Daily Archives: July 26, 2013



She sits tall with her head held high as her soft brown eyes span the width of the beach and sparkling blue lake beyond the dock. This is her spot where she stands guard by the corner of the lodge watching anything and everything that moves in any direction. Her ears suddenly perk up as she hears the high pitched laughing sounds of the kids and she turns her head in the direction of the main house and where the noise is coming from.

Always and forever in love with children the sound of their voices was as intoxicating to her as the fresh, clean air of northwestern Ontario is to visiting tourists. It made her heart pump happily as she slowly begins to stand and with her front feet out in front she has herself a long, satisfying stretch. Awe, it’s good to live here she thinks to herself I would never want to be anywhere else.





Soon the kids; Riley, Taylor and Jessie come bounding up the walkway to the lodge as Dakota eagerly waits for each of them to give her the usual morning hug around her neck and a pat on her head. Oh life is so good and these kids are so loving and kind to her. She knew it was their breakfast time and afterwards they’d be out throwing a ball for her and playing chase, and maybe even a little tidbit. She laid back down watching the door close behind them and waited in anticipation for the kids to return.

Dakota is a 75 lb., pure bred, female yellow lab, born in Sioux City, South Dakota, hence the name Dakota. She could’ve been called Sue but her master would have none of that. So Dakota it was and besides she liked that name……sometimes. She was one from a litter of six and she was the only female. Too boot all her brothers were very BIG and very black – quite obviously a contrast from her golden blonde color. Her mom was a black lab and her dad was brown, so what the heck happened with her? All in all though Dakota was a beautiful girl with a HUGE heart and the best temperament that a labrador retriever could ever have. Absolutely the best!

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The view from Dakota’s perch

Life for Dakota meant growing up in northern Ontario at a fishing/hunting lodge with a family. There was Tami & Terry who built the lodge and then there was their three fun-filled, energetic grandchildren who were just the perfect companions for Dakota. During long, lazy days in the summer Dakota and the kids would go swimming.

Tami, along with Riley (the eldest granddaughter of the children) taught Dakota to save the people especially children from drowning. If the kids started splashing and yelling loudly, Dakota jumped into the lake and swam out to where the noise was coming from and the kids in turn were to grab her by the neck or tail and she would swim back to shore as they held on. Dakota felt so proud and knew this was a very important job and she took it very seriously too. She always sat on alert and watched over the kids. Nothing would ever happen to them as long as she was around, she thought.

Left to right:  RILEY, TAYLOR & JESSIE

Left to right: RILEY, TAYLOR & JESSIE


So much fun with RILEY

Retrieving was one of her most favorite things to do in the world because that’s what labs to best…..retrieve. Riley would make her wait up by the lodge (250 ft from the lakeshore) and then start running down the hill towards the lake while she held a stick and shook it in the air for Dakota to see, all the while daunting her. Dakota would shiver in great anticipation and in a low, stern voice Riley would command; ‘stay, stay’. As Riley got closer to the lake she held the stick higher and then yelled back to Dakota; ‘Go get it girl’. No sooner had those words come out of Riley’s mouth, Dakota was racing as fast as she could down the hill, her eyes never left the stick and as Riley threw it high in the air over the lake Dakota’s goal was to reach the stick before it hit the water. Didn’t always work that way, but, it was so much fun trying. They would do this over and over until Tami had to remind Riley to quit otherwise Dakota would keep running for the stick in the water until her heart gave out. Dakota never minded though…..but the kids knew grandma meant business and knew it was time to stop.

One day the young family moved away and the kid’s voices were no more. Dakota sat by the corner of the lodge and waited but they never returned…….not for a very long time. She didn’t understand that they had other things to do and the lodge wasn’t where they could be while they went to school. Humph! Dakota groaned as she layed her head on her outstretched front legs……humph and then a sigh!

Every once in a while the kids would come back for a visit and play just like they did before and these were very happy times for her, but, they never stayed long and this saddened Dakota because she really missed their hugs, gentle patting, playing, swimming and retrieving – her days became longer and longer as time went on. Guests of the lodge would come and go and many were very nice to her, but, to Dakota it just wasn’t the same. She just missed the kids.

It was during a hot spell at the end of June in 2010 that Tami brought home a little dog, at least that’s what Dakota thought it was. Wow, was that thing ever small, smaller that Dakota’s entire head. Where’s the fun going to be with that one she thought. Lexi is a female Shih Tzu and at first glance at Dakota backed up nervously. Then ever so slowly she moved forward and then backed up again. Not sure what to make of this little thing Dakota laid down and continued looking a Lexi. Soon Lexi sensed that Dakota was not a threat and approached her face and began sniffing and tail wagging. Curiosity got the better of both of them and with a sniff here and a sniff there they soon realized they were both dogs. Phew, good they thought!  Dakota thought that Lexi was definitely not going to be as fun as the kids and even though she’s real cute and all she’s just way, way too bothersome. Go away you pesky little dog, she says to herself!

Dakota’s owners (Tami & Terry) closed up the lodge each fall and travelled down south for a well earned winter break. Dakota went everywhere from the east coast to the west with them and met many new people from so many different places. The road would bounce underneath the coach as they went from one city to another and one state to another. I’d rather be at the lodge she thought as she laid her head back down on the floor of the motorhome to daydream of wonderful summer days. So much more to see from my perch back home.

As time went on Dakota was getting older and began to slow down a little  more with each passing day. Papa would have to help her in the vehicle as she wasn’t strong enough to get in to it on her own any longer as her back legs would fail her. Lexi would bounce around in front of the door making it even harder for her to get in, boy that young pup is annoying Dakota thought. Can’t you see I’m having a hard time here as she glared at Lexi? Those young-un’s… much energy and no brains, ugh!

This spring we finally returned home from travelling and Dakota was so happy to be back again but as she jumped out of the truck she winced as her achy bones cringed under her weight. Oh, this is my most favorite place in the whole wide world she thought ignoring the pain that shot through her legs. I’ve been to a lot of places but nothing compares to being here – at home – where I belong as she once again took in a long sniff of that familiar air.

Dakota sat at the corner of the lodge one warm day and the heat from the sun penetrated her coat, oh this is such a welcome feel she thought as the warmth soothed her achy muscles. As she laid her head down on her front paws the wind was just right and kept the bugs from landing on her – she closed her eyes and just before she drifted off to sleep she thought……I have been loved and cared for all my life, I have never wanted for anything, my masters took very good care of me, never left me alone and saw to my every need. I am one lucky dog ……. her ears perked slightly as she thought she heard the faint sound of the kids laughing voices and as the end of her tailed happily wagged at that beautiful sound, Dakota took her very last breath.


Dedicated to the best friend we could’ve ever had:

May you rest in peace dear girl and thank you for the joy you brought into our lives and know that you will be
sadly missed by all of us at Wawang Lake – your home, your friends & your family!
July 24, 2013


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The good old reliable spoon.  You may have one in your tackle box faded and worn over time.

The good old reliable spoon. You may have one in your tackle box faded and worn over time and possibly a little rusty after sitting in your tackle box for years.

The metal fishing spoon lure was believed to be first used back in the 1840’s. Spoons are a simple design, an oblong shape, concave on one side that catches water producing a wobble and light reflecting flash imitating a fleeing or crippled bait fish. Because spoons appeal mainly to the sense of sight they work best on clear or lightly stained water conditions.

The long standing popularity of spoons results from ease of use as a fish usually will hook itself when it grabs a spoon. Spoons work best for larger predators such as northern pike and walleye that are our main fish species on Wawang Lake. The action of a spoon is based on it’s shape and thickness. A long spoon will display a wider side to side wobble than a shorter spoon. A deep concave spoon will also produce a wider wobble than a flatter spoon. Thin spoons used for trolling have an erratic wobble compared to thick spoons but thick spoons have advantages as well, the extra weight casts better, sinks faster and will run deeper than thinner spoons.

There are five types of spoons:
Casting, trolling, weedless, jigging and the surface spoon.

Spoons are stamped, forged or molded from brass, copper, steel, lead, plastic or wood. Most are painted on one side with a polished metallic surface on at other side to reflect the sunlight making the spoon visible. Some spoons have a hammered or rippled finish that transmits light in multiple directions such as baitfish scales scatter light.

When casting or trolling a spoon the speed is critical for success, if fished too slow or too fast the spoon will not wobble properly, you should experiment to find the precise speed for each spoon to perform its best. When casting a spoon anglers will cast 10 to 20 feet beyond the area they believe the fish are and retrieve through the strike zone. For flat line trolling from behind a boat the speed and amount of line out should be the main consideration, as well as in using depth control rigging such as downriggers and dipsey divers.

rattle_spoon Rod Action with Spoons
Dependent on the species you’re targeting, small spoons for stream trout, larger spoons for bass, pike and salmon or vertical jigging for walleyes the preferred choice when casting/jigging spoons is a stiff tipped fast action rod. Ultra sensitive, soft action rods are not recommended as they do not telegraph the fish strike as quickly a fast action rod will accomplish. Your success in using spoons is to immediately set the hook upon feeling a fish bite.

Spoons & Leaders
Anglers using casting, weedless or trolling spoons should attach their lines via a leader with a ball bearing swivel and snap or a combination snap ball bearing swivel.This allows freedom of movement for the spoon and will keep the fishing line twist to a minimum. For surface and jigging spoons the best is to tie directly to the eyelet or snap. Both will work better without too much play at the lure line connection.

pike1Spoon Attractors
The main fish attracting component on a spoon is the flash, some spoons have additional attractors placed on the spoon or are added by the angler, they are: Clickers: Two small willow spinners on split rings located the end of spoon for vibration and noise. Flippers: A small oblong piece of plastic (red or yellow) for added color attached on the split ring and hook. Trailers: For added color and profile Feathers / Tied Tail / Soft Plastic or Pork Rind.

Spoon Colors
If you ever had the opportunity to open Grand Pa’s old metal tackle box it would be safe to say you would find quite a few of the traditional red and white casting spoons that where popular back in the 1940’s – 50’s. Following the same path as crank bait lure companies spoon manufactures have over the years introduced hundreds of new colors patterns and finishes using prism, holographic, glow and glitter all to enhance  vibrant colors and flash of spoons.

In selecting spoon colors to build your tackle assortment, the choices can be overwhelming but some colors have been tried and true over the years. For casting spoons in clear or slighty stained water the classic colors of red and white with nickel back, black and white with nickel back, yellow five of diamonds in red with brass back, and combinations of nickel/silver – gold/brass are your best bet. On stained or darker water use, firetiger with brass back or orange/yellow and nickel combinations.

For trolling spoons on Wawang Lake the universal best color is all silver or gold with including combinations of red/white, yellow or green hues to mimic the forage of perch or herring.  Listed below is a reference guide to help you identify the common types of spoons and how they are used:

Traditional Casting Spoons


Stamped metal casting spoons are also known as Traditional or Canadian spoons. All display the distinctive back and forth wobble action as they run underwater based on their oval shaped cupped bodies. Casting spoon sizes range from ultra light 1/36 ounce for panfish up to over 3 ounces for big muskies, pike and lake trout. The most popular sizes are 1/4-3/4 ounce used for bass, walleyes and pike. All casting spoons have either a treble or a single (siwash) hook attached with a spilt ring which allows the hook to swing freely as the spoon wobbles.

Trolling Spoons

Trolling spoons are much thinner and lighter than casting spoons, a typical 3″ trolling spoon only weighs about a 1/8 ounce which makes them too light for casting.. They are designed to be fished using a depth control trolling system such as off a downrigger or diving plane. With the wide fluttering action they are an excellent lure choice for walleyes.

Weedless Spoons

When fishing in thick cover, aquatic weeds, wood and logs, you can’t beat using a weedless spoon to provoke a fish strike. Most feature a single hook design welded on the body with a wire guard to prevent most snags. Experiment with different retrieve methods. Try twitching and pausing letting the spoon settle into open holes. Or straight retrieve over and through the cover. Tip the hook with a trailer for added attraction using a soft plastic grub or pork rind. Weedless spoons come in 1/4 ounce up to 1-1/8 ounce.

Surface Spoons

When conditions are right during the summer months, large predator fish like pike will take refuge in thick cover. This is an ideal situation for using surface spoons. When cast over heavy matted vegetation the spoon floats with the hook riding upward avoiding being caught up on snags. Most surface spoons are made from plastic’s with a few in wood with having an added attractor, mainly rubber skirts. When fishing surface spoons point the rod tip directly at the spoon whether you’re retrieving straight or using a jerk pause method. Upon a fish strike, never set the hook until you feel the pressure of the fish, then set the hook. As with all surface lures fish have a tendency to miss the lure, keep the lure moving even if the fish misses usually they will come back to strike again.

Jigging Spoons

When you locate a deep water school of fish such as walleye on your electronics, one of the best presentations to reach them is vertically jigging. Jigging spoons are made of metal or tungsten, are flat, thick and heavy and flash when jigged. They are designed to get down quickly reaching the deep water holding fish. When fishing jigging spoons all of the action is applied by the angler using short jerks to encourage strikes, but keep in mind many strikes happen on the fall of the jigging spoon as well. Keep a watch on your line as it falls, if it stops or twitches set the hook. The best tackle for jigging spoons is low stretch line of 12-20 lbs with a medium to medium heavy fast action rod.



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