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September 2014 Newsletter…Great top-water fishing and a great group!!!

Posted by on September 14, 2014
Typical Canadian shield

Typical Canadian shield

This was a very weird year May and June are traditionally the hottest months for fishing but with the late ice out, cool and rainy weather it wasn’t until the last week of June when the fishing started to pick up and I can honestly say that the end of July and the entire month of August was the best top water fishing of the year. We have enough material to write about to feature for the next few months, This month we will feature the McKeon trip.


As the season winds down I would like to let everyone know we’re starting to take reservations for the 2015 season in a first come first serve basis starting immediately.  We already have quite a few groups that have already booked their trips and if you really want a good week and entry point… “NOW!!”  is the time to book.


We are now getting so many repeat clients we are scaling back on our presentations and shows. We will only be attending the following shows.

Ultimate fishing shows (Novi) Jan 8 – 11, 2015

Outdoorama (Novi) Feb 26 – Mar 1 2015

Quiet Water Symposium   (Lansing) March 7th 2015

Ultimate Sports show (Grand Rapids) Mar 19 – 22 2015

Wilderness Journey clinic (Island lake recreation area) 11:00am May 2nd 2015


The McKeons were kind enough to write a testimonial for Wilderness Journey, Check out what they thought of WJO and their trip it will give you a great idea what you can expect on your Wilderness Journey adventure.

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McKeon Testimonial
If you want to go on a wilderness adventure with an experienced guide then Ramsey is the man for you. Even before we left on the trip all the advice on what to pack and what to expect made the trip more enjoyable. If you bring what he suggests, you will have exactly what you need. We were a large somewhat inexperienced group but after instructions from Ramsey on the first day we were portaging and setting up camp like experts. We all caught many fish on the trip, for some of us it was our first fish ever caught. When one of us was hooked in the forearm after a battle with a 15 inch bass, Ramsey removed it with a simple painless trick. We all enjoyed the wonderful meals and unexpected treats like watermelon and s’mores. We also enjoyed his stories around the campfires and watching for falling stars. On our last night we were lucky enough to see several meteors and one in particular that was so close and bright we were all in awe. When Ramsey realized we enjoyed swimming, he found us a sandy beach. Only someone who has been canoeing the Boundary Waters for over 20 years would know where to find a sandy beach among all the rock. He was also kind enough to bring a shower, Warm water never felt so good. He gave us a real appreciation for history of the area and the amazing beauty. We spent one enjoyable evening watching a mother loon and her baby. He taught us to start a fire with flint and then again with dried grass, rope and a stick. Ramsey had whipped us in to such wilderness shape that on the last day we paddled 25 miles upstream with 8 portages so that we could stay at our favorite campsite one extra night. It had been 3 days since we had seen another human and none of us were anxious to return to civilization. We all agree we would like to go back to the Boundary Waters someday but only if Ramsey is our guide. What a memorable family adventure!

Thanks again, Jim, Carol, Kathy, Justin, Natalie and Scott   More great Testimonials

Highlights of the McKeon trip

I knew this was going to be a great trip before they even arrived because Jim had emailed me that they wanted to learn everything from starting a fire with a bow drill, to camp chores and fishing. Some in the group came from across the globe Justin came from South Africa and Kathy came from Vietnam. This is the farthest anyone has ever come to experience a wilderness Journey adventure. I couldn’t be prouder of everyone in this group, a wilderness trip is not always easy and at times it can be challenging not only did not one person complain they all relished the challenges and even looked forward to them, they all pitched in and were great on portages, on the water and around camp.

Personal highlights

I had many highlights on this trip probably the most satisfying was teaching this group many of the wilderness skills that I have acquired over all these years, also all the tricks to catching fish. To teach someone to fish and be present when they catch their first fish is a great moment for me, it always reminds me of my first fish with my father so many years ago, that is a memory that I will never forget. The fact that they were having such a great time at our destination that they all decided to make the long trek out in one day (24 mile and 8 portages) so they could stay in our area one more day. We were rewarded with great fishing and on our last night we were treated to the beginning of the Perseid’s meteor shower with meteors streaking across the night sky. While we sat around the campfire that last night Jim said that unanimously to a person the trip had exceeded their high expectations. This is why I do what I do and its groups like this that remind me that I am not just a guide but a teacher, a translator between this modern world and nature…its what I live for. Thank you!!!


Fishing Highlights

The top water was great on this trip I had a chance to go out with everyone and I taught them the characteristics of each species , what they are thinking and why they attack the lures. I also taught them many of my personal tricks from trolling, how to tease fish into biting and the figure 8 maneuver which many of the group had mastered. By the time this trip was over everyone caught the most and the biggest fish of their life.


DSC_0943My first outing was with Natalie she is 18 and never caught a fish in her entire life. I saw her struggling while fishing on shore and I decided to take her out and teach her a few tricks. We only had an hour before the sun would set but it was enough time to catch a few fish. When I showed her how to cast, I tossed the lure right by a downfall tree the lure wasn’t even on the water for a second when all of a sudden…BAM!!! I caught a nice smallie she looked at me with amazement and I said that’s how you do it! I put my rod down because this outing wasn’t about me catching fish it was all about her catching fish.  After a few practice cast to the middle of the lake she was ready to hit structure. So I set her up on some great structure and as soon as she made a great cast near structure, I said that’s a great cast when the water exploded and she had her first fish on she was so excited she was screaming and laughing after I unhooked the fish she said now I know why people love fishing. By the time the hour was over she had caught 4 nice fish and another fisherman was born!

The next day we went out and caught 6 nice fish including 2 northerns that we kept for dinner. Also while we were out Scott was fishing near us when Natalie had a northern swirl near the canoe and I showed them the figure 8 maneuver when BAM! she hit my lure and I brought her in, they were both shocked that it actually works.


DSC_0950Scott is a great fisherman when he and I fished together and we slammed them. In a few hours we caught 15 smallies and northerns and lost at least 25 to 30 fish. I noticed when we would decide who would fish with who he was quick to say he would fish with me every chance he could. I felt the same way…we had a blast!







When Kathy and I fished together I decided to try something different and trolled for northerns and walleyes. By the time our outing was over she caught quite a few northerns and 1 walleye and out fished this guide. But what I remember most was when we just started trolling and I slowly turned the point and her rod bent I told her she had a fish on, it was putting up a great fight and she became so excited she was bouncing up and down in her seat in the bow of the canoe. I was so worried she would capsize us I kept telling her settle down, but I must say I was just as excited as her and in a few minutes she had her first fish in the canoe and even held it up for a photo, which many people wouldn’t do because pike do have a mouth full of teeth.




Justin was getting some great action on a rubber frog I was so impressed with that lure I bought one myself it was even weedless. He caught a dandy 18″ smallie, he was getting so much action I would watch that lure every time he tossed it out and when a pike smashed it and broke his line we both screamed NOOOOOO!!! He had a lot of big fish, while he and Scott fished he caught a 37″ monster pike and said it was so large he wouldn’t bring it in the canoe. On another occasion while I went and checked out a campsite and made my way back he was fishing off the island and said that he caught the biggest northern of his life and lost it, he said that he might not ever get another fish like that in his life time. He gave us a detailed play by play of the battle and said that when it hit his lure it came clear out of the water he paused and said it was a beautiful sight!


Jim and I were getting into the fish while top water fishing and as many people know when top water fishing you lose many more than you catch. But the excitement is unmatched to see monster fish hit your lure is incredible. My most memorable moment with Jim was when he tossed his pop’r in the perfect spot and as soon as it hit the water a smallie smashed it, he missed and he reeled it up and I said with urgency THROW IT AGAIN!!!..he did and another smashing hit another miss he reeled it up again, I yelled AGAIN!!!…he tossed it in there again and another smashing hit and another miss, I yelled AGAIN!!! This time another smashing hit! but this time the fish is on, I yell that’s the way! While this scenario was going on and with my guidance and yelling AGAIN! I had Jim so worked up when he finally had that fish on we were in a frenzy.


 Great upcoming newsletters:

In the October newsletter we will feature the Hewett trip where we had incredible fishing; and the November newsletter we will feature the Assenmacher trip where we had great fishing and an incredible wildlife experience that I have never seen. These are newsletters you will not want to miss!


We are looking for 2 more people that would like to join 3 others and I, on a 2015 Sutton river trip. The date is August 11th to August 17th 2015. This is a trip that has been in the works and anyone that is interested should call because we have a special rate for this trip since it includes a gold star client everyone will receive a special rate.

Sutton River Brook Trout

For avid brook trout anglers there are certain destinations that provoke the imagination. Minipi in Labrador, the brawling God’s River in northern Manitoba, Nipigon without a doubt, and the Sutton River in far northern Ontario. To be sure there are places where you can catch larger brook trout, but for sheer numbers of honest to goodness 3-5lb fish the Sutton can’t be topped. The Sutton very well may be the finest brook trout fishery on earth.

This area is a mecca for fly fishermen but I prefer to use mepps spinner’s, small spoons and topwater lures. These Brookies are carnivorous and they love mice patterns.

The river begins in Hawley Lake its spring fed headwaters, and flows north 120km through Polar Bear Provincial Park terminating at Hudson’s Bay. Dissecting the summer range of the great white bears, the river flows through a geologic fault of old seabed limestone providing incredibly fertile waters for the insect life and the trout that feed on them. The terrain is quite flat, consisting of muskeg and broken areas of black spruce with many interspersed pothole lakes and marsh. As you paddle north the trees which cling tenaciously to the riverbank begin to recede and you’re left with vast panoramas of muskeg tundra. Read more



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Enter your email address to receive notifications of new WJ newsletters… full of trip reports, events, BWCA info and up to date info! You will find the subscription application on each page here is a link to the website.  It is very important that everyone subscribe to our newsletter and posts. All those who subscribe will improve their chances of winning our annual WJ free trip, which we will draw on March 28th.


For a complete list of newsletters click here.

Fishing – The Tapley trip: Three Men and a Boy

Wildlife – The Hector trip: We had great fishing, great wildlife encounters and we even experienced a spectacular celestial event.


Contact us to be added to the email list. Wilderness Journey newsletters are sent the first week of every month!





Checkout the three photo slideshows below: Fish, Wildlife and Scenery. We think these photos are a great example of what you can expect.


Going for a swim




Soaking it all in





Nicklas with a monster northern




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Ramsey Dowgiallo

28285 Summit Drive, Novi, Michigan 48377      (734) 664-0353



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