Our Logo

After 31 years of ownership for the Bear’s Den Lodge, Art, Brenda, & I thought it would be best to make some revisions and follow through with a New Year’s Resolution of revitalizing ourselves. We are still in the process of working on our project but some brief history of the old logo (left):

When Art Barefoot decided to move to Canada, chasing after his dream, Brenda Barefoot decided the Lodge needed to have a logo that represented the spirit of operation. The original logo started as a doodle by Art when he was inspired by his cocker spaniel playing in the yard. After many different renditions of the dog, this one was modeled into a the familiar Black Bear (with brown tones) that many have come to recognize in magazines and TV shows. Art left his mark with his first name hidden in the front left claw, closest to the grass.

While this logo will still be seen, the newer and modernized logo on the right better represents who we are today. The blue and green are carried over from the original logo, along with the trees and bear. It represents our primary passion for the outdoors and the big game trophy fishing and hunting, along with the natural beauty, scenery, and experiences that many of you expect and love of the French River!

Our passion continues for the protection of the environment, the cultural rich history and culinary experiences all wrapped into who Bear’s Den Lodge has evolved today.

Authored by Joe Barefoot

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Spring Peaks & Zika Seeks

Are you planning for a camping trip this year? Already shopping at your favourite retailers and outdoor suppliers? Are you prepared?

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Mosquito Photo Credit: Care2.com

Something that I’m sure has been bothering many, or at least gaining interest, is the rising concern for the Zika Virus. We have been hearing about it on TV, in newspapers, and even the various social networks. Various media outlets are bringing to light different advisory warnings for those traveling to countries with the outbreaks. While various regions all over the world are still in their winter seasons the virus will have a harder time spreading until spring peaks with the mosquito population.

Do not fret! This short article will detail import things you should know about the virus and ways you can stay healthy in the great outdoors!

The most common way to contract the virus is from mosquito bites. According to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) website those who are infected may experience symptoms such as: fever, headaches, rash, joint pain, muscle pain, and/or conjunctivitis (a.k.a. pink eyes or red eyes as seen below).

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Image provided by CDC

While there are currently no cures or vaccines for the Zika Virus; we have to be as a scout and “be prepared”. Some of the best and most common ways to help prevent being a mosquito’s meal is to use bug spray with DEET as the active ingredient to repel those pesky insects.

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Example of one popular brand with DEET

For those with kids (three and younger) or wanting to add another layer of protection from not only mosquitoes, but also things such as fleas and ticks; is to wear clothing with Permethrin. Both the US and Canadian military have used Permethrin in their uniforms for over the last 30 years. While it may be more expensive than regular clothing there are alternatives to spray your clothing and camping gear at a fraction of the cost. While Bear’s Den Lodge does not promote any particular brand of Permethrin products, this short five-minute YouTube video from Sawyer goes into greater detail of how to use and safely apply Permethrin sprays.

 

 

 

There are also other great options for those seeking alternatives for their traveling individual needs.

Remember, stay safe and be prepared this season!

 

Authored by Joe Barefoot

Pike Fall for this Hook, Line and Sinker…

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Know Your Cast, Fall Pattern Fishing

Northern Pike are an aggressive freshwater fish with an attitude of its own. These predators chase, attack lures and are very territorial. As fall approaches, weeds tend to die causing these fish to establish new habitats and hunting grounds during the cooler waters of autumn.

During this period, they hang over hard bottom with green weeds until vegetation wanes and depletes oxygen necessary for aquatic life. This puts strain on pike in the noxious environment, causing northerns to seek new cover habitats over saddles, points, rocky reefs or shelves that descend into deeper water.

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Catching Pike on the Cast

Weed edges over muddy bottoms normally die faster than solid bottoms. Cast for pike on weed edges of green vegetation. Often times in the fall, trolling spoons or crankbaits are necessary to locate the movement of fish. Once you pop several predators, take note of your surroundings; especially of the structure that produced the pike to locate additional pike producing areas in the French River.

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Ferocious Appetite

Spinnerbaits are a favourite dinner of these audacious fish along with bass. Their fall preferred (colour) palette is autumn colours of chartreuse, orange, yellow and a splash of white. To further entice the ferocious northern pike’s appetite, your presentation is also a factor.

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Being in the (Strike) Zone

When casting in fall, water temperatures are dropping and presenting properly in the strike zone is important. Your retrieve is as important as your cast placement. Prior to the retrieval of your bait, you should always change the direction of the moving lure (side-to-side) with an occasional jerk to further entice the fish. This will allow you to see if the pike is following and since they are cousins of the muskie, using the popular “figure eight” will also work on this species for those wary in the hunt.

*Another method suggested by Art Barefoot, 14# Line Class World Record Muskie Holder, Retired Guide and Owner of Bear’s Den Lodge, highly recommends keeping your rod tip down and making a large circular pattern beside the boat before the final retrieval.*

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Taking the Hook, Line and Sinker

Positive aspects of autumn fishing are the larger game fish, less competition on the water, and a ravenous hunger to take the fall hook, line and sinker fishing the French River Delta.

Authored by Joe Barefoot

The French River Salmon Run Wild

Salmon on the French River Delta, Ontario Canada

A Pink Salmon Ends the Fall Season

Fishing on the French River Delta is home to some the most diverse freshwater species of game fish, known most predominantly for its muskie, walleye, pike, large and smallmouth bass fishing.  However, these waters and fishery are also a home to the pinks, chinook, and coho as they migrate from Lake Huron to Georgian Bay and into the French River Delta to lay their eggs.  The salmon make their journey into the system as early as July, but are very rarely seen before September through November.

Often times anglers snag salmon while fishing for walleye or even muskie.  Fisherman are surprised and often do not recognize their catch and confuse it for a different species, such as trout.  Trout normally are not .

Average pink salmon weighs 3-5 lbs at maturity and can reach as high as 10 lbs.  The fins have large oval black spots on the caudal fin (tail fin) and reach maturity in 2 years.  A prominent hump helps to distinguish between a male from the female pink salmon.  The above pink salmon is pre-spawn that was photographed and then released.

Chinook is the largest of the three species of salmon in the French River and can tip the scale at 126 lbs, but rarely do the top the scale at 60 lbs with averages of 18 lbs.  They exhibit irregular black spots on their back dorsal fin and both lobes of the caudal fin.  Approximately in one year, a male chinook can reach maturity and they can begin to spawn.  Life and spawn expectancy is up to 8 years.  A male salmon, in the sandy-gravel spawning beds will become progressively blacker while the female becomes a brassy color.

Coho salmon, also known as hooknose or silver salmon, since 1967 have provided an immense fishery for the Great Lakes, of which the French River is a part of.  Silvery in color with black spots located only at the top of the caudal fin and the coho has a ‘white gum line’ at the needle like teeth bases.  Some cohos weigh up to 33 lbs, but most weigh an average of 6-12 lbs at maturity.  Spawning occurs from October until February and normally in gravel beds.  These fish can live up to 4 years and do not travel far from their birthplace.

The French River ended its fishing season at Bear’s Den Lodge with a guest catching his first pink salmon. What a great ending to a great season with this fisherman delighted!

Would You Like to Visit the French River?

Imagine waking to the sounds of song birds chirping happily in the first rays of your summer morning. Splashes rippling through the crisp mirror reflection, while the busy beavers and otters continue their work and play. Can you feel the soft pine tingling your senses as the gentle breeze brushes pass?

Bear’s Den Lodge shares a collection of beautiful photos from a long time guest as he was immersed and enraptured by the French River, during his vacation.

French River Photography at Bear’s Den Lodge, Ontario, Canada