What’s to do??
Whenever we talk to people who have never been here we get the – “Is there anything else to do besides fish?” question. As you may see from the length of this section the answer is ALOT!
Firth Lake is one of the finest smallmouth bass lakes in Canada. There is no closed season on bass in our area. Firth is not a deep lake and thus has a great deal of fishable structure. It also allows the lake to warm quickly in the spring for early optimum fishing conditions and swimming. We have two 110 foot non-floating docks that provide ample space for our boating guests. Jack takes first time guests for a short tour of the lake to point out good fishing spots and can be talked into guiding as time permits. Jack has been fishing the area and Firth Lake for more than 30 years and has fished many of the outlying lakes. He is a big fan of action-packed pike fishing and it is not uncommon to catch more than 15 pike per person during a pike fishing trip. The fishing is easy, live bait is always successful but with such a good population of fish (find out why), lure fishing is also very productive. Jack loves fly fishing for bass. Catching a 4 pound bass on a fly rod ruins you for trout forever. Jack has caught several pike on fly also. Catching bass on ultra light tackle is also great fun. The fishing for walleye is best in June. The bass fishing is good all the time but peaks in mid July to mid August.
Each night (weather permitting) we gather on the beach for a bonfire to swap stories and enjoy the company of our guests. This ritual has been long cherished by our visitors and we find it a great way to relax after our busy days. This family friendly activity brings out the conversation in all of us as we watch the dancing flames. The beach faces north and makes for ideal Aurora Borealis or Northern Light watching. On clear nights the sky is lit up by the Northern Lights, thus we are provided with fireworks courtesy of Mother Nature with the melodious background music of the three mated pairs of loons residing on the lake.
Sportsmen’s Camp has several features that make it somewhat unique. We are one of the few Canadian Camps with a natural beach with gradually sloping lake depth. It makes for ideal safe swimming for children. Since the lake is not very deep, it warms quickly in the summer. Water temperatures from July through September range in the mid to upper seventies (F). Experience Wildlife, Bird Watch
We are in a wild area. We commonly see moose, bears, lynx, fox, otters, mink, pine squirrels, flying squirrels, chipmunks, ravens, bald eagles, osprey, loons, great blue herons, common mergansers, common goldeneyes, black duck, spruce grouse, ruffed grouse (stupid chickens), great horned and great grey owls and numerous interesting species of boreal songbirds, warblers, flycatchers, etc., and featuring the ever popular white throated sparrow – the famed “Canada bird.” You’ll almost never get to see wolves but you have a good chance of hearing their howls at twilight. We’re very proud to have a nesting pair of osprey on the lake. We often get to hear the happy squeals of the young ones being fed while we’re out fishing. The bald eagles come over the lake daily and are often engaged in some entertaining dogfights with the ospreys.
Trebuchet Boat Sinking
Yes – Jack is crazy. No hyperbole here just fact. Jack completed his second full sized trebuchet a couple years back. Its about 25 to 30 feet tall and uses about 3/4 of a ton of granite as motive force to throw 20 lb plus granite boulders at an old boat anchored in the lake. We usually sink a boat every summer. (We always remove the hulk after it has gone down) It takes about three men and a boy or a 4 wheeler to cock the device. Its common for the kids to track Jack down toward the end of the day and ask , “Can we throw some stones?” And we usually lob about three boulders at our hapless victim. Its a great time. See the video here.
Sweating it out in the Sauna
We have large wood fired sauna capable of roasting about a dozen victims. Its shown in the background of the trebuchet picture on the right above. There is nothing more fun than singing risque songs with friends in the sauna then everyone ambling out and off the end of the dock for a long soak in Firth. The third consecutive round is usually the best. I like to sauna at night so you can watch the fantastic canopy of stars overhead as you soak or the dancing northern lights. Either way its a great time. We ask that no children enter the sauna without the direct supervision of a parent.
Games on the Beach
We spend a lot of time in the common area at the beach in the afternoon. We have a well maintained horseshoe pit, a large croquet set, bocce, and d beanbag game. Very often dyed in the wool fishermen get hooked on having a few beers in the afternoon and competing in the dreaded Bean Bag Tournament. There is usually a lot of associated mayhem and a campfire at the end of the proceedings. We also enjoy a rousing game of Beer Croquet (one hand with a beer at all times and the other on the mallet). The rules are otherwise normal aside from assigning drinks and penalties along the cross-country course. Needless to say its a lot of fun.
We have two sailboats here at the camp and its great fun to take a friend or two out sailing on a blustery day. The winds here in the north are blustery so it makes for exciting bursts of acceleration with near panic as the gunwale dips into the lake and the boat takes on water!
Or you can pick a day with little wind and ghost around the lake placidly. Jack be talked into sailing lessons at a negotiated per hour rate too. The two sailboats make for fun racing too. For experienced sailors we can put together a regatta and present trophies to the winners too.
The camp has several canoes and we can thus accommodate a pretty good sized party for canoe trips. I would recommend a day trip up the Wapus to the either of the falls or down the Montreal river for perhaps an overnight tent camp on the huge sand beach there. After you get through the first set of rapids on the Montreal the fishing opportunities multiply tenfold since fishing pressure on the lower part of the river is much lower! Lots of walleye, bass and pike.
Many guests prevail on Jack to take them on excursions that have the purpose of seeing really amazing places. Most of the excursions also have fantastic fishing too but that really isn’t the idea here. Jack loves go through giant wild rice beds teeming with ducks and pike, pull through miles of warm gravel bottomed streams to a gem of a lake, or motor into one of the most beautiful lakes on earth – rivaling even Tahoe! Jack is also thinking about a sailing camping overnight trip to the north end of Duncan or scaling of Mount Sansawaju up the Grassy this year. He loves going on these excursions with younger guys cause that way he doesn’t have to do much work – just point where to go LOL.
We have literally hundreds of miles of logging roads and trails for exploration via a 4 wheeler! The trails range to extremely rugged and steep running through paths making a “tube” through the bush to smooth well traveled ones for the faint of heart. We also have friends that make a point of coming up very early in the spring to ride the trails looking for moose antlers that were dropped over the winter. They generally have good success!
With the areas of logging there are acres of berry picking opportunities. That translates into blueberry pies, blue berry pancakes, and blueberry wine too!
Vodka on the beach day – Mojito Monday
We also sponsor a couple of impromptu National Holidays. It generally features some drinking and games on the beach with a cookout.
Rainy days at the store
Many rainy days feature happy hours at the store, card games or even a poker night at the store. Most of the time its texas hold’em. We also have darts tournements late into the night as well.
There is also the ever popular going to the dump at dusk to watch the bears. This year there has been a small sow bear with two adorable cubs and an especially large bear too. But its almost always a sure thing that you’ll get to see several bears. Last year there was even a Lone Wolf showing up at the dump occasionally.