Slate Falls Outposts

It seems like a distant memory now but spring was hectic with a near record ice out and wicked high water in Sioux Lookout [that part beat a 1953 record]. But, spring pike fishing was phenomenal and a lot of personal bests were set. June was not a great month for temperatures or rain but July and August largely turned out perfect and August saw a lot of ‘cup ‘ fish in the walleye department.

What is a cup fish? Well, it was an inaugural launch of a fun way to keep track of some of the big fish. IF you released a walleye over 27 ½ inches or a northern over 42 inches you got a custom Slate Falls Outposts mug [worth about $500 a cup, maybe more] to show to your friends every time they come to your house all winter long. We went through about 40 cups this year but unfortunately I did not think to grab names or species this year so next year we will have a new improved cup and we will get names and species to throw in to the newsletter!

This year we offered depth finders for rent and it turned out that they were a big success and better than some of the primitive stuff that folks have been bringing up as well [string and rock method for sure, or when you anchor your boat and get the anchor hopelessly stuck and have to cut the anchor rope but you know how deep it was]. Anyhow, they will be available for the future with advanced notice as well. We also found more folks wanting to rent the satellite phones for that added security measure, to the point that sometimes it was a juggle for me to supply a short term request. So, we are getting a couple more to make that problem go away once and for all. Just try to give me advance notice so that I can make sure it is charged up and ready to go.

At St. Joe we had a new guy this year, Max. He was great and a refreshing embrace for me in getting little projects done up there. To name a few, 2 brand new docks at central cabin, wind barriers for the fish cookers, the retrofitting of the central cabin, clean boats all the time and in general a well run camp. Not likely he will be back next year but he has set the bar high for the next guy!

This was our first year not issuing licences and I was a bit nervous how it would go. But, everyone was on the ball and had their licences when they arrived and things went smoothly with much less stress for me on check in as we had no unanticipated delays that we have had since the government took away our paper licences. Same plan for next year so make sure you get it on line before you arrive in the spring or stop in Fort Frances and purchase before you get here. We have put the license link on our website.

Another new twist was no bunkhouse. That was met with mixed reviews, we have spent a lot of great time in the bunkhouse over the years. Red Pine Lodge recanted their ‘no bunkhouse’ strategy through the summer so we got a bit of use from it in August. Anyhow, due to my inability to juggle one less ball in the air as my age advances I have decided that ALL GUESTS WILL BOOK AND PAY FOR THEIR OWN ACCOMMODATION THE NIGHT BEFORE. Here are your choices:

  • Red Pine Lodge bunkhouse [probably available] 807 737 2904
  • Lamplighter Motel [new owners] 807 737 1014
  • Best Western Hotel 807 737 4444
  • Forest Inn 807 737 1330

If your cabin is open the night before you can go directly to the lake instead of overnighting at the cost of $50 per person. [This must be prearranged as it very likely may not be possible if there are folks there, not willing to leave]

Everyone got a chance to meet my new right hand man and great friend, Ryan. He will be back next year as well. He convinced me to get on Facebook. I find that I would rather be fishing trying to catch a fish to brag about rather than writing dribble about what time I got up or some such nonsense. Facebook is for you guys to post your pics on and brag to others and [as a minor benefit to me] attract us new business from your less talented and fortunate friends. I would say we have had some success on that front and Ryan has been pretty diligent keeping it up, so anticipate that it will be up for next year as well to follow our progress and view other folks photos.

DEPOSITS ARE DUE ON OR ABOUT JANUARY 1 if you have not already given it to us. You must make sure that the deposit amount is 20% of your trip or I can not do your on-the-spot refund. For those of you who are mathematically challenged, $300 per man takes in most of the trips but if you kick it up to $400 per person you are safe no matter the length of stay or size of group. [Even if I were to forget you in the bush I would not charge much extra for the extended stay!] Feel free to ask an exact amount if you are pinching pennies and feel like Verne’s health outlook does not warrant giving him any more money than absolutely necessary. [ps I feel fine].[most of the time]

This year we had quite a few trips where folks wanted a guide or even a cook. This can be done by special prearrangement so if you know of some group that wants good fishing but a bit of pampering, let us know and we can work out a custom package quote for you.

Most of you know that I am not in the habit of starting ugly rumours unless it somehow involves my prowess [at anything]. Well, every once in a while I get a comment from a client that they feel they caught giardia [spell check did not even know what that was!] Well, I can neither prove or disprove anyone’s theory that it may or may not have happened at one of our lakes. So, at the risk of offending the fish, I say unto you, drink the lake water at your own risk. The government made us placard it a few years ago, of course being anti-establishment, I still drink it but some of you softer constitutional guys could possibly have a problem so if you are sensitive you should bring bottled water to be safe. Since you likely drink a glass a day at home then a safe amount to figure on would be 5 gallons per person per day, wouldn’t want to run out now would we!! Nothing like a no weight limit outfitter. If you are sharp enough, you can boil your water [or not complain about getting giardia] and get your 4% weight discount.

I did another ‘adventure trip’ this year with my friends Bill and Mark and my Indian guide Eli. [fyi, I drank the unfiltered water at every location we went to and did not get a free souvenir to go home with] We caught lake trout in abundance and big brookies and nice walleyes and even netted some sturgeon. At this point I am considering doing a trip of about 3 or 4 day duration to those areas and others, if anyone has a desire to try to do something like that, drop me an email and will see if it might work this year in my schedule. Note: it is not for complainers, the faint of heart or wallet as gas is expensive up in those parts! With Ryan on board I have more time to play, so that is a good thing, right?

I know I started the rumour last year that I was rebuilding Root Bay. I am still fanning this flame as it is my intention but as I write this I am stuck waiting for the bureaucracy to approve my new site request, I should know by November but the earliest I could hope to get a new site ready would be for the spring of 2016 so that is the current trajectory on that one.
With Ryan to assist it was a good year to get some projects started and completed. To name a few, new flooring in both minniss cabins, new dock at minniss east, metal hand rails on most docks with the rest to be done by next spring, new solar set up at minniss east to accommodate late season use, a St. Joe shore lunch site 15 miles east and more.

As a family, we are all on different tracks now. Andrea has taken the sign in girl roll from Yvonne as she is now in dental school, Yvette [eldest] is engaged and going in to third year med school and Clayton flew the Cessna at the airways all summer and will be this winter and, by the looks of it, next year on the Beaver.

MOOSE HUNT is ongoing and I think everyone, hunters and non hunters alike, are happy with our output. What that translates into is a lot of moose seen but not many shot! So, lots of opportunities that are either blown or passed up but lots of action in the form of animals seen. For the first time in our history, we are offering an archery hunt at Maskara next year. We have done some prescouting and have an excellent calling guide who was very successful this year and ready to go for us next year. Group size will be in the 2 to 4 range, week will be the last week of September and this will be the only archery hunt we offer, so first come first gets it! Email me for a price quote and to see if you are first in line or not. Just went up and took down the tent camp this morning and there was less than day old tracks going right around the tent … You just never know when you get your opportunity!

This year I noticed a few folks ‘forgetting’ that the rules on St. Joe applied to them. Fortunately, it was me and not the game warden who stopped by but it is important [to me, as well as the law] that everyone adheres to the count of 2 fish properly frozen as a maximum in their possession at any time. It is also very important to remember to debarb your hooks and not keep a fish over 18 inches. We have spent years developing a rapport with the local MNR and if they feel that we only do lip service and not genuinely promote a consistent conservation initiative then they have the behind the doors opportunity to way lay my plans to rebuild Root Bay or any other fish and game related plans I have. Enough of that diatribe but you get the point I hope.

I hate to mention this next fact in case it is no longer true by the time you read this but we are Ebola free in the north country. Think about it, sit on a lake in the middle of no where hanging out with your buddies who you know have not been to Africa or Texas lately. Or, go to the Mall or the International Airport and breathe into your sleeve asking yourself why you are even here! Pick us! Pleeeease.

Rates, once again, are pretty much the same as they have been the past few years with one big exception. The rate sheet now quotes a 4 day rate instead of 5 and extra days are now $125 a day instead of $100. You will notice that with two cabins on Minniss I felt it prudent to offer a great deal for groups of 6 or more. A great price for anyone who is budget conscious or just wants to save money to give to their kids after they are dead and gone. IF you are one of these folks, then this is the lake for you. Lots of fun water to explore and all for the same price of about 62 lattes a day. [that is if you had that many in 4 days] Just a little bit of hardship at home for a few days and your fishing is free!

Remember to send your deposits to our winter address at 20620 Bemis Lane, Bend, Oregon 97701. After April 1, send everything back up to Sioux Lookout address please.
My email once again for the folks who have not get set in to their speed dial on computer is: vern@slatefallsoutposts.com

BIG NEWS I am working on some new water for fishing and exploring, keep an eye on our facebook for updates.

“I need a raise” Ryan said to his boss (ME), “there are 3 other companies after me so you better cough it up”. Boss man said “Who wants you, I was just putting up with you out of sympathy”.
Ryan responded “ the electric company, the phone company and Visa” .

Now he works for sfo and all is well. IF those guys come looking for him I just send him up to Lake St. Joe to lay low for a bit.

See 92% of you next year,

Verne and Andrea

This is a famous [eventually] quote from me:
“The angler eventually forgets most of the fish he has caught but he does not forget the lakes that he caught them in” How true [of course, I said it] but it does make you want to come back again, right?


Posted in 2014

Happy Spring!  You Midwesterners.  You old guys think of when it was always like that and you young guys think ‘whew! I made it, time to go fishing with Verne’.  You are both right, a long tough winter like the good old days and also it is time to go fishing!

Everyone enjoys the fall newsletter [I think] and spring letter is an occasional occurrence that is only to group leaders to bring them up to speed on impacting news  on this summers trip.  So, make sure you share this information with your team please!

This spring we are not using the bunkhouse!  It is up for renovation sometime this summer.  I have redirected old bunkhouse guys to the Lamplighter but it is IMPERATIVE [translation: absolutely necessary] that you let me know now your group size and your intentions. They want a few months notice so if you have not already told me your needs then I need to know NOW! We have to pay for the rooms once we book them, whether we use them or not, so if I have not heard from you on where you are staying you will not have a place through me.  The rate is similar to the bunkhouse and everything is prearranged so that all you need to do is stop at the front desk, give your name and grab the keys.  I tack the motel on your bill and you walk out in the morning, throw the keys to the front desk and no fuss no muss.  Cost will be $45 a person including tax based on two guys to a room.  IF I try to book a room last minute then I likely will not get one as they are often full.

 Depth Finders are now available to rent on an advance notice [or as available if you just take your chances]  I have lent them out sporadically over the years but have decided to buy some new ones for just that purpose as I do feel they help you catch more fish [particularly in the summer].  You can let me know when you check in a week in advance, rate will be $10 a day or $30 for your 5 day stay.  They will come with batteries for the week as well. [unless you are on my ‘bad’ list].

Satellite Phones are for rent with advance notice this year as well.  Rate remains the same at $100 for the week and 5 minutes of included air time.  Extra time is $2.00 per minute

Some of you may have noticed that we have started a facebook page that is meant to take some fishing stories and pictures.  I am planning to actively participate on it [as opposed to so far inactively not participating this winter] and putting some blogs up and  fishing adventures and if I can catch a fish then post a picture of me as well holding a fish/snag/branch/fishing partner/dog …..whatever I can catch.

RATES never seem to get better but this year for reasons unknown to science we are instituting a special rate for Minniss this year.  The new published rate reflects a 4 day trip at all sites but Minniss will drop to $990 for 4 days, extra days at the new extra day rate of $125 a day.  The proviso on this one is that I can fill the Otter, so, in order to trigger it you need to have 6 or more guys.  So, any of you already booked that meet the criteria then your rate will automatically go down, and if you are at 4 guys in your group, get hustling and grab two more guys!  AT this point it does not extend to the other lakes, sorry!

Fishing Licenses are NO LONGER AVAILABLE FROM US!  We had to give up our license issuing capacity so now you need to arrive with license in hand.  They can be easily purchased on line if you google search‘buying an Ontario Non Resident fishing licence’.   All you need is your outdoors card [valid or otherwise] and a credit card. Or, you can stop at one of the sporting goods stores as you cross in to Fort Frances. Your St. Joe validation tag you will still get from us no charge at sign in.  This will speed up our departures in the morning as we no longer need to argue with the licensing machine whether you exist or not!

Jeremy will no longer be with us at Eagle Island this year.  That is a little hard for me to spit out still, as I liked him a lot.  I am sure that as clients, there are several schools of thought running out there as to whether this is a good idea to let him go or keep him as a pet forever but he and I had a long chat and decided it was time to move on, his replacement is Max and he is eager and ready to go.

Ryan will be my new right hand man this upcoming year.  He has guided for me for many years, and though young, [under 30] brings a lot of experience to the table when it comes to common sense, people awareness and a great fisherman and general outdoors knowledge.  I am looking forward to a younger and stronger back moving around the boats and motors and gas and I will stick to moving the helium balloons and popcorn and empty gas cans.  Should be a great summer!

Taxes are once again a subject on the table for discussion.  I am currently going through a tax audit that is trying to [CORRECTION: will] penalize me for being a good guy and rebating tax on the spot.  I am allowed to do this BUT I HAVE TO HAVE 20% DEPOSIT PREPAID IN ADVANCE.  This means that your $300 adequately covers up to a $1,450 trip [ licenses, bait, etc are not in the discounted calculation]  IF your rate will be higher than $1,450 then we need an extra hundred dollars to make sure that I can continue to rebate on the spot. [This is a saving to you of about $80 to $100 per person on tax, so worth making sure that you get sufficient deposit in]  If you have less than 20% deposit in, you will not be getting an on the spot refund from me, you still qualify but will have to mail away supporting documentation to Canada and wait it out].

Customer Appreciation is always on my mind but sometimes may not appear that way to you when I am just yelling at you to hurry up and give me my money and don’t let the doorknob hit you in the ass on the way out.  Anyhow, this year I am going to try to prove it by instituting a cheap ticket draw that will allow an extremely low amount investment on your part to win stuff with us the following year.  I need to think out the details a bit but it WILL BE WORTH YOUR WHILE!  Hopefully, this will be well received and carry on indefinitely.

I got some killer custom sfo coffee mugs made this year that can only be won for a master angler release, Yvonne will customize bottom of mug once I sort out the what and timing of delivery.  Kind of awkward for me when a great client like [I will make up a name here, Bill] wants a cup but can not catch a fish to qualify, meanwhile, he happens to bring up a lucky friend [say, Paul] who does catch one, a fist fight ensues in the office, I run, police come and arrest folks, might be making some unique memories with this one!

Times change and along with Jeremy not returning Kent will no longer be flying the Otter.  He started with me in 1993, wow!  But, even though he was a very skilled pilot his attitude towards guests was very hit and miss and the new airways management decided they would let him roll on down the road.  Another guy that I will miss

Why you should go fishing in your retirement rather than get a job at the Malwart store: Human resource guy interviewing old guy: “What is your greatest weakness”? Old guy: “I am too honest” HR guy: “J do not think that honesty is a weakness” Old guy: “ I really don’t give a crap what you think!” Verne’s musings: you can be brutally honest with your fishing buddy and he is pretty much a captive audience as long as you are in control of the motor.

Did you know that there are more overweight people in America now than average weight people.  By simple deduction, if you are overweight you are now average … which means, you have likely met your New Years resolution, now wasn’t the other one to go to Canada fishing again?

On current events: A message to Obama from the old woodsman “it is only when a mosquito lands on yur testicles that you realize that there is a solution to every problem without resorting to violence”

So, once again, I am signing out and hoping that I have enlightened and informed you to the point that you do not feel that you have wasted your kids college tuition money needlessly yet again [wasted perhaps, but needless = no way!]  Check in a week before your trip at 807 737 2903 with us or email me at vern@slatefallsoutposts.com and we will confirm your motel, bait and group size. [Remember, I need to know if you want the Lamplighter NOW!]

See you soon,

Verne

Your trip date ______________________________________ lake __________________________

Deposit on file ___________________  good   not enough

Lamplighter confirmed _____yes                             no

 

 

I was just reading an interesting article on space.  Apparently when the Americans first went to space they found that ballpoint pens would not work in zero gravity and they could not take notes, so they spent $3 billion dollars inventing a new pen that would work in space with no gravity.  Then the Canadians went to space and had the same problem, so they just used a pencil.!

Does that little heart warming anecdote not make you want to come up and see a Canadian or what?


Posted in 2014

Slate Falls Outposts – 2013 Fall Newsletter

Hello everyone for my fall wind down letter!  Firstly thanks to everyone who fished with us this year once again, much appreciated and already looking forward to my visits with most of you again next year.

I must talk a little on weather as it seems to be an American pastime wondering what it is going to be.  I constantly get asked “what is the forecast for the next few days?” I reply “I do not know” and the customer invariably says “I heard it is going to rain on Tuesday, be windy Wednesday” etc.  So, the next group that asks me, I know what to say, a fresh Canadian forecast from the U.S.!  What I have noticed is that my weather prediction rate for past weather as opposed to upcoming weather is very good and anyone who asks me what the weather has been instead of what it will be next year I will address with surprising accuracy [unless I have already forgotten].  For those of you curious how the summer panned out, ice out was one of the latest on record [May 18 in Sioux Lookout], June was perfecto, July was yucko and August and September were fantastico, and so far October has mostly been phenomeno!

The warm fall has screwed up some fall habits of the generally predictable fall walleye bite but how nice to be up here out of the rat race trying to outsmart a fish, right?

This summer, some of you may have noticed that daughter Yvette no longer did licences and Yvonne filled in. Both her and I pulled our hair out some days with the automated system. Next year Yvonne will not be coming home  for this torture and we have decided to no longer issue licences at our office! I have to bow to technology and step aside, dang it!  Anyhow, this does not mean you can not fish, only that you have to get your licence in advance.

You have two choices:

1/ go online to Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and you can buy or renew your outdoors card which is valid for 3 years including purchase year.  You must have this in order to get a licence. Then go to Fishing Licenses on the same website and you can get your licence.  We have been issuing 8 day conservation licences and that is what you will need for your one week trip.  Your computer printer will issue a temporary paper licence that you will bring with you [if you do not have a printer then just bring the whole computer, head frame, generator to power it up and hide it in your mountain of gear and I likely will not even notice the paltry excess]. If you are fishing St Joe I will still give you your lake St Joe sticker at our office at sign in.

Or

2/ Stop in Fort Frances as you cross the border at any of the sporting good stores and get it there.  If they are internet connected they will not have the same issues that we have been facing with a phone system.  It is important though to bring your outdoors card, valid or expired, [the little green or blue one] whether it is valid or not as strangers will not likely treat you as well as we did!

The more observant of you may have noticed my nasty warning sign to not drink the water anymore.  This is a legal requirement not based on common sense.  The water is untested, unfiltered, unchilled and therefore may be unreliable and the government thinks that we should not take a chance on continuing a several thousand year tradition, so do not worry about the sign and do not worry that I may have to pay a $5,000/day fine for not having my placard up!

I think that nearly everyone noticed that we had new motors on the boats this year and were quite happy with their performance in general.  But, I have noticed that they do not break down rock any better than a Merc or a Yamaha so you still need to be careful.  I have a rock marking idea that I am going to start this spring if the water is low enough so possibly the lakes may become safer to run around blindly on in the future.

Big fish of the year to the best of my knowledge were several 46 inch pike, Sue Quertermus on one of them and not sure on the other {sorry unnamed angler!}.  Both of them were st joe in june.  In Root Bay we had a super week with Roger Ohman’s crew and they banged off a 31 inch walleye and several over 29 inches. Sheesh!  By the time I raced up there the big ones had settled back out to the main lake and I caught my standard 17 inch fish.

A few of you may have noticed our son, Clayton, flying at the Airways!  He enjoyed it and is planning on returning next year to help me out and fly there for another season.

Jeremy will be back at Eagle Island for year #5 and I am bringing Ryan Runge on board as my general assistant at all things heavy and requiring brains.  I will fly the plane still though!  Some of you have had Ryan as a guide in the past and likely noticed that he is nearly as good as I am but not quite so pompous, he will be a good fit!

In addition to the new face I am planning a few other new twists for 2014.

  • I am struggling through launching a facebook profile so everyone can log in and post their pictures and brag a bit, IF I catch a fish I can put it on there as well!
  •  We are going to put up ‘hotspot’ maps in the cabins with a bunch of color coded pins for the preceding anglers to mark best spots.  This is Ryan’s idea but very cool I think, over the course of a year there will be a lot of pins in killer spots, I am still working on the color coding and trying not to make it too complicated but will bring an interesting twist to our knowledge of the lakes.
  • We are planning on having some depth finders for rent next year as well, you may want to prearrange when you check in, as they will be first come first serve, but I truly believe that they are a great asset for mid summer walleye fishing.
  • Bunkhouse will no longer be available through us! Red Pine is planning on converting it to a cabin and it may or may not be available when I need it and that is not good enough for my planning process!  So, we have talked to the Lamplighter Motel and have arranged rooms there that we buy in advance and you just have to show up and get the key and we get billed weekly in advance but you are guaranteed a room at any hour.  Obviously, this is commitment on my end as I need to pay for the rooms up front so you can not change your mind at the last minute but it solves the bunkhouse dilemma.  However, we need to know a full month in advance that you are in and how many people in the party, [I should be able to change group size on a bit of notice still but definitely not within 48 hours]  Cost will be $45 a person including tax so similar to former bunkhouse rates.
  • Eagle Island has seen more improvements to central and east cabins to make your life in the north a little more pleasant while in the cabin.
  • The plan has started to relocate the Root Bay cabin a little further north to a more plane friendly place, should be brand new and ready to rock by 2015.

Some of you are aware that a former client dropped a motor off his boat this summer that we could never recover.  This was a bad news/good news story.  The bad news is that I lost a long time client [we had opposing views on his level of responsibility], I lost a 5 day old motor, I had to buy an even newer motor to replace it, it was in a busy time of year and I had to seriously juggle motors all over the place for the next week.  The good news is that I saved 2 gallons of gas that day as they elected to go fishing 3 to a boat rather than tell Jeremy about it, since they were leaving next day anyhow AND I replaced it with another electric start, so now there are 4 electric start motors available by 1/ luck of the draw, 2/ prearrangement or 3/ your age or if you have a broken arm or  collar bone before you get here.

Maskara has continued to be a great little remote and scenic spot and has finally gotten its own solar fridge system to keep up with all the big lakes!  So, I can proudly say that we are likely the only operation in Northwestern Ontario that has solar fridges in all of its outposts!  Even with the solar fridge I had a favored client [I will call him John] who had the audacity to comment that his beer did not cool down fast enough to keep up with his consumption rate.  I see a problem here, but not with my fridge!

Prices for trips will remain the same yet again!  I find this hard to believe myself since I read online that some bum in Seattle is offering you a homeless bum week with him in Bumsville, Seattle for 2 grand where you get to eat out of a dumpster, fraternize with the unambitious and undereducated, and sleep on cement for a week with a box for a blanket. [Note: do not draw any parallels here to us, you picked the friends that you fish with!]  I will be ticked off if I see that guy on the face of Fortune 500 next year! For those of you who are sensible and/or cost conscious our weight discount is 4% if you can keep a group of six and gear under 2,400 pounds.

Everyone has been really good about this but just a little reminder to drop me an email a week before your arrival to confirm your group size and where you are staying the night before and any bait requirements, thank you!  It makes my task of running effectively and on time more likely.

Remember that we do rent satellite phones for your trip with prearrangement to keep you in touch with civilization or us. Cost for the week is around $120 and that includes a little air time so if 6 guys split the bill it is an affordable way to convince your wife to let you go to risk your life for 6 days! [Wives, I am kidding here, I live up here for 6 months every year and have not killed/hurt myself yet].

I need to mention here about Rock Guards and their place in the operation.  They reduce prop damage and may or may not stop damage on a rock strike at full speed.  I have had a few folks this year feel that since they have a rockguard on their motor that they are now impervious to Canadian granite and attention is no longer required. Not so!  The motors are meant to be used all season by me and while it does not expressly say that you are “renting” the motor in your package it is implicitly understood by most sensible people [apologies to the non-sensible].  If you rent a car or a backhoe or a water pump from anyone anywhere they expect you to bring it back ‘in the same condition, less normal wear and tear’  I did not think I had to talk about this, it just makes sense [to me].  But, if you do not pay attention, or do not care or are just plain old unlucky and break a motor we need to chat on the way out and see what kind of inconvenience I have just been caused and what share of expense should be yours. [Unless, you are like the clever crew at Minniss who just went to the other cabin and swapped out their newly busted motor for a perfectly good spare on the rack and by the time I realized it I could not put my finger on the offending group!] Dang it, play fair, I am reasonable and appreciate your business but when damage gets hidden and I find it by surprise a lot of the time it is very inconvenient and expensive for me to fix it on zero notice.

I went fishing this year on St. Joe in the fall and caught a 38 inch pike [blind in one eye??] and when I got home to brag to Andrea she asked me if there were any witnesses to this unusual event. I replied “of course or it would have been a 44 incher!”

It likely never made the U.S. news but it was a big deal up here when the U.S. was going to go after Syria and the Canadians were all in on helping out the cause.  The Americans thought it would be a quick in and out, teach them a lesson kind of blitz so the Canadians rallied and volunteered to make them all lunch as our contribution.  Fortunately O Bummer never followed through and we weaseled out of it. [as you can tell your President is not a client and I apologize to all his fans that caught my typo!]

At this point I must remind everyone that deposits are due before year end.  Please mail the $300 per person to us at:

Verne Hollett
20620 Bemis Lane
Bend, Oregon  97701

A little reminder on packing for the plane here:

For starters everything you fly in to the lake has to be carried up to the cabin by someone [generally you!]  If that is not enough to make you pack lighter then at least put it in totes that stack nice in the plane.  The grocery bags the clerk gave you at the grocery store are not fit containers to make the long trip from your car to the interior of the plane.  My experience has shown that often these sturdy plastic bags WILL make it to the dock but not actually on to the plane or make it to the plane and to the outpost dock and then not to the cabin.  Ask for a box at the store or bring a spare tote to throw those last minute items in. Do not forget I have an aversion to bottled beer on an airplane!

On that friendly reminder, time to sign off and see most of you again next year.  I had a guest tell me this year that fishing with Slate Falls Outposts was better than sliced bread, only thing I can add to that is ‘even better if you are toasted’.

Have a good Christmas

Verne and Andrea


Posted in 2013

So, we’ve cracked another century and nothing different has gone on. (Well, at least the world hasn’t ended)

This was our first complete season without total control of the air division and I learned a little more about our business by not having total control of the planes as I always have. It did work out well for freeing up more time to spend with my family (Yvette is nearly 11 now and the twins are nearly 9) and doing better camp checks. Rich has done an excellent job at the Airways and I deserve a lot of credit for finding such a good replacement for myself.
Eagle Island Bruce has been assisting me all summer as well and has been a big help keeping things organized and helping out on the camp checks and covering for me if I am gone for a bit. This fall we have both been very busy doing moose camps and closing up and doing additions and a ton of other stuff.
Deo, up at Lake St. Joe turned out to be a big hit with his willingness to work with people and learn his new job duties. I expect that we will see him again next year.

Fishing this year was kind of odd ball. A cold miserable June yielded generally poor fishing at all locations except Christina and Maskara and at the main camp. But, come July and August the fish made up for their lack of appetite in a big way. When I asked one guy out of Miniss Lake how the fishing was, he replied “You could throw your garbage overboard and get a bite”. For those of you who did not tell me about their huge release fish forgive me but the largest Northern released this year was a 45 ½ “ from St. Joe in the spring and a 28″ walleye that I believe came from Zionz. The honkin huge northern that could eat a 15 pounder is still cruising around somewhere in the river between Gull and Zionz with a little colorful jewellery hanging from his lips.

Next summer I intend on doing another adventure trip to points previously unknown that I will report on at this time next year. Once again we will be going to big river country up near Hudson Bay for BIG Brook Trout. The last trip was high on adventure and low on trout but it was a fun run!
This past summer Yvette and Clayton (2 of my 3 kids) entered a 2 month long catch and release derby, so I did get a lot more fishing in than I have been the past decade or so. Yvette got a 33 inch Musky and Clay a 33 inch Northern from ST. Joe . I do not know if they won anything yet but they sure had fun and I highly recommend to those of you who are thinking of bringing their young ones up that somewhere after the age of 8 is high time. You will get some great life memories if you can put it together!

In 2001 I am attempting to put together a small but novel collection of sale items instead of the basic (driving me nuts for sizing) “T” shirt and hat collection. I intend on having a limited supply of moose sheds and possibly a few real nice complete racks available in the spring. The past couple of years we have had some nice timber wolf pelts for sale and I anticipate rounding that out with a few other attractively priced tanned pelts (beaver, fox, sable and perhaps a few other types).

And finally, the big new item is a very limited edition print, commissioned by me for our guests. The artist is Jim Hautman of Minneapolis area, he is a three time winner of the federal duck stamp (including 1999) as well as several dozen state stamps. He and I started talking several years ago about doing a picture specific to Slate Falls Outposts and he came up with one of our cabins in the distance with the Caravan on the water and a really decent walleye under the surface(in the foreground). It is very sharp looking and reminiscent of any of our fly out trips. I only got 75 prints made so it is a very rare piece of unique art. Cost is $125. and I can ship it from Carson City this winter. If any are left I will have some at the airbase in the spring. Limit is one per customer as supply is very limited and I would like to have enough to go around to everyone interested. My thought was that it beats a fish mount when it comes to cleaning and is something that will look nice in office or home that is considerably less expensive then doing a graphite mount. If you order it through the mail and are not happy with it I will gladly take it back.

New in 2001
Even though fuel prices have gone through the roof lately we have kept our price increases at a modest level of 2% to 5% depending on the lake. Bunkhouse fee remains the same at $20.
This fall we have finished off the retrofit to Maskara by adding on indoor toilet facilities and a small addition and moving up to 8 h.p. motors. The Gull Lake project at North Gull was completed this spring and turned out very nice (except for the danged window). This fall we are adding 2 more bedrooms to the central cabin at St. Joe to facilitate more privacy and larger groups. Next year at St. Joe we are going back to the 15 hp motors as well. Two years with the 20 hp was enough of a test to determine that they are too much trouble for that lake.

Now that we are no longer in the airline business we are picking up a lot of extra costs in the weight of gear that many of you are bringing. We will continue to be easy to get along with on how you pack BUT we will be offering some pricing incentives for those of you who come in light next year. If you have 8 people and can get all of your gear and people in the Caravan in one trip (2100 #’s) we will take 5% off your total trip. If a group of 6 can come in under 1800 #’s they will fit in the Otter and can also receive a 5% light weight discount. On the penalty side of things the big killer on weight is beer and pop. If you are going to have more than one case per man you should try to let me know in advance so that I can better prepare for it. If you have more than 2 cases per man (averaged through the group) there will be a surcharge of $10 per case for handling. (If you are over the weight limits set out above) I really hate to do this but too many times we fly beer both north and south at the expense of more important stuff (like gas). Every time I fly north to check on groups it costs hundreds of dollars so please don’t be concerned that I am making out like a bandit by charging you 10 bucks for excess beer. Quite a few people have asked me when we started weighing everything. It has always been weighed but I was using my judgement on the float line to determine where we stood. This is an inefficient way of doing things since once the plane is all loaded and you have to take off weight it is invariably at the front, under everything, and has some little thing in it that you “really need”.

Our referral program will be in effect once again in 2001. This is how we get our new business and have not done any sportshows now for about 5 years. How it works, just to remind you, is if you send up a new group of players (not ones that are changing around within your existing group) you get 10% off your personal trip for each new member in the new group. So, a new party of 6 would net you a 60% discount off of your trip this year. This is slightly different than the past but shows that I would rather pay my customers to help me out then I would a stranger at a Sportshow.

The last chance club has not been terribly popular but I do get a few regulars that want to make a second trip cheap and we will be keeping that also. A couple new rules here as well: Booking is only available the month of April
Any Last Chance Trip must meet the weight guidelines set out above. If not they can have their extra at the nominal surcharge it costs to move it in.
Spaces are very limited so call as soon as able.
No other discounts of any kind will apply on this type of trip.
Trip cost will be 60% of regular rate based on 4 or more.
Extra costs as usual include: tax, licence, bunkhouse and bait.
Drop me a line indicating your lake preference, timing, group size and length of trip desired and I will file it and call you in April if their was room available to meet your desired object. It is best to be flexible because we generally are very full and there are not many options open on some lakes.

DEPOSITS are due in Carson City by January 1 or your spot is at risk. Our winter number is 775 841 9275.

Oddest happening of the year: Jack Brown fishing on Miniss in the fall twice had a mink swim out to his boat while he was fighting a walleye and grab his fish. The mink would not let go and both times Jack had to cut his line and the mink swam back to shore with his prize and devoured it. Wow!

At south Gull this year Bruce and I (and Gary) put in a nice 1 mile long bear viewing trail behind the cabin. Yes, it is still good fishing but this will give you something else to do.

The water at St. Joe this year tied an all time 1968 record in mid August for height but has since dropped down and I anticipate normal levels by spring. It did ruin the moose hunt there this year but gave the fish an opportunity to explore country that they only previously dreamed about.
Last spring I published a 30 page welcome newcomer manual. It is informative, answers all of your questions and is also humorous. If you want a copy for you or a group member or a prospective group let me know and I will mail it to you.

Last but not least, thank you for a great season and great clients. Please overlook my crankiness (on the beer thing) and come on back next year for more walleye, solitude and fun with Slate Falls Outposts .

Verne and Andrea

Definitions:
Lure: fancy, painted piece of metal designed to drive a fisherman into buying frenzy prior to going to Canada.
Tackle: what your wife does when she sees you heading to Cabelas with the check book.
Line: the thing you string anyone who will listen about your fishing prowess.
Pound test: a British currency exam
Net: used to release fish you really want a picture of by tangling the lure in the net to give the fish a solid object to pull free from.
Fishing Partner: anyone who will fish with you
Fishing Barbless: a trick dreamt up by the minnow salesmen of the world alleged to reduce mortality
Sinkers: another name for your pliers when they go overboard
Fishermen: a normally sane composed person driven to modified insanity when wife (ask me what that means sometime, the first letter means washing) advises cost of fish brought home is $500. Per pound (U.S.)
And finally Canada: land of more than 10,000 lakes, great fishing and “wild” times!


Posted in 2000