hunt together. We’re so thankful you found us.

And each other.

Baralzon Lake colors

Canadian Muskox Hunt/Arctic Wolf Hunt set for late April 2015 in Nunavut

Webber’s Lodges, in partnership with Henik Lake Adventures,  is pleased to announce that our Barren Ground Muskox hunts and Arctic Wolf hunts will take place from April 24-30, 2015, east of the Thelon Game Sanctuary in Nunavut. Success rates on these hunts to date have been excellent!

While the hunts are all-inclusive from Winnipeg, Manitoba, the home base for the five days of hunting will be Baker Lake, Nunavut, located 320 km inland from Hudson Bay at the mouth of the Thelon River on Baker Lake. Near Canada’s geographical center, Baker Lake is notable for being Arctic Canada’s sole inland community.

Temperatures for this muskox hunt are expected to be at least 20 degrees milder than on previous hunts which took place in March, but the opportunities for trophies remain high. These hunts have an excellent success rate and over 50% of the muskox bulls score high enough to make the Boone and Crockett record book. Arctic wolves range from 120 to 140 pounds and their pelts come in a variety of colours, from almost white to black with most having a grayish blue tinge to their fur.

Barren Ground Muskox are up to 15% larger than their Greenland Muskox cousins and this area is virtually un-hunted. We stay in the community of Baker Lake to take advantage of comfortable lodging not generally associated with muskox hunts. This also gives us the flexibility to head out in whatever direction the muskox are. The ability to travel in any direction is key in giving the hunter excellent opportunities to harvest trophy muskox bulls and Arctic wolf.

“Each hunter will have their own snow machine and we’ll venture out from Baker Lake every day in search of muskox and Arctic wolves,” said Russ Mehling, General Manager at Webber’s Lodges. “We’ll be staying in a hotel, so we’ll have a good breakfast before heading out for adventure, and we’ll be back in time for supper, a hot shower and satellite TV.

“We have a very healthy population of muskox and we only take eight hunters on this trip each year. The Arctic hunting experience is something rare and special even for seasoned hunters. You’ll see a black dot on the horizon beyond the snow-covered sand eskers and there will be a herd of 10-100 muskox there. You would never believe they could live out there. The Inuit have been hunting muskox here for centuries, and they’ll be our guides. Muskox also make unique trophies and are a fantastic mount.”

Muskox meat is similar to caribou and other wild meat, but muskox are also prized for their lightweight underwool or Qiviut (pronounced “kiv-ee-ute”), which is eight times warmer than wool and one of the finest natural fibers on the planet. “Muskox underwool can warm your hands instantly,” said Mehling. “It makes wicked insulation.”

The Barren Ground Muskox/Arctic Wolf hunt is all inclusive from Winnipeg and includes:

  • Airfare from Winnipeg to Baker Lake and return
  • 7 day package, including 5 Full days of hunting
  • 1 x 1 guiding
  • 7 days/6 nights hotel accommodations at Baker Lake
  • All meals during hunt
  • Muskox license, trophy fee, and HTO fees
  • Wolf license
  • Small game hunting
  • Snow mobile rental
  • Trophy and meat prep

Hunt does not include:

  • Travel to and from your location to Winnipeg
  • Meals and accommodations in Winnipeg or Southern stopover
  • Licenses for hunting small game
  • Shipping of trophies and/or meat
  • Gratuities
  • Any taxidermy charges (we are using the same taxidermist and he is familiar with working with muskox)
  • Personal items including excess baggage charges, any costs incurred by delays due to bad weather or mechanical problems.

Travel Details:

Entry into Canada

For guests travelling from the United States:

If you are a U.S. citizen, ensure you carry proof of citizenship such as a passport, birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization, a U.S. Permanent Resident Card, or a Certificate of Indian Status along with photo identification.

For international guests:

The Government of Canada requires that all travelers carry a valid passport because it is the only reliable and universally-accepted travel and identification document for the purpose of international travel.

You will need to arrive in Winnipeg the day before your hunt starts and overnight. The next morning we will fly you up to Baker Lake. We recommend the Four Points by Sheraton at the Winnipeg International Airport for your overnight in Winnipeg.

What to Expect:

Arrive in Winnipeg the day before your hunt date and spend the night. We can help you with booking rooms as required.

The following day you will be flown to Baker Lake, Nunavut on Calm Air. We will send you the flight itinerary once we book your flight.  There are 3 to 4 legs to the flight, so it will take a good portion of the day. You will check into the hotel at Baker Lake. The guides will already be there. We have a 12-hour waiting period in Nunavut so you will not start hunting until the next morning. However, your hunt includes 5 full days of hunting.

Day 2 through 6 are your hunt days:

• Breakfast and supper will be served at the hotel. Lunch will be packed for you and taken onto the tundra. You will leave town on snow machine. You will have your own. If you have access to one in your area, it would be good to get familiar with riding it. They are simple to learn to drive.

• You will target muskox first, but any wolf you see on your travels is fair game! Once your muskox is down, you will go after your wolf!!

On your last day you will fly to Winnipeg. Because of the multiple legs of the flight, you will spend most of the day travelling, which is why we recommended flying home the following day. Again we can help with booking rooms if needed.

Once your hunt is complete, your guide will prep and pack your trophies for shipping to our recommended taxidermist. They will also quarter out the animal (muskox) and get the meat back to Baker Lake.

Trophy Care:

We recommend Mr. Fish Taxidermy for handling of your trophies. They will take care of the permits, brokerage, etc. You can call them direct for pricing: Ask for Wes Wall at 1.204.755.3474

Mr. Fish Taxidermy

73 Myrtle Street

Hazelridge, MB R0E 0Y0

We can ship your trophies to Mr. Fish Taxidermy for fleshing, salting and shipping to a U.S. based Taxidermist. You will incur extra costs for this service as they apply for the USDA permits, etc. but this is the most convenient option and you are assured that your trophy is in good hands. We recommend this option but please call Wes Wall with Mr. Fish Taxidermy at  1.204.755.3474  regarding delivery time and costs involved. Mr. Fish Taxidermy can also do the taxidermy work and ship to you direct when complete.

You can also make the necessary arrangements with a Taxidermist of your choice in Winnipeg and we will ship direct to them.

Hunt Price:  $13,500 plus GST (2.5%)

Hunt Dates:  April 24 to 30, 2015

Deposits & Payments:

  • Deposit – $2000 per person non-refundable deposit is required within 10 days of booking your adventure.
  • 2nd Payment – $2000 per person non-refundable payment is due November 1 prior to your adventure.
  • Final Payment – Final payments are due 90 days prior to your adventure start date.

Once a deposit is received, your reservation is considered confirmed contingent upon receipt of subsequent payments IN FULL and ON TIME. If payments are not made by the due date outlined on your invoice, your reservation may be cancelled and deposit withheld.

Payment Methods:

We accept Visa or MasterCard for deposit payments and personal cheques, certified cheques or money orders for final payment transactions. Credit card may be accepted for final payment however, a 3% service fee will apply. Please make cheques payable to Dymond Lake Outfitters.

Send your deposit to:

Webber’s Lodges
P.O. Box 10
Ile des Chenes, Manitoba, Canada
R0A 0T0

If you would like more information about our rates, please contact us Toll Free 1-888-WEBBERS (1.888.932.2377) or by e-mail: info@webberslodges.com.

Happy New Year and Thank You from Webber’s Lodges!

Reimer and Webber Family - Enjoying life in the north!

Happy New Year from the archives!

Is fishing season over? What about hunting season? REALLY? You mean we don’t have to send a weather report in the morning? Or check the boats, motors, fishing rods, tackle boxes and emergency kits? Or stoke the fires, pump/haul water, unload an airplane, gather firewood and prepare (delicious) meals. Maybe we’ll do that anyway. The holiday season demands it!

You know…

Seems like just yesterday plans were being made for various projects, aligning of logistical needs, finalizing bookings, hiring of staff etc. and in the blink of an eye another year is behind us.

The hunting and fishing at Webber’s Lodges was excellent again in 2014 and resulted in so many adventures that it’s difficult to encapsulate the year with one overlying description. To recount all of this year’s escapades would undoubtedly have most of you snoozing before we could get halfway through them!

June snow in Manitoba

After the snowstorm at North Knife Lake. June 4, 2014.

They say — whoever “they” are — you don’t have to know how to do everything well, you just have to surround yourself with people that do, and judging from guest responses, Webber’s Lodges has done just that. We are blessed with a lot of amazing talent and it’s the hard work and dedication of our lodge staff that produce the glowing guest reviews we receive.

We’re also fortunate to have a rock solid mission control center in place at our new (bigger!) office. Moving into a much needed new office was a real treat, but it’s the people in it, our team on the ground so to speak, that are the real backbone of our operational success. The amount of planning, marketing and paper work that goes on behind the scenes before a guest actually gets to the lodges is mind boggling. Thank goodness we have an amazing support system that can make it all happen!

It is obvious that without the dedication of all our seasonal and year-round employees we would absolutely not be able to achieve the success that we do.

Ron Malech Lake Trout catch and release method

Ron Malech displays his new catch and release method for trophy lake trout at North Knife Lake.

And thank YOU, our lovely guests, who always leave us with new friendships to cherish and new stories to share. You make all the blood, sweat and tears worthwhile and we look forward with great anticipation to more exciting adventures with you in 2015.

Happy New Year, Good Fishing & Happy Hunting!

On behalf of the entire Webber’s Lodges family,
Doug & Helen Webber, Mike & Jeanne Reimer

A successful caribou hunt with Webber’s Lodges. Al Maki tells it like it is (was).

Al Maki with one of his two caribou bulls.

Al Maki with one of his two caribou bulls.

Guest Post by Al Maki

Ryan St. John is a well-established outfitter for all of the Arctic species of game. He recently merged with Webber’s Lodges to handle all logistics. Hunts leave by charter flight from Thompson, Manitoba and land at a float plane base just over the Nunavut line. From there hunters board Beaver float planes for a 1.5 hour flight to hunt camps located on the shores of the abundant lakes.

Flying in I was struck by the high percentage of water. It seems that 90 percent of the area is covered by lakes and ponds extending for miles. It didn’t look like any caribou habitat I’d seen or hunted. Camps are comfortable lakeside tents with a mess shed and resident cook. Hunts would leave each morning at daybreak in open skiffs traveling several miles in all directions in search of caribou.

The guides are all Inuit and are very familiar with the area and game patterns. Soon we began to see a few caribou in groups of two, three or more moving along the lake shore and crossing the water at will. My hunting partner and I drew straws for the first shot and I got the draw.

We saw a large bull with his harem of four cows on a small ridge so we beached the boat and made a stalk. They were moving our way but the wind was bad so they winded us and about-faced into the lake to swim to another peninsula. Our guide seemed to know where they were headed so we hopped back into the skiff and traveled down the lake a couple of miles.

Beaching again we scrambled up a small ridge and waited. Sure enough here they were, but they were out a full half-mile with no chance for us to close the distance. Back to the skiff and after a few more miles we rounded into a long bay and beached again.

After hiking a half-mile we crested a small ridge, and although I had my doubts, I was amazed to see our group of caribou moving down toward us. They would pass about 400 yards out. I rested over a small rock pile and waited for a clear shot. I ranged it at 417 yards and took the shot. The bull was hit hard but continued to move off. I shot again and he dropped.

I took another fine bull a day later and all of the hunters in the camp had a great time taking their two bulls by the fifth day of the hunt.

Bow hunting for moose pays off at Small Lake for Kenney

Kevin Kenney with moose taken by bow near Small Lake in Manitoba

Guest Post by Kevin Kenney

I was hunting Small Lake north of Thompson, Manitoba. For the first 2 1/2-days I didn’t have much luck. I never saw a moose. But moose hunting is either hot or cold, and I knew that going in. I did see plenty of sign, so I knew there were moose around.

Two of the other guys in camp actually got their bulls on the first three days. On the fourth day the weather turned more favorable for moose hunting. It started raining and got colder. That morning we spotted what was a definite shooter, probably a 50″ wide bull. We tried to make a move on him but he just disappeared. While it would have been awesome to get on this bull, it definitely lifted my spirits just seeing a huge moose.

On the fifth day we spent the morning working an area near where we had seen the big bull. We hiked in with the wind in our favor and my guide Tyler did a bunch of cow calls and bull grunts. Alas, not one response. Finally, after several hours, we called it quits to get some lunch. After lunch we headed back out with a plan to hunt a different area.

As we were cruising along in the boat, Tyler spotted a bull up on top of the hill where we had been hunting all morning. We knew it was a different bull, but he looked to be a shooter. Tyler eased the boat into a place on shore to get the wind in our favor. Since we didn’t get any responses to our calls in the morning, we opted to just stalk in on the bull. I walked right behind Tyler, so we would sound like a moose walking through the bush.

Once we got within 80-100 yards of the bull we could hear him grunting and raking trees. There was not a lot of time to set up. Tyler moved to a position 15-20 yards behind me. He did not call; he just did some raking with his moose scapula. The bull was very agitated with this! He started walking indirectly toward us in a zigzag pattern. The bull stopped every 10-15 yards to rake the trees and was grunting the whole way in. He was swaying back and forth with drool running out of his mouth.

It happened pretty quickly. I felt like I was sitting in my living room watching a hunting show on TV!  The bull got to about 10-15 yards and I was trying to figure out how to get a shot off. Tyler was whispering for me to draw my bow, but he could not see that I had no shooting lane from where I was standing. I tried to move a step forward for a clearer shot, but this seemed to alert the bull. He then turned in the other direction and walked perfectly broadside. This time I drew my bow back.

He stopped at 12 yards and I put my pin right behind the shoulder and let the arrow fly. At this angle I had more of a shooting lane then I did on the first shot opportunity, but it wasn’t perfectly open. My arrow may have deflected, so the shot was not great. I ended up being about 3″ too far forward (and a little high). My arrow caught the back of the shoulder blade, so I did not get a pass through.

We both took our boots off to stalk in for another shot. The bull was lying down but still moving his head around and coughing. I was standing about 30 yards from him when he stood up and I was able to get off another shot, but that completely missed due to all the branches in the way. Luckily he fell back down so I could get closer. At 10 yards away he stood again. This time I put my arrow through both lungs. He looked like he was going to charge us, but luckily he just started walking sideways and keeled over.

My guide Tyler did an awesome job! He actually got three moose in four days. (He guided the other two guys in camp first and then took over with me when they tagged out.)

From start to finish it took us about six hours to get the bull out of the bush. We were 250 yards from shoreline and we used a chainsaw to cut a trail in. This made it much easier to pack him out. The moose was caped and deboned in the field.

One of the most impressive things to me about Webber’s Lodges was that their number one concern was putting me on a bull. It didn’t matter how far into the bush we had to hike. Going into the hunt I was worried that all we were going to do was drive around in a boat. Obviously it is a lake hunt, so using a boat is an important part of the hunt. As far as deciding what technique we used, and where we hunted, I just left that up to the guides. Another worry was the fact that I was going to go bow only or nothing. The guides did not see my bow as a hindrance to the hunt.

All in all it was an awesome hunt! By far the most exciting hunt I have ever experienced. It felt surreal, because it was everything I could have hoped for. He was not a huge bull, actually I think he was the smallest moose harvested this year by Webber’s Lodges. He was the only one taken with a bow. My bull was 39″ wide. The other bulls taken ranged from 40″ to 57″. To be honest, the quality was much higher than I expected. I guess now I have a reason to try to go back for a bigger one someday.

I think I am going to be on cloud nine for a while after this. It definitely makes me want to get out there for another hunt. Moose, elk, caribou, any big game animal really.

This type of hunt, when you have to go after the animal, is exhilarating!

Trophy bulls abound in family caribou hunt with Webber’s

John Reimer with sons Dylan and Dalton

John Reimer with sons Dylan and Dalton

Taxidermist John Reimer was on his sixth hunt with Webber’s Lodges this fall and this time he took his sons Dylan (21) and Dalton (20) with him for the first time. An avid hunter who had previously stalked deer, moose, elk, bear, mountain lion and more, John and his sons were at Schmok Lake from Sept. 4-9 in search of trophy caribou.

And they found them!

Dylan Reimer

Dylan Reimer

“The four of us took eight trophy bulls,” said John. “And Webber’s was outstanding as always. Having my boys up there made the experience that much more fun, and what better way to bond with them than hunting together and seeing their excitement in harvesting some trophy caribou. And besides caribou, we saw red fox, cross fox and Arctic wolves. From the camp to the terrain, it’s something you never forget.”

Dalton Reimer

Dalton Reimer

The 49-year-old President of JR Taxidermy Studio in Grunthal, Manitoba, had high praise for his hosts, which of course we’re proud to share here on our blog.

David Martens

David Martens

“Two thumbs up to Webber’s for providing such a place for us to enjoy and chalk up memories we will cherish for a lifetime. I’ve hunted every Western province and throughout the USA and Webber’s is comparable to all the best lodges out there, but what makes them unique is that they’re a family business. They’ve spent most of their lives up north and they’re involved. The meals are first class. And you can’t beat the Webber’s hospitality, whether it’s before, during or after the hunt.”

John Reimer

John Reimer

Thank you John!

Evening at Schmok Lake Caribou Camp. Shel Zolkewich photo.

Evening at Schmok Lake Caribou Camp. Shel Zolkewich photo.

Good news for goose hunters!

Geese at Nanuk

Limitless opportunities here…

The Government of Manitoba has decided that geese population control has now reached unparalleled urgency.

Limits on snow geese, blue geese and Ross’s geese are 50 per day, but possession is unlimited! Your only limit is the number of shells you bring along and the pounding your shoulder can take.

Also, we have increased and improved our accommodations at Nanuk Lodge! Already a showplace on the tundra, we hauled in 175,000 pounds of lumber and material to add eight new bedrooms to the Lodge, each of which will feature an incredible view of Hudson Bay!

Brand new look at Nanuk!

Brand new look at Nanuk!

Imagine hunting unpressured goose populations at the start of their migration, in the beauty and splendor of the Northern tundra, all while staying in a beautiful lodge with all the comforts of home. But in a stress free environment that only the North can provide!

Nolan Booth is back at Nanuk and is preparing for an action packed season and we have very limited openings for 2014 goose hunts, seven to be exact. If you are already planning for 2015, contact us and we will look over what options we have for you, including our Spring Snow Goose hunts.

For more information and the latest updates on our goose, moose and caribou hunts please email info@webberslodges.com or call us Toll Free at 1 (888) WEBBERS (1.888.932.2377)

Happy hunting!

As long as you get the desired result, a happy fisherman

Sometimes it’s best not to show your work, even if the teacher tells you to. As long as you come up with the desired result everything will be okay, right? And on that note…

While this is not commonplace at North Knife Lake Lodge, we thought we’d share this photo series of neophyte guide Josh Wright handling his duties as would be expected for a newbie. This boy will go far, a definite keeper, going to be a big star someday.

With a little coaching and encouragement from our experts, that is.

And a very special thanks to guest Bump Williams, who caught the fish!

Guide fussing with motor

Guide fussing with motor

Guest catches fish,  fights to hang on to it,  guide finally notices

Guest catches fish, fights to hang on to it, guide finally notices

Guide offers words of encouragement and yells at guest not to splash him

Guide offers words of encouragement and yells at guest not to splash him

Guide avoids getting his hands dirty and hands guest hook removal tools

Guide avoids getting his hands dirty and hands guest hook removal tools

Guide calmly offers advice to guest on how to remove hooks while chattering about his latest girlfriend

Guide calmly offers advice to guest on how to remove hooks while chattering about his latest girlfriend

Guest finally lands fish,  guide offers to hold fish while guest hurries to clean his hands, just barely making it into the photo

Guest finally lands fish, guide offers to hold fish while guest hurries to clean his hands, just barely making it into the photo

Ultimate result achieved! Happy guest with northern pike caught on a fly!

Desired result achieved! Happy guest Bump Williams with northern pike caught on a fly!

Fish turning on at North Knife Lake Lodge!

Ron Malech Lake Trout catch and release method

Ron Malech displays his new catch and release method for trophy lake trout at North Knife Lake.

We’re off to a great start at North Knife Lake Lodge with the first group of fishermen busy retraining our great northern pike and monster lake trout!

After a very cold winter and late snow storm we were expecting we might well be practicing our “Russian Icebreaker” techniques on the lake, but other than a bit of ice piled on the northern islands there is nary an “iceberg” in sight.

And temperatures have been on the pleasant side to say the least, with most days being sunny and warm temps into the 70s and 80s!

The big fish are turning on and some crazy pike numbers in excess of 200 fish per boat are coming in after the first two days, as well as tall tales of big ones lost and released.

Our resident wolf family is comfortably ensconced in their summer digs up on the esker near the airstrip. We have yet to see the pups but have had some incredible close encounters with Mama and one of the “uncles/aunties” from last reason. What a treat!

World class fishing, spectacular wolf viewing and the finest food and accommodations in Northern Canada all in one fabulous paradise, though that might be a slightly biased opinion!

Dateline June 24 North Knife Lake Lodge

Hot and sunny 28C!

The Canadians surged ahead of the Americans today giving a strong showing with three Master Angler lake trout caught and released using their advantage of home “ice.”

Ron Malech astounded us with his unorthodox but very effective airborne release style claiming that this technique is favoured by all the fishing Hall of Famers.

He was later spotted recuperating on the lodge couch, no doubt exhausted from his spectacular performance. Fishing partners Tim Burt and David Brandt also scored on trophy lake trout and Reagan Caskey held up his end of the boat with some very nice northern pike.

New wind power at North Knife Lake Lodge welcomed by June snowstorm, wolves

June snow in Manitoba

Snowstorm at North Knife Lake. June 4, 2014.

by Doug Webber

June 4 started with a feeling of excitement. I was getting ready to fly to Thompson to pick up Danny, the man who was going to install the final pieces of equipment that would give us a major infusion of power into our existing solar power system at North Knife Lake Lodge.

The newly designed ultra-efficient 3,500 Watt wind generator is in its final stages of installation. The associated cabinetry and controllers are state of the art and in some cases, clearly innovative. The specially designed blades are environmentally friendly, as they are low rpm and have the exceptional capacity of negative bird strikes. During the three year trial run of the wind generator, not one bird was struck.

As I prepped the airplane for the flight, the matriarch of the resident wolf family poked her head out of the bush across the runway to see what I was up to. As I warmed up the engine, she scooted across the runway about 100 meters away, obviously intent on a mission that likely had something to do with food.

It was a clear beautiful day and the flight to Thompson was uneventful, so I was able to enjoy the gorgeous panorama of another Northern Manitoba spring as it unfolded around me. While waiting for Danny’s plane, I had time to run a few errands, pick up parts, groceries and fuel for the trip back. Danny arrived and we climbed aboard for the flight back to North Knife Lake.

As we came in for landing I noticed the momma wolf standing by the runway watching our progress. Despite the presence of a strong cross wind, I managed to pull off an acceptable landing and we coasted to a stop at the “terminal building” where the road leads to the Lodge just a quarter mile away. The wolf continued to watch us, and as long as we ignored her, she was content with our presence. Any attempt to approach her would see her melting into the forest.

A quick supper after Danny was settled in brought about the usual end-of-day tiredness. We checked the equipment we brought and crawled off to bed.

The expected cruddy weather arrived in the middle of the night. Flying back to Thompson for the additional bodies we required for tower erection was out of the question. There was a lot to do, with the mounting of the equipment and the hooking up the control charger. As the weather deteriorated over the next three days we got the Internet sorted out and set up for monitoring the equipment from the Lodge. From the office we could now see what was happening in the Battery Room, where all the solar and wind charging takes place.

View from North Knife Lake Lodge balcony during June 2014 storm.

View from North Knife Lake Lodge balcony, June 4, 2014.

During the storm, the wolf continued making her rounds near the Lodge. There were new tracks morning and evening through steadily increasing snow cover. We expected to see the pups make their first foray out into the world shortly after the storm had run its course and the snow had melted back into the ground.

New birds continued to show up on a daily basis. The loons, mergansers, mallards, pintails, Canada geese and bald eagles are all prepping their nests and getting ready to lay eggs. We also saw Pine and Evening grosbeaks, two or three species of warblers, Bank and Tree swallows, nighthawks, redpolls, robins, various gulls and peregrine falcons.

Some of the birds are residents and others are just passing through. Pine martins, mink and foxes are evident in the sand and occasional sightings confirm their presence. Beavers at the creek and south river are sending numerous bark-stripped branches downstream, indicating healthy numbers.

The continuing storm compromised the completion of the windmill project, as high winds were detrimental to the raising of the tower. As with many projects in the seasonal lodge business, a few weeks or months delay may be the outcome, but all will get done.

Danny’s unique skills in the alternate energy arena are necessary to make final adjustments once the windmill is producing power. As his departure day drew near and the storm continued, with eight inches of snow already on the ground, resignation of the inevitable began to take hold.

In time however, all this will be in the past and our carbon footprint at North Knife Lake Lodge will continue to shrink as we bring the wind generator on line. Stay tuned for the conclusion of Project Wind Power at some time in the near future!

June 7, 2014 Update: We put the blades on the windmill yesterday and with it resting on the barrel it was producing a couple of amps of power, which is going right into the batteries!