Fish On!

Favourable Lake Ontario 
 June 9-16, 2007


Clayton Wright's 37" Pike

   Neil's Slideshow

Mason's  Slideshow

All of the pictures below, plus many more are available at the two links above.



Shore Lunch at Severn Falls
Kneeling from left: 
Ben Vowell, Neil Haldrup, Matt Wieborg
Row 2: Mason Hewitt, Jack Haldrup, James Clark, Bob Haldrup, Luke Vowell, Clayton Wright
Back Row: Randy Shields, John Gaddum, Bob Vowell, Andy Haldrup

Sunset over Lemonade Lake

 Link to bigger map

Wow, What a trip!

This was by far our best trip by the quantity and quality of fish caught, seems like we might just be getting this Canada fishing thing figured out.  We have NEW CLUB RECORD HOLDERS in John Gaddum with a 27" Walleye, and Clayton Wright with a 37" Northern Pike.  Bob Vowell goes commando on the Northerns on Thursday and boats an astonishing 81 Pike and 20 Walleye for 101 FISH in one day, his total for the week of 185 Pike and 102 Walleye gets him top prize for most fish. 

The Sigurd contingent gets blanked again, but Andy gets close with second place in both fish categories with a 24" walleye and 36" Northern.  Just about everybody caught more and bigger fish than ever before, even the Rookies did great with Mason Hewitt catching a ton of fish, and Clayton saying he had to drag Matt Wieborg off the water at the end of each looooong fishing day. 

Ben hooks everything in sight (including himself and the ugliest 35" Northern ever) and places an impressive 3rd in both categories.  Jack gets a 34" and 33" Northern within 1/2 hour on his 9" Bull Dawg lure.  Jack's 34 and Andy's 36 was a very fun double catch, with Bob skillfully netting both fish at the same time in one scoop.

           Jack's 33 Incher                                         37" Northern under Clayton & Matt

 Big Northern    Inches
    Clayton Wright      37
    Andy Haldrup       36 
    Ben Vowell       35 
    Jack Haldrup      34
    Neil Haldrup      34
    Bob Vowell      33
 Big Walleye   Inches
    John Gaddum      27
    Andy Haldrup      24
    Ben Vowell      23
    Luke Vowell      23
    Bob Vowell      23 
    Clayton Wright      23 

 Most Northern   Number 
    Bob Vowell      185
    Jack Haldrup        91 
    Bob Haldrup        83 
    Mason Hewitt        76 
    Clayton Wright        76 

 Most Walleye  Number
    Mason Hewitt     167 
    Andy Haldrup     149
    Clayton Wright     147
    Bob Haldrup     143
    Randy Shields     134 

For his prodigious catch of 167 Walleye and 76 Northern, 243 total fish, Mason Hewitt wins the ROOKIE OF THE YEAR nod, although Matt boated a beauty 32" Northern to make the voting close.  The battle for MOST IMPROVED FISHERMAN overall was tight with Luke Vowell winning by improving his catch from 2005 from 4 fish total to 70 - a 1500% improvement. Randy Shields improved his totals by more than 700% by going from 24 fish to 197 for first place in the Senior Division.  Complete FISH COUNT LOG in PDF format.                       

Lunker Lander Luke Lands Lunch Lunker

Randy's Eye

The camp operated by Big Hook Wilderness Camps consists of two identical cabins beautifully located on a narrow strip of land between Favourable Lake and Lemonade Lake, with the camps looking out over Lemonade.  We were lucky to meet all the owners  - Steve and Evie Hartle, as well as their son and Chief-Guide-And-All-Things-Fishing-Guy, Nathan Hartle.  Great people all, who run a first class operation.  The camp also featured a smaller cabin with the interior 2 bedrooms incomplete, but the partially finished kitchen became Claytons Fish Cleaning Station and was generally referred to as Clayton's Clubhouse, Matt being the main club member.

Favourable Lake Cabins

Clayton's Clubhouse

The equipment at the camps was in good condition and operated as expected, although the Carmel boys, Jack and Andy, might need to cut back on the steroids as they both separated the starter cords on their motors from the motor.  The motors work less well that way, and required a rescue tow from Bob and Neil on Andy's part.  In both cases, Big Hook was on the spot doing repairs and swapping motors the next day.

Bob and Neil rescue Jack, Ben, Andy


The Outdoor Facilities

Both cabins had showers, but were short of indoor toiletry, causing much consternation and breath holding by some.  The cabins also had electricity provided by a diesel generator, that kept the fridges and freezers at the right temps, and provided lights while running. 
  Clayton, Neil, John and James did some great engineering with spare plywood, constructing a noise shield to cut down on the noise pollution invading the campfire ring.

The lakes were pretty much as advertised, with Lemonade being a virtual scoop net factory for smaller walleye and little northern, and Favourable being a massive body of water with fish holding structure of every conceivable type and location. 

Randy and Mason at Bear Creek Rapids

 Several nice rivers and streams provided excellent fishing at spots where they entered Favourable in waterfalls and rapids creating pools that held huge numbers of fish.  It was impossible to cover all of this water adequately, and may require a return visit to fish all the likely spots. 

James nets a Nice Pair of Blues for the beer Batter

 We had never done a Shore Lunch on our own before and went from zero to a wacky 2 shorelunches on this trip.  Both Ben and James came to the simultaneous conclusion that if 1 shore lunch was good, 2 would be off the hook.  Earthshattering idea, but hugely successful suggestion.

 The Shore Lunches were both at falls at the northwestern part of the lake about a 16 mile boat ride from camp.  They proved to be great fun organizing, preparing, and certainly eating, and will definately be a mainstay in years to come.   

  The meal prep and running of camp was smoother than on any other trip due to everyone pitching in to do their share.  Clayton performed expert surgery on every single walleye (and 1 Northern) as not one report of bones was heard.  Senior Potato Staffers, Spuds (Neil) and Tater (Bob), were ably assisted by new potato staff member Tater Tot (Mason) in expert preparations of Fries and other assorted potato concoctions.


  Once again, the beer batter fish was probably the favorite (kudos to James for sacrificing 2 beers for a non-beverage use), and everyone seemed to enjoy the cornmeal coating, Blackened walleye, and teriyaki fish preparations as well as the simple salt, pepper and lemon walleye.  Additionally, Ham, Turkey dinner, and Burger/Sausage nights were popular with the troops.  Maybe it helps to serve dinner around 10:30 nightly.


Nice weather for a big Northern

 We had every kind of weather imaginable, often in the same 24 hours.  From massive thunder storms, to cloudless skies, from dead calm to 3 foot waves with whitecaps, from mid 40 degrees to mid 80's.

 The one constant was that we were able to find the fish regardless of the weather, and it never really kept us confined to camp for more than a few short hours of rest. 

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Neil's Journal:

Friday, June 8 - Go Day Go Day!.

 Arise at 4am. Talk to Indy train while crossing the new bridge in CHS. Picked up Mason and well past Chicago. Meet John in Charlotte for flight to Minneapolis. Indy Crew departs Nana's house at 9pm, picks up Mason in Chicago about midnight, and reaches Eau Claire early in the morning. Bob splits off solo for the Minneapolis airport to retreive the southern contingent.  Bob meets us at 9:30am and James arrives shortly thereafter. On the road by 10am. Road construction made it difficult to get out of town and we ventured to White Bear before getting traction. Indy Crew has breakfast at L.A.'s Place north of Duluth, and reaches border around noon, only 5-6 cars in line.  Bob's bunch eat lunch at Erbert & Gerberts outside of Duluth while Indy crowd crossed the border. Get to border around 4pm and out of FT Frances by 5pm. Prime rib in a box in Vermillion Bay with Louise (Bob knows her as Weezie) across from fudge moccasin's shop. Somehow the shoes are not quite the hit of crocs. Struggle into Balmertown around 10:30 missing several moose in the town limits. Indy crew reaches Red Lake airport about 7pm local time, they will check us in in the morning, so off to to Balmer hotel for Dinner in the lounge, and in bed at 10:30, just missing Bob and the rest. Indy crowd no where to be seen and we rejected birthday bash invitation.In bed after 11pm.

Canada Mega Mall

Saturday, June 9 - Blow Day

Up at 5am. Breakfast and last minute purchases in town before heading for the Red Lake airport. 1st group out at 8:30 and the second group (Randy, James, John, and me) out at 9:45 on Wasaya Air Charter to Sandy Lake.  Very windy and rough flight the second half coming into Sandy Lake. 

 We arrive at Sandy Lake at 10:30 and find Andy, Clayton, and Bob waiting to get out. The plane attempted to get them out but the wind was too strong to turn the plane. An attempt around 11am proved successful, but too dangerous for any more flights out until 4pm. We took a hike to the store and hitched a ride to the only restaurant.
Enjoyed some tales from Steve, Nathan, Tim, and crew. Made it to Favourable around 5pm on the Beaver, with Head Pilot Tim at the wheel, which turned out to have a broken rudder which tore a hole in one of the pontoons causing it to partially fill with water and ride 6" lower in the water than the other. Andy and Randy assisted Tim in a little repair work, Luke and John took turns bailing the pontoon. 
 Went out with little luck in the high winds. James caught a walleye and a northern. Other boats had better luck, and in what was only a 1/2 day fishing we were able to get nearly 100 fish. I was skunked. Dinner of ham. Great camp sitting between Favourable and Lemonade.  
Two identical cabins with a fire pit staging area between, generator for lights, hot water, fridge, and freezers.   5 boats on F and 2 on L working some of the time. In bed after 12 as the sky still had daylight near 11pm. High around 55, low at 40 with no measurable rain.We even had a resident eagle at the camp nesting about 50 yards from the cabins.  
Sunday, June 10 - Tow Day
  A little less wind, but still breezy in the am. Went with Bob to the "hole in the wall" in the upper leg of F. Caught several walleye outside the "hole". Towed a distressed boat of Andy, Jack, and Ben home. Fished Lemonade in the afternoon with Ben, Jack and Andy in the other boat. Found a northern factory on the ne end. Ben caught a northern on every cast. Found a few walleye in a very isolated spot off the island.
  Weather improved in the afternoon. Matt caught a 32" Northern. Andy pan fried the plentiful walleye with a squeeze of lemon. Most of the walleye exceeded 16" and we had plenty of 18"ers for Clayton and Matt to filet at the club. High 65 in the afternoon and the low of 35 in the early am., mist and a little rain.
 Monday, June 11 - Favourable Day
 Started off nasty with rain and wind, but a little warmer. Headed for the bowl of the lower F leg with Bob. Randy and Mason joined us and we were supposed to meet up with others, but only saw a pair from Trout Lake on a day visit. Worked our way to a stream dammed by beavers and then off to Bear Creek falls. Caught a fish on every cast with anything, even a bare jig. Nearly every walleye over 17", most 18-20", with the biggest around 23".  Between the 4 of us we caught well over 100 walleye before tiring of the slaughter.
I snagged a 34" northern on a jig with no leader. For now, the biggest of the trip. Headed to some more streams up the lower leg and found them dammed by beavers too. John reported a 27" walleye from a secret spot. It turned out to be Bear Creek. Turkey and mashed potatoes for dinner. In bed by midnight. High of almost 80 from a start of 50 and a trace of rain.
June 12 - Some Like it Hot
  Fished with Randy on F lake in a cove near the cabins after the rain stopped. Caught walleye everywhere. Saw a wood ducks with several chicks. Her calls of distress as Randy and I approached brought out an eagle, but I think the family survived another day. Asian walleye Bob's red beans, sausage, and rice.
  In addition to spicy foods, the weather turned great with a high over 80 and a low of 60. Probably 2 inches of early rain kept us inside for the early hours. Hearts after dinner. Bob and I did not fare well against Jack, Matt, and John.
June 13 - Tale of Two Rivers
 The 'B" team was up at 5ish checking the weather and making coffee. Then we started drinking coffee and planning the day. We drank more coffee and made more plans. Still no movement from the "A" team. Around 7 and a few pots of coffee, we invaded the A team cabin and announced the plans for the day. Despite less than favourable weather conditions, we disclosed the plan to travel several miles into the wind and likely rain to Severn Falls. 
  We were greeted unFavourably with grumbles and groans, but persisted as were fueled with even more coffee. At about 8:15am with the weather looking even less promising, we were all headed into the driving wind. As we approached the lower leg of Favourable, the darkest cloud in the sky sat directly over the Severn Falls area. Nevertheless, we continued as the rain started to fall and continued for a good part of the morning. Upon arrival at the falls around 9:15, we marveled at the site and fished the falls area pretty hard with limited success. We worked our way around a bend and found a bunch of Walleye laying deep. By noon we had plenty of fish and found MIss Bud with all the supplies near the entry into Favourable. By 1pm we were eating the fresh fish filleted by Clayton and cooked by Andy in his Andy's shore lunch mix. We enjoyed the afternoon on the rocks and hiking the ridge above the falls. 
Robert provides lunchtime entertainment with by catching a 33" Northern off the rocks and we scared an eagle into the woods. By the time we were ready to leave the Falls, the weather had turned 180 degrees from earlier in the morning. The gas mizers shared a few drops of fuel and some of headed to Borland Falls at the far end of the lower leg (tail of the second river). The weather continued to improve and we enjoyed a visit exploring one of the prettiest spots on any of our trips. We raced home around 8pm and ate hamburgers/hotdogs, sausages, and brats with some thin cut fries. The sunset was the best of the trip and we took scores of pictures to prove it. In bed by 11pm. We started out with cool temperatures in the 50's with rain and ended with a high near 80.
June 14 - Thinking Outside the Lake

 With great trepidation and entering uncertain territory, Jimlet posed the concept of 2 shore lunches in the same week. Truly thinking outside the box, it took the chief kook and his sou chefs some time to ponder and grasp the concept. Suddenly, with great excitement and joy, the fishermen in camp were informed that indeed a second shore lunch at the Borland Falls was scheduled post haste! Before anyone could understand the magnitude of such a decision, we loaded the boats with great fury and headed back up the lower leg of Favourable to the Borland Falls previously explored the day before. Clayton and Matt arrived 1st and Clayton was rewarded with a 37" Northern.

 We all caught as many fish as we liked and enjoyed another shore lunch beer battered Walleye and hash browns and baked beans. In our packing flurry, we forgot plates and improvised with tackle box lids and anything that could hold a filet for 10 seconds before it was devoured. Robert OARdered his meal on a paddle as the most creative idea for a plate. Jack and Luke built a raft to shoot the rapids before the parental instincts and teaming Northern discouraged the plan. Ben diverted the water into streams to keep the refreshments cool. Bored with professional tackle, rookie Mason used a stick to catch several fish off the rocks. Today's lunchtime entertainment involved Lewis and Clark's effort to dislodge a tree from the falls that surely held a few nice lures as most of us had sacrificed a lure in the area.
  After a gallant try, they gave up and tried an easier jaunt up the falls. This also proved unsuccessful, but was enjoyed by all. On the way to camp, a friendly contest found Andy, Jack, and me victorious over Bob, Randy, and Mason. After leftovers, a group headed to the SE end of Favourable for some more fish games.


  This time the threesome of Bob, Mason, and Randy beat out the undermanned teams of Andy and Jack and John and me. We stayed on the lake long enough to see lightning far on the horizon and an unremarkable display of Northern Lights.The weather was quite hot with highs over 80. The lakes remained extremely calm from morning until night. Rode home in the dark around 11 and in bed shortly thereafter.

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Pre-Trip Info Updated 4/24/07 

The 07 crew: 

The numbers indicate the number of Officially Sanctioned trips each of this years group has participated in.  Looks like we are in luck on the bear bait, luggage hauling, boat cleaning, and other assorted chore-boy duties with two rookies this year. Mason is Brittany Shields new hubby, and Matt is Clayton's son-in-law from California.  Kate Haldrup has dropped out after receiving a better offer to travel to Boston and New Hampshire to visit her sister this summer.

 Bob Haldrup (7)

 Neil Haldrup (7)

Andy Haldup (7)

 Jack Haldrup (6)

 Clayton Wright (6)

Randy Shields (6)

 Bob Vowell (5)

Ben Vowell (5)

 Luke Vowell (3)

James Clark (3)

John Gaddum (3) 

Mason Hewitt (R)

Matt Wieborg (R)


We will keep updating this information as we get closer to departure with any new and useful info.  Check out the Forum page for gear recommendations, and adding your 2 cents.

We will fly out of the airport in Red Lake, Ontario on commercial charter plane to Sandy Lake, Ontario (about 150 miles N of Red Lake).


 Wasaya Airlines  - Charter operator from Red Lake to Sandy Lake.

From Sandy Lake, we will transfer to float plane for the 30 mile flight into Favourable Lake.  Red Lake is about 90 miles North of our usual departure location in Ear Falls.  Current travel plan is as follows: 

  1. Arrive Nana's no later than 8 pm to weigh, Pack, Load 6/07/07.
  2. Depart Indy 10 pm .
  3. One vehicle breaks off formation in Eau Claire Wisconsin to pick up Carolina riggers at Minneapolis Airport. 
  4. Remainder of caravan proceeds to border Noonish, and on to Red Lake.
  5. Arrive Red Lake around 6 pm Friday. 
  6. Overnight in Balmer Motor Hotel near airport.
  7. Fly out of Red Lake early Saturday morning June 9th.
  8. Favourable Fishing by noon!
  9. Depart Favourable in am Saturday, June 16th,
  10. Back in Indy Sunday before noon.

The camp looks functional, but is more on the lines of what we are used to prior to Latreille.  The good news is that there IS indoor plumbing including a shower in each cabin.  The cabins look identical, each has two bedrooms, and comes stocked with staple food items.  Linens are NOT provided, bring sheets/blanket or sleeping bag. Generators provide electricity.

Folks, this is BIG water! Big water = Big Fish. (we hope) Each of the squares on this map represent 1Km or .62 miles. That makes the longest arm of this lake about 12 miles.

This is also WAY north, at least 100 miles North of Brownstone, our prior northernmost trip.  There are only a handful of camps further north of this lake.  If you are a Google Earth devotee, the grid coordinates are: (If you haven't seen Google Earth it is worth installing - pretty cool views of the world.  I have all of our prior site coordinates posted on the Links page of this site.)

 Latitude 52 45' 53.33" N
 Longitude 94 45' 30.84" W

The good thing is that we will have 20hp motors on the boats making it easier to get around. The 2 cabins are located at the star on the map which is a narrow strip of land between Favourable and Lemonade Lakes. There are boats on both lakes, not sure of how many on each. Lemonade is supposed to be a great walleye lake, Favourable has both walleye and northern.  This is a strict conservation lake, NO fish out, only what you can eat.  With the size of the lakes, and the minimal fishing pressure, there should be multiple Trophy photo opportunities for everybody in both species.  Don't forget a camera.

Check out their website:

Big Hook Camps Website - Favourable Lake

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