Monday, December 12, 2011



  I remember the first time I talked with Joe.  You could tell he was excited to come up here, and man did he have questions.  It seemed like he may have been burned by a different fishing lodge before, and he was making sure, multiple times, that things were exactly how I said they were.

 It was July of 2010, when he first graced us with his first trip to the lodge.  Tall, slender, and getting up there in age was Joe.  He also brought with him his lovely wife Dorothy, which we were to find out they married just a few years prior. 

 Elissa and I hit it off with Joe and Dorothy, and it wasn't long until they were back up (I think it was 2 weeks later).  They had such a great time up here, I know it was therapeautic for Joe, and was reliving his glory days.  You see, Joe was battling cancer and came between the Kemo treatments.  What a great way to spend the time that you have away from the hospital.

  As our friendship grew, we learned more and more about Joe.  He was quite the cook, and had recipes for just about everything.  He also headed up the Garlic and Honey Festival in the Pembina Valley.  It was evident that Joe was a true outdoorsman, he loved the outdoors, and he loved to eat from it!

  This is also where I got my contact to go turkey hunting.  I was blessed with the opportunity to hunt on his friends ranch, where I made Joe proud and harvested my first Miriam Gobbler during a snow storm.   I am still not sure who was more proud, myself or Joe. 

  As Joe and Dorothy were tired of everyone else catching the big big walleye, they wanted to book at a high quality time, as well as book myself as a guide.  So we picked a time in later June 2011 that worked for both of us.  As the dates approached, Joe was not feeling so good.  No one from their home town thought it was a good idea for him to come up- but Joe thought otherwise.  He more than made it, and also brought another close couple with them.  Here is the article from their hometown newspaper:

 It was an honor to guide Joe on that trip, and to see such a big silly grin as he pulled up the masters.  I'm not going to say it wasn't challenging guiding the crew, but we made it all work out.  I feel that I was extremely blessed to have given him such a great trip, and more importantly a great time with his wife Dorothy and friends.  

  Three weeks after having them in my boat, I got a call from Joe's daughter and could tell from her voice that this wasn't going to be good news.......  Joe had passed away.  

  Needless to say I was hit with all sorts of emotion,  both happy and sad.  I can't help but cheer up when I think about Joe reeling up the next moby dick, and holding a beautiful golden Tramping Lake master.  Next year at the lodge just won't be the same.....

  Thanks for all the memories Joe, you will be greatly missed.  

Joe's First Tramping Lake Master Walleye

Bryan and Elissa Bogdan
Wekusko Falls Lodge

Thursday, December 8, 2011



This fall was a fall of exploring.  It was time to find if there were any concentrations of mallards around here, and yes there was.  Concentrating on wild rice areas, we got into some great shoots, and also go to see Maggie (our 1 year 9 month old chocolate lab) work like she has retrieved for years.  The previous year when I took Maggie on her first duck hunt it was little disappointing. It was a bit too much for her.  But on our very first duck down, she marked it, swam out on command, smelled it,  picked it up, swam back, and dropped it at my feet.  I was a proud papa.

  The other exciting thing that happened is we got into drake wood ducks.  They are such a beautiful duck, and these were a first for me.   But talk about a quick moving duck!  When they fly by you have to be on your A game!

 If anyone is interested in doing a duck hunt, please feel free to contact me at the lodge!  I know Maggie would be more that excited to do it!

Bryan Bogdan and Maggie
Bryan Bogdan and Maggie with their first Wood Duck


 Elissa and I have a dream for Wekusko Falls Lodge.  We have a ways to go in order to make that dream come true, but we are getting there.  Part of it is getting into the elbow grease and giving camp a major face lift.

  Since taking over, we have been trying to upgrade the camp as much as we can.  One major renovation was a  total cabin 1 & 2 renovation.  This cabin was in major need of this, and the guest response to it proved to us that it was a wise decision.  Another large cabin change was in cabin 6.  It was winterized with a semi-vaulted ceiling, all done in pine tongue and groove.  It hasn't had a full renovation done to it yet, but it sure has a good start on it.   

  Two things that got done to all the cabins was butt outs, and tin.  We set up black butt outs at each cabin and strategically in other areas of camp, so that collectively we can keep our camp and the wilderness as clean as possible.  Tin was installed on all the roofs of the cabins and half of the lodge (still have to finish the porches) and was finally completed this fall, thanks to help from my dad Allan, nephew Avery, employee Ben, and Elissa's Uncle Ron.  The lodge roof was a little scary being it was such a big roof, but it all got up and looks great.  I want to send a big thanks though to my dad- Allan- because without him I never would have got it done.  It is amazing to see a 70 year old man climb a ladder so much- but it helped keep him in shape for getting into the combine for harvest I guess!

  A couple things electrically got changed as well.  New wiring to the docks was installed with more plugging in options for boats in the water, and runs on 2 separate 20 amp switches.  Hopefully this will keep everyones batteries fully charged for the next day of fishing.  I also put up new yard lights so less shins will get banged in the wee morning hours.   And new air conditioners for any not working correctly- so all guests can now have relief from the the hot summer sun.

   New towels for camp!  Yes, it's true.  We bought all new towels as phase one of our new linens project.  Hopefully by open water 2012 we will complete the linen project.  We will keep you posted on this.

  Internet also got a boost.  We put up a new tower at the corner of the lodge, so that our equipment runs smoother and more effectively.  This means faster and consistent internet!

  As for the lodge, we did one big reno, and that was the lodge washroom.  We converted it into one large handicap accessible washroom, and even made a special spot for the flying turkey!

  The filleting shack also got some touch ups.  The biggest of which was a new table top made out of commercial food grade plastic.  This was thanks to a 3rd year comer of the lodge- Mike Nyczai.  My goal is to to keep it pressure washed clean and with fly spray always available, to make the time you spend in there as enjoyable as the work can be.

  A new exciting addition is a new water system.  Manitoba Government will be "cracking down" on fishing lodges as they are considered semi public water.  Because of this, I decided to get ahead of the game, beat the rush, and have Wekusko Falls Lodge running on the new regulations that aren't even in place yet.  The system runs the entire camp, and consists of 4 filters, U.V. system, and Sodium Hypochlorite injection.  Our water has always been great, but now it is "government safe"!

     There are many other additions to camp made so far, but we feel that these may be the most noticeable to our guests.  It is our hope that these changes will help to continue our guests feel welcomed and confident in our lodge.  If you have any other ideas for us, please feel free to run them by us.  

Bryan and Elissa

Open Water Fishing 2011

2011 open water has been yet another success at Wekusko Falls Lodge. 

The season started with the ice leaving the lakes mid may, and by the 1st week of June, we were into the Tramping Lake walleye.  The walleye bite ran right through September this year on Tramping, with all  sizes present.  Those 16 & 17" inch little gaffers that were so bountiful 9n 2010, were now nice 20" and still all over the lake.  And again, we caught super high numbers of the 17" size again.  All this is proving that Tramping Lake is having great spawns, and the high quality management is definitely working.

 On to the big fish........ Pike fishing was close to the same as 2010, however, more master anglers were caught.  This year we had a total of 11 masters, the biggest being 46" (remembering that 98% of our anglers target walleye).  This year we had just over the 250 master angler walleye through camp, which is a lower than last year, which capped over the 350 mark.   Also, our biggest walleye sizes were down to 32 1/2".  We had multiples of this size, but no one could land a 33" + this year.  Why the difference we are not sure, personally I think it had to do with the cooler spring and a continual rising fluctuation of water.  Last year, the water reached warmer temperatures faster and stayed constant.  But who knows- that's what makes fishing,well, fishing!

 Last year I had stated that Wekusko Lake was a continued success story, but this year......not so much.  The Sauger were still catchable, but in less numbers than 2010.  As well, many of the hot spots for walleye weren't even luke warm.  The slot limit size was raised to the 22" mark (like the rest of lakes), and because of this many more fish were harvested that would have been released.  Only time will tell what will happen with this fishery.  For more information, you can read one of my later blogs headed Wekusko Lake Fishery.

  We hope to see all our anglers back at the lodge in the 2012 open water season, and continue to prove how blessed we are to have the fishery that we do!

 Bryan and Elissa Bogdan
Wekusko Falls Lodge



  Well Bear season in both spring and fall was, well, different.   We had a lot of interest for the spring and fall hunt, but slowly things came unravelled.  We ended up not having any bear hunters in this year.  However, in part this was a blessing in disguise.  

  I hired my good friend Yoshi Aoki to come work for me all of May and first part of June in order to guide, bait, and help me with the renovation of cabin 1 and 2.  We baited a bunch of baits, and started on the cabin.  Long hours of carpentry, plumbing, and electrical meant little time for bear baiting or even fun most days.   This renovation was not completed until June 8th,  which would have been the last day of the hunts.   So it actually worked out.

  As for baiting, we has some awesome baits.  The cameras also showed some real big bears, and a couple of real nice cinnamon bears.  This was great to see being that we only baited 4 sites. 

  This summer I continued to bait a couple of sites to see how the fall hunt could possibly go.  And it was a success.  Not only did we get pictures of real good bears with heavy silky coats, but also a lot of pictures of wolves.  Hopefully we can get some fall hunters up to try and take one of these as well!

  A new addition to our bear baits is going to be two man ladder stands.  It is nice to be able to move a stand according to where the bears come from, giving a hunter ample time to decide and get ready.  It also means two hunters can sit one bait at a time, or be a very comfy stand for a single hunter.

  I personally got to do some bear hunting, and had ample opportunities to shoot, but I am a bit fussy and waiting for "thee one".  I have permission to get at least a half mount done, so I am going to be picky.  

  As an interesting note, Yoshi and I took the dogs for a walk on a trail close to the lodge.  I had a moose stand set up back there, and decided just to check and see if we could spot any bear tracks.  We did find a fresh track in the frozen moss, so it was fresh and very accurate.  The track was a front paw which measured 7 inches!!!  I am not going to say what I think the bear would measure or weigh, but regardless, it is no small bear.

 It will be interesting to see what bears show up the next year!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

First Laker Jitters

  After getting the last rod rigged up and placing it in the rod locker, I was ready to try and get some sleep.  As the norm, I was pretty excited to get back into the tournament scene.  The following morning we got the truck loaded, and were joined by Greg Foord.  We decided that we'd follow them to Clearwater Lake, where the Bill Bannock Ice Derby was taking place.  Off we went in wonder of what might happen in the day of events.   As we crested a hill on the highway, we noticed something black on the shoulder.  Could it be- YES IT IS!  My snowmobile mitt that I left on the trailer after a ride, a mitt that I so dearly missed, was laying there, a little scuffed but still functional.  Things were looking up already.

  As we pulled in to the parking lot, the adrenaline was starting.  We pulled out all the gear, got dressed in our outdoor wear,  and started trudging down the hill towards the lake.  Now Elissa had won a super hole, which meant we get to fish a separate area and were allowed in the fishing area early.   We registered, I lost my fishing hole pass, frantically found it in the snow, and then were given a ride to our holes.   

   I started to pull all our gear out, cleaned the holes, and set up the flashers.  55' - perfect, and fish already cruising!!!  Needless to say, the adrenaline had started, and getting all the rods separated and chums ready seemed never ending.  Eventually we were ready, and the gun went off.  Not very long there were fish under Elissa, and we tried to get them to chase but they'd slink back down.  Sent a different lure down and the same thing.  Soon they were to me, and I couldn't get any reaction bite.  Rookie mistake, should have had one of us with a bait presentation rig, and one with a chasing rig.  Then a few minutes later a person near us picked up a fish.  Man- that should have been us.  

  Soon fish again were under Elissa, and they were very consistent with the one type of chum.  They were continually feeding at her hole, and just breeze by mine.  Then she had one that was interested in chasing a bit, and was sticking around cleaning up all the chum.   I kept handing her rods- drop it chase, and slink down- so next rod.  We were down to our last rod I had there (#10) with a walleye dead stick rig I invented.  She dropped, reeled, it chased, dropped, reeled, it chased, dropped, reeled, dropped and held- and wham!  Fish On!!!!!  The adrenaline was really hitting her as she was shaking already.  

 Now in the Bill Bannock, no one is allowed to help a person with a fish at all.  So all I could do is coach her, and cheer her on.  I was allowed to pull the tranducer out for her, and stand there behind her, trying to keep her calm.  The fish was singing drag on some big runs, and some big bubbles were coming up- how big is this fish.  $21,000 was first place, and we were already thinking about the purchases.  Soon, it was up to the hole, and to our surprisement, it was not near as big as we anticipated.  Then the real panic started.  I had light line on that set up, so she couldn't just pull the fish out.  And everytime she reached down, the fish would sink further into the water.  I kept invisioning all the fish I have lost at the top of the ice when they thrash like this, and prayed this wouldn't follow suit.  After 10 seconds+, Elissa reached down and pulled the fish out.  An official was right there, and he held the fish and the hook fell out.  I am not sure if I have ever felt so helpless.

   The fish was measured, and we were in first place!  We were so pumped, and excited.  But soon another fish was caught larger than ours, and then another.  We figured we were top 3, (out of 1800 people) but couldn't be sure sure.  We had a few more fish come through, one of which my flasher said was very large, and I played with it for a long time- and then screwed up when it was finally aggressive.  AHHHHHHH.

   Eventually the tourny was over, we packed, and headed to the ceremony area.   7 fish were landed, and shortly Elissa was called up as the 3rd place winner.  The prize, a Yamaha Bravo snowmobile!  Not the $21000  as we were hoping, but still an awesome prize.

  And the crazy thing is, this was Elissa's very first tournament, very first time fishing for Lake Trout, and her first time ever catching one!   Maybe it's true.......Those who can't do teach?

Here is a clip from Snow Lake newspaper- The Underground Press

  And this was all done 4 days before Elissa's birthday.  We made a deal with the sled and got Elissa her own quad- thanks to Northland Leisure in The Pas.  They gave her some accessories for her birthday.  She sure looks good on it!

Ice Ice and more ICE 2010/11

  2010/11 was quite a year for standing on some ice and fishing out of a hole.  We were busy at the lodge all winter, but still managed to make some time to get  out on lakes that normally I wouldn't fish.   We caught little fish, many fish, and of course big fish.  Our good ice didn't really get going until early December, and the good ice stayed till about the 25th of April.  After this point, it was tread carefully.  

  We had several groups come up and stay at the lodge in May and April for ice fishing trips.  Every group went home very happy, having had some excellent days of fishing.  One fellow caught his first ever master angler walleye, and a few caught their very first lake trout.  

  Personally, probably my favorite spot to ice fish last year was on Wekusko Lake.  I did a lot of scouting in the summer months and marked up my GPS with potential areas.  Not all areas were great, but most held fish in the winter, and some days were just magical.  But every year is different - so we'll see what happens in 2012.

  If you are wanting to try something different, think about coming up in March or April to catch one of the monarchs right below you.