Get Creative, Get Active This Summer with South Moon Studio!

With lots of different classes, camps, and events for all ages, South Moon Studio makes it easy to create a fun and interesting summer for your whole family. This year there are some exciting new classes in Falcon Lake and surrounding areas. South Moon also offers private classes and day retreats at your cabin or at the studio in East Braintree!

South Moon Studio.

South Moon Studio.

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Whiteshell Summer Bucket List

The ice is melting, the trees are budding, and the birds are singing; spring is here and summer is just around the corner. So are all the awesome summer activities in the Whiteshell. Summer is the most-happening season in the Whiteshell. Whether you want to explore the back-country of the Whiteshell or just relax and take in the scenery, the Whiteshell is the place to be in the summer. Here are the best ways you can Experience the Whiteshell this summer:

South Cross Lake - Photo by Marney Blunt.

South Cross Lake – Photo by Marney Blunt.

1 – Hike the Whiteshell – There are many different hiking trails to explore in the Whiteshell. Whether you want to climb the cliffs of the Hunt Lake Trail, take a casual stroll, or ride your bike through the South Whiteshell Trail, there are a variety of gorgeous hiking trails that will take you deep into the beauty and nature of the Canadian Shield. Some great hiking trails to check out include the Hunt Lake Trail alongside the east shore of West Hawk Lake, the McGillivray Falls Trail, the South Whiteshell Trail (part of the Trans-Canada Trail), the Mantario Trail, the trails at Falcon Ridge, and many more! Check out for more information on these trails, and keep checking Experience the Whiteshell for articles and photos this summer!

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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.


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

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.

Through the Ice Crappie Fishing

Written by Ian Young, Shield Outfitters owner/guide.

The Whiteshell is home to some of the best black crappie fishing in Manitoba. Crappie are good eating and fun to catch, but as an introduced species to our area not many people know much about them. Here are some tips to make your next outing a successful one.

First off, know your lake. Does it have crappie in it? Do a little research. Locals will usually give you a little information and guide you in the right direction, even if they don’t tell you their honey holes. Where to start? I like to fish the deepest hole in the lake during the winter, particularly during first ice. The deeper holes contain the warmest water and highest oxygen concentrations at certain times of the year. Both of these factors lead to more active fish.  Because crappie are a schooling fish, they can be concentrated in small area of a large lake basin, making them very tough to locate. Try and find a point of land that reaches out into a deep hole. A sunken tree or other midlake structure can also provide something for fish to relate to and is a good place to start.

The author and owner/guide of Shield Outfitters with a nice 16" crappie.

The author and owner/guide of Shield Outfitters with a nice 15.5″ crappie from the Whiteshell.

Locating crappie requires a flasher. Usually feeding crappie will be suspended halfway up the water column. I start by drilling several holes and move around from hole to hole with my flasher, moving my bait up and down through the water column to try and find a fish. If crappie are nearby they will often come over and investigate your bait and you will see them on your flasher. I would never stay at a hole that doesn’t have a fish under it for more than about five minutes without moving.

Locating fish is half the battle, and getting them to bite is the other half. Crappie can the easiest fish to catch if they are in the mood. Catching one will often trigger the competitor within them and start a feeding frenzy among the school. However more often then not, and especially in the winter, it can be very difficult to trigger that bite. Crappie can be very sluggish in the winter and may hang out and look at your bait for hours without biting. If you’re fishing on a lake that allows live bait, they will usually out-fish artificial bait. However in the Whiteshell our regulations require us to use artificial baits. So I like to use a very light, 1/16th or 1/32nd  ounce jig with a minnow shaped bait to match. To fish such light baits you need a light action rod and very light line, my preference is a 2 – 4lb fluorocarbon line. Light lines provide the best fishability with light baits, but you must be careful when setting the hook and bringing fish through the hole as it does break easily. My favorite colour to use by far is Glow. Glow baits have phosphorous in them and store the energy of light they’re exposed to and emit it slowly in the dark. This gives the bait a light green glow and makes it highly visible. Glow baits work well in the Whiteshell because many of the lakes have stained water, and there is very little light under snow-covered ice. (Try supercharging your glow baits to make them extra visible by shining a bright light on them for a few seconds before they go down the hole, I keep my headlamp in my pocket for this reason).
IMG_0470While fishing through the ice, always be open to trying something new. Sometimes even being in the right spot with the right bait doesn’t mean catching fish, especially in the winter. Cold water and short light cycles cause fish to be very finicky and not eating much, and as a result can be difficult to coax to bite. Trying new baits and techniques will never hurt… especially if you can see fish on the flasher.

In the winter presentation plays a big role in triggering the bite.  I find when the bite is real slow and I can see fish on my flasher that refuse to bite, an ultra slow presentation sometimes works. I find when I hold the rod in my hand I cannot keep it still enough for this technique. The only way is to place the rod on the ice or in a rod holder (I prefer on the ice) and watch the rod tip closely for any movement.  I watch my flasher to show me where the fish is and I’ll place my hook just in front of the fish and leave it dead still. When I see the rod tip vibrate or dip down, I’ll grab the rod and set the hook in one motion.  If it sits still for thirty seconds or so without a strike I will jig a few times to remind the fish that my bait is down there and try to trigger strike, and then let it sit still for a while again. If that doesn’t work after five minutes, I will change my lure or move to another hole and find a fish that is more receptive.IMG_0468 copyCrappie are fun to catch and delicious, but it is important to practice good conservation strategies. Always use barbless hooks and release anything you’re not going to eat. Sometimes when you get into a school of fish it can be easy to think that there are tons of fish in the lake. Remember that you have found a concentrated school of fish, and removing too many fish from that school will seriously damage the population. Also it’s important to know that the biggest fish in the school are the most successful spawners. If you do get into a group of fish and plan on taking some home, set yourself some limits. Choose to keep only fish between 10 and 12 inches. That way you can bring home a good feed while still protecting the fishery.

Crappie fishing can provide constant action. If you don’t have the equipment or knowledge to do it yourself, consider hiring a guide. It’s a great way to get the kids into fishing and the outdoors.

Good luck out there.

Whiteshell Business: Tallpine Lodges

treesTJ and Sacha Harder came to the Whiteshell two summers ago and stayed at Tallpine Lodges, a beautiful couples-only resort located by the beach in West Hawk Lake. The two loved their time out there, and joked about how cool it would be to run the resort. They also quickly fell in love with the beauty of the area as well as the peace and serenity. The couple talked to the then-owners, only to find out that the lodge was going to be listed that upcoming winter. One and half years later, just before the July long weekend of 2013, they found themselves as the new owners of Tallpine Lodges.

unnamedTallpine Lodges has been a couples-only resort for over 30 years that offers a peaceful getaway even when the town is incredibly busy during the peak seasons. It is a popular honeymoon, anniversary, or Valentine’s Day destination. It is also a great place for couples to go just to get away from their hectic lives.

The neighbourhood deer are quite friendly.

The neighbourhood deer are quite friendly.

In the summer, Tallpines has a heated pool and is also just a two-minute walk from the beach. Tallpines offers bike, canoe, and jet ski rentals so guests can get out-and-about and enjoy nature. In the winter Tallpines has cross-country skis and snowshoes available for guests and is now offering snowmobile rentals so guests can head out and discover the beautiful groomed-snowmobile trails of the Whiteshell.

The interior of one of the beautiful cabins at Tallpines Lodges.

The interior of one of the beautiful cabins at Tallpines Lodges.

Tallpines has four different styles of cabins:
• The small studio cabin – Has a heart-shaped jacuzzi hot tub. Approximately 275 square feet.
• Deluxe Cabins – The deluxe cabins offer an open-concept and include a larger jacuzzi tub and a sauna. Approximately 450 square feet.
• The Luxury Cabin – This cabin includes a bedroom as well as a jacuzzi tub and a sauna. Approximately 500 square feet.
• The Luxury Plus – This is the biggest cabin at Tallpines. Includes king-sized bed (others cabins have queen-sized) as well as the jacuzzi and sauna.
• All cabins have a fully furnished kitchen, barbecue, electric fireplace, and satellite TV.

Book your Valentine’s Day getaway at Tallpine Lodges! For more information on the resort or for booking inquiries visit or call 1(866)-349-2209.

Whiteshell Business: Nite Hawk Cafe

The Nite Hawk Cafe is a family run business that has been a popular place in West Hawk Lake since 1970. Ellie Zimmerman and her husband, Harvey, purchased the restaurant over 40 years ago. The Nite Hawk Cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and includes a licensed dining room, covered patio, and a take-out and ice cream window. Sharon Morrison started to work at the Nite Hawk at a young age and now carries on running the family business along with her husband, Bruce Morrison.
NH1This past year was a big year for the Nite Hawk Cafe as the business continued to evolve. The cottage-country restaurant got its official claim to fame when it was listed in MacLean’s Magazine as one of the 10 Great Canadian Pit Stops as voted by readers. In the spring of 2013 the patio was renovated to include a custom covered screen room. This renovation has enhanced the patio’s aesthetics and provides a relaxing, bug-free outdoor dining space that can be enjoyed in rain or shine.

The newly renovated patio at the Nite Hawk Cafe.

The newly renovated patio at the Nite Hawk Cafe.

This year is also the first year that the Nite Hawk is open all winter-long to serve the locals, winter cottagers, cross-country skiers, snowmobilers, and winter day trippers each week from Thursday to Sunday. Hours for winter 2014 are Thursday & Friday 10am-7pm, Saturday 9am-7pm and Sunday 9am-4pm. The Nite Hawk is also connected to the South Whiteshell Trail, and makes for a great cross-country ski start/end point. Parking for trail-users is provided courtesy of the Nite Hawk Cafe, and the restaurant is the perfect place for après-ski food and drink.
The Nite Hawk is a great starting point for cross-country skiing. Parking is provided to trail users courtesy of the Nite Hawk Cafe.

The Nite Hawk is a great starting point for cross-country skiing. Parking is provided to trail users courtesy of the Nite Hawk Cafe.

While the restaurant has evolved throughout the years, the Nite Hawk still serves the same delicious homemade gourmet burgers and fries. The menu now ranges from burgers and fries to healthy wraps, gourmet burgers, sandwiches, salads, appetizers, and much more. The restaurant and patio are now licensed and there are many signature drinks including ‘Sharon’s Signature Caesar’ and the ‘Mucho Mojito’.

Just a few examples of the delicious food and beverages that the Nite Hawk Cafe serves.

Just a few examples of the delicious food and beverages that the Nite Hawk Cafe serves.

 Every Thursday in the spring, summer, and fall the Nite Hawk has ‘Steak Nite’ that features delicious Certified 10oz Angus New York steak barbecued on the patio. The steak dinner includes a baked potato with all the fixings, a deluxe salad bar with three to four different salad options. Sautéed mushrooms, shrimp and scallop skewers and blue cheese are available! Be sure to drop by when local musician Doug Edmonds performs on the patio in the summer.
Want to find out more about the Nite Hawk Cafe? Like them on Facebook or follow them on Instagram. Stay tuned for a new website launching soon!
Come meet the Nite Hawk’s amazing team of servers and kitchen staff next time you’re in the Whiteshell! For more information, group booking inquiries, or for details dates and hours of operation call the Nite Hawk Cafe at (204)-349-2580.

The 40th Annual Beaver Days Winter Festival

Don’t have any plans for next weekend? Come out to the Whiteshell for a weekend of winter fun that the whole family can enjoy!

The 40th Annual Beaver Days Winter Festival kicks off on Friday, February 7th at the Whiteshell Community Club located on Highway 301, right beside the Falcon Lake entrance (adjacent to Highway 1). Here’s a list of awesome winter activities throughout the weekend.


Friday, February 7th

• Family Skate Night – A great way to get the family out on the ice and enjoy the new outdoor skating rink at the Whiteshell Community Club!  Family Skate Night goes from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm and there will be free hot dogs available for children!

• Casino Night & Texas Hold’em Tournament – Some fun and games for the adults on Friday night! Both start at the Whiteshell Community Club at 8:00 pm. The Texas Hold’em tournament, organized by Falcon Beach Auto, will have a $40 entry fee.

• Beer Gardens –  Open from 5:00 pm to 1:00 am at the Whiteshell Community Club.

• Variety Auction – Organized by West Hawk Marine Ltd.  Tickets will be on sale from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm and all day Saturday and Sunday until 4:00 pm. Lots of great prizes!

Saturday, February 8th

• Breakfast – Saturday kicks off with a breakfast at the Whiteshell Community Club from from 8:30 am to 11:30 am courtesy of the Falcon Lake Golf Course restaurant.

• Snowmobile Poker Derby – The snowmobile poker derby goes from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturday. Both registration and the starting point are at the Whiteshell Community Club. The second checkpoint is at the Mud Lake shelter, third checkpoint is at Pittman’s on 44, the fourth is at the Zubek Shelter, and the final checkpoint is back at the community club. Prizes are: Gold – $1,000; Silver – $400; Bronze – $300. Come ride the beautiful snowmobile trails in the Whiteshell and possibly win some cash while you’re at it!IMG_1001• Demo Day – Looking for a new ride for the trails? Come check out the lineup of new sleds in the Falcon Mall parking lot from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. Sponsored by Winnipeg Sport & Leisure and Enns Brothers.

• Sponge Hockey Tournament – Starts at 11:00 am Saturday on the outdoor rink at the Whiteshell Community Club and continues on Sunday. $150 entry fee per team. 100 per cent payout. If you would like to register a team call or text Ian at 1(204) 295-6052. Organized by the Falcon Lake Marina.

• Beer Gardens – Open from 11:00 am to 1:00 am at the Whiteshell Community Club. There will also be a canteen open from noon till 5:00 pm.

• Kids Activities –  From noon till 3:00 pm on Saturday kids can enjoy games, crafts, face painting, glitter tattoos, animal balloons, and more. Noon to 1:30 pm is open for children ages 6 and under and 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm for children ages 7 and up.

• Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides – Nothing says winter fun more than dashing through the snow in a horse-drawn sleigh. The Falcon Beach Ranch will be providing sleigh rides starting at 1:00 pm on Saturday, You can register at the gym at the community club.

• Whiteshell Fur Trappers Display – From 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.995008_677465482306457_723471048_n

• Beard & Moustache Competition – Come showcase your fantastic facial hair at the Falcon Ridge Ski Hill and get some skiing or boarding in to boot! The competition is part of the Beaver Days festivities. Entry is free. Prizes will be awarded to the longest, the thickest, and best groomed beards and moustaches (all separate categories).
Prizes will include: – A free season pass at Falcon Ridge Ski Hill – A free stay at Falcon Trails Resort – A $50 food voucher for Falcon Ridge cafe – Falcon Ridge apparel. To register, come on down to the ski hill anytime before February 9, 1:00 to have your photo taken. Judging and prizes will take place on Sunday February 9 at 5:00 pm at the Whiteshell Community Club (right before the Red Moon Road show!)• Snow Dance Performance – By the Falcon Beach Academy of Dance at 5:00 pm.

• Homemade Ukrainian Dinner – 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. $25 for dinner and entertainment. $15 for dinner-only or entertainment-only. $10 for kids.

• Family Skating – 7:00 pm at the Whiteshell Community Club.• Entertainment by Steve Chmara – Performance by illusionist and classic magician at 8:00 pm. Great entertainment for the whole family!

• Music by Dagan Haddad – 9:30 pm at the Whiteshell Community Club.

Sunday, February 9th

• Breakfast – Another breakfast will be held at the Whiteshell Community Club from 8:30 am to 11:30 am. Courtesy of the Falcon Lake Golf Course restaurant.

• Beer Gardens – Open from 11:00 am to 1:00 am at the Whiteshell Community Club.

• Kids Poster Contest – 11:00 am.

• SnoMo Radar Runs – Take your sled for a run down Falcon Lake! Goes from noon to 3:00 pm at the main beach in Falcon Lake. Prizes will be awarded at the Whiteshell Community Club at 4:00 pm.

• Whiteshell Winter Olympics – Teams of four can compete in snowshoeing, trap setting, and biathlon. Registration is at 11:00 am at the gym at the Whiteshell Community Club. Races begin at noon.

• Whiteshell Trappers Fur Display – From noon till 4:00 pm.

• Chilli Cook-Off – Register your delicious chilli at 2:00 pm!

• Mini Cupcake Contest – Kids-only event. Judging will happen at 3:30 pm.

• Variety Auction Wrap-Up – All tickets must be in by 4:00 pm. Draw for the great prizes will happen at 5:00 pm.

• Music by Red Moon Road – Enjoy tunes from the creators of the Whiteshell-inspired album, Tales From the Whiteshell. Red Moon Road will play at 5:30 pm.

Red Moon Road will be performing at Beaver Days on Sunday at 5:30 pm.

Red Moon Road will be performing at Beaver Days on Sunday at 5:30 pm.

SNOWDANCE: Festival of Music and Winter

Falcon Ridge ski hill is gearing up to host the third annual SNOWDANCE Festival of Music and Winter again this year, and the date has been set for January 18 and 19 2014!
snowdance_1Music has long been a part of the Falcon Ridge Ski Hill experience, with a staff comprised of about three quarters touring musicians, and a year long concert series hosted at the resort, it only makes sense that the two worlds be combined in a ski hill winter music festival, and if we’re lucky all this music and dancing will appease the snow gods and we will be rewarded with a season of that white stuff we love so much!

Photo by Sabine Trégouët.

Photo by Sabine Trégouët.

January 18 & 19 will bring two days of concerts, festival style workshops featuring winnipeg favourites Nathan, Red Moon Road, the Sweet Alibi, Darwin Baker (of the Crooked Brothers), Beth Hamilton, as well as some local talent to include Brooke & Ben, the Heinrichs Maneuver, and a fiddle concert featuring students from the local school.

Photo by Cheyenne Rae Music Photography & Video.

Photo by Cheyenne Rae Music Photography & Video.

In addition to the music, folks visiting the festival will be able to enjoy downhill skiing and snowboarding, tubing, x-country skiing, ice skating, outdoor campfire and a bannock bake, snow sculptures, night tubing, great food from the on site kitchen, and an organized sauna and polar bear swim.

Photo by Sabine Trégouët.

Photo by Sabine Trégouët.

 Tickets for the weekend are $35 which include full access to the two days of music, a lift ticket, a night tubing pass, and all the outdoor fun you can dream up!  Individual day passes are also available.
For more info, go to the website at, including a full lineup for the weekend, prices, and videos from last year’s SNOWDANCE!