Crane’s Lochaven Lodge French River Recap 2023

This has been our 50th year (!) as a Family-owned & operated lodge. We’re ecstatic to share with you that it has been a wonderful and record year for us, with thanks to you for helping to make it so.

Our kick start to the season was on April 17. It was a beautiful warm Sunday afternoon so we, (Ed ,Sue & Eric) used to good advantage the nice day to attempt first travel to the island. For those of you who may not know, it is always our spring ritual to be the first on the river and it usually involves breaking through ice by using a steel boat. We thought it would be just for fun that day to see how far we could get — but FOUR HOURS later we landed on Commanda island. We felt blessed to find that no significant damage seemed to have occurred over the winter months. The camp was in great shape!

We started to prep with Staff May 1 for May 19 opening. Our biggest concern at the time was the water level . We already needed rubber boots to access the boat house. This was the same start as the 2019 disastrous spring flood. Thoughts went though our minds…hopefully not another repeat of that disastrous situation! But on May19 the kitchen was up and running, cabins were well prepared, the boats were lined up in the boathouse AND the high water level was on a slow decline. It was a promising start. Guest arrived on a beautiful sunny afternoon and were really anxious to get fishing (walleye, pike and bass fishing all opened at midnight). The next day the unimaginable happened. It turned so cold and damp that most guests spent the day in their cabins and/or the recreation room. There is a first for everything and this was certainly the case. But then the weather improved significantly the next day and everyone kick started into fishing mode so after a successful few days that first nasty day was forgotten.

We contended with extreme heat beginning end of May. The temperatures soared in the nineties for days with zero rain. People started swimming in May to cool off. Another first! It was inevitable with the continuous days of no rain would lead to a fire ban which came into effect June 1. Forest fires were burning in many regions across Canada and headlines read “Canada is on fire”. We are beyond thankful that Lochaven was completely spared. We experienced a few days when we could smell the smoke and one day when the air quality was very bad. That particular day we awoke quite concerned thinking the fire very close to home. Turned out it was the wind directions pushing the smoke from North East Sudbury. We finally got rain but no major downfalls until July. The fire ban was lifted July 11.