2023: End of the season wrap-up!

August / September Report

Can someone please explain to me how the summer went by so fast? My blog reports sputtered to a halt in August and the lethargy carried over into September / October. It wasn’t totally a gumption issue…my old computer packed it in and the resulting “new and improved” version has me on a learning curve, much to my chagrin. I think I have a handle on it now so let’s begin….in no particular order:

All the major food groups.....excellent!
With all the major food groups (fruit, vegetables, fish, beer) this is good, and good for you!

The annual “Perch Rodeo” competition came down to the wire once again. By “wire” I mean waiting to the last week of the season to bring in the winning fish. Here Andy Lewis displays his 12 1/4 ” bull perch caught on September 29, 2023. Andy is no stranger to leading in this category…..apparently his perching abilities have been honed to a razor edge! Here’s a few other shots documenting his prowess…

A few days earlier with a 12 incher…
Apparently the secret “honey hole” paid off once again. Can someone stop Andy’s reign of terror? 2024!

Since we’re on the subject of competition let’s review what happened at “Musky Madness” this year. Held during the last week of September we had an ecclectic group of participants….perch guys, walleye guys, musky guys, all in search of the longest released musky and united in the goal of beating Len (in a positive way of course).

Len Belpedio with a pre or post competition musky….could have been a winner! Reminds me of the April Wine lyrics (altered for Len):
Could have been alright, could have been here tonight
Could have been sweet as wine, you could have been a hairy lady
I could have been alright, I could have been here tonight
Could have been sweet as wine, you could have been a hairy lady
Congratulations to Mike Belpedio on taking 1st place with a personal best of 45 inches. Mike was able to pull off this feat while saddled with “Net Man of the Year” Len Belpedio……good job at overcoming adversity Mike! For those not familiar with the “Net Man of the Year” award, it is presented to a select few in recognition of using the net as a premature release tool on your partners musky. Sad but true.
Mike Belpedio…45″
A tie for second place at 43 inches……from left to right: Dave Neshek, and Mike Smith taking home limited edition cherry wood VBL cribbage boards….and engraved whiskey glasses to drown their sorrows (although they seem pretty happy)! Mike Smith was also the third place winner at 40 1/4″. Other muskies caught were as follows:
  • Len Belpedio…39″
  • Bob Stevens…30.5″
  • Gord B….28″
Dave Neshek….43″
Mike Smith…43″
At 28 inches it wasn’t the biggest fish, but a very attractive one. Hard to believe that “back in the day” this was considered a legal musky.
Mike Zahrt and Bob Stevens doing a fine job of grilling steaks for the Musky Madness awards night. They did such an amazing job that I’ve turned over all future cooking to them…….
Dave Neshek with the biggest pike during the competition @ 38 3/4 inches. Second and third places went to Mark Doucette @ 36 3/4 inches and Ashley @ 33 inches.
The end of September saw us with the lowest water levels of the season. Somehow we made the docking situation work. Right now (end of October) water levels are even lower.

Before we leave Musky Madness Week, I took it upon myself to start a competion for the “Best in the water release photo”. Why you may ask, in the water? I thought it might be interesting and actually constructive, from a conservation point of view, to encourage less stressful encounters between anglers and muskies. Here’s a sampling:

For 2024 I would consider expanding the best release photo contest to all species over the course of the season. Comments? Suggestions? Prize? Monthly winner?

Here’s a selection of random photos from this past September….

…and before someone asks, no, the lodge is not on fire…but an interesting shot from cabin 1.

It seems like I’m working my way backwards from fall to summer…..but that’s how my memory works.

Across the portage trail…
…a mixed bag of lake trout…
…pike ( a dandy!)
….and smallmouth!
Using the “Lewis rig”…they bit on the fly…
Judy and Arnie Novak…..shore lunch and a cold “eulB”

I know I’ve probably forgotten or misplaced many photos, and can’t remember half the things that happened over August / September, but this seems like a good representation of events. If you have a recollection of your own, how about posting it in the comment section` below?

I will sign off, for now, with an interesting happening this fall……….let’s take a look at this photo…

A half digested “fish” taken out of the stomach of a pike I cleaned in September. Species?

If your guess was “crappie”, you are most likely correct. I ran this past an MNR fisheries biologist who agrees. If you remember from a past blog post (3 -4 years ago) we had 15 inch black crappie caught in VBay brought in. This new fish was also caught from Eagle Lake but a different bay, which will remain “under wraps” until further investigation.

I hope the blog posts over this summer were of interest. Of course nothing takes the place of actually spending time on Eagle Lake. We look forward to see as many of you as possible next season. Till then stay tuned and stay warm!

12 thoughts on “2023: End of the season wrap-up!

  1. Great stuff. Congratulations to all who made it to VBL this season. That is reward enough for anyone. Good to see the wood boat in use. Gord, you may want to consider putting Prevagen on your Christmas list…

  2. Excellent varieties of images.
    Wonderful yellow “bulk” perch
    Suzanne with a long large
    Northern pike.
    I always like to see in water muskie release images!
    Tell us more stories about adventures of Net Man of the year?

  3. Gord,
    We conducted repetitive experiments that show if you alternate drinking an eulB and then a Blue, you never become intoxicated. Not to get all technical, but they cancel each other out. And that’s a scientific fact!

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Thank you very much for making my get a way week so enjoyable. Dan and I had a great time. You and Susanne should be commended on how clean and well maintained your cabins and lodge are. I will recommend you to anyone that is looking to go to Canada fishing and I look forward to the time I can come back.

Jody Hansen

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