There’s no denying we’ve all been going through unprecedented times. On a positive note, fishing licence sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic. Many people have had more time on their hands and have taken up this great sport. Cabin fever has been rampant and what better way to practice social distancing than to get out fishing? Fresh air, being outdoors, and not being around crowds, is about as good as it gets.
This is the time to have a look at the ultimate social distancing getaway—a trip to one of Ontario’s fishing lodges. Whether you choose a fly-in or drive-to camp or resort, Ontario has an abundance of options. If you’re an Ontario resident or live in a neighbouring province, now is a great time to plan your getaway. The options are endless when it comes to where you want to go and the species you want to target. And there’s just something exciting about the anticipation of going on one of these trips.
I’ve been blessed beyond belief to have fished at dozens of fishing resorts that we’ve either driven to or accessed by jumping into a floatplane. A general rule of thumb is that a fly-in fishing trip will cost more than a drive-to location. The additional cost of the plane ride, in addition to the fact the lodge or camp has to have everything flown in, brings the price up compared to an easily accessed drive-to location. Fortunately, Ontario has more options than any other province, no matter what your budget is when you’re looking for a fishing getaway.
My son Darren, who’s been a cameraman for the Real Fishing Show for over a decade now, has been to his fair share of lodges. When he was 10 or 11-years old he joined me on his first fly-in trip. My brother Wayne brought his son Justin along on the same adventure. We had so much fun fishing on that trip to Kesagami Wilderness Lodge. We would take a break from fishing for a wonderful shore lunch, eating fresh-caught walleyes every day. The kids took full advantage of the fishing as they continued catching fish after fish off the dock after supper, once the boats were put away for the night. Those memories are ingrained in me forever. After all of these years, I still feel the adrenaline rush of flying into one of these remote fisheries.
Whether you choose a fly-in or drive-to fishing location I’d recommend you do a bit of recon on what to bring. The obvious is whether it’s an all meals provided deal, like the popular American plan, or a “bring it and cook it yourself” type of program. There are lots of places that offer one or the other, and many that have both options.
Most lodge or resort operators list what to bring on their websites. At times I’ve talked to the manager, a guide, or one of their guests that fished at a particular place to get additional information on lures to bring or techniques to try. Here’s a few items that I always pack, regardless of whether I’m going on a fly-in or a drive-to fishing location:
- A good quality rain suit, a hoodie, and a jacket
- Two caps
- Sunscreen, lip balm, and bug repellent
- Two pairs of polarized sunglasses
- Gloves and a toque (that’s a knit cap for our friends from the USA)
- Needle-nose pliers, a hook sharpener, jaw spreaders, a filleting knife, and a measuring tape
- At least two spools of different types of spare fishing line
- A camera or a cell-phone with a camera
- An assortment of rods, reels, and tackle for the species you’re likely to encounter
There are so many fantastic facilities and fisheries that I recommend you do some research on what will best fit your wishes for a fishing getaway. I will say that I’ve met hundreds of folks that either work or were guests at these camps, lodges or resorts. They have been friendly people that all were there for their love of the outdoors. I can’t tell you how many of these folks have become long-time friends after we got to know each other on one of these adventures. Many memories that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life have been made on my numerous visits to these awesome destinations.
If you’re looking for a great fishing trip the timing has never been better than right now to book your vacation and support the hard-working operators who keep Ontario’s lodges and resorts open for you and me to enjoy. They’ll definitely appreciate your business in these trying times.