Saturday, April 4, 2015

Retirement is Over

Daffodils and Crocuses popping up through the last traces of snow are a sure sign that Winter is almost over for people who live where winter is a little less intense. When you live  along the Gunflint Trail you know that Sping is near when the snow level starts to drop and aluminum canoes start to show. Lin and I are starting to get everything ready for "opener" this week. Progress will be slow until the snow is gone --  then it becomes a rush to get everything ready before our guest start to arrive.

Some of our new outfitting supplies have already arrived: tents, sleeping pads, cook sets and sleeping bags. Eight new kevlar canoes, paddles, griddles and water filters have been ordered and should be here soon. Our driveway and the path down to our house are both still covered with ice. The delivery service drivers can not get back out if they drive down to our house. Instead, they leave packages for us to find and never come down to tell us that a delivery has been made. So far we have found some sleeping bags in the pickup bed, cook sets in the back seat of the car and inside the shop, packages hanging off the mail box and fry pans next to the shop door.  When the driveway clears the driver will leave the packages outside the Lodge door or on the covered porch at Outfitting.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring into a Fall

This is the hardest time of the year to live up here in the Northland. The ice fishing season for Lake Trout is about to close. Almost nightly, the Minneapolis television stations show a piece on about people out jogging or about people out playing golf. We have already had a few calls and e-mails from people wanting to plan canoe trips in April. The outfitting equipment that we expect to need for this summer has already been ordered.

In a normal year, it is likely to be six more weeks before the ice is off Poplar Lake. But we always tell ourselves that it looks like the ice could be gone early this year. Now we have to wait for warmer weather so that we can get into the cabins and start getting them ready for this season. I wonder how many times I can organize my tackle box before the fishing opener arrives? I wonder if the lakes will be open by the fishing opener?

The warmer weather of a week ago has covered our driveway and paths with ice flows. I took a fall yesterday on the way to the mailbox and Lin doesn't go outside with her Yak Traxs. The water from the snowmelt that ponds between the remaining snowbanks along the driveway has turned into ice! The slick conditions have done nothing to stop our 11:00 daily visit from Mr. Fox.

Once I get over my fear of freezing waterlines, I like to start our season by getting the bunkrooms ready in early May for the Border Route Trail clearing crews. These are the folks who open and maintain the hiking trails in our area.  We are busy getting everything ready here at the Lodge in the Spring and don't have time to actually help wtih trail clearing but we try to do our part by giving them a warm place to stay before they go out to work.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Fishing Seminars & Winter Camping

Last weekend, I did a couple seminars on "Fishing for Lake Trout in Wilderness Lakes" at the Fish Fest Fishing Show in Minneapolis. One of the points that I stressed was how easy it is to catch lake trout over the five week period after the ice goes out. In fact, here at Rockwood we often claim that if someone follows our recommendations that they can always catch a limit of Lake Trout in the third and fourth week after the ice is gone. We have a fantastic almost untapped fishery that is seldom promoted.

While it is definitely easier to catch Lake Trout in the early sping it is possible to catch them through out the year. We have had several guests staying in our Lakeside Unit that have ice fished for Lake Trout this winter that have done quite well. The weather forecast for this weekend is warmer and I plan on getting out for a couple of hours and catching dinner.

Winter Camper Parking

Last night was one of the coldest so far this winter with temperatures in the minus thirties. We have five guys out winter camping during this cold spell. They have a winter tent and stove along with winter sleeping bags. However, finding enough firewood to keep warm could be a full time task.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Winter Storage of Outfitting Van

We had an unexpected problem with our transport van this past summer. What seemed like several gallon of rain water poured off the van roof down over the windshield whenever the van was moved after a rain. (It was probably only a gallon of water but when you can't see out of the windshield and have to run the windshield wipers you get to claim a flood of "several gallons".)

Over the winter the van was parked up behind the bunkhouse. Snow accumulated on top of the van eventually deformed the roof about three quarters of an inch. Everytime it rained this depression filled up with water and when the van started going downhill the water gushed over the windshield.

After removing the headliner and pushing the roof back into place, I decided to take steps to keep the van roof from being damaged again. Instead of parking behind the bunkhouse the van is now parked on the hill up to the bunkhouse. On January 3rd I shoveled some snow off the van's roof to lighten the load. Depending on how much snow we get, I suspect that the van roof will need to be shoveled several times this winter.

I believe that weight of the snow is not the real problem. The roof was probably dented by a heavy load of ice that builds up at the bottom of the snow pile. If I can keep the snow from accumulating over the winter there should be less ice and the van should be ready to go in the spring.

Fly Fishing Weekend Package

Join us at Rockwood Lodge for a June 12-14, Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Weekend! This package includes a cabin rental, instructional classes, guided smallmouth fishing in and around the BWCAW and a free canoe rental. What a great opportunity for anglers new to this sport to learn, have fun and catch fish!

Our experienced staff will help you to enjoy this fantastic sport. Some of the best smallmouth fishing to be found in the Mid-West is located in our front yard. You don't have to have expensive gear or travel to far away destinations to catch fish!  If you thirst for fly fishing knowledge -- Rockwood Lodge is the place to be. 

Join us in June for a weekend adventure.