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Always respect lakes you are unfamiliar with (NF)

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I wish I had a video to go with this but sadly y'all will just have to do with the story. 

 

So, anyone who knows Head Lake (The Norland one, not the Minden one) knows that this lake is treacherous. My dad and I have a combined 60 years on this lake and there are areas that we still tread very lightly. Especially with the water levels down and the lack of rain we have been having.

Long weekends at the cottage are always interesting because there are always people launching their boat or renting cottages on the lake that have never spent a minute on the lake, let alone charted out where the rocks are. This doesn't stop people from going too fast in areas that they really shouldn't be going fast. For us locals, this is usually pretty entertaining. (Keep in mind, this is with us sitting on our deck with them a few KM away, so I can't exactly warn them).

So Monday at noon time we are sitting down on the deck, relaxing and eating lunch as we see a large sport fishing boat going across the lake from west to east on the north side. (For those of you who don’t know, the north side of the lake is the worst. You only go north to south and you always follow the marker bouys). This boat is going right through what we affectionately call ‘the minefield’. So I call my dad out saying ‘you are going to want to see this’. The boat was going slow but with how shallow the water has been this year, there was no way they were getting out of this one.

They get about ¾ of the way across the lake going very slow (kudos for them on that) before slowly turning around. Clearly they had hit one of the spots that are impossible to pass with a motor boat.

After they turn the nose of the boat around was when they made their mistake. They start heading back what I can only assume they thought was their path at a much faster speed. Again, this lake is so rocky that if the rocks or the current blow you off course even by a foot you are in trouble. They get about 10 feet from the spot where they turned before we hear a loud ‘ping’ as we watch the back of their boat jump about 2 feet in the air.

We kept watching. It was clear their motor was done for. We weren’t sure if we would need to go out and help but their trolling motor was still working. It looked like they were going to have a long ride back to the boat launch.

 

Friendly reminder everyone, until you know a lake like the back of your hand, always play safe, get a depth map, or ask the locals. It can be a costly mistake.

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59 minutes ago, misfish said:

That lake is a toon friendly lake. 😉

That whole lake is a mind field Jer. I,ll be up in September buddy.:Gonefishing:

Nice! Let me know when. The fishing has turned back on in my secret spot. The heat has made a mess of the lake though. Haven’t seen or heard of a single walleye come out this year. 

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I should sail right over those rocks with my canoe this evening! 

 

I was sitting at a campsite on Mcrae lake this summer.  Not to many people get motors in that lake.  But someone brought one over from G-Bay with a 20 tiller.  Running wide open, hit a rock out in front of our campsite.  

 

They got the motor ruing again, but it wouldn't plane out after that.. 

 

It's funny, because I was mid sentence with my GF said " Hey, i didn't think motors where allowed in this lake" .. Then kapow!!   Nearly ripped it right off the back of the boat.  Likely leaked all the bottom end oil in to the lake...

Edited by NAW

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every year during the pickerel run in pointe au baril I watch as newbies run the river blind (its uncharted) and are totally unaware of the hidden shoal that resides in the middle of the river that requires you to go 10 feet off shore in order to avoid it.

my personal rule, if you have the decency to slow down as you pass me while im fishing and not rock the hell out of my boat, i will yell and stop you before you hit the shoal...if you are a jerk and fly past everyone parked there you are on your own. I havent seen anyone at high speed smoke it yet, but ive definitely watched a lot of people smack their skegs off of it.

Edited by AKRISONER

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When we had a camp on the Ottawa we also would sit on the dock and watch the Yanks Bass Boats speed across Lake Coulange and  hit rocks and deadheads in deep water taking skegs and props out. We would go out and tow them back to our camp. It was entertaining until the day we watched a boat basically explode into pieces a few hundred yards out. They had to be going 60MPH. Both guys were critically injured and one young fellow severed his spinal column.  Someone got to them before they both drowned, no PFD's on. By the time we got there they put jackets on them and we suggested to leave them in the water until the Medics arrived in the OPP boat from Pembroke. I will never forget the kid's screams of fear as he couldn't feel his legs. We were told later they both survived but the kid became a paraplegic and the older guy had life changing injuries.  If you have the opportunity to warn rookies please do, you might save a life, jerks or not.

Edited by Old Ironmaker

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I've been fishing 4 mile lake for over 15 years now and there are area in the North end I won't take the 18 1/2' bowrider.  If I still had my tinny I'd go in those bass spots (nice and slow) but those days are now gone.  Mark (aka 206 here) knows how messed up that end of the lake is depth and rock wise.  

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When I lived in Barrie I would fish that lake once or twice a year. There were many times the big motor never got fired up! Just used the trolling motor. The days I did use the gas motor I had a very specific trolling route on my gps that always kept me safe. Luckily the fish on that route were pretty accomodating so I didn't have to stray off it.

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16 hours ago, Old Ironmaker said:

When we had a camp on the Ottawa we also would sit on the dock and watch the Yanks Bass Boats speed across Lake Coulange and  hit rocks and deadheads in deep water taking skegs and props out. We would go out and tow them back to our camp. It was entertaining until the day we watched a boat basically explode into pieces a few hundred yards out. They had to be going 60MPH. Both guys were critically injured and one young fellow severed his spinal column.  Someone got to them before they both drowned, no PFD's on. By the time we got there they put jackets on them and we suggested to leave them in the water until the Medics arrived in the OPP boat from Pembroke. I will never forget the kid's screams of fear as he couldn't feel his legs. We were told later they both survived but the kid became a paraplegic and the older guy had life changing injuries.  If you have the opportunity to warn rookies please do, you might save a life, jerks or not.

Thats a sad sad story. I feel for those people. But 60 MPH on a lake they don't know? Some people boggle my mind. Its like how reckless some people drive on the roads. People don't think it can happen to them until it does and sadly it only has to happen once. 

10 hours ago, Rizzo said:

When I lived in Barrie I would fish that lake once or twice a year. There were many times the big motor never got fired up! Just used the trolling motor. The days I did use the gas motor I had a very specific trolling route on my gps that always kept me safe. Luckily the fish on that route were pretty accomodating so I didn't have to stray off it.

Thats a good call. Honestly, as a resident of the lake for over 30 years, majority of the time we take the kayaks and the paddle boat when we go fishing. If we do take the motor boat (the 9.9) we just go to the bowl in the lake. Anything else is just asking for trouble.

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Couple years back we were at a camp up on the West Arm of Nippissing which can also be a VERY dangerous place if you don't know where your going.

Fella from another camp bought a brand new Tracker from Bass Pro and picked it up Saturday morning on his way north.

Turns out he had ZERO experience driving a boat and had never been on this lake before but headed out Monday morning and was running about 30 MPH thru the rocks & islands when he hit a submerged rock. He wasn't hurt but the rock tore a hole in the hull and fortunately the flotation kept him from sinking. He used his cell phone and called the police.

Police towed him into our camp and he called his friend who brought his trailer over and we got him loaded and he was on his way.

I asked him why he'd run so fast thru the rocks when he had no knowledge of the area and he basically said he didn't know it was dangerous.

Kinda hard to feel sorry for folks sometimes but I did for him.

Edited by lew

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46 minutes ago, lew said:

he basically said he didn't know it was dangerous.

I think we can all be guilty of taking a bit more risk than we should on unknown water at times. I mean at the end of the day, who here hasnt hit a rock or something ever? Ill tell you right now, prop companies would be out of business lol

The scariest lake I have ever driven on is still lake marion in santee cooper south carolina...some may even call me an idiot for running it like I did, but that lake is marked and the river bed isnt even safe. 

I saw a local comment on the BBC boards, dont stick to the markers, thats where the stumps are lol...what the hell

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Yeah some of us know how dangerous the West Arm can be Lew. As you know, every year we were up there someone "found" another unmarked rock or shoal. Even those that have 10+ years boating up there. I can name a few right now including myself. What frightened me the most is in years of low water levels rocks and shoals appeared that we ran right over the top of in previous years. And of course navigating the trip through the big and little cuts to Monetville and the scary trip to Cross Lake....😮

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56 minutes ago, lew said:

Couple years back we were at a camp up on the West Arm of Nippissing which can also be a VERY dangerous place if you don't know where your going.

 

Well Lew as you know I fell victim to a big old boulder in my boat a few years ago up there. You sat and watched me try to straighten a stainless steel prop the best I could. Thing of it was I knew it was dangerous and I was actually following another boat (Corey) through to mark a trail on my GPS. Just glad I wasn't going very fast when it happened. The skeg on my motor still has that battle scar ;)

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A sickening feeling when you hit a rock. Been there. 

However, I think the fishing tends to be better in the dangerous areas. Less pressure. 

 

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1 hour ago, John said:

Yeah some of us know how dangerous the West Arm can be Lew. As you know, every year we were up there someone "found" another unmarked rock or shoal. Even those that have 10+ years boating up there. I can name a few right now including myself. What frightened me the most is in years of low water levels rocks and shoals appeared that we ran right over the top of in previous years. And of course navigating the trip through the big and little cuts to Monetville and the scary trip to Cross Lake....😮

I hit an unmarked rock on the West Arm a few years ago, luckily i was only going a bit over 10 mph and just lost a portion of my skeg and an aluminum prop, everything else was ok. Navionics showed a depth greater than 10 feet, so goes to show, cant always trust your maps. Ive noticed this on Gbay in areas as well. I take a more cautionary approach after hitting something and study most lakes. 

The last time i was there, someone went right through the large opening before Cross, i tried to wave them down, luckily they werent travelling fast, still wasnt pretty. 

Edited by Dan668

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Our family's cottage is on Kahshe Lake.  Locals on the lake call it Crashy lake for good reason.  I've been boating there for a long time.  About 15 years ago I took out the outdrive on the ski boat to the tune of $3500, and I thought I knew where I was going.  A few years ago during low water I destroyed a prop on the tin boat in an area I know well.  Some lakes you just don't mess with, and even when you think you know em, sometimes you don't!

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Yup Nipissing and the french can get you. Watched a guy pull is beautiful Lund out of the water in Dokis and his S.S. prop on the Merc had all 3 blades crumpled. Skeg missing and I am sure the damage didn't stop there. 

Be careful out there and always have some sort of map on waters you have never been on!

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2 hours ago, Dan668 said:

 Navionics showed a depth greater than 10 feet, so goes to show, cant always trust your maps.

Another time on the West Arm Tybo and I were casting a spot and decided to move 100 yards away so I checked my GPS and it said it was 8' deep all the way across.  I put the boat in gear and started across and within 50' I put my boat right on top of a rock that wasn't marked, infact while I was sitting on the rock my GPS was still saying I was in 8'.

Nope, don't always depend on GPS.

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The first few times I fished Nippissing I used my outboard jet boat which drafts only 4 inches on plane and I was forever waving people in the rentals to not follow me. A few of the locals tried to warn me of the shoals thinking I had a prop but after I talked to them and showed them that nothing extends below the bottom plane of the boat they thought it was a cool design. I then had to fess up that while it did not hit rocks it would suck up weeds and had to be cleared out by hand. Not a big deal it just meant that you would troll into and out of the weedy bays and jumped on plane when you had clean water. I have since brought  my other Boat a Ranger with a 150 GTX but just in case I remove the SS prop and run aluminum up North. 

Art

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2 hours ago, BassMan11 said:

Yup Nipissing and the french can get you. Watched a guy pull is beautiful Lund out of the water in Dokis and his S.S. prop on the Merc had all 3 blades crumpled. Skeg missing and I am sure the damage didn't stop there. 

Be careful out there and always have some sort of map on waters you have never been on!

Oh man. The French is scary too. My grandfather has had a cottage on there since I was born. On the occasion we’d go to 5 finger rapids sloooooowly. Also he always talked about Chudyare dam and how good the fishing was but how we could never go because it was too treacherous. 

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Of all the lakes I have fished, hundreds, the most perilous I would say is Nippising. There was  no GPS and sonar then, maybe sonar but we didn't have one. Uncle Ang and 2 buddies of mine stayed at the in laws cottage west of Calendar.  Unc insisted we try a spot that I wasn't familiar with in his 19' woody circa 1962. I warned him and he did go dead slow. The next thing we know we are on a huge shoal in the middle of nowhere. We were in 12" of water, maybe. Do you know how heavy a 19' wooden deep V is? I don't but can tell you it's heavy. It took us an hour to rock that boat off the shoal. 3 of us were in our early 30's and I was in the best shape of my life and I was pooched after that. Had we been going any faster who knows. So what do we do the same trip? Night fish and get lost in the South Bay coming back in the dark. We left the light on, so did several other cottagers, idiots. Only about 2 miles too far west, bouncing off rocks on each side, called it Pergatory Bay after that night, still do, idiots. A kind cottager let us dock the boat and drove us home. I have many Nipp stories as do others that ever boated there. A few are about fatalities. One family that were friends of the in laws from Hamilton. They lost a Dad, 2 sons and a son in law all on 1 tragic trip moving furniture to a new cottage around the point with a swim raft because it was faster. Around the mid 70's.

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I remember many years ago my brother and I were out on G BAY. Rental tinny. We had no idea back then. We were ripping along and all of a sudden came to a heart beating stop. We were on a HUGE boulder. So huge, we were able to get out and walk on it. We checked the boat out and it was fine. We stayed on that boulder and fished from it. MAN THE BASS WE CAUGHT. When we were done, we pushed the boat off and headed back ever so slowly.

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5 minutes ago, misfish said:

I remember many years ago my brother and I were out on G BAY. Rental tinny. We had no idea back then. We were ripping along and all of a sudden came to a heart beating stop. We were on a HUGE boulder. So huge, we were able to get out and walk on it. We checked the boat out and it was fine. We stayed on that boulder and fished from it. MAN THE BASS WE CAUGHT. When we were done, we pushed the boat off and headed back ever so slowly.

Lmao. B, you may be the luckiest son of a gun I know. Only you would get stranded on the perfect fishing spot. 😛 

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