The “Dog days of Summer”…

Dog days are defined as those hot & humid days of mid summer…

We’ve had a lot of hot weather this summer, and even now as we approach the end of August water temps are in the mid to low 70’s. Fortunately the nights are cool and the bugs are few! Before I reminisce about the past few weeks let’s turn our attention to long time guest Andy Lewis, commonly referred to as one of the “professors”. As part of our ongoing “Tales From the Lodge” segment, Andy has a yarn to spin on his connection to VBL….

More tales from the lodge:

….by Andy Lewis, Middleton, Wi.

Sadly, this is the first time in 15 years that I was unable to fish at Vermilion Bay Lodge. It’s truly upsetting.

I first came to VBL in August of 2006. I was joined by Joe “the Professor” Moskal and Professor Bill Pinkovitz. Our primary mission was not to fish, but rather to take a look at the resort and make some recommendations to Gord and Susanne about the future of the business. Joe had talked to Gord about having Bill and I join him for a visit, and the Bastables reluctantly agreed. There were lots of questions to resolve. Gord and Susanne had a permanent residence on the other side of the lake. Guests were beginning to raise their expectations and the resort was a lot of work. Marketing was primarily done via word of mouth and sport shows that required a lot of travel. Social media was just beginning to make its presence known. The Professor wanted to continue to have a place to stay at VBL.
To make a long story short, we visited with Gord and Susanne about their plans and ambitions. We observed Gord at one of the Sport shows. We interviewed guests. Bill combed through the financial records. We looked at the demographics of his visitors and the bookings over the past year. We visited some of the competition. And…we did some fishing. 
Honestly, the fishing was amazing. Joe and I had an outing to the trout holes where we caught three monster lake trout in a few hours. The walleyes were plentiful and large. It was some of the best fishing I had experienced. More importantly, I really enjoyed getting to know Gord, Susanne, Mike and Holly. I understood why the Professor and the missus enjoyed coming here.

We ended up compiling recommendations in a report that Gord quickly disposed of. Instead, he offered an alternative plan. He suggested that the resort would be more financially viable if we came back often (more then one week a year), and brought lots of paying friends. In fact I think he suggested that it would be better if we just mailed him a check and stayed home. It has worked out well and we are pleased the Bastable are continuing their hospitality. The investments in the boats, cabins, lodge, grounds, web site and blog, communication, and portage lakes has been impressive to watch.

I started to think about all the friends and family that were persuaded to come keep Gord afloat. I will probably forget a few but they include: Shawn Lewis, Pam Lewis, Vern Anderson, Brian Allen, Dan McCartney, Kyle McCartney, Patrick McCartney, Glen Slade, Bill Pinkovitz and his nephew, Peter Lempke, Steve Kohlstedt, Kevin McGuire, Stu Thomas, and Dick Pederson. A typical year now includes a couple of visits with different friends. One year Joe and I spent an entire month in Ontario.

More importantly I have met a lot of amazing guests, residents, part-time residents and employees. I miss all of that greatly, and hope Americans are smart enough about managing this pandemic that I am allowed to return in 2021 for my delayed 15th year. I am thankful the Bastables have stuck with this venture and are willing to put up with our antics. I am hopeful that the fish will be well rested for next year so that I can claim another amazing carved trophy by Mr. Charles Weiss. Gord will just have to stew for another year after getting whipped 15-0 in the 2019 shuffle board tournament.

Andy Lewis

Andy Lewis gloating over his shuffleboard win last year during Musky Madness Week.
Andy Lewis with a prize catch back in 2013…..apparently the fishing keeps him coming back!?

Andy mentioned cabin renovations…

These are still ongoing. This summer I needed to change the hot water tank in cabin 4. In the end it was a total bathroom renovation. That was received well enough that it was suggested I have a look at the bathroom in cabin 3. To bring you up to speed cabin 3 has been a popular cabin here at VBL. Back in the day it was probably the one in the worse shape when we bought the place and there was often talk of demolition (glad we didn’t!). The oft used phrase of putting lipstick on a pig comes to mind. In this case the pig has had several courses of treatment, including breast implants and Botox injections….so why stop now?

Cabin 3 as it looks today….looking good for being vintage 1940’s log construction.
The bathroom is a shell of it’s former self…
It did it’s time, the interior on it’s way to the dump.

You might be wondering what is the bathroom plan? Well, nothing fancy, but upon ripping things apart it was apparent why this cabin had the occasional mouse guest….it’s sealed tight now! A new shower is going in, some new wiring and lighting, and the hot water tank is being relocated to give the user a bit more elbow room. Stay tuned for the final phase…

One of the benefits of running ghost camp…

…is the opportunity for Susanne and I to do things we normally can’t do when we have guests. We recently did a fly-in (a total of 8 people) with Wilderness Air to their outpost on Wasa Lake. While we didn’t stay overnight…a great cabin by the way, we did spend the morning catching our shorelunch and enjoying the sights. Here’s a few shots from that trip…

Mary L. at the dock at Wasa Lake
No pilot for the Otter, but sure looks nice.
We caught 25 -30 trolling for an hour after lunch….catch and release except for lunch.
I would recommend this cabin for a two or three night adventure…
The walleye were chunky.
Seems our boat did most of the catching….
Some swans over the lake.
The cabin had a propane fish cooker but I opted to go with Coleman.
The secret ingredient…Tenderflake lard…..

So there you have it…

…as summer winds itself down I hope you can all get out on the water somewhere and enjoy what remains of the season. 2021 will be here soon!

7 thoughts on “The “Dog days of Summer”…

  1. Hey Andy! I still don’t understand why the Professors recommended that Gord wear a low cut shirt and a short skirt at the sport shows? But what the heck – it worked!! Obviously, you Professors know your stuff…great story!! 🙂

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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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