As taken from my January 23 cover story in the Winnipeg Free Press travel section.
While the only fishing many may be thinking about at this time of the year is through about 3 feet of ice, in fact, it is the time when the many fly-in lodges of Northern Manitoba are into their main booking season for this coming summer.
Our 100,000 lakes, as promoted by the province, have some excellent fisheries in the southern portions of the province. But for the ultimate fishing experience, it is a few days in the remote wilderness of a fly-in lodge that will build life long memories.
As many Manitobans may be thinking only about sunspot holidays, Americans, and others enthusiasts from around the world, are dreaming of catching the big one up north.
But Manitobans are also catching on, as ever increasing numbers of us are helping fill northern lodges with friends and business associates, along with a growing number of couple’s retreats.
From past stories, readers know I have had the good fortune of visiting a number of them, so I am often asked for recommendations. Here are is one from which you will almost surely leave satisfied with the service, and ecstatic about the catches.
Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge
Part of Atikaki Provincial Park, which has been a proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site, at only two hours away, it is one of the closest fly in lodges accessible from Winnipeg.
Aikens Lake also offers a variety of species, with most people coming to catch the abundant numbers of walleye and trout that populate the lake.
While fishing is what people fly in for, no lodge offers better all in all service than this one. Launched in 1949 it went through a number of successive owners before being purchased by the Turenne family in 1988.
Gerry, who only recently passed away, with his indelible reputation and considerable past experience in tourism marketing set a tone that was carried on by his son Pit and wife Julie when they took over the day to day management a number of years ago.
Today Pit and Julie have American and Canadian partners, but continue to ensure repeat clientele year after year by making every person on the site feel as though they are part of the family.
And while shore lunches will focus almost exclusively on the tastes of fresh caught fish, you will seldom find fish on the dinner menu of any of our northern fly-ins. Dinners are about gourmet cooking, with prime rib, pork, and any other specialty made by competent chefs using recipes you will find in high-end cookbooks.
As an added bonus to the fishing experience, the guides at Aikens will be pleased to take you to see the hieroglyphics on the rocks along the water line of the connected Gammon River.
Aikens Lake Lodge has been one of the most successful in attracting Manitobans, as well as those from around the world. During the US recession a few years ago it was the support of Canadian fishers that helped insure profitability during those tough economic times.
They can be contacted online at http://www.aikenslake.com/