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Life in the lodge “biz”…

In my Christmas newsletter I waxed poetically over maintaining the rustic nature of VBL in the face of constant change and the value of tradition.  In this post I would like to take this a bit further and maybe explain how, after 40 plus years working at fishing lodges, I have arrived at this state of mind…

Back in Winnipeg in the mid seventies (think long hair and really wide bottom jeans) I saw an ad for summer help at a fishing lodge in NW Ontario.  Lindmeier’s North Shore Lodge on Eagle Lake was probably not your typical fishing lodge at the time.  A bit larger than most and with it’s own airstrip it catered to your average fishermen plus large influxes of corporate groups.  This was my introduction to the fishing lodge life and traditions. Get products for your skincare when you go fishing, check out under eye patches.

A young “El Gordo” with a rack of 20hp Johnson outboards








Ice Out Update #4

It’s April 22, and things are looking “spring-like”!  Before we get to current conditions let us review a bit of what happened last week.  Finally made the last trip into the portage lakes…

Otter Lake transport boat with the vintage Evinrude.

A new prop and some gas should make the old lady run better!

Clearwater Lake boats getting an upgrade of new fish locators!

So back to today.  Not sure I would want to be running over the lake now, but here’s some current ice conditions from VBL…

Aside from the slowly melting ice some may ask the question “what else is going on?”

Here’s a glimpse of renovations underway in cabin 6…

Tongue and groove pine done, now ceiling and flooring next…..

For those last minute stragglers who have yet to enter an ice out guess, now is your chance!  Let Gord know what your prediction is soon!

Ice Out Update #3

Did someone say Spring is coming?

Well, that is the rumor.  Here’s some visual evidence as to the extent of ice out in our region.  Let’s just say it is perfect conditions to get back into the portage lakes to do some repairs and resupply.

The old Polaris makes it back into McGregor lake.

Always good to have a generator along should you wish to blend up some cocktails.

New seat bases guaranteed to not buckle under load.

Terry anxiously awaits spring fishing.  Note the security device re: bung hole

Goodbye MacGregor….see you in a month!

Clearwater boats up and ready for trout fishing.

The saga of the winch continues. I have an idea to make this more stable….we’ll see…

So there you have it…

I have one more trip to make back into the portage lakes for some final additions.  I will report back on the changes then.  In the meanwhile should you wish to make a guess it’s not too late to contact Gord with your thoughtful prediction.

Reminder:  No, you can’t change your prediction once you’ve submitted it!

Ice Out Update #2

Here’s a brief update as of Saturday, April 6, 2019.

Yes, we are getting rid of snow with ice showing it’s face on the lake.  For those of you who are still weighing your options here’s the 14 day forecast for our neck of the woods…

The camp as it looked yesterday…

If you think you now have a handle on the arrival of open water contact Gord a.s.a.p.

Now for some gratuitous fish pics…

Chris with a 38″ trout!

Ice out update

..with gratuitous ice fishing action..

Well, a sudden warming trend has dramatically changed the landscape.  Here’s a view from the lodge…

Sorry, it’s April 1, right?

Oh yeah, so funny!  Back to reality.  Here’s a few shots in front of the lodge yesterday.

Snow levels are gradually shrinking and the lake is close to showing us some glare ice…but based on drilling a few holes yesterday there’s still a few feet of good ice.

The perch go wild…

Wearing her bear bell and machete, Susanne pauses to catch a “bull perch”!
Not to be outdone….
It’s looking like perch for dinner!

A week or so ago I had the chance to travel into a lake I’ve never fished before.  Here’s a short video from that trip! 

Still haven’t made your ice out guess yet?  When you’re ready contact Gord to submit your entry!  Good luck!

Ice Out 2019…

“When you are in any contest, you should work as if there were – to the very last minute – a chance to lose it.”  Dwight D. Eisenhower

“There’s only one winner in this contest.  The rest, losers”   H. Gordon Bastable 

March 22, 2019

Some might say it’s a bit harsh to categorize those who fail as “losers”.  I only use the term in the way Mother Nature intended.  A herd of deer who are overtaken by a pack of wolves would not refer to the slowest deer as “a winner”, nor be recognized for it’s “participation”.  That deer has lost, it is the loser.  Harsh but true.  Unlike the deer, your participation in this contest will not result in you being torn to shreds, physically.  Some of you may be left emotionally scarred.  That is the chance you take to aim for greatness, and for some swell VBL swag (the winner gets his / her choice of any nifty lodge fashion item…excluding our line of spandex musky fishing pantaloons).

So about now you are probably wondering how you too can win big in this contest.  Here’s how it goes.  The winner is the first person to email me the correct date that Vermilion Bay will be ice free (as judged by a panel of experts…me).  Understand this critical point.  You may pick the correct date BUT if you are not the FIRST person to send me that guess, you will not win. 

Now for the strategy.  I will be posting updates on the ice conditions.  Should you wish to bide your time, take stock of the conditions, monitor my posts, and then take a rational informed guess, that might result in victory.  However, those who throw caution to the wind may, in the end, beat you to the punch.  What to do?  Don’t ask me, I haven’t won the contest ever!

Remember all guesses are kept confidential.  Email Gord with your guess.

March 22, 2019

Now for some nonrelated fish pictures to remind us that spring is coming…..

This picture says it all…