As much as I hate to say it, not every fishing trip I take is successful.
Such was the case last week when I burned $80 worth of gasoline for five fish. I blame the weather conditions. I fished the Ohio River above Steubenville and the water temp was 84 degrees then tried the Berlin Reservoir (80 degrees) for a morning fish and once again I fought mightily.
That’s okay, because I have my “trip of a lifetime” at the end of the month when I fly 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 choose the right one was a dilemma. Requirements included remote adjustment; big, toothy fish we’ve never caught before; and a lodge with great reviews and excellent fishing.
The rustic setting of Bolton Lake Lodge catches their eye
We settled into 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 son living in California has never caught.
While I’m certainly no stranger to walleye and pike, I never hesitate to catch more, but I’m especially looking forward to catching my very first lakeer, which has been on my to-do list for years. . And, I’ve never caught whitefish, so I’m hoping to tick off two species on this trip.
Bolton Lake also has perch, suckers and burbot.
Of course, the way my last week of fishing has gone is a reminder that there are no sure things when it comes to a fishing trip, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that Bolton Lake was the right choice, and we return with stories that will last a lifetime.
Packing everything 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 can only weigh 50 pounds. Fishing clothes, rain gear, toiletries, hats, sunglasses, phone, camera and charger, boots, insect repellent, and most importantly, fishing lures – a lot, a lot, especially big ones.
A 9-inch Savage Gear 3D Prop Pike lure, specifically purchased for $17 for this trip, takes up a fair amount of space on its own. I can just pack fishing gear and underwear, and carry the clothes on my back all week.
I decided a long time ago not to take my own fishing rods on the plane and to rent rods from the lodge. It was just cheaper and less complicated.
I do however take my own reels, which will all be spooled with heavy braided line for pike and lake trout fishing. Some of my smaller reels will be set up for the walleye we’ll be catching for lunch ashore.
Just getting to Canada is the first hurdle, lining up air flights that coincide with the commuter plane to Bolton Lake. Hopefully there are no delays or cancellations on our departure day. Then there’s all the rig-a-ma-roll passport and proof of COVID vaccination needed to enter Canada. The boxes are all being ticked slowly and the anticipation is growing day by day.
A lot of work upstream; not quite like a trip to Lake Erie
There has been a lot of communication with the owners of the lodge, from finding dates that work for Izzy and I, to travel costs, to ever-changing COVID regulations to first enter Canada and then return to the United States , when purchasing a Manitoba fishing license and learn about provincial requirements for barbless hooks.
It’s certainly not as simple as hitching the boat and heading to Lake Erie, Pleasant Hill or Tappan, but again, these places certainly can’t compete with the remote Canadian wilderness.
Hoping for a nice trip, and as Jodi Dick says at the end of each of her matches: “Tight Lines and Calm Winds”.
Outside Correspondent Art Holden can be reached at [email protected]