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CANADA 2013

In September of 2013 we went to a place we hadn’t been to before and one that we had to cancel a trip in 2012 due to health issues.  The new camp was called BayWolf located in Shining Tree, ON.  It was about 850 miles from Columbus.  It’s a fishing and hunting camp.  Definitely not a “family camp” where you have a beach, paddle boats etc.  It was our 45th anniversary and we wanted to try a new experience.

Al and Wendy Craigie have owned and operated the camp for 23 years.  We can’t say enough about their professionalism and caring hospitality.  They know how to treat you so you’ll want to come back.  Al is an expert angler and fishes as often as time allows.  His knowledge is worth a lot when fishing a lake for the first time.  Wendy is the I.T. and business part of a great team.  In the middle of the above picture is an amazing dog called Bella.  We had never seen such a breed.  She’s a Hungarian Kuvasz.  At the time of this photo she was 10 months old and weighed about 90-95 lbs.  Their previous Kuvasz weighed in at 140 lbs. They tell us she has non-allergenic and “self cleaning” fur.  We wish we had gotten a better picture of Bella as she is beautiful.   Al took her Grouse hunting.  Good retriever but she wanted to eat the bird.  We imagine she could eat quite a few.  Bear hunters brought in a bear one night while we  were there.  Bella didn’t take kindly to that.

When you arrive at camp Al will sit down with you and go over a well organized and thorough packet of information and many maps depicting proven fishing locations for Walleye, Bass and our favorite Pike. Other lakes had Lake Trout, Spake and Brook Trout. The base lake is Shining Tree lake where Al has 3 nice docks with well cared for boats and Yamaha motors. The boats are equipped with cushioned seats with backs which adds considerable comfort to a day on the water.  In addition, and what makes this camp very special to us, he has boats on 12 other lakes.  Some are accessible via portage trails and some are “drive to” lakes. Unfortunately we had a little mishap with our back and were unable to visit several of the lakes that we had planned to fish.  Our efforts were on Shining Tree, which afforded us several days of exploration.  It’s about 8 miles long but is loaded with islands of all sizes.  The advantage to this configuration is that you don’t have the gigantic wind problems due to shielding by these islands.  To be honest, winds were never an issue after the first day when a big cold front passed through.  We had beautiful and unusually warm weather for the last week of September.

Dottie and I always appreciate hearing and seeing the wildlife of the wilderness.  On this trip we saw Otters, Bald Eagles, Pileated Wood Peckers and the great Loons.  Here we see a parent and youngster Loon.  Normally we see Loons at a distance where our camera doesn’t show them. However, these 2 came right towards us for their photo op.  Al “claims” he sees Lynx quite often.  We only saw the great mount he has of one in the store area.  He says we just didn’t look in the right direction.

The cabins were really well equipped and made many items that we had brought redundant. They seemed to think of everything and Dottie, shown here, really appreciated Wendy’s thoroughness.  It will lighten the load for us on our next visit.  It’s a small camp with 6 cabins for various sized groups.  But it’s the quantity and quality of their efforts that make this such a special place.

At sunset you can see that the camp faces west.  It was always a pleasure for us to sit outside in the evening at our picnic table, which each cabin has along  with a propane barbeque, and enjoy the quiet end to a beautiful day.  As the sun disappeared and temperatures dropped towards the 20’s (F), we headed for the inside.  

Unfortunately as we mentioned our “back issue” prevented us from going out the last part of the week when we expected to take more photos of the surrounding area and maybe some big fish.  We hope to add those photos next year.

Again we very much appreciated the intentional planning that Al and Wendy went through to give all their guests a special and fun week.  One little thing we almost forgot.  As anyone who has ventured onto a Canadian lake is aware, there are rocks.  Big and many!  Therefore a portable fish finder has always been a must for us.  However when one has a dead battery, the fish finder is of little value.  At Bay Wolf, not a problem as they have them for rent by day or week at a very nominal cost.  Rather than lose a day of fishing, we simply took advantage of their availability while ours charged up.  On the lake Al had mounted white gallon markers for the most dangerous shallow rocks.  We tell you Al and Wendy have thought of everything.

We made this trip kind of a lazy trip (for us) as we spent the night before in New Liskeard, ON which is 2 hours from Shining Tree.  We had a good nights sleep before entering camp by doing that.  On the way back we spent a night in Orillia, ON, which helped get us home in a less frazzled state.  The trip also afforded us the opportunity, both ways, to see in daylight the terrific colored tree foliage that is to be seen at this time of year.

We always have believed that vacations are divided into 3 components.  First you anticipate the trip.  Secondly you experience the event and thirdly you remember the event.  This makes vacations last longer.  We are home and having very fond remembrances of our visit to Al and Wendy’s Bay Wolf and will begin the “anticipation”  a bit later on of our next trip there.

Their whole story is well explained at their excellent website BayWolf.  You probably should know that at the time of our departure they were 25% sold out for 2014 and Al says they sell out 95% each season.  In other words this isn’t a place when you wake up some day and think you’ll call for reservations for the coming week.  Over 50% of their clients are repeat visitors, which says a lot about the quality of your experience.  Al has a saying that he has to use, “Pick another week” quite a lot

We’d be happy to answer any questions if you are thinking of going to Bay Wolf Camp.  Email us at jhoran@fishandtales.net .