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Niemeyers offer 'true wilderness experience' on English River

Longtime fisherfolk Chris and Lynn Niemeyer now host sportsmen and women at the fish camp. (Submitted photo)

Come summer, Chris and Lynn Niemeyer leave the land of 10,000 lakes behind to venture north to Canadian waters.

Their roles shift from assisted living facility directors to wilderness outfitters.

The owners of Care-Age Country Home purchased English River Outfitters Camp near Ear Falls, Ontario in 2008, rebuilding cabins destroyed in a fire.

Chris had been searching the Internet for a camp or cabin in Canada, the Niemeyers avid fisherfolk. He was about to end his hunt for the day when "Naughty Pines" popped up on the screen.

He was familiar with the destination, "seven hours north from Park Rapids." He'd been a guest at the camp prior to the 2003 fire that destroyed its cabins and lodge. In its heyday, the fish camp welcomed 1,400 in a season.

Chris picked up the phone and called a realtor. "Three days later, we had it."

The fish camp sits on Wegg Lake, part of the 30-mile English River System, originating from Lac Seul. Guests are met at the landing for a five-mile ride via boat. The camp now accommodates 24 people.

"Drop a line and you catch a fish," Lynn said of the walleye, northern, small mouth bass and muskie that abound in the waters. A mounted black bear holding a 60-inch muskie greeted clientele before the fire.

"It's like fishing here - a hundred years ago," Chris said.

Upon arrival, "up north Canadian explorers" will be advised of premier fishing spots on the seven lakes in the system, populated with moose, bear, caribou, bald eagles, otters and more.

The site is surrounded by millions of acres of Crown Lands, held by the government on behalf of the monarchy.

Moose tags are available and the site is a bear management area.

The camp originated in the 1950s, the four cabins housing the Manitou Falls Hydro Dam construction crew. Walt's English River Fish Camp evolved at the site in 1955. Sold in 1981, Naughty Pines Fish Camp burgeoned to the 30-cabin camp that burned in '03.

It's the only camp on the 30-mile river system.

The rustic camp, open from June through September, has showers, beds and kitchen facilities; guests are asked to bring groceries and sleeping bags. A boat package is available or guests may bring one.

"They will eat fish most of the time," Lynn said of the grocery list.

Paradoxically perhaps, Internet phone service and satellite TV are also available.

"It's a wilderness experience," Chris said, "that's easily navigated via map."

For more information, go to www.englishriveroutfitters. net.