Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fishing Trip - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

Fishing Trip

Recently my wife received a call from her sister and during the course of the conversation, my sister-in-law mentioned that her husband was in Canada fishing with some friends. This immediately brought back some really enjoyable memories of fishing trips about 40 years ago to Lake Kabinakagami in Ontario north of the Sault about 200 miles as shown on the map above and the aerial photo of the lodge below. The place is still operating and essentially unchanged as this short promotional video depicts.

We would drive through Michigan upper peninsula and into Canada to White River, Ontario, where an amphibious plane would be ready for the flight to the lodge. At the time, White River supposedly held the record for the coldest spot in Canada at -72 degrees, but has since been upstaged by Snag, Yukon at -81. 

But first, we had to buy beer since Canada did not allow alcoholic beverages to be transported across the border. Because there was a strict 100 pound weight limit for each passenger’s carry-on gear and supplies, we painstakingly limited our gear to the bare necessities to make room for more Labatt's as shown in the photo below.

Finally arriving at the lodge, the fishing began in earnest. There were two to a boat and we’d troll for walleye in the many bays around the expansive 42 sq. mi. lake.

Each day we’d enjoy a mouthwatering shore lunch on an open fire frying up the fresh fish we caught that morning, washed down with some cold Labatt’s. 

At that time, the daily limit was six walleye per man, not counting the fish eaten at the shore lunch. So we’d only keep the biggest fish. For example, the walleye on my left would be released while the one on my right would be a keeper.

Occasionally we’d have a double header, meaning both anglers were landing a fish at the same time. To get a sense for what that's like, here’ s a video of a triple header from the lodge’s website. Once we limited out, we’d go fishing for perch or whitefish, many times off the dock by the lodge. There was a day when one of the guys did get shutout (almost) as evidenced in this photo.

That evening we’d clean the fish, put them in plastic bags with our name tag, to be frozen in the camp’s freezer until the trip back home. The amount of fish we’d bring back equalled exactly the weight of the beer we brought (and consumed), so we could maintain that 100 pound limit for the flight back. Since those days, the limit on walleye brought out of Canada is six per person and strictly enforced by Canadian wildlife officers as evidenced by this recent arrest and $10,000 fine reported in the local paper.

Digging through my old tackle box (more on that relic next week), I discovered the above map of the lake showing all the best fishing spots as well as the location of the daily shore lunch. Don’t tell anyone as these spots are all top secret!

The wildlife that far up north was amazing. We’d see deer, moose and bear almost daily, but the highlight was seeing the eagles soar above the lake and dive for fish like shown in this video. Eagles were never seen further south because of the prevalent use of DDT pesticides for agriculture. The pesticide got into the bloodstream of the eagles causing their egg shells to be very thin and fragile. So eagle reproduction in the US virtually came to a halt for years after DDT was outlawed in 1972. Although it took years, thankfully the eagles have returned, as witnessed by my sister, who sends photos all the time of the eagles nesting around their home on Lake Loramie.

We stopped going to that lake after a few years because the fishing dropped off substantially, supposedly due to acid rain washing down airborne chemicals in the clouds from power plants. Since Lake Kabinakagami's predominant winds are from the southeast, the likely source for the pollution was midwestern US. Now that power plants have been cleaned up, like the eagles, the fish have returned with abundance.

Regarding my brother-in-laws fishing trip, check out this honker northern pike he caught in a Canadian Lake north of Minnesota that qualified him for the Fish Report Wall of Fame:

Maybe it’s time to make some new memories on another Canadian lake?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hurricane - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.


The terrible devastation wrought by the recent hurricanes brought to mind an Ernest Hemingway book I read as a kid entitled “Old Man and the Sea” about the experiences of an old fisherman in the straits of Florida between the Keys and Cuba. Hemingway's vivid description of the fisherman dealing with high winds and rough sea came flooding back as I watched news about the hurricanes. While researching Hemingway on-line, I discovered another book about the author/adventurer entitled “The Great Florida Keys Storm of 1935” that I hope to read. That hurricane was a category 5 with 200 mph winds!

Speaking of Hemingway, he had a connection to Hurricane Irma as well in that his home, now a museum in Key West survived without much damage, thanks to being build with three layers of cement blocks to withstand hurricane winds. Hemingway bought it in 1931, so it survived that 200 mph 1935 hurricane as well. While living there, Hemingway was given a six toed cat by a ship captain, and today there are 54 such polydactyl cats, all decedents of that original cat, named Snow White. Each, like the one pictured below, are named after a famous person (or cartoon character), continuing Hemingway’s practice. All 54 cats survived the hurricane.

Another interesting tidbit about the hurricane recovery was this video of a chainsaw-wielding nun clearing a fallen tree.

This year’s hurricanes were especially disconcerting since we now have a condo in Naples (circled in the aerial photo below) where Irma hit head-on. Nancy, our condo association president and registered nurse, along with her dog Charlie, hunkered down in their condo near our unit on the 4th floor to ride out the hurricane. She was texting me periodic reports about the storm that I then copied into an email and sent to the other residents who had evacuated or were up north for the summer like us. That way she conserved battery power on her phone while everyone stayed updated on the hurricane. A local TV news station had positioned a sky-cam on the building next door to ours, so we were able to remotely observe the conditions real time via the internet. It was especially eerie to watch the strong easterly winds literally blow the water in the bay out to sea causing a never-before-seen 4-5’ drop in water levels.

Just as the winds were peaking, the power went out disrupting the sky-cam video, but cellular service was still ok, allowing Nancy to keep us up to speed (literally) about the hurricane. But once 135 mph wind surges were measured at the Naples airport, the cell system also went down. So for a couple hours, all we could do was watch the Weather Channel reporting live less than a mile from our condo. Click here for an amazing video of his report during the worst of the hurricane.

As the eye of the hurricane passed directly over Naples, the wind died and for a few seconds, the sun even shown through the eye; and amazingly cell service returned, allowing Nancy to transmit again. She reported there was no power or water. She also indicated that as the hurricane winds shifted, the water that had been blown out to sea came surging back into the bay, rising to 5’ over high tide, which meant the water level encroached to within one foot of our condo building before receding back to normal levels. Fortunately, the forecasted surge of 15’ did not materialize, which would have flooded the building up to the second level! The photo on the right was taken from outside her condo the next morning. You’ll notice several trees are down and if you click the photo and look closely, notice the flagpole with Old Glory still waving at the end of the parking lot. As of this writing, power and water are still out, but we’re thankful for Nancy (and Charlie’s) safety as well as the relatively good condition of our building, which means we should be able to again enjoy another stay this winter.

The local Naples newspaper depicted many areas that unfortunately suffered much more serious damage. The following two photos especially caught my attention as a ’59 Chevy the same color and model as my first car (documented in this previous blog) got smashed by a palm tree. Who in the world would leave a classic car out during a hurricane?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Flooded Basement - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

Flooded Basement

You may recall this previous blogpost about the construction of my in-laws home in Russia back in the ’50’s. Well recently, my mother-in-law had a flooded basement after a large rainstorm because the drainage line to the creek out back was blocked due to a number of collapsed clay tiles.

My wife’s mother is such a meticulous gardener, it was a real shame to have her lush back yard pictured above in the “before” photo torn up as shown in the “after” photos below by backhoes digging trenches to first locate the problem then replacing the line.

The company making the repairs was supposed to do the work the following week, but had a schedule change and said they were coming out the next day instead. That evening before the digging was to start, we called and I walked my mother-in-law through the likely process for finding and fixing the drainage problem. She was reminded to mark the area of the back yard where the septic tank was located so the heavy equipment would not drive over that area and collapse the tank, avoiding what happened to me years ago as documented in this previous blog and as depicted in the photo below.

During the course of the conversation, my mother-in-law referenced a set of blue prints for the original home construction and wondered if they might be useful. Over the phone, I gave her a quick primer on reading blue prints, so she was able to locate the appropriate blueprint, find the back yard details and read the location of the septic tank as well as the drainage line going to the creek from the corner of the house. I was amazed how quickly she picked up the nuances of blue-print reading. But after all, she was a farm girl way back when, therefore amazingly resourceful. She set up a card table in the garage and laid out the blueprints on the table as shown below for the plumbing repair company’s use the next day (note the old wrenches used to keep the prints from rolling up).

Unfortunately, the repairs could not be completed in one day, as is so typical with contractors, her yard was left in this torn up state for several weeks until they could return. Good thing there were no heavy rains during that waiting period to flood the basement. Gratefully, my wife ’s family members were there to help my mother-in-law deal with the contractors. That means everything should be draining smoothly again. And the good news is the septic tank is still intact! However, now my mother-in-law has to spend the winter looking out her back window at the piled dirt slowly settling so the disturbed areas can be backfilled and reseeded next spring. Better than a flooded basement but an eyesore for sure.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Brother Luke’s 60th Birthday - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

Brother Luke’s 60th Birthday

Our family recently celebrated my brother Luke’s 60th birthday. As the youngest member of our family, he was likely an “oops” baby as Mom was over 40 at the time. But it was the best “accident” that ever happened, as without him, I would have no brother, meaning all the good times we’ve had together over the years would be for naught. I was 9 at the time of his birth, and told Mom and Dad if they had another girl, to just leave her at the hospital. Whenever Luke would misbehave as a child (and still to this day!), we always claimed he was switched at birth with the baby sister Mom never brought home.

If you look closely at the above photo of Luke taken at his birthday party, you’ll see that he is missing his ring finger on his left hand. This accident occurred years ago when his wedding ring got caught on the rack of a stake bed truck as he was jumping off! Ouch, indeed. Check out this recent photo of him making fun of his missing finger.

As depicted on his 60th birthday cake and on his shirt above, Luke loves motorcycles, having taken trips all over the country. He recently graduated to a three-wheeled trike Harley that provides a little more stability in his “old age”. His Harley Club does wonderful charitable work around the area holding poker runs throughout the year to raise money for the needy. The photo below shows Luke in “jail”; held there until all of his friends and family bailed him out by making a donation to the cause. We delayed our contributions just long enough so he’d have to stew in the clink overnight.

Luke is an avid OSU fan and for years, he would travel up to Ann Arbor where we would attend the big game together between the Buckeyes and Wolverines as pictured below of him enjoying a halftime snack at the Big House in 2011.

Hard to believe, but he never witnessed the Bucks win a game there as all those trips were made during the era before the arrival of coaches Tressel and Meyer. The string of losses made him so mad that he vowed never to set foot in Ann Arbor again, which was doubly reinforced after his final game witnessing another Bucks loss. We were eating at a local restaurant and Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr and his entire staff showed up and sat at the table next to us to celebrate the Wolverines' big win. His boycott of Ann Arbor, Luke claims, is the real reason the Bucks have not lost there in recent years! I keep inviting him up, but no go. To put our friendly rivalry in perspective, note in the family photo below taken at our Dad’s funeral in 2008 that Luke is wearing a scarlet and grey tie and mine is maze and blue.

Happy Birthday, Luke! Thanks for all the great times and wonderful memories.

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