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Reminiscing with old pictures…


Like the title says, this post is all about some old photos from past seasons.  Sure you can call me lazy for not coming up with something new, but it’s interesting to go back in time a bit and see what was going on.  Can you spot yourself in any of these?  Bring back a few memories, some old stories perhaps?

An Eagle Lake muskie on a beautiful Fall day.

…I guess Mike is!

Thank you! Can I have another?

75 yards of 10lb. Fireline with a 4′ mono leader put this bait where it needed to be.

Off to Burton’s cabin on McGregor for the night. When stopped the dogs bark like crazy, but when they get going all is quiet…

Holly’s whitefish.

Henry and Adam doing the Polish thing.

Clearwater Bounty

Breakfast of Champions

A beauty of a fish!

Brad Walker. He never could handle his booze!

Bryce in love with two Polish girls.

How do you want your sock cooked?

A nice whitetail buck

Musky bite….

The River Monster Crew at VBL

29 1/2″ fatty

A very happy muskie girl with a heavy fish. “Dad, I’m shaking!”

Mary proudly showing off the first northern she caught and released on her own.

A happy camper with a nice pike.

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Mrs. Claus and I…

Potato man Steve Lueck.

Merry Christmas from VBL

Hope everyone is hunkered down to enjoy a great Christmas with friends and family!  Maybe some new fishing paraphernalia under the tree, or discussions on next year’s fishing adventures will be a highlight.   Let’s have a look at a few late season pictures from last fall and into the winter.

Jim’s first trout .. nice waterfall!

A late October pike.

High water on the trail to Caribou Lake

Putting away the portage boats for the winter.

October musky

Clearwater lake in the fall

It is very clear!

Photo memories for Henry and Anna.

Waiting for winter to set in.

Frosty morning by cabin three. Lilly on guard.

From the porch on cabin six.

Christmas at VBL

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Vermilion Bay Lodge madness 2018

In an effort to infuse a bit of extra “fun” into the season a number of years ago we came up with a few competitions (of a friendly nature) to inspire our guests to rise to the top, swing for the fence, don’t pee into the wind, etc.  Who would have thought that in 2019 we would be coming into our 15th Musky Madness Week or our 14th Walleye Madness Week!  That’s a fairly distinguished alumni of trophy winners over the years…..including Jeremy Wade from River Monsters who took the Musky trophy several years back.  Add to the excitement the relatively young Bull Perch Rodeo contest with it’s nail biting season long climax…a veritable hunt for the “big one”.  You might be thinking right about now that it’s almost too much to comprehend.  Well let’s simplify it by talking about this year’s competitions, the winners, and the losers….  Let’s examine Walleye Madness Week.  The last week of July brings together a seasoned bunch of walleye anglers.

As you can see, the tension is palpable at the awards night ceremony and pot luck dinner.  Will they win?  They look confident.  A big walleye under their belt?  Maybe…

The table is being set.  The trophies polished.  The prizes sorted.  The beer is flowing.  The fish are safe for a few hours…

 Meanwhile the ladies take in the fire and flagons of home brew.  Sorry, you can’t hide the cocktails…the eyes tell all.  Guilty!

A strong effort is rewarded.  You can never get enough of Gord’s special Poo Paper…autographed, of course.  “Slightly abrasive like himself”

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen Ric puts the finishing touches to his special fish dish while contemplating his speech, should he win.Oh, no, it was not to be.  A good effort and a runner up prize (fabulous VBL bling).  Sadly though, the loss was hard on Ric…seen here somewhat shrunken in his defeat.  While he did take 3rd place it was enhanced by the fact he beat his boat partner Brad Walker.Not sure where these two seasoned veterans placed but obviously they are relieved to have won mugs rather than toilet paper!

Bringing home the bacon.  Way to go Jen for releasing a 36 inch northern!

Second place winner Marcie Carey is ecstatic with what she incorrectly thinks is a new purse.

The winner of the 2018 Walleye Madness, Scott “the weasel” Wesling taking home a carved wall plaque and assorted walleye gear.  Congratulations!  Pro tip:  Scott is returning in 2019 to defend his title.  His weakness’s include:  early mornings, patience, Old Milwaukee beer and soft puppies.  Plan your strategy carefully  if you wish to take on “The Weasel” in 2019!

Ah yes, the Bull Perch Rodeo.  Unlike the other competitions this runs all season.  Simply put, the longest perch brought in (and measured by Gord) walks away with this hand carved wall trophy plus bragging rights for an entire season.  Not to mention your name permanently on display in the lodge…

…as a reminder and source of constant aggravation to those who really, really want to win this award.  You know who you are!

This year we have the unusual conclusion of a father / son duo who tied as winners of the competition.  At 11 1/2 inches we congratulate Truman Wilson and son Zachary for taking the title.  The plaque has been sent for their mutual enjoyment.  As I write this I can feel the tension building for next year.  Andy Lewis?  Paul Fulka?  Kurt Hebecker? Truman Wilson? New guest?

This leaves our final competition, Musky Madness.  Held the last week of September (generally our last week of the season), it is the longest musky of the tournament that takes home the prize.  The culmination is our awards night / banquet / shuffleboard tournament that is hosted by the Bayview Hotel (Official watering hole of the VBL Musky Madness Week).

Here I can be seen telling riveting tales of my shuffleboard prowess…

…yes, that’s right.  Another year, another shuffleboard championship for yours truly.  I graciously accept the title from Brent.  Others in the crowd were not so gracious and bordered on being abusive due to their loss.  On the musky I was not so lucky.  Here’s a few of the runner ups…

On a side note I have exhausted my supply of limited edition toilet paper.  This will likely be seen as a good thing.  The above photo shows Bob, who placed first and second with his 46″ and 38″ muskies.  Congratulations on a job well done!

Well, that just about covers that topic.  Now if you haven’t had the chance to participate in any of these “madness” events don’t fret over missing out.  If you think we’re not serious about continuing on with the tradition consider the following.  (Charles Weiss has been busy carving up some dandy trophies for up and coming anglers!)

Stay tuned for our next report on some late fall fishing and what’s been happening around camp.  Renovations?  Docks?  Boats? Bob Izumi?

Fishing Reports: Return from the Twilight Zone.

Apparently as you age time has a way of moving faster.  Hence my last post from June seems to have left a void as I now find myself in December.  Obviously the age / time relationship is inverse to the production of blog posts.  Shame on me!  In an effort to remain current let’s start a series of posts I will call the “Forgotten Weeks”.  Now, sometimes stories are best simmered slowly and brought out when the appetite is at it’s peak.  Who couldn’t use some warm weather, open water and a fish feeding frenzy right about now?  Let us peruse some images from post June, 2018….in no particular order.

These snappy dressers are the brothers Glenn & Joe Vollmer.  What is noteworthy considering the “time moving on” theme is that they were my first reservation when we bought VBL 26 years ago.  They have been regular guests over the years for the most part fishing small 4 wheel drive lakes with great success.  The one time I did talk Joe into delving into Eagle Lake they had the unfortunate encounter with a skeg ripping reef in Portage Bay.  Whoops!

Some may say there is still room to perfect Glenn’s fish catching skills after 26 + years but he seems happy none the less.  Way to go Glenn!

While perch do have their following, the past summer was probably more noteworthy for some of the big fish brought to boat-side.  The Perkis family with some nice musky…

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Version 2

Let’s continue on with the musky theme….

A first in 26 years of operation was the fishermen who loved to target rock bass.  Seems like they are abundant and easy to catch if you can think like a “rocky”.  Fun fact:  there is no limit on rock bass.

Of course other fish were the target of attention over the summer.  Here’s a sampling…

Now, some may recognize the anglers in the last photo with the whitefish and lake trout.  Joe & Andy, “The Professors”.  Other than their love of fall fishing in the backwoods of Clearwater, McGregor and Caribou Lakes, they are noteworthy in that they are my only adult guests who still play with action figures.

Fisherman Steve with a big one.

So there we have it.  Installment #1.  Stay tuned for results of the triple header of VBL competitions… Walleye Madness, Musky Madness, and The Bull Perch Rodeo!  What happened this fall Gord?  What about cabin renovations?  All will be revealed, stay calm, watch for the signs.


Mid to late June update…

Time is flying by and July will soon be upon us!  Fishing has been good even with some hot weather and May flies.  Much better here on the lake than stuck in the big city, for sure!  Here’s a few photos to let you know what’s been happening here at the lodge.

Jen Sturmo with a very nice 27 1/2 inch released walleye.

Young Joe Westerman wins a lure at the fishfry for catching his first walleye, northern and musky all on the same day!

Invited to shorelunch courtesy of Cal Ritchie’s Eagle Lake Guide Service. How come I’m doing all the work?

51 incher..congratulations!

Head flower person and baking person…..Susanne’s mom, Gerda

Potato man Steve Lueck.

53 inch musky caught on a jig and walleye!

Apparently the bait you need to catch a 53 incher!

Even Manitoban’s can catch walleye. George Benger is impressed with himself!

The view as it stands right now…..pretty darn good!

Nice to see these again. Cow and calf down in Blind Bay.

It looks like temperatures are heating up south of the border.  If you want to escape and experience some Eagle Lake relaxation I’ve had a cancellation for June 30 to July 7 (one cabin) and July 7 to 14 (one cabin).  Things are booked up till the end of August so give me a call and we’ll work out a last minute deal!!!

July 1st…Canada Day

Have a good one!

May 26 to June 3…….fishing update.

Second week of the season and all is well.  A rather quiet week with just the Kaehr and Grohnke group but the fishing was great.  Begs the question “What are you waiting for?”.  Some of the best fishing of the year.  Put it on your calendar for next year!  Thanks for the pictures…. Full camp coming up….now the fun begins!

Clearwater trout