Earlier during this season, we dedicated an entire Fish’n Canada episode to drive-to fishing lodges.
In this episode, we are exploring the exciting world of fly-in trips.
Although Pete and Ang are constantly spewing the virtues of fly-in fishing lodges, they do get the fact that it is not everybody’s cup of tea. After all, the perception is that they are expensive, you need to take time away from work, time away from the family (if going with fishing buddies) and make the time to set it all up. That is the perception; the reality is that today’s fly-ins are no more expensive than most other getaways, especially if you compare them to the annual family vacation. In fact, with travel and border restrictions being what they are during this time of Covid, this might be the perfect year to make fly-in fishing a family affair, after all, nothing says “I love you” like a fly-in fishing vacation!
Fly-in fishing lodges have been around since the advent of floatplanes in 1946. De Havilland’s iconic Beaver aircraft was and still is the vehicle of choice and the workhorse of today’s fly-in lodges. Those pioneers, the remote outback outfitters, were first brought to the public’s attention in 1968 by the Red Fisher TV show but have come a long way since those early days. That handful of adventurous entrepreneurs have given way to the burgeoning modern industry that we know and love today.
However, with the Coronavirus and the pandemic, things certainly have changed. Lodge owners have scrambled to make things safe for their customers yet still offering the ultimate in a dream fishing vacation.
With Covid-19 suddenly rocking our world, can our beloved Canadian fishing lodges survive?
They sure can, but only with our support.
For the better part of the past 4 decades, Ang and Pete have traveled all over this country sampling fly-in fishing lodges of all types.
The province of Ontario with its 296 fly-in fishing lodges may very well be the fly-in lodge capital of the world.
With such a high concentration of fly-in fishing lodges, it’s easy to see why Ontario is one of the most popular outback fishing jurisdictions in North America if not the world.
But before you ever hit the skies, these trips start with proper preparation. It’s an art not science, no, no, it’s a science not art, no, it’s more about instinct, no, you gotta go with your gut, ya that’s it your gut. Here’s a bit of the way we think while packing:
First, we try and par down the fishing gear into a small package.
Then we pack a compact clothing bag.
Next, we go over that fishing gear to see what we forgot.
Then we pack our shower kit
Next, we see if we packed too much fishing gear… nope!
Then we grab a sleeping bag and pillow if necessary.
Then the line on our reels BETTER be fresh. Maybe I can stuff a couple more rods in that tube!
Then we grab rain gear, hats, sunglasses, etc.
Bet those new topwater baits would work great in there!
In actuality, the prep and packing procedure we through for big fly-in trips can sometimes be a crazy as the trip itself, fun, stressful and yes sometimes downright frustrating. Making the “maximum” weight limit is like making a weight cut for an MMA championship fight.
If you forget something and it turns out to be vital, your whole trip could be toast.
“But take it from a professional packer” says Ang “chances are half the stuff you haul in there will never see the light of day”.
TYPES OF FLY-INS
Now, something to remember is, there are two types of fly-in fishing trips. Those that take you to the ultimate in luxury, an actual lodge, as well as those that drop you into a small remote lake, leaving you all on your own in what’s called an outpost cabin. Both are true adventures yet are vastly different from each other.
FLY IN – A fly-in trip to an official fishing lodge truly is something to behold. The floatplane pulls up to the dock, the lodge crew grabs your gear, you walk up to the check-in counter, maybe have a coffee and breakfast, and then head to your fully furnished cabin or room, with all your gear already delivered, just like in Vegas or Disney.
You genuinely get the feeling of living in luxury out in the middle of nowhere.
2 LODGE CATEGORIES
Lodge trips are often broken into two categories, the American plan and the Housekeeping plan.
The American plan offers the client all meals at the main lodge. Everything is top tier; all you need to do is just show up and bring a big appetite for gourmet food, R & R and tones of outstanding fishing.
So, what is all this outback opulence going to set you back? Well, for the full American plan, a 7-day trip can cost you somewhere between $2-3,000 per person, now remember, this is an all-inclusive trip of a lifetime so when comparing this experience to any other all-inclusive vacation you are going to find that it would be cheap at twice the price, and we will guarantee you won’t experience things like this down south. Here are some great American Plan trips.
The housekeeping plan could be called the no-frills fly-in plan. Here you have a cabin stocked with your grocery needs, where you prepare and eat your own meals, you make your own bed and otherwise look after yourself, yourself. In essence, you just pay for the thrills but not the frills of fly-in fishing. Expect to pay between $1,500 to $2,000 for a 7-day stay. Here are some great housekeeping plan trips.
Outpost Camps – An outpost trip is the quintessential Canadian fly-in adventure. It starts out the same as a regular lodge fly-in, but the big difference is, the outpost headquarters is a small, 2, 3, or 4-bedroom cabin. The building is like a rustic cottage or camp, but… it’s often the only one on the entire lake. It’s total isolation from the rest of the world and pure ecstasy for those seeking to be alone.
This trip is more for the hard-core angler, not needing or wanting luxury, restaurant-style fine dining, or the pampering that the lodge experience offers. You’re there to eat, sleep, and fish, day after day, no matter what mother nature throws at you! Here are some great outpost camp trips.
The approximate price of a typical 7-day outpost trip would be around the $1,000-$1,500 range per person. At less than a hundred and fifty bucks a day, that’s an incredible price for one of the most unique wilderness and fishing experiences known to mankind!
THE MAIN FLY-IN FISH SPECIES
As far as fish species are concerned on a fly-in trip, Walleye and Pike are the two main players in the ring, and justifiably so as Canada’s combined numbers are among the best in the world.
Another great species to seek is the ever so popular Brook Trout. Although there are many drive-to locations to catch these beautiful creatures, the fly-in packages offer you the ultimate wilderness adventure with a chance at lots of fish, and some giants thrown into the mix.
Hey, as we stated at the first of this article, we get the fact that fly-ins are not everyone’s cup of tea, to each his or her own.
But we will leave you on this note, don’t let the cost scare you because if you break it all down and you compare apples to apples it’s a lot less expensive than you think.
And besides, if you are looking for the “ultimate” fishing adventure with friends or family, a chance at catching let’s say 50 – 100 Walleye a day… PER PERSON… or a personal best, Brookie, Northern Pike or Lake Trout, and so on, it’s time you take advantage of the cards we’ve been dealt with.
A fly-in fishing trip has never made more sense or been more affordable than right now.
We promise you will not regret it!