a culmination of months
Well, its been awhile since I posted....early July to be honest. Now its September 8 and I wonder where our season went. I apologize for not writing sooner, but you gotta take the work when it presents itself. I had pushed this blog to the back burner many times during the season, I just didn't think there was much worth writing about, but now that I look back, the day to day isn't very exciting but when you mash it all together, there is a bit to talk about!
I want to start off by talking about Covid...ugh. We were very nervous starting our season and spending money on fuel to run this camp and boats out on the water, but the season has really surprised us. The cancellations poured in leading up to our June 1 start, but Matt and I knew there was no way we were hanging around our hometown through the Covid summer, so we went for it! I always say this is not a get rich quick scheme and this year is no exception...year 4 was supposed to be our banner year after all the marketing etc we have done, but we will hold off until this time next year to hopefully say "our best year yet". Its okay, I can wait.
Even though we had multiple cancellations and had to deal with border restrictions, we had a decent year and we are not complaining. I would rather someone feel safe at home than travel in to us and be worried the entire time or risk a possible exposure just to go fishing. Those of you who missed out this year, I think it was for a very good reason and you made the right decision for you. We had many new people find us this year and it was great to meet all of you and share our Davin Lake experience.
Not goona sugar coat it, the fishing was tough this year. June was awesome for trout and walleye, even July was really good fishing for walleye and deep trout. The pike just never really hooked up at all this summer. Lots of little little pike and small trophy stuff 30-40" but it has been tough catching slot size. The lakes were high all season..Davin has been up nearly 2 feet the entire season and with the large amounts of rain, it made fishing difficult. Many people had the best luck just heading out and putzing around the lake. Lightle Bay was the place to be this year for all species throughout the season...if you weren't catching elsewhere on the lake you could always snag walleye or pike from down there. I caught all 3 species in the same hook within about 100' along the eagle nest rock face down in Lightle. I think when you have an expansive and diverse lake like this certain species ebb and flow from year to year...the pike just took the year off I think. Talking with other lodges and lakes, the walleye fishing was really good and the pike were tough across the province this year.
So, we weren't run off our feet this month by any means, but we had many new people trickle through and the weather was fair but with lots of rain. The fishing was good for walleye and deeper trout and we personally caught multiple pike 30"+. The Outpost saw a couple groups through and the walleye fishing over there was incredible but the pike were also elusive.
We brought the 10kW generator back from the Outpost, which I think I outlined in the previous blog. I got our cabin painted and we rescreened our porch! The most exciting was when we had a bear successfully steal a leftover 'Impossible Pie' out through my tiny kitchen window! Milo was playing cars in the playground and Matt and I ran up to the dump...gone 7 min max. When we got back, Milo was up in the playhouse and said there was a bear in camp! Milo said he heard a ruckus at cabin 1/2 and looked over to see a bear roughing up and licking the BBQ's...Milo clamoured up to the play house and blew his whistle and the bear ran off. We got back a minute later and could sense the bear was still around but couldn't locate it. Milo was thrilled to see a bear that close (he had 2 really close encounters this summer) and helped search around to see if we find it. Nope...must have took off...Matt went into the lodge specifically to eat some leftover pie and saw the mess in my kitchen. He went out back behind the lodge and here that bear was laying over by the propane tanks, on his back and stroking his belly after eating my delicious Impossible Pie! We scared the bear off and he didn't come back ;). The bear scratched up my counters, ripped my knife block out through the window along with my fan and licked the glass pie plate clean without breaking it. The kitchen smelled to high heaven...literally boarish...putrid! There was sand everywhere, but thankfully he didn't get in through the window, I can't imagine the mess it would've made in the kitchen not to mention how do you get it out if it had gotten all the way in!
Milo and I had gone home in late July....I had to work a couple of shifts and he had a sore tooth, so he came home with me for the 5 days. He had a real wake-up call, having to mask when out in public. We have been extremely fortunate not really having to deal with Covid firsthand, but it was good for him to come back to reality this summer. His sore tooth was him losing his baby molar and getting an adult tooth...dentist confirmed. Sure glad I paid $300 and endured a 9hr truck ride with an 11yo who talks about nothing other than farming and vehicles to figure out he had a loose tooth...LOL. If anything, it was nice to have some company while at home for nearly a week. We came back in on July 24 and I had our nephew Charlie in tow. Milo and Charlie ignored me the entire drive back up as they chattered back and forth about farming, vehicles and video games.
Matt packed and mowed the runway at the end of the month and we hosted a 5-person helicopter survey crew for 2 weeks....great income for us and we met a wonderful, hardworking, diverse group of young people. I'm sure by the end of their stay they were sick of my cooking! It was tough to not repeat too much in 14 days of cooking, but it worked out well for us and for them. I typically get lots of inquiries from survey crews in the early spring and generally they don't amount to anything and we never see anyone. Gem Oil was insistent that we were the only place for their contractors to stay and after pushing back their dates by more than a month (due to an accident with the magnet), contractors Axiom Exploration and Access helicopters ended up staying 2 weeks...about 10 days longer than anticipated. It was great to meet everyone and a super big thank-you to Axiom for giving the go ahead (and paying for the fuel) for the kids and I to go up in the helicopter for a quick spin before they left us for a project at Candle Lake.
This puts us well into August....past Matts birthday on the long weekend where it's now an annual event to have a fireworks show! Keep this in mind when booking for 2021 people! Fishing was more or less the same...walleye, deep trout and small pike or small trophy pike....no real slot sized pike. My mom and sister were up to visit in August which was really nice. Matt always has family back and forth from camp, but I have minimal relatives other than immediate family. My mom had broken her wrist in a silly accident when I was home in July so I give her credit for getting up here with her casted wrist at the age of 79!! My kids adore my sister Marlowe...she is interesting and quirky and a lot of fun to be around. She makes such a positive effort and my kids love her dearly for it. The weather was terrible while they were here so mom didn't get out onto the lake, but she didn't mind. She would rather be nice and warm in the lodge than out on the lake freezing her ass off! They both got lots of hugs and cuddles, were well fed and slept like a dream while they were here. I drove them out to their vehicle at Missinippe and then we drove on to LaRonge and visited Robertson's Trading Post....my most favourite store! We must've spent 2 hours in Robertsons...trying on clothes, looking at handicrafts and furs. I bought some furs for the lodge, a beautiful fluffy fox, an open-dressed otter and 2 beaver (one Saskatchewan and one Ontario). I looked at the wolf and seriously contemplated buying one but Scott from Robertsons gave me a name and number for a more northern trading post for me to contact. He said they would have a greater variety of Northern Barren Wolf pelts to choose from. The Northern Barren roam our area and further north and they are a larger wolf than the LaRonge variety by about 60lbs. The furs are hanging in the lodge and its so funny because every time Timber come is she races over to sniff the fox tail...I think just to make sure its still dead...lol
August had lots of rain and the lake turned to fall earlier than we expected. We were swimming lots in July and August and especially enjoyed evening swims in early August to beat the heat from the day and cool our core to be able to sleep comfortably. This all ended abruptly about the middle of the month...we got an extra day or two of swimming then we were done for the year sadly.
All season we have been working on cutting down the forest behind our cabins to reduce the threat of fire, fallen trees on cabins and to expose the amazing rock face behind. We have a cutting crew, matts dad Gus (Pa), friend Kevin who stays in the campsite and his father-in-law Rick. Awesome group of hardworking tree cutters that enjoy the work! We had multiple days where we worked away at it and we are nearly done. We have a huge stack of cut and split wood and now that its September, we are working at filling the wood shed for it to cure and be ready to burn for next year.
September also saw us get our order of roofing tin on site!!! Thanks to Pa for hauling it in for us. Matt got right after it with Pa and Kevin and quickly completed the fillet house and the generator building. They started on cabins and finished one a day then reinforced the roof on 7-11 and completed it. The weather played a huge factor in what could be done and we have the lodge and our cabin left to complete in the spring...not a big deal at all!
This morning is September 8, Pa and Kevin left early this morning and headed for home. We have not had many days in camp on our own without family, friends or guests. Pa was up early in the season and left for home early July. He came back up with our tin and helped with the roofing project and also cut/split and stacked a bunch of our firewood. Once again Pa, thanks for all you do! Campground Kevin was up to his camper multiple times throughout the season...how he is still married is amazing to me! Thanks to his wife Erin, we couldn't have completed all we did without his help. Kevin was up for a total of 59 days...unreal! He is super handy to have in camp when we are doing work projects, he's always in a good mood and has a hilarious sense of humour. He is a die-hard fisherman and knows this lake very well. Its great because when matt and I are too busy to fish he is out on the lake scouting for spots to send guests...he is a real asset to us and it has been great having him in camp this year.
Fall is here, the leaves and tamarack are changing, the lake is a solid 52 degrees. This morning's temp was -4, the lodge was a good +6 degrees and the water lines were hard at the lodge. Good thing we prepped water for coffee last night...tis the season! The ice and water was running off the tin roofs when the sun started to break over the rocks as the morning progressed. I am printing off our closing list today and we will start knocking some stuff off the list. We will be fishing right up until its time for the kids and I to leave....I have my annual September trophy pike to catch and I know just where I'm getting it from...one of 2 spots on the lake! The kids and I are heading home September 15 for haircuts, shopping and back to school. I come back up once the kids are settled in and then Matt and I will be in camp until October 2 or so. Trout season is just starting and we have a couple of cabins booked for the following weeks. We are paying it forward to the community of LaRonge at the end of the month. A high school class typically does a big canoe trip and we were honoured when their teacher reached out to us. If the trip is a go (COVID related issues)We will host them as their starting point, feed them well before leaving and keep an eye on them while they are on our lakes. At the end of their trip we will pick them up at the Wathaman bridge to come back to camp and regroup before heading back to LA. This will be the first time they have canoed Davin & Wathaman and we wouldn't dream of being compensated for assisting or feeding this ambitious group. It will be exciting for us as well as for them...looking forward to meeting everyone!
I have to give a couple of shout outs to some specific fishermen. We saw Mark E twice this year...he was one of our first groups in with his brother Andrew and then came back again in August with his wife! Mark also holds the trout trophy record on our board for this year at 33".
Ryan and Travis...booked for June 2020. They brought their own boat all the way from Grande Cache to fish and camp in our campground. Covid was in full swing and they were nervous and cautious about the trip. They arrived and settled in then fished the lake like experts for over a week. They returned in August to repeat a great trip and make more memories. The first trip, their family gifted us a river rock with a handpainted logo...which we proudly display as you enter the lodge! When they left the first time, I didn't have a sm/med hat for Travis to take so when I went home, I ordered a bunch and sent one off to him in the mail. I sent it express post and it arrived the next day and he got to open it up on his birthday! I sent along a birthday card with some $ too because he was such a trooper out on the lake and fished his little heart out! It's nice to see youth passionate about the outdoors!
Jeff, our new neighbour down the lake! Jeff and his friends fished with us early in the year and then he and his brothers and dad purchased Rosa's cabin after only seeing pictures of it. Jeff and his friends were the best guests when they stayed with us....I have never seen a more tidy group of young men in my life! Floor swept, garbage and bottles removed, sheets pulled! I was super happy to learn he was interested in the cabin...he is respectful and will grow to deeply appreciate the lake and all it has to offer through the years. He and his brothers are young and will have many years enjoying the outdoors up here. Cheers to you guys, welcome to the lake!
My Americans...how sorry I am that this season was a bust for you all. We worked together pushing dates and staying in touch over the border announcements but in the end Canada remained closed to you. I will be in touch with each and every one of you after I arrive home and get settled at the beginning of October. We will work on dates for 2021 together!
Kelly, kelly, kelly, kelly....Kelly from Oklahoma....we miss you buddy! You were supposed to be on your way here but that damn border is still closed. Kelly comes every September and when he leaves us he starts his countdown for the following year...we stay in contact all winter and frequently text funny stuff or give each other updates on life. His first year here we just hit it off and he is like the big brother I never had, plus he looooves everything I cook! I will catch my September trophy pike and dedicate it to you BB. See you in 2021 come hell or more high water!!
Jim and Pam...Montanans with a heart of gold! We met Jim and Pam at our first show ever down in Montana...booked them on the spot and entertained them the following year. They came the same time as Matts Aunt Julie and Uncle Rod....we all hit it off and they became surrogate aunty and uncle to us. On our subsequent trips down to Montana they have entertained us in their home, fed us, and watched our kids while we were busy. They come up for a visit and a fish every year and meet Rod and Julie here for the week. We all have a great time visiting and laughing and sharing stories over a few beverages...this year the Rod and Julie trip happened but there were 2 key people missing...Aunty Pam and Uncle Jim. I know you 2 have been holed up working on your cabin in the mountains of Montana and that is the best and safest place you can be but that doesn't mean we didn't miss you a ton this year! We will catch up when Matt and I are home and make some plans for fishing in 2021...virtual hugs to you both from all of us up at Davin!
Thats all for now folks...its a big read and the internet is slow today because its windy and overcast...I will upload a ton of photos to this blog and to the 2020 pics tab in the days to come...off to play dollies with Freja until the wind calms down enough to fish!
Cheers to you all as its nearly a wrap on the 2020 season!
Drive or Fly...Adventure North to Davin Lake Lodge for 2021
I will leave you with our 2020 family picture:
All the best...stay safe and out of Covid's way
Matt, Danica, Milo, Freja and of course Timber