It goes without saying, in selecting a destination for your hard earned family vacation or week away with your pals, the fishery you choose is first and foremost. However, there are a number of factors to consider with respect to how the lodge or outpost camp you choose fishes. If you’re looking for excellent fishing opportunities, the first consideration in choosing your destination is whether it is a conservation-based outfit. Lodges that practice strict catch and release for pre-determined slot fish (specific length for harvest) generally will yield you a better fishing experience.
The location of your experience can also affect how well the area fishes. Consider fly-in adventures if you’re looking for the best possible fishing. Most fly-in lodges have very limited access by other means by other anglers such as snow machine, atv or boat. That is the reason they have chosen such a location for the lodge. Many outfits with access by road or other means might experience more angling pressure, it’s not always the case but doesn’t a fly-in adventure just seem way more fun?
Species – choosing a lodge that has a variety of species is also a key factor into the choice of destination. To increase your opportunity to catch fish, choose a lodge that has a variety of species that you can angle depending on weather, location and the people you have with you. You can choose to fish for high density species such as walleye, bass, pike or pan fish, or you can choose to target, for example a species dubbed as “the fish of 10000 casts” – the musky. These are all considerations in your choice of location.
Guide or No Guide
Consider a lodge, which provides a guide service. Having a guide show you the ropes on a new body of water is a key factor to early angling success. Guides have the on-the-water experience you will eventually acquire, they know, not only the locations of high percentage spots, but they know how to get you there and back safely, not to mention many guides are on the water non-stop, they are dialed into the patterns of the species you target. They generally will cost a little extra from your base fare, but their knowledge is invaluable and will guaranteed result in you catching more, and bigger fish.
The lodge industry is simply the hospitality industry, which happens to have a fishing activity available. Whether you choose a full service lodge facility or a DIY outpost camp adventure, accommodations are key! Clean, comfortable, well-kept rooms or cabins are imperative. On-line review services such as tripadvisor can open a window to the world that can sway you in your decision to book a vacation positively or negatively. Bottom line is research is key. These services will often discuss, praise or critique the staff, the food, the fishing and the overall experience.
The web can also be a great indicator of the level of service you can expect from a lodge. The Gallery page (which should be on EVERY lodge website) can tell you a great deal about your stay. Some things you can decipher with a little forensic photo searching are, quality of fishing equipment – if the rods and reels look like they’re from the 70’s you should probably keep looking. Look at the condition of boats and motors. How the lodge looks after their workhorses is a vital component. Quality of fishery, look for big fish and more importantly, BIG smiles (with smaller fish as well). There is a great deal to be seen simply by scrolling through the lodge’s photo and video gallery.
Finally, call or email the lodge. Get someone on the phone or if they are worth their salt, they should quickly follow up with you personally after an email inquiry. This is a great opportunity to gauge friendliness and their desire to have you as a guest at their lodge. You can ask anything of them at this point, simply start a conversation.
There are a multitude of choices and factors that go into your final decision as to what fishing lodge is lucky enough to host you, your family and your friends. You hold the cards! Ask the proper questions, put in your own due diligence for research and simply look forward to what should be an unbelievable vacation for all.