Morning dawns at Peffley's Wilderness Camp

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bye, bye bachelor life

Tomorrow (6/23) will officially signal the end of the early season bachelor life for me as the "estrogen invasion" is on it's way. The three girls (Megan, Emily and Allison) are travelling with friends and are scheduled to arrive tomorrow. Milissa and Sara will also be arriving this week, but have been delayed just a little by a huge power outage back home. In any event the power has been restored and they will be on the road to camp soon.

This (despite my jokes about swimming in the estrogen pool) signals a joyous time in camp as our family is reunited and the kids all look forward to seeing their buddies in camp who's families vacation with us annually. They look forward to re-connecting with their camp friends and spending a week with new friends most every week.  I can remember being so concerned about keeping the girls entertained in the wilderness of Canada when the camp was first purchased. Those concerns were alleviated by then end of their first day in camp nearly six years ago.

It is refreshing to see them in camp and finding ways to entertain themselves and learn about the nature and wildlife here, as opposed to the homelife of TV, Wii games and text messaging. Now if I can just find a way to keep the boys out of the picture for the next 20 years or so. Hmmmm.................

Monday, June 14, 2010


Greetings from the wonderful state of Wisconsin, home of the “awesomeest” Green Bay Packers! (Brett who???). It is our pleasure to be the guest bloggers on Dave’s blog this week. Allow us to introduce ourselves….Sandy teaches EMS (very recently retired lucky her) and is the supervising nurse at a girls summer camp (patience of a saint!). Bob does a little bit of everything from electrician to builder and could catch fish in a lake with NO fish! Bonnie keeps all running smoothly in the EMS/Fire section of our local college. Charlie assists individuals re-entering the community to find employment, etc. I (Cathy) keep things flowing smoothly as an Emergency Department nursing supervisor and John educates the future paramedics and also staffs the Emergency Department when his wife (me – the scheduler) puts him to work

It’s been one WHOLE week since our annual Canadian vacation officially ended and I think it’s time to go back. Reality has a way of doing that! One of the things that remains a bit of a mystery to Sandy, Bonnie & I is why more females aren’t in camp.

The comforts of home are all there (hot/cold running water, wood stove, gas cook stove, refrigerator, shower, FLUSH toilets and of course the most beautiful views in Canada), and the peace and serenity rival that of any spa! We would agree that vacations at the beach are great, spa vacations are relaxing and rejuvenating and shopping vacations are…..expensive(), but a trip to Canada is unique and encompasses the majority of what you will find on any other vacation! Why else would we continue to come year after year? (Sandy – 20+ years, Bonnie & I – 14 years). Everyone’s’ lives are hectic and this gives us the opportunity to reconnect with each other and with our spouses! Although we have done this so often we have it memorized, we still have planning meetings and even go so far to plan each day’s menu (each couple cooks 1 or 2 nights)! Although the menu varies from lasagna to steak to hamburger/hot dogs, by far our favorite meal is WALLEYE! We could in fact have walleye every night if we chose – fishing is that good!

So – what is our vacation like? Glad you asked! Here goes----

5 am (Friday) – the journey begins from central Wisconsin. Each couple drives in their own vehicle. Yes – it’s more gas, but it’s also time to reconnect with the other half! AND – we each get to listen to our own genre of music or no music! And if you have the pleasure of not driving – you can nap since 5 am is a bit early!

~07:30 am – Breakfast stop at Norske Nook in Rice Lake. Excellent food with a Scandinavian flair!

~10 am – Duluth, MN – Gander Mountain stop. They may have “just” received the latest – sure to catch fish – lure that was not available in Wisconsin!

~2 pm – International Falls and the border. It’s always hit or miss whether the border wait will be short or longer. In all the years we have been traveling to Canada, we have NEVER been searched! Hallelujah for that as it would be havoc on our schedule! After crossing the border we exchange money and get any pamphlets or brochures at the Canadian version of “Chamber of Commerce”.

~5 pm – FINALLY – we reach our stop for the night. Dryden, Ontario. We have stayed at the Best Western and the Timberland (both nice), but there are many other options. Then it’s supper (Riverside) and off to bed!

~7:30 (Saturday) – “On the road again” to IGA for perishables (eggs, milk, fruit) and Vermillion Bay (Bobbie’s Sport Shop) where we find more last minute essential fishing items we might need and purchase our licenses. They have an awesome gift shop for the shoppers

~0930 – Dutchie’s store in Perrault Falls to order our dry ice for when we come out the following week and any really last minute essentials (there is a gift shop there, also). This is also the central “call” place to alert Dave we will be at the boat landing.

~1200 – We are on the “big boat” with all our gear and on our way. Finally we round the corner and see our “home” for the next week – Peffley’s Wilderness Camp. If we are not already smiling – seeing the camp certainly brings a smile to all our faces and perhaps a flutter of excitement for the week ahead. Rain or shine – fish or read or nap – it’s all good! Dave, “Rafe” and Marilyn make sure our cabin is clean, our boats are ready each day and the minnows are ready to sacrifice themselves! There are so many different places to fish, that we could stay much longer than a week! Others in this blog (and the website) will tell you about all the fish, and you can believe it! A bonus this year was Sienna (camp dog). She is an absolute sweetheart and adds a very homey touch to the camp!

Each day is a different place to fish. Whether it’s Mean, Wine, Beaver, Wabaskang, or Mud we have fun. We don’t ALWAYS catch fish, but darn near! And if it rains, then the books come out (for you Stephen King fans – I recommend “Under the Dome” as it will take at least all week to read!), and the wood stove gets lit. One in our group had a Kindle and that was a real space saver as he could store many, many books in a thin computer “book”!

The end of the week is always a little sad. We miss our families and are ready to go home, but we also know we will miss the atmosphere, relaxation and general feeling of well-being at camp.

Did I mention wildlife? Well…………get ready to see moose, deer, bear, herons, pelicans (yes, I said pelicans), bald eagles, loons (and babies in late June, early July) and even a stray fox or wolf!

So…what do you say ladies?? Doesn’t this sound like the adventure of a lifetime? Want more information? Dave can answer your questions (e-mail on the website). If you want to “talk” to one of us – Dave will pass that on also. Canada (and Peffley’s camp) awaits you with open arms!

Yours in fishing – Sandy, Bonnie & Cathy (and Bob, Charlie & John)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Seneca, South Carolina ROCKS Peffley's Camp!

It was our pleasure to host Bob Stromberg's group from Seneca, South Carolina again this year. Bob was here for somewhere in the 38th year range and his group of Fred Bailine, Tom Greene and Dave Garrison (all 70'ish in ages with the notable exception of Bob who is only 69) suffered through a week that saw their catch drop nearly 20% from last years trip.

Now here's the deal-- see, last year these guys caught just over 1,200 fish for the week. (walleyes, northern, smallies and perch combined) This year they only managed to boat 966 fish in basically six days of fishing including 709 walleyes, 232 northern pike, 21 perch and 4 smallmouth. Despite the dramatic (20%) drop in the fishing success of the group--Bob assures me that they will still come back next year. Also, I would be remiss (for everyone who thinks I push the live bait sales) if I did not mention that these guys never fished any live bait the entire week. STRICTLY jigs and plastics. And of course as 99% of our guests have found, these guys never fished more than a 15 minute ride from camp.

Hopefully things will pick up for these guys again next year, hate to lose a booking over "poor" fishing!

We'll (try) to save some for ya!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Experience Counts

Just for fun this week I added up the total fishing experience of the group leaders in our eight guest cabins. Not the entire group, just the most senior member of the crew, and determined that this week in camp we have 135 years of experience in camp in just the "pit bosses". That includes two cabins (the relative newbies) that only have a combined 5 years experience on Wabaskang. If I were to include myself in the figure for the week it would increase to 153 years of experience.

That's a lot of knowledge working for our guests who share info, spots, techniques, and other hot patterns with each other. No wonder this week the "gut" buckets in the fish house are just loaded again every morning. It also says a lot about the loyalty of our guests to this camp, some of whom have come now during four separate ownership eras dating back to the 1960's when the camp was originally operated as Dave's Wilderness Camp. For us, we are honored to be owner's of the camp and do our small part in continuing a legacy of excellence that was established long ago.

Also, a big "THANKS" to a second year guest that has been kind enough to create a Peffley's Wilderness Camp group on Facebook. If you are a fan of camp, and what we do, join the group and feel free to add your trip photos to the group.

Until the next blog, tight lines and see you on the water!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fishing Canada-Young at heart

We were fortunate enough again this year to be hosts to Pete Paruch's family from the St. Joseph, Michigan area. I forgot to ask Pete how many years in camp this was for the family but let's just say this "wasn't their first rodeo." Pete was joined by his two sons Ryan and Jason along with his brother Randy and his son Zach. The elder statesman of the crew again this year was Pete and Randy's father Edward who just celebrated his 90th birthday in April. Edward, who is a WWII veteran and retired (27 years) Michigan state trooper, was making his last venture to camp and had an excellent trip and fished almost everyday with the guys, only sitting out the really crummy days early in the week.

Edward shared with us again this year several stories of camp from years ago, and also mentioned that this was one of his best trips ever. It was truly a pleasure to have Ed and his family in camp with us again this year and we at camp wish to say "Thank you" to Ed for making camp his fishing destination for so many years AND also to help remind us all that youth resides in our hearts.