BACK HOME AND A CHANCE TO BREATHE...
...here's a little of what kept us busy
How's the battle...hope you're winning!!
Just wanted to be in touch and give you some feeling on how the "summer that never was" went at Tate. Challenged with late ice out, a summer that didn't seem to arrive til mid August, and some projects that didn't get done as planned, created a very short season. All in all things went well, but just wanted to put an end to the concept that all we lodge owners do is fish all summer and vacation all winter...and that life is great just to be on the lake. It does have its appeal, but also has its moments.
All that said...wouldn't trade it for anything, and can't wait for next spring to do it again, and we hope to see you on the dock next summer. By the way, cut cribbing poles and have lumber in camp to replace the dock system next year...so this time I can say "hope to see you on the NEW dock next summer!"
Here are some of the highlites of the summer...enjoy.
Have a great day!!
Jim and Gail
Spring Thaw...or not
Loaded and headed northbound from home early this spring to get into camp as soon as the ice goes and be well prepared for guests and get a headstart on some summer projects...wrong!!
Reports were, from the guides, that ice out looked late and from life long experience told us not to be in a big rush to get there.We doubted their wisdom, and thought ...how bad could it be. Well, this was the latest spring ice out in at least 50 years...more proof of Global Warming. We sat for 3 weeks at a friends place waiting for the melt, but looked at nothing but frozen white Arctic. Hired planes to fly over camp about every 4 days to see if we had enough liquid to land, which didn't happen til June 17. And then had "just" enough to get down on floats, unload, and get up again...normal getting in to camp is between May 20-25. Was kind of neat seeing 4 Caribou on the shore in front of the lodge when we were landing...was hoping for Caribou backstrap for dinner one of those first days, but no time to go after them, had guests coming in 2 days. The ice around the lodge was getting black and rotten by then, so told our June 19 guests all was a go for their trip, but as far as us being 100% ready was not going to be the case. Much appreciation to those guests who looked at it as an exciting adventure. However, the pilot told me later that they were preparing to hang me upon arrival as they were flying in to camp and saw nothing but frozen lake. But enough was open around us to get started, and we were able to get to all our fishing spots and hunting areas in a couple days. So they didn't hang me, but probably would have been a favor at that point...for some reason most of them thought it was fun???
In the end had to reschedule a few, and scramble to get things organized, but it all worked out in the end despite what nature dealt us.
New Lodge in final stage
Sometimes it seems like years, and sometimes feels it's gone so fast, but the huge project of an entire new lodge we started 4 summers ago is in the final stages of completion. Over the last 2 seasons we have moved in a little at a time. We started building in 2006 and completed the kitchen, laundry, dining area, deck and lobby and started using them in the spring of 2008. Now this summers main project was to complete as much of the lounge as we could and also finish up the exterior. Once again because of our late spring, we stayed late into September to make up for the lost time in the spring for projects. It ended up being the nicest weather we had all summer. We were considering staying longer, however, watching the tens of thousands of geese flying southbound each day made us think they knew something we didn't. End result, before leaving for home this fall, we finished up the entire experior but for painting (but the natural cedar looks real good...kind of hate to paint it). As far as the interior, all that is left to complete is to finish up the fireplace and the flooring in the new lounge. We will be finished and telling stories in there and around the new fireplace next summer. The pool table is already there and I can't wait to break that first rack of balls.
And so...Ole and Sven...
...the two Norwegian buddies from Minnesota were at Jim and Gail's new remote bear hunting camp.
Not knowing Ole was in the outhouse, Sven opened up the door and found Ole throwing his wallet and checkbook into the outhouse hole.
Sven surprisingly asked "Ole...vat da hell ya doin"?
Ole said "Vell Sven...ven I vent to pull up my pants, 2 quarters fell out of my pocket into the hole....
....and ya don't tink I'm going in there for just fifty cents do ya?"
(I guess now I'll be getting emails from all the offended Norwegians...oh well that's Gails' side of the family)
The Summer That Never Was
New Bear Tent Camps in 2011
Bear Hunting continues to be impressive...not that we're surprised with what we know is out there, with limiting our number of hunters, and outfitting in an area that was never hunted until we started 2 years ago. Once again because of late ice, we got a late start, but the bear were waiting for us at their usual streams and creeks where they congregate each spring. Unlike most places who have to pre-bait early to bring them in, our animals are already there, and migrate to our area from possibly 150 miles because of the attraction of the fish filled streams unique to our area.
Trophy quality and chance of color phase was again, very good and all had plenty of opportunity even if not successful.
We remained open 1 week into September to have a fall hunt so some of the spring hunters we had to reschedule could get their hunt in, and we had 100% success. Dan Williams, one of those fall hunters whose bow was misplaced by United Airline, sat on the stand entertained for 4 days determined he wasn't going to shoot a bear until hopefully his equipment would show up. On the 5th day he decided to quit pushing his luck and took the 9th bear he had seen with a gun borrowed from another guest. I hope I can get him back to complete his goal of a monster with a bow.
This fall we got the OK from Natural Resources to expand our hunting area by setting up tent camps in areas that would otherwise be too far to travel to each day. So next summer we will be scouting great areas to the north of us on Reindeer full of creeks, streams and BEAR. This new area also has never before been hunted, and we will be preparing remote tent camps for spring of 2011 that will be close to great bear hunting and fishing areas. I expect great success and interest in this. If you are interested in getting in on the ground floor of either a guided or self sufficient fully furnished tent camp trip like this, let me know and I can fill you in on the details.
Trophy Lake Trout
Tremendous Northern Pike
(not to mention our good looks and personalities)
Each year I find it difficult to come up with different words on how good the fishing is on Reindeer. Where most places want to say what exceptional fishing they had this year, I can only say it was as good as last year, but what a great predicament that fishing continues to have not changed in years and probably decades. It is so great to be here in the land of the lots and big. where pressure is so little, that fish "tales" and stretching reality doesn't have to be reverted to. It gives me great pleaseure to tell people that the big Pike of the year caught at 90% of the other places is what we go after here every day. That's not to say that some days are not better than others...that's fishing...but far and away, and knowing what's out there, from our 25 years in the Canadian outfitting industry, we will put the fishing on Reindeer and especially the waters surrounding Tate Island Lodge up against any of them. In most cases it won't even be close. It sure makes it fun to not have to come up with excuses, like too calm...too windy...too cold...too warm etc. It's just plain good, year after year. Lots, lots, lots of Pike between 40-50 inches, dozens and dozens in the mid 40's and several in the upper fo's into the low 50's. No excuses for this Pike fishing.
Trout...too many to begin to guess the numbers, and often too many in one day to keep track of...I just wish more would bring me in pictures of those 40-50 pounders that they tell me they had up to the boat before breaking off.
We had real good Walleye this summer with a better than average number of bigger fish. Several in the 27-28 inch range which is unusual for us. The 2's to 5's are what we expect. The big ones are an exception especially with the numbers of them we saw this year. I tell my main guide Henry each time they are going after Walleye to bring me back a half a dozen to eat, but that I want them between 14-17 inches. If he fails at anything, that's it. It seems that there is an abundance of of 20-24 inch Walleye here, but we have a heck of a time getting some small ones for me to eat!
And last but not least, very good Grayling this year...rediscovered some old spots the guys used to do well at, but hadn't gone to in years. We checked them out again...and WOW. Good surface action on the calm days and trolling success on days when they could not be seen on top. There was consistent 15-16 inchers, which is good in anyones book, and several over 20 inches.
Big thanks to all we saw this summer, and just wasn't the same when we didn't see some that we look forward to each year. Hope things work out to where most can plan on their trip to Tate Island Lodge again next summer. We have made some schedule changes to make our trips more convenient for our guests. We will still be offering 5 day and 7 day trips. However, this year our 5 day trips will all be Monday to Saturday and our 7 day trips will all be Saturday to Saturday. This will make it simple and allows for you to only have to deal with 1 work week. We only have a few Bear hunts available yet for opening week, and June is very tight. If you are interested in either of those, call soon...800-709-3475.
Prices, schedule and all up to date information is on our website at www.TateIslandLodge.com
Take Care...Keep in Touch