As much as I hate to say it, not every fishing trip I go on is successful.
That was the case this past week when I burned $80 of gas for five fish. I blame it on the weather conditions. I fished the Ohio River above Steubenville and the water temperature was 84 degrees, and then tried Berlin Reservoir (80 degrees) for a morning fish and once again struggled mightily.
That’s OK, because I have my “trip of a lifetime” coming up at the end of the month, when I head out to Manitoba, Canada, for a fly-in fishing trip with my son, Izzy.
We’ve been planning this trip for a year, looking at Canadian fishing lodges from Quebec to Alberta, and trying to pick the right one was a dilemma. The requirements included a remote setting; big, toothy fish species that we haven’t caught before; and a lodge with great reviews and great fishing.
Rustic setting of Bolton Lake Lodge catches their eye
We settled on Bolton Lake Lodge, 300 miles north of Winnipeg, where Jodi and Trevor Dick have the only cabins on the 200-square mile lake. It’s home to northern pike up to 30 pounds, Master Angler lake trout, double-digit walleye and whitefish – all species my California-living son has never caught.
While I’m certainly no stranger to walleye and pike, I never shy away from catching more of them, but I am particularly looking forward to catching my first-ever laker, which has been on my bucket list for years. And, I’ve never caught whitefish, so I hope to check off two species on this trip.
Bolton Lake also has perch, suckers and burbot.
Of course, the way my last week of fishing went, it’s a reminder there are no sure things when it comes to a fishing trip, but my fingers are crossed that Bolton Lake was the right choice, and we return with stories that will last a lifetime.
Packing it all in is a daunting task
I’ve been preparing for the trip for months, trying to figure out how to get everything I need in a suitcase that is only allowed to weigh 50 pounds. The fishing clothes, rain gear, toiletries, hats, sun glasses, phone, camera and charger, boots, bug spray and most importantly, fishing lures – lots and lots of them, and mostly big ones at that.
A 9-inch Savage Gear 3D Prop Pike lure, specifically purchased at a cost of $17 for this trip, takes up a fair amount of room itself. I may just pack fishing gear and underwear, and just wear the clothes on my back all week.
I decided long ago to not take my own fishing rods on the plane, and instead rent poles from the lodge. It was just cheaper and less hassle.
I am, though, taking my own reels, which will all be spooled up with some hefty braided line for the pike and lake trout fishing. Some of my smaller reels will be set up for the walleye we’ll be catching for shore lunch.
Just getting to Canada is the first hurdle, lining up air flights that coincide with the shuttle plane to Bolton Lake. Let’s hope there are no delays or cancellations on the day we leave. Then, there’s all the passport rig-a-ma-roll and proof of COVID vaccination needed to enter Canada. The boxes are all slowly getting checked off, and the anticipation is growing daily.
Lot of work beforehand; not quite like a trip to Lake Erie
There’s been a lot of communications with the lodge owners, from finding dates that work for Izzy and I, to trip costs, the ever-changing COVID regulations for first entering Canada, and then returning to the states, to buying a Manitoba fishing license and learning about the province’s barbless hook requirements.
It’s certainly not as easy as hooking up the boat and heading to Lake Erie, Pleasant Hill or Tappan, but then again, those places certainly can’t hold a candle to the remote Canadian wilderness.
Here’s to hoping for a great trip, and as Jodi Dick puts at the end of each of her correspondences: “Tight Lines and Calm Winds.”
Outdoor Correspondent Art Holden can be reached at [email protected].
This article originally appeared on The Daily Record: Five fish cost high price, so may as well do a fly-in to Canada
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