Morning dawns at Peffley's Wilderness Camp

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pre-Christmas Activities

Christmas time is always such a busy time of the year with all the shopping, wrapping, holiday parties, kids' Christmas plays, concerts etc. Plenty to keep you busy for sure! Sara just had her 5th grade Christmas concert on Friday and wrapped up a volleyball tournament over the weekend. Allison earlier in the week had her third grade Christmas play "Alvin and the Chipmunks". Megan has been busy with the school choir including her Christmas concert and a trip to the local Barnes & Noble to participate in the choir group Archer Voices and some holiday caroling. Emily has been busy writing, editing, re-writing, re-editing, changing, throwing away and re-starting her Christmas list(S)!

We also have a trip planned to take the girls to Great Wolf Lodge which I think is causing about as much excitement for them as Christmas itself. As for Milissa and I, we knocked a little rust off this past weekend by participating in the WAOR Radio-Outdoor Expo. Although the rainy weather kept the attendance down some, it still felt good to get out and talk about camp, fishing and bear hunting. I miss camp so bad already- I really needed a fix! As part of the radio promotion we had decided to offer a free trip for two to camp next year which was won by Sandy Wilhoit of Edwardsburg, Mi. Congratulations Sandy!--and boy is she ever excited about coming back to Canada as she used to go there regularly with her father and family when she was younger.

Hopefully will be able to get out on safe ice pretty soon for some bluegill and crappie fishing too. Best wishes from our family to yours for a safe, and joyous Holiday Season.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Veterans Day

We often find things to blog about during the "offseason" to be quite challenging. Outside of camp life, I guess we just don't lead very exciting lives! Milissa and I were just talking the other night about posting a wish for a Happy Veterans Day to all of those who have bravely served in the defense and support of our great nation. Milissa, many of you know, is a 22 year veteran (and officer) of the US Army Reserves and who was deployed on a tour of duty to Iraq from June 2008-April 2009.

Barracks in Kuwait
In addition to being extremely proud of her and all our veterans, we as a family, also understand the sacrifices that a military family makes from both sides of the fence. From my perspective, I think back to all the times I have been asked the question "So what do you do during the offseason?" Well the year Milissa was deployed I can tell you I did a lot of cooking, laundry, dishes, homework, taking to school, picking up from school etc. I found it to be a real challenge running a household with four girls between the ages of 7-12. I fully understand this was the easy side of the fence to be on.

Milissa comes home safe!
The soldier is the one away from home and their families and friends who they love. They are the ones who are sleeping in unfamilar places, longing for home cooked meals, and certainly not taking for granted all of the conveniences of every day life that it is so easy for us to do. They are the ones who are willing to put themselves in harms way and many through the years have paid the ultimate price as a proud member of our nation's armed forces.

To try, even in some small way, to show our continued appreciation to current military families and veterans we began offering a military special during the month of July two years ago. We have been absolutely thrilled during the last two seasons to host a number of military personnel (active duty and retired) in camp who have taken advantage of this program and we plan to continue it indefinitely. If you are not familar with the Military Special you can see it at:

Milissa and the girls

Comfortable accommodations....

Before signing off on this blog, we would also like to encourage everyone to take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices our veterans (and their families) have made and to ask everyone who knows a veteran to take a moment out of your day this Thursday and say: Thank You

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

2010- A season of memories.....

Sandwiched between Don Strafford's 49th consecutive year in camp (opening week) and Jim Wertz's group first ever visit to Canada during week 19 of the season, was another incredible season of fishing, friendship, fun and memories at Peffley's Camp. New faces blended in with the regulars week in and out, to enjoy the splendor of the Canadian wilderness 12 miles from the roads left behind. They left their work and worries behind them to recharge their batteries in the peacefulness of the wild.....reconnecting with nature, friends and families in one of the last areas to remain untouched by the hands of man.

For some it was perhaps their last trip to camp, for many others it was the beginning of a new relationship and experience that will (like many before them) become a regular part of their lives. The setting is perfect for many of those, "wow, this is incredible" moments, the serenity ideal for those quiet reflective times and the action on the water always fast enough to keep the angling desires satisfied... in the whole, probably best summed up by many guests who were heard saying in camp: "what's NOT to like about this?".

For us, like our guests, it was a season filled with memories and great times in camp. Despite having to work "just a little bit" every day, we found it easy to be thankful for the beauty of our "office", and the great friendships developed with our guests during the season. Challenges and opportunities were present throughout the year to keep the job exciting as one thing is for sure-SOMETHING will develop every season that is a new challenge. In the wilderness, it's just another facet that keeps the "job" new and refreshing every year.

Many improvements were made to the camp again this year too. From our ongoing commitment to keep our fleet of Yamaha 4 stroke outboard motors all (almost) brand new, to more new comfortable cushioned boat seats-we continue to try to make time on the water as carefree and comfortable as possible. In the cabins- the first installment of new mattresses arrived this year (more to follow next year), the wood floors in several of the cabins were refinished this year, and small convenient nightstands were added to each of the bedrooms in camp. Cabins 2 & 6 also received the new hand-split cedar shake siding leaving only Cabin 1 remaining to be re-sided next season. The permanent dock in front of the motorhouse was re-built from the foundation up this year-- and next season the "master plan" includes the removal of THE RAMP as the gateway to camp which we plan to replace with a series of steps and platforms. Replacing the ramp will be almost like a changing of the guard-as the ramp has been a fixture of the camp FOREVER, but things change over time and the new "gateway" promises to be even safer, more comfortable and much more aesthetically pleasing.

We would be remiss if we didn't mention (as we get asked the question a lot) about Ray and Marilyn and whether they will be with us again in camp next year. We are extremely happy to report that YES, Ray and Marilyn do plan to be with us for the 2011 season, marking their fifth year anniversary as an integral part of the team that is committed to our guests overall satisfaction.

Finally we would like to once again say "THANK YOU" to all of our guests from last season. Without you, there would be no reason for us to "do what we do". Your loyalty and support of the camp is certainly very much appreciated as are the friendships we have developed in this our sixth season.

The annual camp Christmas letter will be in the mail before long and soon enough the May 21, 2011 opener will be upon us. Until next time, take care.

ps. Please note the blog slideshow: 2010-Remembering when.... is updated with many of your photos from throughout the season. If you have more that you would like posted here or on the website photo album, please email them to us.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A time to heal

My brother Gary, who some of you have met in camp through the years, had an opportunity to visit with me in camp at the end of the season this year. Diagnosed and having been treated for colorectal cancer the last year and a half had made a visit to camp last year impossible for him. Despite a nine year age difference growing up, I could always count on my BIG brother to not leave me (the "kid") behind, and we were very fortunate on short-notice to put an itinerary together that allowed for this visit.

Since camp was for all practical purposes shut down, and it was just the two of us, there wasn't a whole lot to do other than spend some quality time on the water fishing together. By his own admission, Gary isn't an "avid" fisherman, but he does certainly enjoy it and more importantly it provided an ideal setting to relax, recover and reminisce. As we did all that, we also found about four spots very near camp that we could count on to consistently produce good to excellent walleye action. Our time on the water, generally consisted of a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the late afternoon, with most days resulting in us catching about 20-30 walleyes a day, with some northern pike sprinkled in and the occasional hard-fighting whitefish. All said, we had a ball catching and releasing the fat, pre-winter walleyes mostly in the 16-18" range. Most days, I would have to say I caught the most fish, Gary however, caught the biggest of both species: walleye (20") and northern (30"), Neither fish HUGE by any standard, but then again it really wasn't about the fishing anyway.......

Monday, September 20, 2010

Still catchin' fish and killin' bears

More about the fishing when I get around to writing the fishing report for the website, but suffice it to say here in the blog that the last couple of weeks has seen some continued excellent fishing for our guests. So good in fact, that although camp is "officially" closed, we still have a group of first timers in from St. Louis that are continuing to terrorize the walleye. Our bear hunts wrapped up with some decent success too. After having both of our hunters harvest bears in week one of our season, our group of four bow hunters in week 2 went home with two bears including a smaller but beautifully coated chocolate bear.

In other unrelated news, there was a fire a couple of weeks ago at the Village Corner in Vermilion Bay. The gas station/tackle store (Jiggers) and restaurant were destroyed. Not sure what the intention will be for the future with regards to possibly rebuilding the facilities. This was a popular stop for many of our guests who would call us from Vermilion Bay on the way up to arrange their pick up at the landing. We will be sure to pass along any additional information over the winter months or as it becomes available.

Matt Curtis (L) with his bear and his father Dave

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Never too late.....

To plan and have an excellent trip to camp. Just ask Don Raveling (Minnesota) and his son Steve (Arkansas) who just booked a trip to camp in the two man cabin (all that was available) last week. Don had picked up a brochure of ours at the NW Sportshow in Minneapolis three years ago and decided after two very unsuccessful trips this summer to Canada to give us a try. So at the last minute he called up, booked the "highly economical" two man cabin--and proceeded to have an excellent trip commenting to me on Thursday that "we caught more fish today than we did all week on our last trip". We certainly enjoyed having Don and Steve in camp as we always do with our first timers.

Overall, the last several weeks in camp have been very busy with our wood cutting, bear baiting and of course taking care of a camp full of happy fishermen and women. Still a couple of "extra" projects to do around here the last three weeks of the season also, including getting the new siding on the last guest cabin #1.

Despite some continued warm weather for this time of year, we are starting to see more and more color along the shorelines which provides a constant reminder that fall is indeed not far away. Another cool down is forecast for the second half of this week, which should only help the fishing get even better.

Until next time, I will leave you with a picture of Keith Augustine grimacing to hold a fat 41" northern caught last week while fishing with his son Andy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Warm enough for ya?

Chances are if you are from almost anywhere in the midwest U.S. your answer is "yes". It really hasn't been much better here to be honest. Temps in the upper 70's to mid 80's with very high humidity has made it just a little "sticky" the past couple of weeks in camp. The fish don't seem to be minding much though, as even some of our first time guests are making comments like "I can't believe how many walleye we are catching in this August heat". It looks like a change in the weather is coming for next week with much cooler (60's) temperatures forecast and MORE rain. I keep kidding around with our guests that our next major construction project might just be an Ark as our lake levels for this time of year are higher than I have ever seen them.

With our bear hunters coming in soon (Sept 4) we have just begun to bait some of our stations and actually did a little "pre-baiting" in July. Here is a picture of a great looking bear with one of the best looking white crests on his chest I have ever seen.
And you have to love it when a bear is on a bait at 2:24 in the afternoon!
I also need to mention the latest nominee for the "Trooper of the Year" award. Sue Martin is here this week with her husband (to be?) Brian and friends Dustin Masters and Stephanie Mullins from Missouri. Although Brian and Dustin have been on a few Canadian fishing adventures, this is the first time for the ladies. Overall the ladies are having an absolutely wonderful time, but Sue did have a little mishap the other night. It seems while reaching for one of Brian's fishing poles in their boat, she deeply embedded a Rattle Trap in her index finger. Shortly after arriving back in camp, we (Ray, Marilyn and I) had her in operating room #1 ready for "surgery". Sue barely had the words "so how much of my finger am I going to lose" out of her mouth when Ray and I teamed up with the "string-yank" method to have the hook out of her finger almost before she knew it was coming. I know the technique sounds a little crude, but trust me when I say it works and works well. She was absolutely amazed at how quick and painless the process was and I was amazed at how brave she was. I even commented to her that we have removed numerous hooks from many of our male guests through the years, but few of them showed as much poise and bravery as she did. So hat's off to Sue Kendrick-the most recent nominee for the Peffley's Wilderness Camp "Trooper of the Year" award.

Well that's all for now, keep reading our weekly fishing reports on the website too for the latest in what's going on regarding the fishing. If this forecasted cool down does materialize, look out as things are going to get even better around here!

Take care until next time!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Holbrook Family returns to Peffley's Wilderness Camp

Hi everyone. Although every single week of camp is special in it's own way, last week in camp was extra special. The Holbrook family (Adam-Dad, Michelle-Mom, CJ-15, Ben-11, and twin sisters Sara and Tara-9) from Roann, Indiana were special guests of camp again this year. Many of you may recall that the Holbrooks were guests of our camp back in 2008 after CJ was diagnosed with and had been receiving treatments for lymphoma. Through the Indiana chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation-we were able to team up and grant CJ his wish of going on a Canadian fishing adventure and many fond memories for all of us resulted.

This year marked their return trip to camp and how special it was again for all of us! First, and most important of all, CJ continues to test free of cancer and for that we are all grateful. In fact, CJ even did a little "smack" talkin' on the boat ride out to camp about outfishing me in 2008. Needless to say, the gloves came off at that point and I did what any self-respecting camp owner would do--- I ducked him the whole week so we wouldn't get caught up in (and me lose) another fish-off.  Actually, I could see early in the week that Adam, CJ, Ben and the girls remembered a lot about how and where we fish as they got off to a good start and it only got better as the week progressed. CJ was able to catch a bunch of walleyes and northern pike during the week, but the best fish of all may have been the beautiful 18 1/2" smallie he caught which bested his 17" fish from two years ago. Not to be outdone by big brother, Ben had the hot hand a couple of days too, one night catching an impressive stringer of 14 perch off the dock and also skillfully battling and landing a nice 30" northern.

Even the girls got into the action a few afternoons and evening, with the twins and Mom finding out just how much fun it is when the walleye bite is on. Of course, when evening came it was time for campfires, smores or games of hide and seek and ghost in the graveyard with the other kids (ours included of course) until finally it was time to come in for the night.

So as another fantastic week of fishing, friendships and fun came to an end, Adam asked his daughter Tara "when do you think we should plan to come back to camp again?" to which Tara promptly replied "tomorrow". Here is to many, many more tomorrows for all of us........

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pictures say a thousand words.....

That's what they say at least. In retrospect, it would have been easier to just update the slideshow to the right, but oh well, live and learn. Thought this would be a nice way to show just a small handful of the many, many memories that have been created again this season at camp and to share a few of the smiling faces that visited camp so far this summer. With nine weeks to go in the season, we expect there to be many more great photos to come. Please visit the website's photo gallery for recent additions.