Friday, August 14, 2009

Smoked Wild Rainbow Trout

Yes, most of the fish we catch are released.
But we have to keep a few for the smoker. Or the frying pan or the campfire.

We use a 50/50 mix of salt and brown sugar for the brine and dried Sitka Alder (Alnus crispa) chips for the smoke. Wild smoked Rainbow Trout: the perfect beer snack. And don’t get me started on still-warm smoked trout with thinly sliced onions and crushed black pepper on toast.

Wild Rainbow Trout

Catch and Release
We catch a lot of Trout over a season. We practice “catch and release” : Use barbless hooks. Play each fish just enough to be able to unhook it safely. Make sure the fish is fully revived before gently releasing it.

So we release most of the fish we and our guests catch. These are wild stocks but trout populations in our area waters are very strong. Our lakes are rich in all variety of trout foods. Among the aquatic and terrestrial insects and other little creatures that trout eat, freshwater shrimp (Hyella and Gammarus) are a trout food staple.

Eating freshwater shrimp makes trout flesh taste rich and delicious. It also turns the meat the colour of a lobster in a boiling pot.

dogrose & fireweed

The Prickly Rose (Rosa acicularis) is a wild species of Rose that is native to the interior of BC. And has relatives all around the world. Blooming in July, the rose petals are edible and make a great garnish. The hips that ripen in the fall and are an important food for birds and animals. Black Bears (Ursus americanus), will wait until the rosehips have been frozen a few times before they pick them with their prehensile lips. Bears don’t really chew their food. So soft energy rich food is preferred. Freezing makes the rosehips soft and sugary.

Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) knows how to reproduce. It’s beautiful and everywhere. It also has far-flung relatives in Europe, Japan and Siberia. In late summer Fireweed release their fluffy seeds to the wind in great storms.

Photos by Rob

Captain Jill and Lou

I’ve heard it said that when the Clinton family was choosing a Presidential Dog, Black Labs were intially considered but then removed from the shortlist because they’re just too hard to take good photos of, especially in bright sunlight.

In this shot I played with using my polarized clip-ons as a filter.

Summer Days

During the July heatwave we were all jumpin’ in the lake. Here Jill’s cooling off with the Loon. The Loons cruise by the Lodge all the time, hunting bite-sized Trout. They give us the old loon-eye like they own the place.
Perseids Update
I didn’t catch any of the Perseids. Never looked very long on Tuesday night and Wednesday was cloudy. However Neil, a reader from Scotland mentioned witnessing a beautiful shower of shooting stars. Good on you, Neil. Thanks for letting us know.
See for a NASA composite of Perseid 130 fireballs.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Shooting Stars - Perseids Meteor Shower Tonight

The moon is over half so it will be quite bright. But if you have clear skies and you look away from the moon (face north) there's a good chance you'll see some shooting stars tonight.

And if you're up before the sun rises, watch for Venus rising in the northeast. It'll be visible from about 3am to sunrise. You could then see at the same time: Venus (E/SE), the Moon and Jupiter (S/SW).
Happy Nightwatching.

Omineca Dry Flies - the Simulator

This fly was developed by the laziest fly-tier in world, me. Deerhair based dry flies have always been effective. One pattern I tied and fished a lot was the "Stimulator". It is a great durable pattern but too much work to tie. So my slothful brain turned to cooking up a simple and effective dry.

This is it durable and easy to tie. The shuck/tail is optional. The body is thread, the wing is yellow, orange, green or black foam. Head and wing are deerhair. I like tying it on short scud or shrimp hooks.

Other names are "Omineca Orange" and "the Cheese Fly".

Omineca Dry Flies - Tad`s Mothra Popper

I've mentioned Tad in a previous post Return of the Giant Caddis. Tad is the one who called our big Travelling Sedges "Mothra Caddis". This fly is inspired by the Mothra. Big and obnoxious, the Mothra Popper a dry fly and the big deerhair "collar" lets you fish it with a hard jerky retrieve that pushs a wake and is very sexy to surface feeding trout.

Tad is Mr. Topwater. He loves fishing the surface, whether it's Rainbows in BC or Bass in Japan. He pioneered dry midge fishing for jumbo Japanese Carp.

Oshashiburi - Long Time No See

Although this guy looks like he might have just returned from an Amish barn-raising, he is in fact, my younger Japanese "brother", Tadao Hashimoto. And in this photo he's just come back from a good day of fishing at "Secret Lake". Tad is a beautiful and funny man and one of the best fly fishermen I know. This season, Tad returned to Omineca with some friends for a July fishing trip. It was just like old times.

He first came to Omineca as a guest, but Tad and I have been friends for over 20 years now. We consider ourselves brothers. And, like brothers, we have to test each other now and then. And since we both like food and cooking, that's how we've tested each other over the years. Actually in Japan it's a national sport: see-if-the-foreigner-will-eat-this? Tad has served me "kusaya" (the fish whose name means "smells bad"). It was OK. Tasted kinda burnt. But I've come to love "natto", a scary preparation of fermented beans. In return, I've introduced Tad to root beer, which tastes like medicine to the uninitiated. He says he likes it but I don`t believe him. In the battle of strange foods, I think I win because he politely refuses one of my all time favourites. I don`t understand why he won`t eat my beautifully stinky, aged-in-the-rafters, Esrom cheese. It's imported. From Denmark.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Moon follows Jupiter across the Night

The moon is just starting to wane. Jupiter has been very bright in the southern sky through the spring and summer. Last night the full moon was leading Jupiter but tonight the moon follows. I just took this shot with my Olympus 790 SW from a tripod using "night scene" setting.

Perseid Meteor Shower
Keep an eye on the the sky next week. The Perseids are coming August 11 & 12 (Tuesday night and Wednesday morning). There could be 100 or more meteors per hour. A good reason to spread out a blanket and enjoy the night sky.

check out:

Friday, July 31, 2009

Holy Moly! What a July!

We've just had a slight break in the heatwave that's taken up residence over BC for about 2 weeks. Beautiful weather and lot's of jumping in the lake.

So much has been going on at the lodge that we haven't had time to keep up on new posts. We'll be adding a few over the coming week. The photo right is by Jill of Lou and me fishing from our new Blue Boat. It's a twenty foot flat-bottomed riverboat built by our old pal, Freddie Williams Jr. in Tachie village. Thanks Junior! It`s great boat.

We`ll be writing more about Freddie and our boats soon. What else happened besides a heatwave, a new boat and spectacular dry fly fishing? Well let me tell ya.....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fish, moose and hatches...

What a busy couple of weeks! Lots of guests in and out, great fishing, fish smoking and so much more. We've been feeding the eagles, spotting moose and bear, and even a mule deer on the drive into town. The most impressive sighting was by our Japanese guests, who, while adjusting to the time, were up at 2 am to see the aurora on Monday night. They watched it for about 15 minutes, and one fellow even got a few great hand-held shots.
Lou has become an avid fisher-dog. He patiently watches the fly on top of the water, and then once a fish is caught, he gets very excited until the fisherman releases it back into the water. Very funny to watch, and the guests are getting a kick out of his antics.
Last night was a big caddis hatch, as Tad would say, 'Mothra Caddis', and fishing has been wonderful. Back to 'work' now, will post more as time permits!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

It's Twins!

After seeing no loon babies since arriving here at the end of May, we thought maybe it was going to be a year of none surviving. But, Frank and Rob encountered the first family coming through the narrows on Tuesday. These two are pretty young, and the Dad tried very hard to lure the boat away from Mom and young. With luck they'll survive the eagles and gulls, with their parents' help, and come back next year. Still a little rainy, but we did have a few dry days this week. Lots of fishing fun, and we watched a loon out front eating his catch, too!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Return of the Giant Caddis

As I am typing this, Rainbow Trout, around the dock and out across the lake are feeding, making splashy rises. One of the reasons for this is the return of the giant Caddis (pictured left). Caddis are one of the aquatic insects that are mainstays of the trout diet. Others include: Mayflies, Midges, Damsel and Dragonflies.

All these insects are great trout food but the giant Caddis (over 2.5cm long) are a whole trout banquet in one gulp. That's why the splashy rises. They are one of the reasons that dry fly fishing is so good around here. And because they hatch sporadically, not in big waves as many aquatic insect do, trout are always on the lookout for them. Giant Caddis or "Travelling Sedge" come in a range of colours, varieties and sizes. My Japanese fishing brother, Tad has called the biggest species "Mothra Caddis".

Rainbow Trout will make a great effort to chase down giant Caddis. That's where the "Simulator" Dry Fly comes in. More on Caddis and the Simulator soon.

Email Us at the Lodge

Mountain Goats - Wilhelm & Nina plus 13

Here's a photo of Jill using our telescope to spot Mountain Goats from the sundeck. The family of Oreamnos Americanus on Grizzly Mountain numbered 13 members last fall.

The nannies and kids generally feed and travel in small groups. The old billy "Wilhelm" is usually off away from the other flock members. He is sometimes with one or two others which are most likely young billies. This year we (Jill actually) have spotted a total of 15 Mountain Goat, visible at the same time. A total of 5 kids born this spring. Of the five kids, it seems there is one set of twins. Oh, they're so cute.

We'll keep you posted on the flocks activities over the summer.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

They're Back!

During our morning coffee ritual on the front deck I was checking the mountain for our goats. Suspicious movement on one of the snowfields, I got out the telescope, and there they were. Wilhelm is back with his harem of nannies, and this year 4 kids. Haven't seen any of the youngsters from last year yet, they may have been evicted by the boss, but it's great to see the family survived the winter.
Lou is still enjoying his place in the boat, he doesn't like it to leave the dock without him aboard. The stick population of the island is diminishing, he brings a new one to the deck to chew up every day. Will have to each him to use a broom!
Still waiting for the sunshine to return, though the rain is good for the garden, the forests...and the mushrooms!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Solstice in Omineca

Hope that everyone had a happy Father's Day / Longest Day (also known as: First Day of Summer and the Summer Solstice). We celebrated with crepes for brunch and an afternoon fishing trip. My sister, husband and two boys came to the lodge for the weekend.

Top photo is by my nephew, Sebastian. He captured a rainbow across the lake, near sunset on the shortest night (June 20th). Up here at this time of year, nights are already very short. For about a month, it doesn't get dark at night. There's just a long twillight between 11:30pm and 2am. The nights are so bright that we won't see the Milky Way until mid-July. By August, it's so dark and clear again at night that it seems like you can see every star in the universe.

Middle section of photos are mostly of my nephews, Harrison and Sebastian doing some dry fly fishing in Spitz Bay. We were anchored in the bay and Harrison decided to go for a swim while Sebastian and I kept fishing. When we caught a trout Harrison would release it for us. Swimming with the fishes, in a good way.

Bottom photos: Lodge from the dock and Antlertree by Sebastian.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Morels, Norwegians and Lou

After almost three weeks of hot, dry weather, rain has finally come to Omineca. Good for the forest and good for the mushrooms! Lou and I have found a nice handful of Morels (morchella elata). They were tasty in the rice pilaf. They’ve been growing on the trail behind the lodge.

Our Norwegian guests have gone home. Ronny, the smiling man, (he organized the trip) turned to laughing with glee as he reeled in fish after fish. Lots of fun with his group. It was nice to have Wes and Colin in camp to get things started for another year. Also, great to have Frank's Dad, Bert “the director“ in camp. He built a new roof for the Yukon tent platform, got some camp footage with his HD video camera and cooked a few memorable breakfasts!

Lou was a big hit with the guests, I was afraid he's be smuggled out of the country in a suitcase... (gotta watch those Norwegians! Ed.)
I'm off to Williams Lake to do the production work for the next issue of Die Kleine Zeitung mit Herz... nice to get to civilization but always hard to leave such a paradise.
See you next week.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Omineca Wilderness Satillite System is "On the Air"

This is going to change everything. We're still working out a few of the kinks but Omineca Lodge is now connected to the world by satellite internet. I'm saying "Wow!" as I'm typing this. The wilderness hasn't changed, it's still all around us, all the time. But this new technology will help us share our piece of the wilderness. Our blog really is a convergence of the web of the 21st century with life in the Canadian "bush". Stay Tuned. Contact us at the Lodge by email.

Oh and by the way, Lou is feeling at home and has taken his place at the bow of the boat. It didn't take long.
posting again soon,

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Life is Good

The Omineca Wilderness Adventures Video Trailer.
A series of moments in the life of Omineca set to great song by Bob Egan.
The video concept was by Geoff. Geoff, Jill and myself edited the video from stock in the Omineca Video Archives. At the start the music is a bit quiet. So, Crank it and enjoy.

THANKS BOB! - Bob Egan’s “Honest Night” and the Omineca Video Trailer.
Geoff and I had been talking about making a video. Something that captured the Omineca experience and used some of the great footage we’ve gathered over the years. But that’s as far as we got. Then one cold January night Geoff went to see Bob Egan play in Williams Lake BC. Promptly blown-away, at the show, Geoff bought Bob’s album “The Promise”. “The Promise” is a classic album, great songs in a wide range of styles. Bob is a master studio musician and songwriter. He has been a member of Wilco and now is the steel guitar player for Blue Rodeo.

When Geoff heard “Honest Night” from “The Promise” he knew it had to be the soundtrack for the Omineca Video we’d been planning. So Geoff presented his concept to Jill and I, then he got the “OK” from Bob Egan to use the song and it was all over but the shouting. It’s a classic song: elements of traditional, pop and rock & roll, spectacular writing, exquisite playing and production and an ecstatic, finger-pickin’ crescendo with guitars, mandolins and violins. One of the violin players on the track is Ashley MacIsaac’s sister, Lisa. Contact Bob.
Bob Egan.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Early Season Fishing

Rob and Frank go Brook Trout Fishing

Beautiful weather. We’ll be opening Omineca Lodge in a week. Busy preparing for the season but Rob and I found time to do a walk-in fishing trip in Eskers Park just north of Prince George.

It was my first time there so Rob was the guide. Strapped on our float tubes and walked 45 min. to a beautiful lake. The trout were rising as we geared up.

A swell day of fishing. We both hooked and caught many fish. Rainbows and Brook Trout. Biggest was about 14 inches.

I caught my first Brook Trout ever and first on the dry. I fished the last half of the day dry-only. Thanks, Guide.

Critter count: One Big Black Bear, Loons, Red-headed Woodpecker and Scarlett Tanager.

Saw the Space Station, low over the south in the twillight, as we packed the truck.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

2009 Season - Omineca Lodge Opening Soon

Welcome to our Blog. I'm Frank Badey, owner/operator of Omineca Wilderness Adventures. The Omineca Crew and I will be opening the Lodge in the first week of June. We operate the Omineca Lodge from June until October. The Lodge is a one hour drive from Fort St. James BC.

We are a full service lodge: rustic gourmet meals and comfortable private guest cabins. We offer Fly Fishing Lessons, Wildlife Viewing and Photography, Camping, Canoeing and Kayaking. Retreats and Adventures for Friends, Families and Groups.

Come and join us this summer. We've got a place by the campfire for you.