Saturday, May 4, 2013

When will the ice go out in Northwest Ontario?

The sun is making a dent in the ice at Pakwash lake Camp.

This Spring has not been kind to many of us this year. April in Northwestern Ontario has been one of the coldest on record. After having a winter where many communities have had above average snowfall, it would have been nice to have a warm Spring to kind of 'make up for the winter'. The snowmobilers, skiers and snowboarders sure liked the all the snow this past winter. At Mount Evergreen in Kenora, skiers took to the hills for the first time ever in May.  However, winter is gone and now we want some warm weather.

A common question around these parts in April and May is "When will the ice go out?". Many friendly bets are placed as to when the ice will go out on their lakes. With open water walleye opener happening in two weeks and with a lot of ice still on the lakes, locals and visitors are all asking "Will the ice be out for walleye opening on May Long weekend?

Here's a few photos from the beginning of May on lakes in Northwest Ontario.

Mylies Place on Lake of the Woods in the southern area of Sunset Country:

It'll be a while yet before you can use the boat launch at Mylies Place in Morson.

Barker Bay Resort on Lower Manitou Lake on May 2, 2013:

Most of the snow on the ground is gone at Barker Bay Resort

Bonny Bay Camp the morning of May 4, 2013:

Lots of snow and ice left at Bonny Bay Camp on Wabigoon Lake in Dryden.

Nestor Falls is a bit farther north up on Lake of the Woods. You can see from the photos by Nestor Falls Fly-in Outposts and Northwest Flying Inc. that while the ice is starting to open up, there's a lot more to melt.

The eagles, loons, pelicans and other birds are back. Thanks to Nestor Falls Fly-in Outposts for the photo.
Looking out on Kakbikitchiwan Lake from Northwest Flying in Nestor Falls.

Temple Bay Lodge on Eagle Lake near Vermilion Bay is starting to break up around the shore.

Starting to look up on Eagle Lake.

 Gustafson's Resort on Longbow Lake near Kenora posted this photo:

Longbow Lake

Wenasaga Lodge near Ear Falls:

Looking south from Slate cabin. The snow is now all gone on the ice and most of the shoreline.

Even though Fireside Lodge got a bit of snow last night, the lakes around Sioux Lookout are melting and are starting to break up around the shore.

Little Vermilion Bay is slowly starting to melt.

Ghost River Lodges has packed up their yearly rail car and headed out to their boat in camp. They obviously haven't boated in to open up camp this year.

Ghost River Lodge near Sioux Lookout hoping that sunset means sunshine tomorrow.

I see some open water at Agimac River Outfitters near Ignace:

Open water! A week or two of nice temps should really speed things up.

Just how much ice is on Red Lake? Watch Hugh Carlson from Viking Island & Outposts checking the depth of the ice on May 1st. There's at least 16" of solid ice.

For those in Thunder Bay, the weather has been the hardest. They have had many huge snowfalls, with a couple of those being very late in the season. Freezing rain covered the city on May 4th. The following video by Giant FM shows just how much ice they got.

So when will the ice go out of the lakes in Northwest Ontario? It's anybody's guess. All I know if that's it's going to be at least a month later than last year. How's ice the where you're at?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spring snow storm wallops the Thunder Bay area

Waist deep snow courtesy of AZ Bikes

The Spring of 2013 is sure to be remembered as 'the winter that never went away'. It is April 20th and usually at this time most of the snow has melted, the ice on the lake is rapidly disappearing and we are enjoying the warm sunshine beating down on us. Surprisingly the one thing that we have had this Spring is sunshine. Unfortunately the couple of cloudy days have brought heavy snowfalls.

That couldn't be more apparent today, as people are digging out from as much as 2 ft of heavy snow. While the storm has passed and the sun is out, there is a large swathe from the Atikokan area through Thunder Bay and along the north shore of Superior that is covered in many inches of heavy, wet snow.  The high winds that were strongly blowing during this latest snowstorm have made drifts so high, many had trouble even opening their house doors.

Take a look at some of the photos of the April 18/19, 2013 snowstorm.

April 19, 2013 snow storm
Michelle Key writes on Magic 99.9 "Trying to get to the front door."

Sarah Luchies writes "Wow! Is it April or December??" on Magic 99.9

Kashabowie Outposts Office - Just a wee bit of snow

John Erickson measures the snow depth in Thunder Bay and shares on CKDR

Photo submitted by Madison Wallace to Magic 99.9

Nearly 2 ft of snow falls on Nolalu. Photo courtesy of Bow Narrows Camp

So as you can see, many will be digging out for a long time. Any other year, it wouldn't matter as much because most of our snow would have been gone and we would have enjoying Spring. Since we haven't had Spring yet, this snow storm seems like Old Man Winter is kicking us when we are down.

How is it where you live? Are you ready for Spring?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Only 75 days to Ontario walleye opener

Lake of the Woods walleye fishing
Nice Lake of the Woods walleye
Each March many people are getting tired of winter and start the countdown to the walleye opening weekend. To many it marks the 'beginning of summer' to some it means having fresh walleye again and to some it means heading up north to their annual Canadian fishing trip.

After being closed for spawning, the walleye season opens up again in Northwest Ontario the 3rd Saturday in May each year. In 2013, that means May 18th is the day many have been dreaming about. While some anglers get fresh walleye by going ice fishing in the winter, those that are unable to make it to Sunset Country in the winter or just prefer to fish in the summer dream of opening day.

Ontario fly-in walleye fishing
Fly-in fishing at McKusker-Keeper Lakes Camp

You can download the 2013 fishing regulations from the Ministry of Natural Resources website. To fish in Ontario, you'll need an outdoors card as well as a fishing license. The Ministry of Natural Resources is encouraging you to buy your Ontario fishing license online before you head out on your fishing trip. You can purchase either a Sport or Conservation license. The conservation license has lower limits. You can download the Ontario fishing regulations as a whole book or just the zone you will be fishing. Be sure to check the exceptions as certain lakes have special limits and slot sizes.

If you haven't booked your 2013 walleye fishing trip yet, you'd better pick a place quick before they fill up. Check out some of the lodges in Ontario with walleye fishing now.

Let the countdown begin!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Which sculpture rates best in 2013?

Once again one of the main attractions at the Kenora Winter Carnival is the snow sculpture competition. In a post last year, we asked which 2012 snow sculpture you liked best. It was hard to choose. The theme this year is 'Lake Life'. Here are the 8 sculptures from the 2013 Kenora Winter Carnival.

#1 - Q104 Boat

#2 - Frog

#3 - Ice Fishing

#4 - Chair

#5 Eagle

#6 - Snowmobile

#7 - Mermaid

#8 - Women of Courage 

#9 - Bear/Bird/Wolf
Check out what else is happening at the 2013 Kenora Winter Carnival. The carnival runs from March 1-3, with the judging for the sculptures taking place on Friday evening.

It's going to be another hard year of judging, which one do you think should go home with first place?

UPDATE: #7, the Mermaid won first prize. I thought they were all great. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Plenty to do this Ontario Family Weekend

You don't need a fishing license Family Day Weekend

There's a ton of stuff happening in Sunset Country this weekend including tons of free events.

Free Ontario Family Fishing Weekend
Ontario Family Fishing Weekend is a province-wide opportunity for Canadian residents to fish Ontario waters without the otherwise mandatory fishing version outdoors card. The Ontario Government designates two periods throughout the year as license-free, one of these being this Family Day weekend. You can fish license free from February 16-18, 2013 (12:01 a.m. Saturday to 11:59 p.m. Monday). In the summer you can also fish license free from July 6-14, 2013 (12:01 a.m. Saturday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday). During all other time periods, Canadian residents between the ages of 18 and 64 years must purchase a valid fishing license to legally fish in Ontario. If you've never been ice fishing, this weekend would be an opportune time to get out there and fish. You can also take a friend fishing.

Participants fishing without a license must fish under the Conservation fishing license limits which are set out in the current Ontario Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary. With the exception of the licensing requirement, Ontario fishing regulations, fees and limits continue to apply during license-free days.

Snowmobile our winter wonderland

Permit Free Snowmobiling

The OFSC is also having a 'Try Our Trails Permit'. The Try Our Trails Permit is only valid for available OFSC trails on Ontario’s Family Day Long Weekend February 16-18, 2013.
  • You will be required to enter your sled license plate number, VIN, make, model and year when applying for this permit.*
  • Print the permit yourself from confirmation email you receive after registering online.
  • Permit must be affixed to your sled.
The OFSC wants to invite new participants, former riders and out‐of province visitors to try OFSC trails at no cost. They encourage all regular permit buyers to invite their families and friends to obtain a 2013 Try Our Trails Permit, so they can Take a Friend Snowmobiling. What a great opportunity to try the OFSC snowmobile trails. Find out more at the Ontario Federation of Snowmobiling Club website. 

Pimp Your Ice Shack at the Dryden Winter Festival
2012 'Pimp Your Ice Shack' Winners

Winter Festivals

Check out the Dryden Winter Festival February 15-18, 2013. Celebrate winter outdoors with family and friends. There's a pancake breakfast, horse drawn sleigh rides, skating, sliding, snow kiting lessons and demos, snow sculpting, family fishing derby and so much more... You can download a printable schedule of Dryden Winter Festival events.

The Vermilion Bay Kin Karnival will kick off on February 14 with the Kin Baby contest at 6:30 p.m. The event continues on Friday with the annual fish fry at the Lions hall. There will be events all day Saturday including a pancake breakfast and a mini kids carnival, and a new event - the trapline challenge dog sled race. It's a mass start at 10:30 at the government dock. After that there will be having a kids mutt run. Sunday events include the Kin Family Fish Derby, which is often called the main event. Those interested in signing up for the fishing derby will be able to at the carnival. For more information on event registration contact Scott McEwan at 227-2904.

Mount Evergreen Ski Hill is open Family Day

There are also many Family Day Activities throughout the cities and towns in Sunset Country.

In Kenora, visit the Kenora Recreation Centre for a free public skate from 12:30-2pm and a free public swim from 1-2:30pm. Mount Evergreen Ski Hill will be open from 10-4pm and they have special pricing for the day. Beaver Creek Ranch is also open from 2-4pm. They will have sleigh rides, petting zoo, crafts and a bonfire.

In Thunder Bay there are lots of great things happening this Family Day weekend! There's Fort William Historical Park's Voyageur Winter Carnival all weekend and Winterfest down at Prince Arthur's Landing on February 18th. 

An “Indoor Planetarium” is coming to the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre on Monday, Feb. 18 (Family Day). Pick up your tickets for one of the six shows, which cost $2/person.

That's just a taste of what's happening in Sunset Country this weekend. Now get off the computer and head outside!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

One of the hottest new travel websites just launched! to showcase the incredible travel experiences in the north!

Ontario smallmouth bash fishing - Photo: Ginny Riege
Want to travel to Northern Ontario? Visit the new website for beautiful photos and articles to help plan your vacation to Ontario. The website covers three sub regions; the Northwest, Algoma and Northeast regions. 

You can also search by experiences such as ATVing, Boating, Fishing, Hunting, Motorcycling, Outdoor Adventures and Snowmobiling

So, what are you waiting for? If you want to experience the ultimate Canadian fishing trip, plan a winter vacation, or soak in the wilderness by canoe, head on over to

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Turn your Dreams to Reality!

Start Gearing Up for Fishing Season

Muskie are fun to catch!
Yes it's only January and the temperatures in most parts (and certainly in these parts) are still downright chilly! The overnight low with the windchill tomorrow is forecast at -32 Celsius and that is cold! With winter's bluster still squarely in our face, there's no harm in dreaming of the soon to come warm spring days, where the lake is calm and the bite is on.

Teach your kid to fish!
Now is time to remember the feeling of a 4 pound smallmouth or maybe a 15 pound northern. How about walleye, muskie or trout. Who cares's just nice to dream of being out on the water and casting your bait into the sunken timber or jigging the bottom hoping for a bite. The savory taste of fresh walleye shore lunch cooked over an open fire beckons. Yummy!

Catch lake trout!
While you can only dream about it, now is the time of year where you can set things in motion to make those dreams come true and actually book your trip. By booking early you ensure you get the dates you want at the lodge you want on the lake you've heard so much about. Email us for your free travel guide and map and start planning your 2013 trip today!