Kaby Kabins

On Lake Kabinakagami in Ontario Canada


Kaby Kabins was established in the early 1970's by Maurice Olivier of Olivier's Fly-in Camps. The camp was on the South Eastern shore of Big Kaby Lake. The camp had 4 cabins which are still there in 2015; although I don't like the current unnatural stain on the exterior logs the cabins were built of. The original stain is shown on the images below. There was also a cabin for the caretakers, Harold and his wife, until, I believe 1979, when he retired. There was a covered generator shed with a diesel and a gas backup generator which provided the lights for the camp. The refrigerators and the kitchen ranges ran on bottled gas. There was also an open cleaning table. I remember all the big black flies and the mosquitos at that table. We used to sneak up on the trash can and spray it with Raid to clear out some of the black flies. One time "Porky" got so disgusted that he purposely sprayed himself with the raid! Even that didn't last very long!!

We stayed at Kaby Kabins the first year they opened, I can't remember what year it was. In the early 70's? Could be 1970 or 1971. The cabins were finished except that there was no running water. We went out on the lake with a bucket. One time we picked up water at the water falls where the creek enters the lake at the far southeast of Kaby Lake. Was it Five Mile Creek??? The second year there "was" running water but it didn't work. The pipes had "frozen and burst". I think the first year we stayed in cabin 4. After that we always used cabin 2.

I was recently watching a hockey game between the Canadians and the Penguins. One of the players was Flynn. When the announcer called out his name I heard Fwynn. Which reminded me of the caretakers the first year or two we went to Kaby Lake. The wife's name was Fwynn. I'm not sure of the spelling. Could be Fwinn, or Fwin. I remember he liked to play the board game Cribbage. That's all that's dribbled out of my memory so far.

The camp is still there and is named Agich's Kaby Kabins. There are 7 cabins now and other improvements from what I knew.

At the time this camp was established we used White River Air Service. Later in the late 70's, I believe, Mr. Olivier purchased the air service moved it to Hornepayne Ontario and renamed it Horne Air Ltd. I understand that much later the Air Service was moved back to White River Ontario.

Please click on the thumbnail photos for a larger image.

The last time I stayed at Olivier's Kaby Kabins was in 1983 and the weekly rate was $245.00 Canadian. The charge for Flying in was $79.50 per person based on 4 men in the flight. That year we had 5, one being a twelve year old boy. I don't remember the actual charge we paid. I'm just looking at the rate on the attached

Here's the pricelist from 1983 for Olivier's cabins and the rates for flying in.

>>>>That's me at the right with a "fair" northern. One time we went up to the Oba River. We found most of the guys from Watsons Camp there catching little Walleyes. Each boat had a paid guide. I wonder how big a tip they left for those tiny Walleyes. So as luck would have it I cast back along a weed bed, and bang a fair Northern. So I'm busy reeling it in and the boats drifting downstream. Arround me I hear cussing from the guided boats. This guy's messing up the days catch of baby Walleyes. Was this fish the one? I don't know. Maybe one of them remembers? I understand that now those rivers are off limits in lateMay/early June.

Looking at that engine; I should get paid by Mercury. That's a 9.8 HP which is what we used then. They have much bigger engines at the camp today. Hope they don't use much more gas. Hate to have to refill midday.

Pastor Diehm told me after I wrote about gas usage that he never had problems with the gas usage. He was there in August of 2015. But he doesn't troll all day long. He drifts the deep holes with a jig. I was never there that late in the summer. If I were; I might jig also. We trolled for one reason, because Rudy had a handicap, which made casting a chore. I had built a Heathkit depth finder and took it up to Kaby; I think twice. I remember finding the deep hole from the Kaby River mouth over to near the south end of Moose Island. We marked a spot that showed fish congregated; but never caught any of them. They were probably White Fish? After that I never took the fish finder again. I recently looked at it. Inside the cover it looks brand new. The outside case, especially the top, looks horrible.

<<<< This is the Dehavilland Otter aircraft although I can't see the markings well enough to know whether this is from White River Air Service, or from Horne Air. I took the photo but don't remember where or when. The aircraft we usually used was the much smaller Dehavilland Beaver. The way they were equiped there was two seats, one for the pilot. Except for one person who flew shotgun everyone else sat in back on coolers, cases of beer or whatever. In those days the Dehavilland aircraft weren't turbo props. The only turbo props I ever heard were the fish wardens who wanted to keep a low profile!!!
>>>>> At right is Harold; the famous FBI which stood for Big Indian, I don't remember what the F stood for, haha.... I'm sorry but I don't remember his last name, or his wife's name. It was said that he was half Irish and half Indian. Porky used to kid him about what kind of Indian is named Harold!!! Harold, one time, hid Porky's favorite ultralight rod and reel as we were leaving. They had both been admiring the combo during our stay there. Porky recovered when he realized it was a joke.

<<<< The scene from in front of the cabin we usually stayed in. Harold, I guess, assigned us that cabin so he could look out for the mornings we had those big fat sweet sausages. We always took extra for him.

>>>> A days catch of Walleyes. In those days the limit was 6 of each species. I understand today the limit is 4. Was the fishing better in those days. Don't ask me. I'd have to fish the lake today to get a feeling. I think as we fished the lake over a number of years our catch got bigger. Especially the Walleyes. If you don't know the holes then your catch is, or was, smaller. And the fish might have been smaller I don't remember any catch and release momentum then. We let the little ones go unless they were injured. I remember back then some camps that did very well catching enormous Northerns, I think casting into "What and Where. .....Don't know.

I had the topo map for the lake in my tackle box. The one where the lake filled the map. I made notes, marked the hotspots, on the map and sometimes, even years later we'd go back to one. Bygolly those good spots were still good years later.

If you want to do some research on the quality of the fishing now compared to back then, well contact me. Maybe it'd be worth the cost of two guests. You could get a wealth of information. It'd have to be early June to make a valid comparison. ........Seriously I don't think I could handle "it".

Above is a stupid shot of the kitchen. I think I propped the camera on the table because of the lack of light. Porky is to the right, I think he's breading fillets. Real Charley is, I guess, at the range frying fillets, or maybe home fries with onions. Also a shot of the camp as we taxi out for our trip home. And a shot of a plane leaving the camp which I posted to show that old uncovered, unenclosed cleaning table.
We learned over the years to be very efficient at cleaning fish. Cut the filets off a whole fish and throw the rest in the horse fly barrel! Actually we did skin and debone the filets.

<<< Here's us having dinner. I think we're eating a baked Walleye meal that the caretakers wife baked for us, but I thought they shared that meal with us. She layered Walleyes, peppers and butter and baked it. I don't think hers had onions in the layers, but I guess you could, I mean there's no law against it.... well anymore who knows!!!!
We always took steaks for the first evening meal as we never knew for sure what time we'd get in and whether we'd get out to fish. We also always planned to have spaghetti one night. We invited Harold and his wife and she always brought a fresh baked pie. Lemon Cream. She must have thought we didn't have enough meat in the sauce cause one year she gave us a package of frozen Moose. She advised me to boil the Moose before browning it with the hamburg. I couldn't tell that it was Moose sauce. After that we put more hamburg in the sauce. If I was able to redo those days I'd offer to give them any "extra" fish we had.

Porky took a lot of the pictures that were in the flyer for the camp in those days. He had some nice pictures of the cabins, including the inside and fish and home fries frying in those big cast iron skillets. But I can't find one of the flyers.

>>>> All those guys in one plane. I don't know who this party is, but I see Mrs FBI in there. If this is your party I have a higher resolution copy of this scan you can have!

I don't know who the pilot is, the air service or what year; but that's the FBI welcoming him at the dock. Nice pants on the guy with the suit case! I think I had worse in those days!!! I think I used a Nikon 50-300 zoom for this series of shots. Looks like they were all taken from the same spot, the front stoop on cabin 2??

>>>> Here's Rudy with his monster Northern Pike. He didn't put it back! Was that his bait fish also on the stringer???

The above bear shots were taken in the bay just north of Kaby Kabins on the east side of the lake, between Kaby Kabins and Windy Point. I think the bear was on his daily trip; or trips (?) between the two camps. In the first shot you see Porky and real Charley trying to block the bear from getting out of the lake. I joked with them later that I was looking forward to the shot of the bear climbing over their boat and them jumping out.
<<< That's my big Walleye. If I remember it was 27+ inches and 6 pounds ? Oz. This was taken in early June. I think it's a male. The females have more of an arc on their backs. This one is more torpedo shaped. I'm saying this cause I thought it was a bit light for its length?? Pastor Diehm thinks it probably weighed more than we measured it at. We had a big brass spring scale in those days.

Look at the wake behind the moose compared to the engine Look at the wake behind the moose compared to the engine.

This image was Photoshopped in the 70's. The way we did that then was to print from two negatives. The sky and clouds came from one neg. The tree line and eagle from another. The blue sky made the tree line way too blue. To correct that the color of the tree line way too blue. To correct that the color of the tree line is print. To correct that the color of the tree line is printed red, the eagle wasn't in the blue portion of the sky so it came out red!

The view from cabin 2 and from inside that same cabin.

The equipment we used wasn't really this bad! We found this boat at the first portage upstream on the Kabinakagami River. I'm not sure I should post the wrecked boat pictures as I don't know the story behind the boat. Looks like it either fell off an airplane or a lot of ice was involved??

This photo was taken at the portage up the Oba River, from the lake. The scan is from a 3 1/2 "x 5" print from Kodak dated Jun 1976. The portage wasn't very far up the river. I'm wondering what those ties look like today. In fact what about the wood on top of that car. If I went there today I'd take some grease for those wheels. Is that overgrown today with 40 year old trees? And who built this and why? Sounds like the guvment or some big company. Who would use railroad tracks and those big heay trucks. Those ties look old and untreated.

Cast of 'characters'

John Duda as Me, but sometimes Charley
Rudy Kranys as Charley or Mr. K
Don Wiley as Porky or sometimes Charley
Charley Popovich as Real Charley
the Stringer as Charley or just the Stringer. I'm sorry his real name hasn't come to me yet. Hey we're talking 35, 40 years ago.

One time the stringer was taking the lure out of a fish and since these guys insisted on not opening the bail on their reels; the lure came loose and got caught in the stringers finger. This happened between the camp and Moose Island. Well he heard me laughing about something and was really mad at me. We went back to camp and the FBI was there and everyone was discussing what to do. It was too late in the evening to get a plane in and out. I remembered reading in a sports magazine a solution for this problem. Take a length of line or string and put it in the "bend" of the hook so that it pulls the hook straight back out. So I'm standing there with the line in the hook trying to build up the courage to rip the hook back out. I'm expecting to hear a hideous scream, but finally I yank on the ends of the line. I hear tink...tink. The hook hit the ceiling and then the floor. Amazing.... no screams and cursing; I mean the guy already was mad at me. Did he thank me, well no after all he was mad at me. So he never left early, the next day he was out there fighting the fish as usual.

So... if there's a blood stain on the ceiling of cabin 2 in front of the front picture window you'll know the story behind the stain.

We left from Pittsburgh which is where everyone but myself was from. In those days I lived In Philadelphia. The year that the Flyers first won the Stanley Cup I came up to Kaby. No one believed those upstarts could win it all. By the eighties I had moved back to the Burgh. That shortened my trip a bit.

My Uncle Rudy called everyone Charley sometimes so we started calling each other Charley. Then when real Charley went with us it got even more confusing. Rudy Kranys was Maurice Olivier's first customer. That year Mr Olivier stayed with his wife and newborn son in a tent on the ground while the paying customers stayed in a tent on a wooden floor. I don't remember which lake, but it wasn't Big Kaby. I don't know what year that was, I wasn't there, maybe in the 1960's? Perhaps Mr Olivier has something to add to my comments here on the page?

And finally here's that 1983 pricelist I mentioned above!

<<<<<<< We always stopped at Kenville's Restaurant on the way up and also on the way back home for that delicious Roast Beef dinner, or for lunch. Hope it's still as good as it used to be! It's across the road from the Mackinac Island Ferry in Mackinac Mi.

>>>>>>> A shot from Watsons Kaby Lodge on the South Western shoreline from back in the 70's. The Watson's didn't own it back then. I think this was built about the same time as Kaby Kabins was built. I never stayed there but I can recommend the fishing! We stopped in and had a beer. They had a TV running off the rabbit ears. Looked like the reception from a Steubenville station in Pittsburgh. Mostly noise and ghosting. The current ownership of that camp dates back to 2009. There was also a single cabin on the Kaby River not too far upstream that was built about the same time. Is that still there?

I shot all the images presented here except the price lists on a Nikon F2 camera with a Nikkor 43-86mm zoom, except for the eagle picture which was shot with a Nikkor 50-300mm. Wish that I'd bought the Nikkor 80-200 f4 instead. That big lens was too cumbersome and unusable above 135mm because of camera shake. The film used was Kodak Kodacolor ASA 100. I printed many of the prints myself on Ektacolor 37RC and or Ektacolor 74RC color paper. You might consider the prints as custom prints or homemade depending on your point of view. The scans were on an Epson V700 scanner. Some Photoshopping was done using Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Here's an Aerial photo of the lake

Here's a link to the Topo map, scale of 1:50,000 for Kabinakagami Lake. Another topo map. There's also a 1:250,000 series of maps. This is the link to the White River map. Some of these are quite old. And expensive, they want $16 folded to ship to the US, and it's shipped from Minneapolis. I think I paid 50 cents in the 1970's and bought them in I think Wawa. I believe from the Lands and Forests office. But I might be wrong, too many years ago.

I intend to add the ability to leave comments on this page. I once did that on a web page; but the comments disappeared after 24 hours with no new comments; . I want more than that here.
In the meanwhile contact me at johnfduda@yahoo.com

Mosquito Tips

We found that if there was a freeze overnight the next day was free of mosquitos, for whatever that's worth.

If all of a sudden while fishing you come on a lot of mosquitoes, then I'd guess you're trolling near shore. We found that if you reel in and run the boat at top speed for a minute or so. Then stop for a minute, then resume top speed for another minute or so you'll be rid of most of those pests. What you did was outrun the ones in the air. When you stop for a minute you're suckering the ones that were alighted on you or your equipment to get airborne and then you also outrun them. But please! don't go back to that same stretch of shoreline.

Fishing Tips

If you're catching small walleyes I'd say that's all you'll catch at that spot. It's time to move!
We almost always trolled near shore. I used a lot of different lures. What I used most was a gold Rebel or Rapala. They come in different sizes from about 1 inch to about 8 inches. I caught that big Walleye on a big gold Rebel about 7 or 8 inches long. It was in an area we called the tomb stones. That was about half way up the North West bay; near Burnt Island. To give a timeline on the name of Burnt Island. They called it that back in the early 1970's. If it had burned at one time I'd guess it was 40 or more years before that. That'd make it the 1930's or earlier.
Rudy almost always used a spoon with "ear rings" hanging from the spoon were two more spoons about 1/4" long. When he lost that spoon, he quit fishing.

Last edited 11/21/2016