Christmas 2023

A warm holiday greeting from Jim and Julies Wabaskang Camp. We hope everyone has a great and joyous holiday season. Although the covid-19 pandemic is behind us we certainly realize everyone is still coping with changes and challenges we have all experienced because of the pandemic. With prayer and perseverance, the future looks better for everyone. The 2023 season saw a return of many of our loyal guests and many new guests as well, we appreciate the patronage our guests have demonstrated to us over the many years we have operated the camp, Julie and I want to thank all of you. As winter approaches, we are back in Iowa and back to work at our drapery business. Julie and I intend to babysit grandkids on Thursday each week while we are home from camp and are excited to be able to spend time with the little ones.

Julie and I headed to camp on the 24th of April this season, we had a friend plow the road a week before we arrived and the little bit of snow that remained was no problem. The lake was low but still manageable but the dry conditions were a sign of things to come. The lake was still frozen when we arrived and the ice did not go off the lake until the 11th of May. Once the ice was gone, I began the lengthy process of getting the dock together and back in place, a job that always takes a few days to complete during the best of times.  We had the water system going by the 5th of May and started cleaning cabins and getting everything ready before our first guests arrived on the 17th of May. The camp had held up well over the winter and most of the cabins did not have any real issues before we opened, a few leveling projects but nothing major before our guests arrived.  As the season went on the dry conditions began to cause concerns with us and many other camp owners. Not only was launching and docking boats becoming an issue but the constant threat of a wild fire was always in the back of our minds. I know there were many days that smoke from fires hundreds of kilometers away made its way to our area and made breathing uncomfortable and visibility poor at best. The lake continued to drop but we were very fortunate to make it through the season without canceling any of our guest’s reservations. The end of September did see some significant rain, almost 4” which didn’t help much with lake levels but did eliminate the extreme fire danger.  I am hopeful that decent snow this winter and good spring rains will bring the lake back to where it needs to be for the 2024 season. Many projects were completed during the season, we were able to shingle three cabins and the lodge. A late summer project saw us upgrade our camp wi-fi by installing overhead wires to each cabin and replacing our old satellite dishes and provider with a new faster and more reliable system.  I began the task of raising the lodge and leveling it in October and will continue the work next season. I cut brush along our road and plan on continuing that project as well next year. Painting is in the future as well as more shingling and cabin leveling so the 2024 season will be a busy one.  

Fishing on Wabaskang Lake continues to impress our guests, fishing for walleye, northern, crappie, bass, and musky were especially good this season. We continue to promote catch and release and encourage the release of all trophy sized fish. Some camps require their guests to release all walleyes over 18” and any northern over the slot limit, we are hopeful our guests are understanding the importance of releasing the big fish and we are seeing most over-sized fish being released without making it an actual requirement to stay in camp. Education is the key in convincing anglers to release large fish to protect the future of fishing not only on Wabaskang Lake but wherever you fish.

The season saw some very impressive musky fishing, the best we have ever witnessed. The fish can be found anywhere in the lake and our guests are using giant musky baits as well as normal sized northern lures. All the muskies caught were successfully released as well. Bill Mincks caught a 32” fish, Dave Pickle landed a 34” fish, Kristy Lammers boated a chunky 40” musky, Mike Lammers and Tim Wuethrich each landed 44” monsters. The biggest musky of the season was caught by Chad Peterson, he skillfully landed a 46” monster musky, job well done Chad.

Crappie fishing continues to be good for our early and late season guests. The tasty fish are well established in Keynote Lake, Aerobus Bay, and Ruby Bay. The best time to catch the fish are May, June, and September. A small tube jig or slip bobber and minnow worked best. Mike Schultz, Rick Carrillo, and Larry Dorenkamp all caught crappies up to 15” and the biggest crappie of the season as caught by Jeremy Bilharz, he boated a 15 ½’ slab.

Smallmouth bass are plentiful in the lake and provide exceptional action when hooked. Our guests enjoyed great early season fishing along the shallow weed lines and rocky shorelines. Crank baits, tube baits, and spinner baits all worked well for our guests. Once the water warmed our guests did exceptionally well fishing mornings and evenings over rock piles and sunken islands. We had a three-way tie for the biggest bass of the season, Kyle McNeil, Bodie Inselman, and Trenton Thiel all boated 20” trophies, great job fellas.

We had an unusual catch of a chunky 20 ½” largemouth bass by Bodie Inselman down in Keynote Lake, the biggest we have seen since we have owned the camp.

Walleye fishing was exceptional this season with plenty of huge trophies being released. Our guests used large tube baits, crank baits, and even live bait rigs to hook up with the spectacular fish. All the walleyes mentioned here were over 29” and released to fight another day. Mike Lammers and his son Reid both caught a 29 1\2” walleye, Jason Christensen caught a pair of beautiful 29 3\4” walleyes, Tim Murphy caught a 30” walleye, Kristy Lammers was really excited when her 31” walleye was measured and released. The biggest walleye of the season was caught and of course released by Jen Mericle, her 31 ¾” trophy was easily the biggest walleye caught by one of our guests in many seasons.

Northern angling was top notch this season. Our guests used a large variety of techniques but the most productive method seemed to be casting large stick baits and giant soft bodied tube baits. Tons of trophies released this season, here is an over view of the fish over 40” released. Bruce Mowatt landed a 42” brute, Allyn Harms struggled but did  eventually land his 41” trophy, Mike Lammers biggest northern this season was 40 1\2”, Marty Neihouser landed a 41 ½” monster pike, Leroy Bray caught a massive 41” trophy, Chad Peterson landed a 42” and 42 ½” northern, Roger Luhring still has his magic touch, he caught a nice 41 1\2” northern, Damon Wigner caught a 41” monster pike, Tim Reints landed a 40 ½” brute, Rhett Lammers skillfully landed a 42” pike, Steve Irish boated a chunky 42” northern, Dale Wilson caught his personal best, a beautiful 41” pike, the biggest northern of the season was caught by camp legend Tim Wuethrich, he caught a massive 44” northern, great job Tim.

Many of you are receiving a reservation form along with your Christmas letter, please look the form over and finish filling out the needed information then return the yellow copy along with your cabin deposit to our Waverly address, if you don’t plan on coming to camp this season, please notify us asap so we can give another party the opportunity to come to camp. Those receiving the reservation form are also receiving the new 2024 price list, there is about a 15% increase in rates from 2023 to 2024, the increase was absolutely necessary due to very high operating costs.

Julie and I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Jim and Julie

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