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Best (or Worst?) Moments of 2014 in Ontario's Sunset Country

From record-breaking weather to floods to a hot August, 2014 was an eventful year!

Here's a look at some of the top stories that made headlines in Ontario's Sunset Country in 2014:

January started with a bang! or a brrrrrrr!  There was a deep freeze throughout Northwest Ontario on New Year's Day which continued for months afterward. If you know don't know metric, that's a whopping -32.8F. The winter continued to be cold breaking records for the coldest and snowiest winters in a long time.

It was -36 in the morning of January 1, 2014

In March there was still at least 3 feet of snow on many of the lakes in Sunset Country! 

Jay Samsal using his augar with 3 feet of ice in mid-March 2014
Jay Samsal using his auger with 3 feet of ice in mid-March 2014  Photo: Jeff Gustafson

This is no April Fool's joke! The deer were getting hungry after a harsh winter with lots of snow. This clever deer decided to get up onto Erin Cathcart Rose's roof in Kenora, Ontario to reach her food. Read the full story on CBC News Manitoba

Erin Cathcart Rose awoke one night thinking someone was in her house! Not in it, on it!!
Erin Cathcart Rose awoke one night thinking someone was in her house! Not in it, on it!!

The walleye fishing season opener (3rd Saturday in May) marks the start of the season for many resorts and lodges in Sunset Country. Due to the winter that just wouldn't leave, many were left speculating as to when the ice would go and more importantly, whether would it be open water for the walleye opener?  

Walleye opener 2014

It was a close call, but most of the operators were able to open up much to the relief of the many anglers that come up to Sunset Country each year. There were a few outposts in the far north that was maybe a week behind the opener. 

5 day difference on the ice conditions on Wabaskang Lake at Sleepy Dog Cabins
5-day difference in the ice conditions on Wabaskang Lake at Sleepy Dog Cabins

Here are two articles that document the ice conditions near the opening weekend in 2014:

When the ice did go out, the fishing was on fire! Here's a nice 27" walleye caught at Pine Sunset Lodge on Dinorwic Lake on opening day. The water temp on Dinorwic that day was a chilly 45 degrees. The walleye weren't done spawning due to the late Spring and ice out so it was imperative that the big walleye be released.

27" walleye caught opening weekend on Dinorwic Lake

Once the snow was gone, the rains came. The ground was very saturated from all the snow and consequently, the lakes rose, and rose, and rose. They rose so much in fact that many lakes had beat 50-year-old high water records. The flooding started in the south first and the sandbagging began along the Rainy River and Rainy Lake. 

Camp Narrows Lodge on Rainy Lake mid June (the docks stayed under water for much of the year)
Camp Narrows Lodge on Rainy Lake mid-June (the docks stayed underwater for much of the summer)

You can see just how high the water rose above normal on the Rainy River in Barwick
You can see just how high the water rose above normal on the Rainy River in Barwick. The water would later rise to the top of the purple sign.

The flooding headed north as June progressed. On Sunday, June 29, Kenoronline posted flooding photos of the Minaki Marina in Minaki, Ontario.  

MInaki Marina on the Winnipeg River System was flooded

For more photos of the Flood of 2014 see: Heavy Flooding in Sunset Country Worst in Years: News, Updates, Pictures, Travel Information

At the end of July, Jeff Gustafson of Kenora, ON, and John Peterson of Bemidji, MN won the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship. They pulled in 57.18 pounds of bass over three days. The FFCBC is just one of the many fishing tournaments held in Sunset Country each year. 

John Peterson and Jeff Gustafson take home first place in the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship
John Peterson and Jeff Gustafson take home first place in the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship

In August Sunset Country returned back to normal and was just another day in paradise. :)

Beautiful August sunset
Beautiful August sunset

September is a month when the skies often light up as the Northern Lights dance above. Jakub Sisak of Jakub Sisak Photography shot this beautiful photo of the Northern Lights from Mackenzie Point in Thunder Bay.

Jakub Sisak captures the northern lights in Thunder Bay
Jakub Sisak captures the northern lights in Thunder Bay

An early winter storm took the guests at Thunderhook Fly-ins north of Armstrong by surprise.

Early snowstorm at Thunderhook Flyins at the beginning of October
Early snowstorm at Thunderhook Fly-ins at the beginning of October

In November, Mike Ranta of Atikokan ended his paddle across Canada. He wanted to inspire the youth in his hometown of Atikokan and raise money for the town's youth center. Mike started his canoe journey in British Columbia and then paddled for 7 months straight (about 7500 km) ending up near Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia at the end of October. He documented his trip on his Facebook page Mike Ranta's Paddle and hopes to write a book about his journey. Job well done Mike (and Spitzi his dog)!

Mike Ranta and Spitzi after a 7 month paddle!
Mike Ranta and Spitzi after a 7-month paddle!

A Christmas Eve tradition at the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora! Thousands of ice candles are lit in the cemetery every Christmas Eve bringing many locals to visit their loved one's graves. Thanks to Emily Poschner Photography for taking this wonderful photo. What a great way to end 2014!

Emily Poschner photographes the Lake of the Woods Cemetery Christmas Eve
Emily Poschner photographs the Lake of the Woods Cemetery on Christmas Eve

2014 was an eventful year! May everyone's 2015 be prosperous, fun, and fulfilling!!

About Erin Rody

I grew up on Black Sturgeon Lake in Northwestern Ontario. I am a staff writer for the Sunset Country Travel Association. Through my articles I hope to entice you to visit the wonderful region I call home. We are all about outdoor adventure; with 70,000 lakes and rivers and a whole lot of forests how can we not be? Whether you like to fish, hunt, canoe, kayak, boat or go camping, Sunset Country has something for you. Enjoy!

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