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randy cfabiansletter


Hello Donna

35[1] (2)While it is still fresh in my mind, I wanted to thank the staff at MWS for making our visit a very enjoyable one. I hope you will pass my thanks along to the people there who were so courteous to us. Having fished Manitou for many years at another camp, I knew the lake was a good one. What makes MWS special is the service from the staff and guides that exceeded our expectations. Everyone went out of their way to be helpful. Where do you find young girls who can cook so well? I was married 30 years before my wife made crepes for breakfast. The cabin was spotless and comfortable,and so was the rest of the camp. As we discussed by phone and mail, my major concern was that my grandson have fun on his first trip to Canada. He had the time of his life, largely because of the way the guides and staff went out of their way for him. Dennis found him lots of fish, and would hook one, then hand him the rod to reel in. Jake, the only other guide he fished with, did the same. Jake found him 16 bass one morning. In the afternoon he took us on a visit to the gold mine, and even carried my grandson up the steep hill to one of the shafts. For brevity’s sake, I will close, but I think we have found our new camp, and should you wish to use me as a reference,you may. Again, please pass my thanks along to the girls and guides at MWS and I hope to see them again next year.

R. Burtner


Chris and crew!

We all had a great time at the weather station – super service and a huge muskie that we will be back for — but next time we will know to bring a bigger net when we fish the Manitou! “… and everyone out there should know that the Lake Trout fishing is unmatched — in all the weather conditions that the Manitou can throw at you — bring your spinning gear – it works great on these deep diving lakers!

Mark Hansen



We had a great time this week-end! Chris did a wonderful job as guide and host. The cabin was the nicest we have ever stayed in Canada and lake is just spectacular.

Tough to be back to work…

Eric & Carl
June 2009



We were looking for a location to conduct an executive retreat in a relaxed atmosphere and found just the location at the Manitou Weather Station. As a consulting firm we rely on keeping in contact with our customers and employees, and while Manitou is in a very remote location, the high speed internet access and voip phone allowed us to keep in touch with no issues. The seclusion of this location, outstanding facilities, great food, great people, and most of all outstanding fishing made for an event that will forever be remembered. I would without hesitation recommend Manitou Weather Station as a great spot for corporate retreats, and look forward to our next trip back!

Barry Crowther
President, Skura Corporation


32[1]“Dennis was such an absolute awesome guide. I had a ball and never touched a creepy leech or a fish! Thanks to Dennis.

This is definitely the wife’s dream wilderness fishing trip.

Thanks again for all your help,


I have not had time to type the email that would describe the great time we had at The Weather Station. In the interim please re-book me for next year same weekend / same cabin and hopefully same camp cook ( Jo was fantastic!!!!!!!! i told her that” the bread she baked was so fresh that i had to slap it “) I stole that line from Jed Clampett….(also the catching of the limits of trout off your dock within minutes was just bonus)

Thanks again!
Billy Draz



I wanted to pass along some thoughts on our trip. All in all, we had a WONDERFUL time. From the moment we stepped foot into Canada, your team provided first class hospitality. Thank you very much for the hats, magazines (we left at the cabin for future muskie guests), and hooks! It was very nice for Duane to lead us into the logging roads and ride up on the skiff with us. The lake’s beauty far exceeded any of our expectations. Most of all, the cabin and weather station lodge were absolutely amazing! Everything was absolutely perfect. We loved the Point cabin and all of the amenities (outlets, large fridge, comfortable beds, dock, etc.).

(plan your trip)muskie tips 2I can’t express how much we appreciated and enjoyed the warm hospitality extended during our stay. Jack, Wilma, Chis, Jake and Carrie Lynn (….and Macie) were delightful hosts. They greeted us at the dock at all hours and always had smiles on their faces. I hope that we rubbed off some of our muskie fever on Chris and Jake, who I fully expect will be hunting muskie with us on future trips! We truly enjoyed everyone’s company throughout our stay! I think we all agreed that a return trip is a certainty…..the only deterrent next year might be kids and family. Rest assured, next time we come to Canada for a muskie trip, this will be our place of choice!

The trolling motors were excellent and were absolutely perfect. I would recommend adding some sort of casting deck to the bow of the boat that is a bit larger. This way, one could stand use the foot petal more easily. I have seen these in other v-hull boats that are removable. I am sure that Jack could figure something out.

We had a lot of fun dining in the cabin with Jack and his family on one night. In fact, we would all do it again in the future since it was nice to have others cook and share in their company. The food was VERY good!

I would be happy to serve as a reference for any interested guests. Our experience was absolutely amazing!

Finally, the fishing……we boated 8 fish in total, only landing 6! I have attached photos of the four that I caught. We saw SEVERAL large fish. Now that we know our way around and know the spots, I think our future trips will be much more successful. Feel free to use these pictures on your website (Chris downloaded these before I left).

Donna, thanks for everything! I look forward to staying in touch.



Hi Donna

The four of us had a terrific time. No one can believe my brother and I caught 73 fish in one six hour period. Tell the gang that they all did such a great job that their punishment will be that I’ll return many times. Thanks for everything.

Nick N – JUNE 2008



The Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal District news, Thursday, September 13, 2007

The magic of Manitou By Gord Ellis


A decade or so back, I would receive the occasional phone call from a guy named Andy Young. This gentleman was a keen CBC radio listener, and enjoyed my outdoor related chats with Lisa Laco, on the Great Northwest. When I spoke with Andy, it was usually about subjects like blueberry picking, whether cougar existed in Northwestern Ontario and birding. Anyway, one morning, Andy heard Lisa and I talking about muskie fishing and he rang the line.

“Do you know were Manitou Lake is?” he said. I told him I wasn’t exactly sure where it was, but had heard it was a big piece of water.

“Well, Manitou Lake is my home,” he said. “I live at the Weather Station on Lower Manitou. You should come visit some time. We have huge muskie here.” I never did get up to see Andy, and he has since moved on to British Columbia. However, the Manitou Weather Station is now in new hands, and the new owners Donna and Duane Cridland (siblings) recently invited me to come up and check out the lake. This time, I didn’t miss the opportunity.

Manitou Lake is located north of Fort Frances and south of Wabigoon Lake. Manitou is a huge lake, stretching 45 miles north to south ,and is tremendously deep. The lake is divided into an Upper and Lower section, and is connected by a strait and pass that just barely allows a medium sized boat through. This is a historic piece of water, and it holds great importance to both the First Nation people of the region and the European?s who settled here. Manitou Lake played a big part in the gold rush back in the late 1800s, and the names of the people who worked and settled it are carried by its bays and islands. It is a powerful place, and the clear water is rimmed by pines that grip granite walls of rock. You can feel the ancient spirit on its water.

The Manitou Weather Station ( www.manitouweatherstation.com) located on the top portion of Lower Manitou Lake, on a sheltered portion of land. It?s a 40 minute boat ride from Esox Landing. located off Highway 502, to the lodge, so just getting to the place is an adventure. The Manitou Weather Station got its name thanks to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. It seems the MNR used to use the site to collect weather information and watch for fires. The main grounds feature a main log cabin lodge built about 35 years ago and includes a large stone fireplace, several rooms and a full kitchen. There are also four large cabins situated on the lake shore, all of them quite private from the others and decorated with flair.

My friend Bill Friday, of Kenora, shared a cabin with me on this trip, and we both could not believe how homey the place felt. The cabin could have easily slept a large group, and included two large bedrooms, a shower, full kitchen and living area. Despite the remote locale, we had satellite Internet to check on things back home.

Our five days at the lodge were spent with a group of friends and family from Wisconsin. Like us, these folks were up to fish for the legendary muskie of Manitou Lake. Just like Andy Young had told me all those years back, this water really does have huge muskellunge. A potential world record muskie was caught and released here in 1989. If the fish had not been caught out of season, perhaps Manitou would be a lot more famous than it already is for big muskellunge.

It was, however, those fabled muskie that drew Bill and I to Manitou. For the better part of four days we pounded the water with huge baits. We learned that while the muskie aren’t everywhere, when you find them it can be a jaw dropping experience. Our first brush with muskie came on day two, when a fish that Bill figured was in the “high 40-inch range” came up and took a look at his bucktail spinner. Later that day, I had a similar sized fish shadow my spinner. We saw no more, but guide Dennis Bruyere, and his client Robert Church, did boat a couple of smaller muskie. That kept everyone?s hopes alive. It was on day three that the Manitou revealed itself. It was an unseasonably warm September day, and nice enough to wear shorts. In a section of narrows between Upper and Lower Manitou, I raised a huge muskie. The fish came in slowly behind my spinner, and although it was about 8 feet down, I could see that it was well over 50 inches. It looked like the pontoon of a float plane. “Big fish!” I croaked to Bill as I tried to attract the fish by doing a figure-8 motion with my rod tip in the water. The muskie was unimpressed and slinked off into the deep. “That was a 40-pound muskie,” I said to Bill. As the afternoon wore on, we saw more muskie. Bill actually had another giant fish swim within an inch of his Suick jerk bait, open its mouth, and then reject the lure at the last second. I watched the whole thing unfold from the front of the boat. Even 18 feet away the fish looked massive. “That fish was one brain cell from hitting,” said my dejected partner. In all, we raised 11 muskie that day, the vast majority of them trophy calibre fish. We managed not to hook a single one.

That’s muskie fishing:

Although the muskie eluded us, we were able to catch some other fish, including smallmouth and largemouth bass and northern pike. We didn?t try for lake trout, although they are super plentiful. We also found the incredible food served at the Weather Station dulled the pain of muskie fishing. Chief cook and long time Manitou Lake fixture Jo-Ann Gushulak served a delightful array of foods, including her own fresh bread and pastries. Manitou Jo is a tiny spark plug of a woman, and had us all listening with rapt attention as she talked about spending winters alone in a cabin on the lake. None of us macho muskie anglers felt very tough after hearing her tales.

On the last day of our trip, Manitou guide and commercial pilot Kris Esselink joined us for the boat ride back to Esox Landing. On the way down the lake, Kris pointed out a cliff that had a number of pictographs. Bill, who is something of a pictograph enthusiast, was more than little excited about this. I pushed my big Lund boat as close as I dared to the rock wall, so Bill could get up close and personal to the still vivid pictographs. There was a canoe, a stick figure, what looked like a tee pee and two very clear hand smears on the rock. “That could mean there was a battle here or that a warrior died,” said Bill as he clicked some pictures. “No one really knows what pictographs represent. But this is a sacred place.”

Before we left, we noticed a variety of items that had been left by other groups before heading onto the lake, including cigarettes, fishing lures and a bottle of whiskey. Bill and I both agreed that next time we visited the Manitou, we’d be leaving tobacco.

And make no mistake, we will be back.