Holiday greetings from Jim and Julie’s Wabaskang Camp. We want to wish each and every one of you a joyous Christmas and New Year. We’re hoping everyone can finally spend time with their loved ones, all gathering together with minimal COVID-19 concerns. It’s been a difficult few years for all of us and being able be together during the holidays is exactly what we all need.
As most of our guests know the Canadian border opened up to vaccinated travelers late last season and all of the 2022 season. As of late September, this year the Canadian border has dropped the vaccination requirement and his allowing all travelers to enter Canada without a vaccination, a chance of being chosen for a random COVID-19 test, or the need to use the ArriveCAN app. We had mixed feelings from our guests this season, some had little difficulty using the app and some had real issues especially if you were the unlucky person who was chosen for a random test, hopefully all the border restrictions are behind us now and the 2023 season will look like the seasons we all enjoyed prior to the pandemic. Julie and I know many of you have lost friends and loved ones since the start of the pandemic and our prayers go out to you.
The 2022 season brought many challenges to us and all the camp owners. Julie and I couldn’t get to camp until May 9th due to the snow still on our road that was almost 3’ deep in early May which couldn’t be plowed until it finally began to melt. We also had a pair of broken utility poles along our road which meant we didn’t have electricity from the power line until I could arrange for a contractor to come and replace both poles, luckily, we were able to run the generator for a few days until the poles were replaced and the power was restored. When we left camp in October of 2021 the water level was so low that we couldn’t even launch boats at our launch and our floating dock was sitting in the mud, when we returned to camp in in May of 2022 the water was almost 7’ higher and the ice had destroyed sections of our dock and the numerous steel poles holding the dock in place. We were scrambling every day to get the dock in working order and the camp opened up and cabins ready before our opening week guests arrived, somehow Julie and I managed to have enough cabins ready to go on opener. We also had had to build a 32’ long temporary ramp to get onto our floating dock because the water was well over the normal ramp and the temporary ramp was used almost six weeks before the water came down enough to use the normal ramp. Our guests also had to take a detour around a section of Hwy 105 for almost six weeks due to water over the road. Julie and I breathed a sigh of relief when things finally straightened out and our season could move forward with less issues. Because of the vaccination requirements we had a smaller group of guests in camp most weeks but we were still grateful after two seasons of no guests. We are hopeful many of our guests that couldn’t come to camp last season will be excited to finally return after three years. The 2022 season saw plenty of rain early in May, June, and July and dry weather in August and September, the lake was actually getting low when we left camp in October but hopefully a normal Winter will bring plenty of snow and then rain in the spring will bring the lake back to where we like to see it. Julie was busy cleaning cabins all season even though she had a knee that was scheduled to be replaced in October when we returned to Iowa. We were both really grateful that our entire gang of Saturday help returned to camp to help us after being away for two seasons, they are the best crew we could ever ask for and we consider them our friends, Julie can’t express enough how thankful she is. Her surgery was done on the 25th and she is doing great, plenty of physical therapy in her future but the prognosis looks good, she is looking forward to next season, hopefully without all the pain. We really enjoyed seeing everyone again this season, it seemed that all our guests had new kids or grandchildren to brag about and we enjoyed catching up with everyone. As you know we had decided to sell the camp last season but after a year testing the waters, we have decided to continue operating the camp and try and build it back to the pre-pandemic levels we enjoyed only a few years ago. We still enjoy the “camp life” and look forward to another season with our guests. The camp is more than just a destination to most of our guests, it is a family tradition that is filled with wonderful memories made with family and friends. We were so honored to have Larry and Karen Forbes return to camp this season and celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary together, hope to see the whole family again next season.
The fishing was super at Wabaskang this season with plenty of trophies being caught. The walleye fishing continues to be fantastic with plenty of trophies being caught and released. It seems the best presentation was a jig and minnow combination, crank baits, or soft plastics. Some of our guests had good luck using bottom-bouncers as well. The four top walleyes of the season belong to Kristy Lammers who released a 29” brute, Tim Bruns released his 29” trophy, Tom Rens caught and released a 29” beauty, and Sue Schweer caught a monster 29.5” walleye she is taking home to hang on the wall.
Northern fishing held its own again this season with plenty of giants being caught and released. Our guests used a variety of techniques to catch the toothy critters this season. Everything from huge musky baits to small crank baits or even a simple jig and minnow combination caught the big brutes this season. The northern 40” or more were numerous this season, Matt Grove released his 40” brute, Steve Young released his 40” trophy, Mike Lammers released two 40”, a 40.75”, and a 41” northern, Kristy Lammers released a 40.5”, a 41”, and a beautiful 41.5” northern this season, Brett Langfritz released his 40” trophy, Bob Bruns released his massive 41” northern, Roger Lanie caught a 41” trophy, Micah Peterson released his 40’ trophy, not bad for his first time to camp and only being 10 years old, Kaleb Schall and Eli Gerber caught many trophies this season, their biggest was a combined effort on a 40” monster released after a quick picture, Brody Williams released his 40” trophy, and the biggest northern caught this season was skillfully caught and released by camp legend Larry Luhring, he released a monster 42” northern.
Bass fishing is exceptional on Wabaskang Lake with many trophies over 19”
being caught and released. Our guests used soft plastics fished over and along the rocky shores and weedy bays. Small crank baits also were top producers along with a simple hook and slip sinker rigged with a minnow or nightcrawler. All the trophy bass listed were released. Chris Kersten caught a monster 19.5” bass, Brian Boevers skillfully caught a 20” bass, Bill Mincks caught a feisty 19.5” bass, Chad Peterson boated a 20” beauty, Bodie Inselman landed a massive 19.5” trophy, Lars Rosene skillfully landed his 19.5” bass, Mike Lammers lucked out on his 19.25” bass, Chuck Nass caught a 20” monster, and the biggest bass of the season was caught by Ryan Inselman, he calmly landed a 20.5” giant.
Our guests struggled this season when it came to catching lake trout, a few small ones we’re caught and the biggest trout of the season was caught by our camp favorite Steve Taylor, he managed to catch a 28” trophy.
Crappie and perch fishing had good weeks and bad weeks, the best time for both species seemed to be late May and the entire month of June. Keynote Lake was a great spot along with Ruby Lake and Aerobus Bay. Our guests used small tube jigs or a bobber and minnow or worm. We saw many crappies over 14” this season and even some perch around 13”.
Many of you are receiving your reservation form along with your Christmas letter, please look the form over and return the yellow copy with your deposit, (if required) to our Waverly address, if your plans have changed, please let us know so we can open your spot to another group.
Julie and I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Jim and Julie