Think a Canadian fishing vacation is out of reach? Think again. Anyone can DIY – do-it-yourself – with an unguided fly-in trip to one of Canada’s many outpost camps. Here’s how to start planning now for a summertime adventure.
Five days in the wilderness is not for everyone, but if it’s just what you need when real life starts feeling like reality T.V., dropping out by flying in to one of the many lakes that make up Canada’s back country is the perfect escape.
Most anglers traveling to Canada don’t make it past a full-service American-plan lodge, complete with fresh linens daily. Fishing these lakes is not unlike making a turn on a golf-course with guides who could be caddies.
“Sir, for this hole I’d recommend 1/8-oz. chartreuse jig tipped with a minnow. Perhaps we should let this other boat play through.”
All that’s missing is the plaid pants.
But just a hop, skip and a jump via floatplane from many of these lodges is the outpost camp and an entire lake all to yourself. No cooks. No guides. Just a rough little cabin on a granite outcropping and a long dock. It’s do-it-yourself fishing and like any DIY project, you might not know what you’re getting into, but it’s always an adventure.
In addition to solitude and a lake full of fish just for you, a fly-in Canadian fishing trip also offers the benefit of saving money. Rates for a 5-day fishing trip at a remote outpost camp situated on your own private lake run anywhere from $1,200 to $1,500. The same trip at a full-service lodge can run more than twice that amount.
The difference between the two Canadian fishing experiences comes down to guides and groceries. Thankfully, fishing remote waters in Canada doesn’t require the former when you figure these fish are only pressured by a handful of anglers every year. It’s not unusual to catch hundreds of walleye, pike and smallmouth over the course of your trip. You can make the fishing as easy or advanced as you want, but the main tenet of fish camp is when you’re hungry for there’s-no-fresher walleye, tie on a jig. This simple presentation has put more fresh walleye into the shore lunch fryer than any other technique.
Planning and preparing all your meals yourself results in big. Some outpost outfitters offer to do your shopping for you for a nominal per person fee. When you arrive at base camp to fly out, your groceries will be packed and ready to go. This can be a good option for those anglers the fly into the float plane base and don’t have the time to pick up their own supplies. Anglers driving in can save even more money by bringing their groceries with them from the States, or shopping in the closest major city to the outfitter’s base.
While there are many great outpost destinations and fly-out outfitters across Canada, picking the closest one to you can save money from the travel budget. Instead of flying from the Eastern seaboard to Winnipeg for a Manitoba fly-out, drive across the border to Montreal or Ottawa and fish an eastern province. Splitting gas between four fishing buddies beats spending a few thousand on airfare for the same four guys.
Another way to fly-out for less is to plan your trip for later in the summer. If you want phenomenal fishing and can afford the price, go in June. If you want good fishing, without the bugs, go in July, or even August. Many outfitters lower their late-summer prices, or even offer a 10 percent or more discount for trips booked in late July and August. And don’t worry about the fishing; it’s still pretty good, and can even be great, late.
Five days of little else besides water and walleye, with the occasional northern to spice up the day appears to have prisoner’s monotony, but outpost anglers know better. Unlike prison, the release date from fly-out fish camp comes too soon.
The bumblebee hum of the approaching float plane replacing the quiet whisper of the rapids. An outpost adventure is the perfect summer vacation for friends and families alike, offering an affordable unplugged experience far away from the realities of real life.