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> 'Awesome weekend', Marten River Fishing
alfredo
Posted: May 25, 2011 - 07:04 am


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Campers were chompin' at the bit as they lined up outside the Marten River Provincial Park gate Friday to kick off the camping season.

"Our phones are bouncing off the walls three weeks in advance of opening from people wanting to reserve sites," said said Joe Major, operations manager for both Marten River and Finlayson Provincial Parks.

"People just want to get out, breathe fresh air and feed the blackflies."

Marten River filled 127 of its 200 sites, while Finlayson saw more than 40 of its 117 sites booked. Restoule Provincial Park had a somewhat slower weekend with an average of 60 of its 275 sites booked.

"Thing went very well considering it was hectic as far as getting started," Major said.

Bill Dubois of North Bay was more than satisfied with the opening weekend in Marten River.

He was taking his campsite down Sunday morning after "an awesome weekend.

"There were a few bugs around, but other than that, it was good," Dubois said. "You've gotta like it for May 2-4."

The best thing?

"No snow," he said.

Up the hill, Renee Chaperon and her partner, Simon Dignard, were enjoying a coffee outside their camper as they worked up the courage to tackle taking everything down.

"It was great," Chaperon said. "We came up here last year for the weekend as well. It was really good."

Mike Bailey couldn't believe the weather himself. Sunday was overcast, and there was some rain Monday as he prepared to help his friends take their campsite down.

But Saturday's weather was picture perfect.

"If I'd been a bit braver, I would have gone in the water," he said. It was just perfect."

And, like Dubois, he was quite happy with the lack of snow.

"I think the last few years it's always snowed," he said.

With the walleye and pike fishing season opening Saturday at 12:01 a.m., area waterways were busy with eager anglers.

Major said lakes surrounding Marten River park, such as Wickstead, were so busy you couldn't "even get in on the side roads because there were so many pickerel fishermen."

North Bay's Lake Nipissing and King's Landing was also bustling with activity.

"Fishing wasn't that good," Major said, adding water levels around Marten River were still too high, while some anglers believe walleye start biting more once the water gets warmer.

As of Monday morning, North Bay Police Service and Ontario Provincial Police reported no major incidences in the area.

Provincial Parks in the area are open through Sept. 25, with a few open until Thanksgiving Weekend in October.

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