What an Opener!
Well after 1095 days, Tall Pine could finally welcome guests back for opener week. Many of our guests had booked this trip back in 2019 or 2020, so saying they were excited to return to fishing on the Wabaskang is an understatement. To see docks lined with boats, and the fishermen going out on opening day gave us such a rewarding feeling:
Some people's version of heaven:
Week 1 Water temps in lake 1 were at upper 30's at opener and lower 40's in shallow areas throughout. Find the warmer water temps became a goal, and that sure produced. On day 1, numerous throw back 22-25" walleye were caught.
Plastics and live bait are equally producing, and all the species are hitting - from the crappie, perch, smallies, lake trout, northern, and of course walleye. Some longtime opener week guys said this was their best fishing year, while some admitted that the higher water levels required them to search for new spots as their tried and true ones from years past were slower. The size of the smallmouths being caught are quite impressive as you can see from below:
Brett is a guest of Tall Pines since his childhood days and was so pumped to get back up here that he's here for a 3 week stay. On his first day with Uncle Ted, they caught a 16.5" crappie!
Frank and Chris had a great group of friends join them for opener week.
Here, Chris landed a whopper 19.25" smallmouth on Thursday:
And Frank, put in some time with his boat mates to reel up this 32.5" lake trout beauty:
His crew caught 7 more later in the week as they dialed in their depth. Tom's first time on the Wabby and he landed a dandy too:
Paul Evers nailed a 38.25" northern
and is currently tied for lead for largest smallmouth with this 2o.5 incher:
and a gorgeous 24" walleye:
Wayne got this thick northern:
It seemed that while the fishing was good the first few days, the fishing got even better the second half of the week. Walleye are of course shallow right now, so finding them in 4-8' seemed to produce.
More pics from opener week :
Cabin 2 couple enjoying their sunset view:
The fish house got quite the use- bustling with fish stories and everyone having their own filleting/packaging system down pat- but Earl managed to get in there a few times
And the leaderboard at the end of week 1:
We got the Potluck/App Nite Tradition going right off the bat with a campfire, bean bags, and some great eats. We kicked it off with a toast to the start of the 2022 season:
Week 2 water temps are slowly creeping up. Most areas are now in the low to mid 50's. Fish are still being found relatively shallow. Day 1 guests returned to the docks after fishing, most saying it was unreal. In a few hours time, dozens and dozens of fish caught, and the fish house was so busy, there was a waiting line!
Longtime Wabby fishermen Reese, Ken, Todd, and Jack had some epic days on the water:
Reese's 26" walleye on Monday:
And Jack's 19" smallie:
Mark was after those walleye:
Terry caught his fair share, here with some nice northern:
There's a lot more pics to come in, as newbie guests caught some huge fish- Carl just caught a 46" northern pike - and was on cloud 9, giddy the rest of the day. The week 2 leaderboard is shaping us nicely. Stay tuned for more on that coming soon.
While we had one day in the 70's, air temps have remained cool this week, windy much of week 2 that made it challenging, but also rewarding.
Having a normal opener would have been too easy though, right? Air temps were in 40's and snowflurries for a portion to start as our first guests arrived. And the water levels and flooding helped ensure that it was an adventure to get here with flooding on Hwy 17, and a portion of the 105 closed with an interesting detour (The road crews, in their defense, had been out for days before opener trying to keep it passable).
Wabaskang levels continued to rise inches per day; shorelines just look so different right now than years past because we estimate the water is now 5-6' higher than last fall. Here if you look closely you can see where it was on May 2nd:
And May 25th:
Estimated rose 4' in May. Our docks have so far weathered this, but many have been seen floating in the lake and lots of debris/floaters out there to watch out for.
A surprise camp guest made an appearance:
Here Ryan and I enjoyed one last golf cart ride around camp on the eve of opener:
And one last boat ride before opener when we seemed to have the lake to ourselves:
Sunsets did not disappoint our opener week campers; even on some windier days, it always seemed to calm down for this moment:
The unpredictability of Canada weather and life is part of the draw. I should mention that the same opener day that we had snowflurries, by evening the sky cleared for an incredible pink sunset. One day you're wearing a t-shirt and the next you have on your snowpants and winter gear. One Record low water last year to record highs this year. A fishing spot that may be a dud one day is stacked the next. The juxtaposition of it all is a mystery, but one that makes you want to keep coming back.