Merry Christmas 2017
Warm holiday greetings from Jim and Julie’s Wabaskang Camp. Another great season has come to an end and we want to thank each one of you for your continued patronage and friendships, we have always felt we have the greatest guests in the world! It is hard to believe Julie and I have been the owners of Wabaskang Camp for eighteen seasons and we plan on staying for many more.
The 2017 season officially began for us when I drove into camp on the 26th of April. The mild winter was followed by an even milder spring so when I arrived in camp there was no snow and the ice was completely gone from the lake. I was excited to see that the dock was in great shape and all the cabins had gone through the winter with no obvious signs of damage other than a few loose shingles and one cracked window. Many years the cold and snow kept me from getting a jump on things but not this season. I kept very busy the first few days getting all the cabins and sheds opened and getting the four wheelers, pickups, golf carts, and mowers running. After that was accomplished I was able to get the pump house opened and had treated water going to the lodge, I always like to have running water for Julie when she arrives! Julie rolled into camp on the 5th of May and promptly started opening cabins and giving everything a good cleaning. The warm temperatures really helped in getting everything in camp ready to go by the time our first guests of the season arrived on the 17th of May. Julie had plenty of projects for us to work on this season and we did our best to complete most of them. One project was to try to paint four more cabins and with the help of our friend Greg the cabins were painted and look just great. Another big job was replacing all the windows in seven of the cabins and with the help of Arnold, Lyne, and Grant we were able to get all the new windows in and only have some trim work and painting and staining to do in the spring. I spent much of the season cutting brush and trimming trees along the power line and road into camp, one more season and we should have all the brush cut along the entire four miles into camp, I also replaced the counter tops in the fish cleaning house with new water-resistant tops. Of course, there were numerous small projects we did all season long like seeding down the new septic mound, changing many lights from incandescent to fluorescent, we also replaced the outboard motors with brand new 20hp Yamaha four-stroke motors. Next season looks just as busy with Julie still wanting me to remodel two more cabins and maybe start work on remodeling or replacing the lodge. I plan on rebuilding the main crib the floating dock attaches to as it is almost 16 years old and the boards are beginning to rot. The new septic system we installed last year is working well and we will be replacing the old pumps with new pumps and alarms in 2018, something the Ministry of the Environment recommends. Although we completed many projects there is always plenty of work to do, hopefully next season we will get just as much work done.
Julie returned to Iowa along with our dog Winnie on the 10th of October, she returned to work a few days later at Kay and L Draperies. I stayed at camp working on the windows and closing things down until the 28th of October when I decided the snow and cold was just too much to work around and headed home, I am back at work with Julie now as well.
We had another great year of fishing here at Wabaskang Camp. The walleye fishing continues to impress our guests with plenty of trophies being caught and released this season. There are a variety of techniques used by our guests to catch walleyes, early season sees many of our guests using a tiny jig tipped with a bit of worm or small minnow, a bobber and minnow also works well as the fish are very shallow, a tiny crank bait or plastic grub is also very effective in the cold, shallow water, as the season progresses and the weeds begin to emerge our guests work the shallow and medium depth weed lines and rock piles with jigs and minnows or Lindy Rigs tipped with a worm or minnow, medium sized tube baits and crank baits work well as does a simple spinner rig with a minnow or worm, but go deeper, most fish are caught around the eight to twelve foot depth. As the water warms the walleyes move to the thicker weeds where they can bury themselves in the cooler, shaded water most of the day and feed primarily mornings and evenings, fish can be caught throughout the day, but you must pull them from the thick weeds where the fish find sanctuary. Many bigger walleyes begin to move to open water as well this time of year and suspend at about the thirty-foot level in fifty or more feet of water, the fish move to the surface as the sun goes down and feed on bait fish that are schooling near the surface, just troll or cast the clouds of bait fish with crank baits or flashy spoons and you will entice some real monsters. We saw plenty of trophy Walleye caught this season I’ll just mention a few of the bigger fish. Bob Ayres landed a chunky 27 1/2” fish the opening week, Rick Carlson released a 28 5/8” fish, Bonnie McCord released a 25 1/4” walleye which was her personal best and definitely crushed husband Doug’s best efforts, Scott Mead released a 27” walleye that bested Pete Sauer’s imaginary monster walleye that flopped off right at the boat according to “Imagination Pete”, Mitch Weinberg released a 26” walleye that wasn’t imaginary, Kay Willoughby mounted the 28 1/4” walleye she landed to husband Jim’s surprise, Samantha Phippen caught and released a beautiful 29 3/4” walleye she caught while holding her dad Scott’s pole while he was retying a jig on her pole, a win is a win right Samantha? Quinn Edeker released his 26” beauty, maybe he should teach father Dan a few tricks, Dave Schaller released a 27” walleye that impressed both his brothers, Trent Thiel may be young but his 28 1/4” walleye was big enough to win him the free hat and he released his fish as well, great job Trent. Ron Peterson has been in a bit of a slump lately, his best walleye released this season was a measly 25”, Ron’s wife Ann released a 26” walleye but Ann’s brother Glenn Grooters released a 27 1/2” walleye that seemed to frustrate Ron somewhat, how does it feel Ron? Might want to get used to it “Old Timer”. Les Jones released a chunky 26 1/2” walleye, he is always so modest about his big fish. Hayden Lusk released a 27 1/4” walleye, not bad for a fella’s first visit to camp. Dennis Earney caught a beautiful 28” walleye, Jeannette Snyder crushed husband Kevin this season with the 25” walleye she released, also no hooks in her hand this season, keep up the good work Jeannette. Deb Mardis released a 25” walleye, Donn Cummings released a chunky 26” fish that was quickly crushed by his boat captain Tim Wuethrich, Tim released many big “eyes” this season, his biggest was 28”. Gabe Christensen may be young but his 27” walleye was the biggest of his fishing career so far. Jennifer Mericle released a beautiful 26 1/4” walleye that easily beat anything her husband Jon reeled in, (and Travis is still my favorite). Bill Mincks still has a few tricks up his sleeve and the 27” walleye he released will keep wife Susan quiet for one more season. Sid Hancock was so excited when he showed me the picture of the 29 1/4” walleye he released, proclaimed it to be the fish of his lifetime only to see “Big Mike” Lammers stumble into the lodge to announce he had just released a 29 1/2” walleye, seems Mike takes great pleasure crushing other people’s dreams. Kevin Parker hasn’t been on the leader board for quite some time but the 27” walleye he released easily blew the rest of his group out of the water. Zach Raner has a fish allergy but it seems the fish don’t know that because he is taking a monster 28 1/2” walleye home to hang on the wall, great job Zach. Judy Becker is such a quiet and reserved woman but everybody in camp knew it when she landed a 26” walleye, next season we may have to hand out ear plugs before she arrives. Brianna Wilson not only released the biggest walleye of her life, a giant 28” beauty but she also said yes to Paul Luecke after he cornered her on our dock and dropped down to one knee and asked her to marry him, Paul was also out fished by Brianna, his biggest walleye released for the week was only 26 1/2”, better get used to coming in second Paul. Susan Langfritz released her biggest walleye ever, a 26 1/2” brute, easily crushing her husband Brett who could only manage releasing a measly 25 1/2” walleye as his biggest. Kim Schaeffer released a 27” walleye, her husband Tim would love to take some of the credit but let’s face it Tim, she caught her fish in spite of you not because of you. Terri Roose released a 28 1/2” walleye, her husband Dan released a 26” walleye, might want to stick to bass fishing Dan. Tim Primus made his first trip to camp and the 26” walleye he released was caught while fishing with “Big Mike”, great fish for Tim considering who he was fishing with. Walt Martin Snodgrass landed a 25 1/2” walleye and it was just
his first trip to camp, must have something to do with being Richard Snodgrass’s grandson. Dave Kohrt sure was a happy fella, he is taking a 28” walleye home for the wall, Scott Willms brought a new Lund to camp this season, his biggest walleye was 26 1/2” released but we expect big things from Scott next season. Joe Hill had one of the biggest walleyes of the season, he is taking a 29 3/4” brute home for the wall, great job Joe, long hours on the lake does pay off.
Our bass fishing seems to get better and better each season, I believe we have some of the best bass fishing in Northwestern Ontario. Our guests love to cast the rock piles and shallow weeds with soft-bodied baits and crank baits. Many of our guests also catch plenty of good fish using a bobber and worm as bait. I am really impressed by the average size of the “smallies” coming from Wabaskang Lake, lets chat about s few of the biggest bass of the season. Josh Lembrich released a 22” bass, his bass was one of the first bass caught in our 2017 season and turned out to be the biggest of the season, now what can you do next season? Kevin Johnson released a 19 3/4” brute, he is always the first boat on the water and obviously the early bird does catch the worm, or fish! Kevin’s son Blake usually sleeps in every morning, but he did manage to release a 19 1/2” bass between naps, growing boys need their sleep. Kenny Pierce released a 19” bass that made him a big winner in his group. Bonnie McCord once again made her husband Doug eat crow, she easily topped anything he caught when she released a gigantic 19 1/4” bass, her best ever on Wabaskang. Steve Sauer had a great week this season, his biggest bass released was a 19 1/2” monster, Steve is becoming a regular on the leader board at camp each season. Samantha Phippen had one of the biggest walleyes of the season but she also released a 19” bass that shows she isn’t just lucky she is skilled, right Jack? Craig Codner took time out from his hectic schedule to come to camp and he released a 21” bass that his buddy Rob Roose can only dream of catching. Brett Ulrich brought his two young boys to camp this season and the 19” bass he released won him a hat and made a believer out of his sons. Braden Lowes came all the way from Texas to see me and release a gigantic 19” bass, Roger Cummings was fishing with Tim Wuethrich all week, but he still managed to catch and release a 19 1/2” bass, always feels good to beat Tim! Casey Christensen managed to dodge the lightning long enough to release a 19” bass, great catch Casey “Lightning Rod” Christensen. Gill Nack was trying to teach his nephew a few things and the 19” bass he managed to catch, and release was a good start. Jacob Mericle caught a bass from the dock that was 15” long, it wasn’t the biggest of the week but was caught by who I consider to be the best angler in the Mericle family. Garrett Hancock released a 19” bass, Bill Mincks released a 19 1/4” brute to once again keep wife Susan quiet, Beau Thompson was fishing with “Big Mike” when he released a 19 1/2” bass, Mike took some of the credit of course. Todd Peterson released a 20 1/2” bass, keeps father Ron in his place one more season. Logan Kleinschmidt released a 19 1/4” bass that put a huge smile on his face. Trish Westerman did her best to represent the ladies in camp when she released a 19” beauty. Jason “Pontoon” Morse released a 19” bass, his biggest ever. Dan Roose finally learned to hold a bass without dropping it and the 19 1/4” bass he released won him a free hat—finally. Dave Schaller landed and released a 19” bass, Larry Duffel is more of a walleye fisherman than bass but when your good your good and the 19” bass he released easily won him bragging rights in his cabin, which isn’t really saying much. Brett Langfritz is a camp legend in these parts, just ask him, anyway the 19 3/4” bass he released was a big winner in camp and had his buddy Harlan Kruse speechless, please catch more big bass next season Brett. Gene Katzung seems to be in camp all season long even though it is really only four weeks, he did take a 19” bass home to hang on the wall that seemed to raise wife Darlene’s eyebrows.
The northern fishing had good weeks and some very slow weeks. It seems weeds are the key to catching numbers of decent sized fish and this season the weeds were slow to emerge and then seemed to start to disappear earlier than normal. Our guests love to throw tube baits, stick baits, spoons, and spinner baits at the toothy critters, just find a weedy bay or rocky shoreline and hang on. Sam Kinzy started things off this season when he embarrassed brother Matt by releasing a 41” brute, looks like Sam is the real fisherman in the family. Jorden Hansen is becoming a regular in camp—unfortunately, anyway he did released a 41” monster while fishing with “Big Mike”, “Big Mike” had a tough year so many of our guests took great pride in rubbing his nose in his “stain of defeat”, Mike’s biggest northern of the season was a 42” fish that was obviously dazed and confused, he released his fish after realizing he is old news around camp, move over “Big Mike” there are lots of new sheriff’s in camp. Brody Williams released a 42 1/2” northern he caught while fishing with grandpa Mike Williams, seems the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, which means Brody’s fish was pure luck. Brandon Heuer returned to camp this season, he says he is dating our daughter, so he should get a price break but all her other boyfriends this season paid full price so no deal Brandon, oh he did release a chunky 40 1/2” northern while tossing a Bulldog lure I gave him, your welcome fella. Mike Behnke released a 41” northern that was easily the biggest of the week until little Rhett Lammers came along and landed and released a gigantic 44” fish, seems Rhett enjoys crushing our guests dreams as much as his father “Big Mike” does. Judy Becker was our guest this season, all she wanted was a big northern and she hooked into and released a whopping 41” brute while fishing with her son-in-law “Big Mike”, seems Mike will let someone beat him if wife Kristy gets involved, I guess we know who wears the pants in his family. Kristy did catch a 40” northern while fishing in Mike’s boat, seems Mike has become more of a “mascot” than a “player” in camp lately. Brian Boevers released two northern when he was in camp, one was 40” and the other was 40 1/2”, he still was clobbered by Bill Mincks when he released a whopping 43 1/2” fish, keep trying Brian someday the hat will be yours. Kevin Holm caught a 41” fish, his fish easily won him bragging rights with his group. Tim Wuethrich is in camp almost as often as his mentor “Big Mike”. Tim’s biggest northern this season was only 41 1/2” but he probably caught and released more northern over 39” than any of our guests this season, maybe “Big Mike” should “job shadow” Tim next season. Tyler Evers makes the most of his time at Wabaskang, he released a 41” northern that put a big smile on his buddy Steve Young’s face. Harlan Kruse always has a story to tell, this season he lost a massive northern that simply out smarted him, seems Doyle Brocka forgot to check Harlan’s drag before they started fishing and Harlan’s dream of catching a big northern remains just that, a dream.
Crappie fishing continues to improve on Wabaskang Lake. Most of the crappie are caught early and late in the season and almost always down in Keynote lake. A jig and minnow or spinner and worm worked great along with tiny crank baits and small tube jigs. The crappie’s averaged 12” and we saw some of our guests bring in their limits early in the season. The top fish were caught by Brian Weller, a 14” fish, Blake “Sleepy” Johnson, a 14” crappie, Jeff Gaerke, a 14” crappie, and the biggest crappie was caught by none other than Aimee Traugh, she landed a 14 1/2” fish to win herself a free hat.
Lake trout fishing can be decent on Wabaskang Lake if you know when and where. The best spot is Aerobus Bay in areas of deep water. the best bait seems to be a blue and silver spoon. The biggest trout of the season was caught by Conrad Stromberg, he landed a 35” beauty that even surprised Conrad, Rick is a great teacher right Conrad?
Another season has come and gone, and we are looking forward to seeing all of you again next year. Please to remember to bring your Outdoors Card along to camp even if it has expired to speed up the process of issuing you a license. Now is the time to check your passport and make sure it hasn’t or won’t expire before your trip. For those of you receiving the reservation form please remember to return it to us along with your deposit before December 15th. We have guests waiting for any available cabins and I promised them we would have news by the 15th. If you don’t plan on making the trip this season, please e-mail or call so we can give someone else the opportunity to experience the beauty and great fishing on Wabaskang Lake.
Thanks again to all our wonderful guests for such an enjoyable season, we hope to see all again next year.
Jim and Julie