Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bryan and Saskatchewan Hunts

 I grew up in Sask and am a farm boy at heart.  And with the farm, comes a tradition and past time- hunting.  So every chance I get to hunt something in Sask, I take.

  In October, Elissa and I had a wedding to attend, and this was my chance to swing by the farm and make a hunt happen.  Ducks and Geese were on the hit list, and I had my dad doing some scouting.  He had found a shoot, and I watched that evening.  It was looking like a dandy, about a dozen snows, thousand mallards, and five hundred Canada's.

  The morning found SNOW on the ground, and intense fog.   Hmmmmmm.  This could be interesting.  We set up, and set in, and it wasn't too long till we started flinging steel at Mallards.  Ducks were falling, and everything was going great.  Then the fog got real thick and things slowed down.  We could hear Canada's around us, but they couldn't find us with low visibility (20 feet).  What was going to happen....

  Every once in a while we got lucky.  Right next to us we could here a light goose gruttle, and voila- the snow geese came right in.  Bam bam- couple snows down.  Not long after, we heard a speckle belly cackle.  I got on the call- and they were coming in.....bam bam.  Few speckles down too!   And then it finally happened, some Canada's came in and a few more hit the ground.

 This was a first for me and my dad, a triple goose species hunt over decoys.

  In November I took off for Whitetail.  My plan was to shoot one with the bow, but it had to be big.  It was -28 + windchill and it was chilli 28 feet up in a tree.  Day 1 I had a close encounter to a heavy 4x4, and he busted me when a jacket made noise on the draw.  The next day I had another nice 4x4 come in after 23 does and 5 other bucks made their way through.  I decided to take the shot, and got a nice 150 4x4.  Not the biggest buck, but under the weather conditions and time allotment, I did fairly well.  And there is always next year.
                                        My nephew and me with the deer


It didn't seem to take long for fall to come, and fast wing beats filled the air.  This year I planned to try a few new places to hunt, and see where things go from there.  The first place we hunted was a little wild rice lake.  I scouted out a few places, and this was thee place.  Since our water was high, a few of my old spots had drowned rice, and only a few ducks.  But this lake was chuck full of Mallards and Canada's.  We got in there early, and had one heck of a canoe ride to get a across the lake, to where I thought would be the best spot to set up.  I wish I had a picture of 3 grown men, my lab Maggie, and all our gear in one canoe.  We made it and set up.  It didn't take long, and there was steel flying everywhere.   It also didn't take long to see where we should have been set up, but that all comes with learning the spots.   The day was a success, and Maggie again did awesome.  

 I continued trying a few new spots, and on one hunt I took out a first time hunter.  He works for me, and a hunt for him was part of our season wind up.  Well the area was perfect, but when I went to throw in the decoys- the bottom was way to soft.  I ended up having to throw only 5 decoys out, and a couple of Mojos.  We were set up on a beaver lodge, and I was hoping that we would at least get a few mallards to give a fly by with the least than ideal set up. 

  Well the mojos worked a bit too good- because Ben was throwing steel out furiously, but with only 8 yard shots things were tight!  Eventually Ben finally connected, and the mallard crumpled.  Maggie retrieved and victory was ours.  
                                               Ben with his First Duck

  So with a few more spots under the belt, I am super excited for next year.  There are still a few more placed to try, but I am excited to give it a go!  2013 ducks and geese better watch out!

Fall Bear 2012

 This fall was our first since taking over for fall bear and wolf hunters.  It was a total success, and a lot of fun.  The bears were awfully hungry this fall, as there was a terrible berry crop in our area.  We had some real good bears coming in, as well as a few colored.  But the colored bears were tough to keep at a bait.  In for a week and then gone.  Each bait had many bears, and some big big bears coming in as well.  One bear even pushed a 6" diameter spruce tree right over!

  Once the hunters were in, the bears were still cooperating.  In the first night, a lady client shot a mid 300 lb old black bear I aka'd scar face.   The next 2 hunters in ended up with a 250 black face black bear, as well as a 260 lb beauty.   There was also a 400 lber that a client had a quality chance at, but was unable to close the deal.

  All in all, our average size of bears for the fall was 275lbs.  There was very little fat (less than 2") on all the bears, and hopefully we have a decent mild winter so we do not experience any winter kill.  But one thing is sure, they will be coming to the baits hard this spring as their fat reserves will be low.

Lori with Scar Face
   Our success rate for this year was 93%, with every hunter having a chance at bears both spring and fall.   We do still have spots available for the 2013 season, so if you are at all interested, just give us a call!

Jack with #100

If you have ever spent time at Wekusko Falls Lodge in the past- say- 25 years, you have probably heard of the Legendary Tramping Lake walleye fisherman "Jack".   As on older friendly man, I got the chance to meet Jack a few times before we bought the lodge.  And our friendship grew fast once we were permanently here.

  We always try to get out together for a few days throughout the spring and summer, thus we've had many adventures in the last 3 years - Jack and I.  And we have seen some huge fish.  Jack was with me  when I lost a 36"+ walleye right at the boat, and also encountered my enormous sulking during the aftermath.    Needless to say, we have had some highs and lows in the boat.

  As the water was so high this year- I asked Jack when the last time he fished up the river at Tramping.  He figured it had been more than a few years, and relived some glory days.  I asked Jack if he'd like to come with me and run the river- just to see what's happening up there.  We were in a bit of a slump with big fish- so maybe they were up there?  It has happened that way in the past- and just maybe....

  So the date was August 3rd- and Jack drove my big boat, and I took a rental.  Why 2 boats- I had never run the rapids, and wasn't sure just exactly how this was going to go.  After roping my big boat down to shore, it was time to drive full speed into the rapid in order to make the shoot.  After a quick survey of the rocks and pillows, it was time.  I asked Jack- ready?... cause I wasn't.  Full speed ahead- and I probably pee'd a little.  And wham!  Just kidding- we actually ran right through it perfectly without any tickle, as if I was a seasoned pro.  

  We were running blades and crawlers, and we started picking up fish in the first spot.  And the second, third, forth, fifth, sixth- well basically every hole had fish.  Almost every fish was between 18 and 22", few smaller and a few bigger.  We continued on up the river, and the fishing continued strong.  With the water so high, we got above another rapids, and then another.  We were up into no mans land, and I asked Jack how many walleye we were at.  Now, those who know Jack, know his clicker and book.  You see, he counts every fish caught, and writes in his book every walleye over 22" each day.  

  Jack replied- 73.  It had been about 2 1/2 hours since we started up the river, and the big fish just didn't seem to be there.  But we decided- lets try to hit 100 walleye.  We turned back instead of running yet another rapid, and continued catching walleye in the holes we briefly fished on the way up.  The clicker continued clicking and we were at our second last hole.  94-95-96-97-98-99. And I put my rod down- let's put the pressure on Jack.  Well, one pass, and another- "come on Jack I'm waiting"..... and 100!  That fish was just as special as another 30", to the both of us I'm sure.  What a day, but still having to run the last rapid to the lake, and wind blowing stronger from the east causing concern about the tied boat, we weren't out of the woodwork yet.  
So I idled to the rapids and centered the boat to the shoot.  Wham!!  Not kidding- tickled that one pretty good- and Jack was just smiling-knowing that our adventures just keep on finding us.  But at least the big boat was okay.

 Thanks Jack for the memory- looking forward to the next one!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

2012 Fishing Season!

As we have wound down from the summer and fall seasons, we thought to update the web on the happenings at Wekusko Falls Lodge:

  The spring started off with some good pike and lake trout action on Tramping.  A few masters of each were caught in the shallows (nothing huge but respectable fish).  By the end of May fishing was really strong on Tramping, which only continued as each day passed and we started to pick up a lot of 30"+ eyes.

  As the first solid week of fishermen showed up the second week in June, things really heated up for walleye.  By the end of this week we were already at 127 master angler walleyes, the largest being 33", which ended up being the largest from tramping for the year.   This week was hit with rain everyday and our water level stayed high.

  Following this kick start to the season, the tap was turned off and so did the fish.  We did continue to catch big fish, but it wasn't as fast and furious.  There were days of big fish, then of just small fish, but the bite was still on.  During this time, some big pike were being caught, with 43" being the biggest. As the end of June arrived, the big fish were tough to catch, when all of a sudden they turned on.  I just happened to be guiding at this time, and we ended up landing 13 master walleyes in one day, with 5 of them being over 30".  A day for the books!

  During July, lots of fish were caught with some real beauties in the mix.  By mid July things were really great!  I had never seen so many fish on a finder at one time.  It was a problem to keep the smaller fish off the hook and let the big ones hit.  Hope next year brings the same!  Down at Wekusko, the evening bite was on, and we were catching a lot of walleye every outing.  It was good to see all the sizes of fish- 6" to 26", which is a good sign for the future.  Sauger on Wekusko were also on the hit list during July. Many were caught, most being masters.  The biggest caught this year was 22", a big fish for the north.

  August continued with decent walleye fishing and some amazing big pike.  Lots of master Pike were reported, 43" being that longest.  Master walleye were also still coming out, with 30" being the longest.   As August continued on, our water levels started dropping... and before we knew it, September rolled in...  We had the Cisco Kids in mid september, and they caught a lot of Pike (couple of master's).  They also did really well with the walleye on Wekusko.  As the month continued, our fishermen slowed down, and so did the fishing.  Soon it will be time for ice fishing!

  Thank you to all the fishermen that came in and stayed with us in 2012, we believe 2013 will be another outstanding year!

  Our totals through camp for masters in open water this year ended up being:

Walleye- 276, Pike- 34, Sauger- 28, Lake Trout- 5


Sunday, August 19, 2012


  My bear guide Yoshi and I had an interesting spring.  We were rather busy baiting and setting up new  baits.  Eventually the bear hunters started coming in, and we ended up going 90% success rate.  We ended up with 2 blond bears, as well as a few over 300 lbs.  The biggest this year was 365 lbs,  but we had some true monsters on the cameras.  

  Not only big bears, but lots of color this year.  Going into a bait I had a great look at a 200 lb smoky sandy tan bear. It was the same color as a dark buckskin horse.  Very strange but very cool.  Hoping a hunter gets a crack at him next year.

I am looking forward to our 2013 season, where I am sure we are going to get some big bears.

One of the monsters in at a bait.

Biggest bear of 2012 spring season.


  Avery Prieb, my nephew, turned 12  a couple winters back, which allowed him to hunt in Canada.  The spring of 2011, I set up a bait that was on the outside edge of the lodges allocation, in an area no baits have been set up.  We had a monster black bear come in, but through a number of unlucky events, we were unable to close the deal on him.  We'd try again in 2012.

  During the summer of 2011, I left a camera up at the bait to see what came around.  In came a tall and lanky blond bear that looked great, just needed more weight.  I irregularly baited "Av's Bait", and hoped that that blond bear remembered it for the following spring.

  2012 came, and so did the baiting.  Up went the camera on Av's Bait, and sure enough, that blond bear from last year was coming in, but had a bit different coloring.  Looked exactly like a grizzly bear, and had more weight.  Expectations were high, as I phoned Avery and told him he better get his little butt up here and hunt this bear.

  May Long weekend arrived and so did Avery.  My bear guide Yoshi and I went into the bait with Avery to film, and we saw absolutely nothing.  Something was wrong, and we decided maybe too many people in the stand.  So the next day, just Avery and myself went in, crossbow in his hand, and it wasn't long till we had action.

  A little gaffer came in and played around, in and out of the bait a few times.  As light started fading,
 I told Avery to find a comfy spot and try not to move, cause something may happen soon.  It wasn't long, and the little guy looked up and ran off.  Show time?  

  Sure enough, in comes "Grizz" with a sow, and he was weary.  The sow he was with went straight to the bait and started eating.  Grizz checked us out keeping away from any shooting lane.  Avery held it together, and after a few minutes, the moment Avery waited 2 years for finally came.

  Take em Av- take em!  Thwack!!

  Run run run- crash-  ............................ you drilled em!!!!!!  

  I have never seen a 13 year old with such big eyes in my life.  For a kid that plays johnny too cool, he could barely hold it together.  But then again, neither could I.  I am not sure who was more excited, or more proud.

Words are hard to explain just what Avery and I were feeling.  But as we settled down and everything sank in, Yoshi said it best on the way home with the bear. " You did good Avery, you did good."


Well here I am in August, getting caught up with a few things.  Like writing about ice fishing...... hmmmm.   Perhaps baby Kiley has life a bit busier than the past.

  Anyhow, the tail end of ice fishing was a blast.  We had some interesting excursions, one of which involved a bunch of farmers from south manitoba, 8 quads, a few sink holes, a whole lot of slush, and fishing when we finally could make it.

  The fishing was strong, lots of numbers, but bigger fish were harder to come by as the season progressed, which is generally not the norm.   My laker spot on Reed slowed down by the end of March, and walleye on Wekusko stayed strong.  Korman really really got tough for me anyway, catch a couple a trip, but nothing like mid winter.  One fishery that stayed strong all year was Woosey lake for walleye and especially Burbot.  Alot of masters came out of the ice there, and those 30"+ burbs sure do fight!

  Funny thing is, from now it is only 3 more months until the ice auger cuts another hole, or hundred.  Till November sometime........

Saturday, February 25, 2012

February Guiding

So this last week I was able to get away from the lodge and guide some clients from my home town of Avonlea.   They made the trek up last year, splitting the 3 days of fishing into walleye, lakers, and pike.  This year was the same, however, but with another year of ice  area knowledge under my belt.  My future guide - nephew Avery- also tagged along and was learning the ropes.

   Our first day started out for walleye.  The lake we went to generally doesn't have that great of an early morning bite.  We got geared up and were on the water by 10 am.  The bite started hot and heavy, but slowed down around noon.  It stayed constant throughout the day, and we ended up packing in around 4pm.  Our count was done, and we landed just over the 50 walleye mark.   Not a bad way to start.   This lake I am keeping anonymous, due to the fact that local pressure can easily take this spot over.

  Day 2 had us heading to Reed Lake, going for Lake Trout.  A week prior I scouted out a spot and we lost a monster monster trout right below the hole.  We headed back to this spot and did fairly well.  We landed 12 trout, lost just as many, and had one 34" x 18".  

 Day 3 had us heading to Krug Lake for pike and walleye.  We did land some nice pike on the tip ups, nothing huge huge but very respectable.  The biggest pike was a 39" that had insane girth.  The walleye were biting okay as well, but nothing over 18".  It is good to see that the lake is coming back with a good walleye population.

  Ice conditions were close to the same on every lake.  Just over 2 feet of ice, and between 10" to 2' of snow on the lakes.  Some ice is solid right through, and some is flaky slush ice.  So how long will the ice be here?  No idea.  It will all depend on March weather.  

   My next guiding trip is mar 5-8.  We will see what happens then!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ice Fishing up to February

This winter has been an interesting one.  It has been soooo warm.  This has meant alot of snow, and not much ice.   As well, if a person likes slush puppies, just head out to the lake, put your flavoring in a cup, and hold it behind the snowmobile.  

  I am not sure how long we will have ice this year.  With high water, and poor ice, we might be in to open water by mid April.  

 Fishing so far has been real good for me.  I had 2 goals for through the ice this year.  First- to learn the rainbows in Korman Lake.  Second- to learn the the east side of Wekusko for walleyes.   WIth a baby this winter, my time has been limited, but I have stroked the first goal off the list.

  I have fished Korman 5 times, and have caught 9 master Rainbows.  Allan (dad) fished twice with me there, and he also caught 4 masters.  He also battled a fish for 5 minutes (and yes the drag was set correct cause I checked since it was taking so long), and the fish ended up getting the line caught in a sliver in the bottom of the hole and straightened a size 4 gamy to get off.   Not sure what it was..... but it's still out there roaming the depths of Korman.

  I also fished File Lake once, and managed to catch a 31" and 32" laker.   The picture is not that great since I didn't have the camera warm- because the information from locals is that there is no big fish in that lake.   These were not monster trout- but the definitely were not push overs.

  Woosey Lake also got a few holes punched in.   We have been doing quite well with walleye there, but also in some big burbot.  The last time out one client caught  a 33" brute.  But as the story goes- we never got to see the one that just about spooled him!!!

  I plan to keep you all posted on the ice as well as the fishing!



 October came along, and Elissa's tummy was getting rather large.  It was time to head south to be ready for the baby to come, and for me to get a bit of hunting done as well!

  We headed out to my family farm for a few days, where my dad and I got to do some speckle belly goose hunts.  Maggie got to show her stuff out there and she worked her magic.  After getting my fix on some hunting, it was time to head into the city and wait.

  It wasn't long and we welcomed our baby girl to the world.  She gave us all a scare, and we were a bit shocked that it wasn't a boy....we were sure it was going to be a boy.  At that moment we named her Kiley, and she had us wrapped around her finger ever since.  We are so blessed to have a daughter!

  Now, Elissa just had surgery, but no one was going to stop the physiotherapist in her.  That day she was showering, and the next day doing small walks.  One more day and Elissa was released (one day early).   We were now parents........yikes.

   So when you come to the lodge this year- you will be greeted by our new welcoming committee!

Bryan, Elissa, Kiley, Bauer, and Maggie