Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/6/2019 (1055 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Over the past 40 years in the sport-fishing industry, I have got to meet many incredible people who have become lifelong friends. Two of those people are Vance and Maureen Hrechkosy, who have owned and operated Trail End Camp since 1990.
I first met Vance in 1986 when he was a rookie guide at Eagle Nest Lodge. He was a young up-and-comer, full of energy. Not much has changed over the years, he is just moving a touch slower, but he has an excuse. His lodge operation has exploded, extending his days to a minimum of 18 hours. His wife, Maureen, has been by his side through thick and thin, running the camp and raising a family. Their two sons, Max and Carter, have been helping at the camp since they were knee-high to a grasshopper. Their daughter, Kaylee, likewise.
When I worked at Eagle Nest Lodge as a guide full time from 1982 to 1984, the three lodges on this section of the river were busy all summer long with guests from all over North America. Things have changed somewhat from those glory days, with many American anglers staying closer to home. Most of that void is filled by the many Canadians discovering this part of the world.
Vance says restrictive regulations to enter Canada have contributed to that. Vance is currently vice-president of the Manitoba Lodge and Outfitters Association (MLOA).
Over the years, the MLOA has lobbied hard for changes to various regulations that discourage people to come to this province. While those have changed his clientele, he still has more than enough. Meantime, Maureen has taken a position on the board of Travel Manitoba. She is a tireless advocate for the promotion of Manitoba and the work this Crown corporation is accomplishing.
If they weren’t busy enough already, seven years ago, they purchased Kendall Pointe Lodge, a 20-kilometre boat ride up the river. It was a tough decision for Vance and Maureen to purchase Kendall Pointe, but they felt that the lodge should once again host anglers from all over the world.
On a recent fishing trip there, we got a chance to stop at Kendall’s to check out the progress being made on renovations to the current cabins, as well as a new luxury one. As we walked up from the new dock, Vance pointed out a tree that still sports twisted metal from the old dock.
This is a remnant from one of the most tragic and memorable days this part of Manitoba has ever witnessed. On August 5, 2006, a tornado ripped across eastern Manitoba and smashed into Kendall Pointe in all its fury. Winds were in excess of 300 km/h and cabins and boats were sent flying.
Kendall Pointe itself is situated on one of the most beautiful parts of the river, just above Lamprey Falls. This section receives very little fishing pressure with a great diversity of habitat. You have bays for spring pike and walleye, rocky shoreline for smallmouth bass. In the summer, there are plenty of deepwater humps and reefs that hold walleye.
In a hot summer, there is plenty of current to keep fish active all day long. Over the course of a week, you could never even come close to fishing all the water available.
It’s an outpost camp that allows you to come and go as you please, with an expansive lawn in front of the cabins that have a spectacular view of the mighty Winnipeg River. They hope to have all the renovations done in the next two years, but the lodge is currently open for business.
If you want to visit this camp, you have options. You can take your own boat up to the camp or get Vance or staff to run you up and back and use one of their boats. This makes it available to a wide range of people, some hardcore and some just wanting to get away from it all.
ANGLERS NOTES: For 11 years now, the Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association has been hosting a fishing day for Grade 5 and 6 students from Centennial School.
I have been involved in most of those and it’s an event I look forward to all year. It was a beautiful sunny day last Thursday as I headed out for the morning seminar and afternoon fish off the dock.
The event was made special, however, when Fisheries personnel showed up with lake sturgeon. Regional Fisheries biologist Lee Murray and his crew of five had been setting nets close to town that morning.
At 10:30 a.m., they brought in the first load of fish in holding tubs. The dock was already set up with a weighing and measuring station. Soon, Lee, with the help of the students, was tagging and quickly releasing these fish back into the waters of the Winnipeg River.
It made for a memorable day for the students, one they won’t soon forget!