The following is a description of a typical week spent at Bear Lake by a long time guest at Bear Lake. You can see examples and evidence of the timeline by visiting www.burntcabin.org. Feel free to forward questions about the camp or our experience over the past 20 years fishing and exploring the rainbow country around Bear Lake and in Killarney Provincial Park. You will receive an honest opinion about our experience.
Our group gathers on Friday morning before our visit to Bear Lake in Flint, Michigan. We usually take 12 to 18 fisherman to the camp. We meet in Flint to car pool and organize our equipment for the final drive to Espanola. From Flint, Espanola is about 9 hours away. We like to get underway before 10:00 AM.
Dinner at the Soo:
We enjoy stopping and having dinner at The Antlers in Sault Ste. Marie. Its a unique dining experience and put's us in the mood for a week of wilderness living at Bear Lake Wilderness Camp.
After dinner, we make the drive across the Canadian border. This is always an adventure. If you don't want your vehicle stopped and searched, make sure you do not have more than 1 bottle of liquor or 1 case of beer per adult in each vehicle. This can be a very time consuming stop if the border patrol is active.
3 Hour Drive to Espanola:
After the border, we have a three hour drive to Espanola. We usually stop at Blind River to purchase our licenses and buy some ice cream for desert. We stay at the Goodman's Hotel in Espanola Friday night. Here you will get the first taste of how bad the mosquitoes can be in Ontario. For some reason, the mosquitoes are not quite so bad on the island or on the many lakes surrounding Bear Lake.
On Saturday morning, we grab breakfast at Tim Horton's across the street from the hotel, or at Lang Lake Resort where you will be picked up for your ferry ride to the island at Bear Lake. We prefer to have breakfast at Lang Lake Resort, but it is often not open before 8 am for breakfast. It depends on when the ferry will be picking you up.
The Ferry will carry you and your gear 17 miles back through five lakes and the Whitefish River to your island resort on Bear Lake. Typically, we arrive before 11AM.
We spend the remaining time making lunch, unpacking our gear and repacking our fishing gear for our first half day at Bear Lake. You will need to arrange your fishing plans at the main lodge so everyone has a lake picked out. Normally, no more than four people can fish any one lake at a time, so planning is important to prevent too many people from trying to fish the same lake. There is so much great water around Bear Lake, if your first choice is not fulfilled, second, third, and fourth will still be winners.
We pair up and head out for fishing. A few stay behind to prepare the kitchen and begin making dinner for the returning fishman later in the afternoon.
Saturday Afternoon Fishing:
You have two main choices for fishing at Bear Lake Wilderness Camp. The first choice is to fish the "Big Lake", Bear Lake. This is the easiest choice, and the fastest to prepare for. The lake is vast and harder to fish because there is so much territory. Normally, the largest smallmouth of the week, and the only walleye are caught on Bear Lake. The action is slower, but well rewarded if you put in your time.
The second choice is to pack up your gear for short portage to one of 25 surrounding remote lakes. This is my favorite. Typically, I will spend all day on a backlake and the evening after dinner fishing bear for smallmouth and walleye.
Saturday afternoon, I will hike to Basson for smallmouth or Billy for largemouth.
The details on gear to bring and strategy are found in the guest only pages.
After the fisherman return, our cooks have already prepared most of dinner, so we all meet for dinner in one of the spacious cabins to enjoy our first meal together at Bear. Our strategy for meals is to have Chicken the first night because it spoils the fastest, Burgers and Steaks the second night... then fish for the remaining time. Nothing beats fresh fish from these lakes cooked shortly after catching and cleaning them.
The rest of the night is spent on the porch of our cabins telling stories and listening to the lies of the other fisherman.
For the rest of the week, we try to wake up early and get the good AM fishing in. Sometimes, if the fishing is slow in the afternoon, we return to camp for lunch, a nap, and a return to the lakes after the sun lowers in the sky. Mostly, we fish all day until we return to camp in the late afternoon for dinner. After dinner, we head out to a close back lake like Little Van Winkle or High, or head out walleye fishing on Bear until the mosquitos chase us off at dark.
Friday night we make sure everything is packed up for the EARLY morning boat ride off the island the next morning. This includes most all of the cleaning of the cabins.
In the AM, all we want to do is sweep out the cabins and make sure all our gear is on the docks. It is too early for much else besides a cup of coffee which is readily available in the lodge.