Wolves of the Whiteshell: Part iii

Photos & writeup submitted by Josh Dewitt.

Back on Thanksgiving Day, 2013, a friend and I were hiking the McGillivray Falls trail. It was getting late, so we figured we’d start heading back to Winnipeg. After about 5 minutes of driving, a big animal ran in front of my car. At first I thought it was just a white-tailed deer, but as it ran across the ditch, I saw its tail. I slammed on the brakes. I slowly got out of the car, and there it was, sitting on the other side of the ditch. He stayed around for at least 10 minutes, sniffing the ground, and wandering back and forth. He allowed many good pictures.

We were ecstatic! This is the first wolf sighting we’ve had in the park, they’ve eluded us for years. I myself have heard packs howling at Otter Falls, Big Whiteshell, and have found fresh tracks along the Pine Point Rapids trail several times.

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Aron Coates Fine Art Studio

Coming from a construction background in West Hawk Lake, Aron Coates has been making the shift from construction to design and is currently working on his Masters in architecture at the University of Manitoba. Aron has built a beautiful portfolio consisting of a wide range of construction, sculptures, paintings, and design/drafting. Much of his work is inspired by and relates to the Whiteshell Provincial Park, particularly from hunting and fishing trips. Most of Aron’s artwork begins with the use of photography, and is then transformed into paintings. Here are a few examples of his Whiteshell-inspired work:Sailing LakeIMG_0847

Waiting for Ducks - PhotoWaiting for DucksWaiting for Ducks

These photos and paintings are from a duck hunting trip in the Whiteshell. These images are perfect examples of Aron’s ability to replicate photos with artwork. The first painting captures the early morning mist rising off the lake as they boat to their hunting spot, and the second painting portrays sitting in the bulrushes and waiting for ducks to fly overhead in the early morning sunrise.

IMG_0586IMG_0594Trout

This trout fish sculpture was done in winter 2009 using a 8″ radius ball of plaster. It was Aron’s first sculpture and may be his best to date. He began the project by poring liquid plaster into a plastic bag.

George TroutThis painting replicates a lake trout caught during an October deer hunting trip on George Lake.Post Foundations-Clay

Post Foundations-Clay 2Artistic Building Solution

These are two beautiful post foundation sculptures that are in-progress at Caddy Lake. The inspirations of these sculptures stems from a passion of fishing in the Whiteshell and from the concept of integrating water and fish. The sculptures are of two popular species in the area: Lake trout (see top photo) and walleye.
The project started from carving away at a solid piece of plaster. With this project, Aron intended on using the two different species of fish and the flowing water as a geometric pattern by using deep cuts into the clay.Post Foundations-Plaster CastPost Foundations-Concrete castPost Foundations-Concrete 2Post Foundations-ConcreteYou can see more of Aron’s work at aroncoates.com.

Weekends in the Whiteshell

The temperatures are finally rising and spring is in the air…..  And so is the last chance to get in some awesome winter activities. The river trail in Winnipeg may be closed and the ice fishing shacks are off the Red River, but there are still tons of fun winter activities going on in the Whiteshell in the next few weeks!

This Saturday, March 15, is the 11th annual Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off. This year the all-species fishing derby has $40,000 in great prizes and cash! Some of the prizes include guided fishing trips, fishing gear & equipment, a Canada One travel trip for two, and a grand prize of $10,000. Back by popular demand is the hidden weight prize of $50,000. Be sure to head down to the ice tomorrow between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm to check out the derby if you haven’t already signed yourself up!

The pike that won the 2011 Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off.

The pike that won the 2011 Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off.

On the following weekend, Sunday, March 23, Falcon Ridge Ski Hill is having their final hurrah of the season with the Slush Cup 2014. Head on down to the ski hill to have a beverage, enjoy a chalet meal, and, most importantly, strap on your board or skis and hit the slush. Contact Falcon Ridge Ski Hill for more information. 393241_269924959727180_1795004112_n

Head on out to the Whiteshell for your  last chance of ice fishing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and other fun winter activities!

Wildlife of the Month Part I: Foxes

The fox is Experience the Whiteshell’s Wildlife of the Month for March. Foxes are a common siting in the Whiteshell, and during the winter they look gorgeous with their big fur coats and bushy tails. While most of the foxes in the Whiteshell are red, on occasion you can see silver and black foxes trotting around. Females foxes will be having their litters anytime between now and May, and a litter can be anywhere between one to ten pups. The average lifespan of a red fox is anywhere between three to six years, according to Canadian Geographic. Here are a few photos I have taken of a fox hanging out at our cottage on Star Lake. This guy likes to pose for the camera on the front deck and curl up in the snow and soak up the winter sunshine. He is about half this size in the summer without that thick winter coat.

Writeup & photos by Marney Blunt, Experience the Whiteshell editor. IMG_1005 copyIMG_1009 copyIMG_1008 copyIMG_1014 copyIMG_1023 copyIMG_1024 copy

Whiteshell Business: Pittman’s on 44

Located on Highway 44 on the top of the hill in West Hawk Lake is a long family tradition of delicious food and drink known as Pittman’s on 44 Restaurant and Lounge. Pittman’s on 44 has been a fabulous ‘Pitt-stop’ in the Whiteshell since Mike and Angela Pittman started the business in 2008.IMG_87318581_373331472766402_1900591915_nPittman’s on 44 stems from a family tradition of great restaurants, from one end of Highway 44 to the other. In 1989, Barry and Phyllis Pittman (parents of Mike Pittman) opened the Perogy Patch and Deli in Lockport, on the corner of Highways 44 and 9. They began their family business making and serving wholesome foods that Phyllis had been eating and helping to make since childhood. After establishing the Perogy Patch and Deli, Phyllis and Barry opened the Perogy Patch Cafe in Winnipeg. At that point, Barry had decided to retire from his job as a Federal Meat Inspector and joined in the business full time.IMG_8692In 1995, Barry and Phyllis bought a cottage in the Whiteshell. In order to spend more time in this beautiful place, they decided to scale down their food businesses and turn into the seasonal enterprise of catering at the West Kildonan Curling Club. However, like many people who visit the Whiteshell, the Pittmans found themselves in love with life at the lake, so they decided to bring their delicious food to the Whiteshell. They opened the Falcon Lake Deli in 1999, serving hearty artisanal sandwiches, salads, and homemade soups. They again expanded their business by taking on the Falcon Nest Cafe in 2007, where they also served fabulous breakfasts, juicy burgers, and tasty ice cream treats.IMG_8701IMG_8709The Pittman restaurants have always been true family businesses. Both Mike Pittman and his sister, Christi, worked with their parents part-time and throughout the summers. In 2002, Mike owned and operated Meteor Mike’s in West Hawk, and more recently Mike and his wife Angela have operated the Falcon Lake Winter Deli and have co-run Falcon Lake Deli and Nest restaurants. IMG_8691IMG_8683Now Barry and Phyllis are retired and concentrating on grandparenthood, and Mike and Angela and running Pittman’s on 44; a restaurant that offers a wide range of delicious food year round including sandwiches, burgers, specialty salads, steak, ribs, appetizers, and more. Pittman’s on 44 caters to family dinners in their quaint restaurant, and is also a great place to grab and drink and watch the game. As true sports fans, Pittman’s on 44 has a sports lounge that is a great place to come and cheer on the Winnipeg Jets or the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The restaurant is also a great ‘Pitt-stop’ for sledders. The snowmobile trail runs right by the restaurant, so it is also a nice place where sledders can take a break from riding the trails to have a bite to eat. In the summer months, you can enjoy Pittman’s large patio or screen sunroom. Every Saturday night Pittman’s serves their delicious 16 oz. prime rib special, cooked to your preference with your choice of sides.IMG_8722For hours of operation or for more information on Pittman’s on 44, call (204)-349-2269. Be sure to like them on Facebook and follow their blog.

– Photos by Marney Blunt.

Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off

Falcon Lake has some fantastic angling opportunities, from your boat or through the ice. The Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off gives anglers the chance to catch a huge fish for some huge cash and prizes.

The pike that won the 2011 Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off.

The pike that won the 2011 Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off.

The 11th annual Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off is on Saturday, March 15 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. All the holes will be pre-drilled and all prizes are guaranteed. This is an all-species tournament, and the heaviest fish is awarded the grand prize of $10,000 cash! The great part is, you don’t need to catch a monster to win some of the awesome prizes. Prizes will be awarded down to 50th place, making for a total of $40,000 in cash and prizes. Some examples of this year’s prizes include:

• A Canada One travel trip for two plus $1,000 travel credit (2nd place).
• Ultimate ice fishing package that includes a Frabill Ambush three man flip over ice shelter, a Vexilar FL-22HD Pro View Ultra Pack Flasher, an ION Electric Power Auger, and much more (3rd place).
• A 60″ 3D Samsung Smart Plasma 1080P HDTV (4th Place).
• Shimano rods and reel package (8th place).
• Crowduck Lake Camp fishing trip (13th, 23rd, 33rd,and 43rd).
• Guided musky fishing trips, tackle, power augers, and much more! Check out the full list of prizes here.

The Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off has many great prizes including $10,000 cash for first place!

The Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off has many great prizes including $10,000 cash for first place!

Back by popular demand is the $50,000 Hidden Weight Contest. Participants that land the first 120 fish on the ice will automatically be entered into the contest. If your fish matches the hidden weight, you will win $50,000! If no one matches the hidden weights, the participants with the closest weight will still win great prizes courtesy of Frabill and Eskimo. There will be hot food and drinks all day provided by Danny’s Whole Hog and all prizes will be awarded at the Whiteshell Community Club at 3:00 pm.

This year the fish-off will be supporting the St. Amant autism program. One dollar from every ticket sold and all proceeds from the on-ice bait sales will be donated.

Adult tickets are $50 if you purchase them before March 5th, and after that they are $70 each. Second Hole and kids are just $30. You can purchase tickets at 12 ticket vendors across Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario, online at www.winterfishoff.com, or over the phone at toll-free 1-866-676-FISH (3474).