A fly-in fishing trip is probably an angler’s dream vacation; and even if you are not so keen on fishing, it may be something you should add to your bucket list. The adventure starts right from the get go. No baggage checking required – take your gear down to the dock, climb aboard and take off. Before long, you’ll gaze over wilderness, forests, valleys, lakes and rivers. The floatplane will hold just you and any immediate companions, your gear and the pilot.
There are several fly-in resorts in the Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury area; Tornados Resorts in Armstrong is the closest. If you’d rather not board the plane, you can stay and enjoy your fishing trip right at the main lodge which has nine cottages, a motel and Settler’s Lodge, a five bedroom cottage with views of Pickerel River. There’s also a full-service licensed restaurant and lounge with WiFi (so your Instagram followers will believe that it was actually “this big”). The main lodge is your base for floatplane charters and sightseeing adventures. There are four fly-in fishing outposts: Smokey Lake Lodge, Portage Lake, Straight Lake and Sinclair Lake. No matter where you go, most fishing lodges offer either an American Plan (maid service and meals served) or Housekeeping Plan (guests are responsible for their own cooking and cleaning).
Smokey Lake Lodge is on an island where secluded two or three bedroom housekeeping cottages have electricity, fully equipped kitchens and all the necessary kitchen utensils. You’ll need to bring your own bedding and towels (plus your fishing gear and personal effects of course). If you go for the American Plan the same-sized cottages offer electricity, hot water, bathrooms (with showers), electric heat, a fridge and daily maid service. This package also includes bed linen and towels. Breakfast and dinner are served in the dining room, while lunches are provided picnic-style or as shore lunch.
Portage Lake is completely private, and together with four surrounding bodies of water plus the Magnetawan River, it is very popular for great bass, pike and walleye fishing. Portage Lake’s outpost is a large three-bedroom cottage that can accommodate up to 11 guests. There’s no electricity here, but it is equipped with propane lighting, a fridge, wood stove and bathroom with hot water. A separate cook’s cabin holds the kitchen and eating area.
Straight Lake is peaceful and private for those wanting to troll for large and smallmouth bass or try to land a large northern pike. You can portage 100 yards over to Courtney Lake where there’s a beach with the perfect shoreline for shore lunch. This outpost cabin has a wood stove, propane-powered fridge, range and lighting. All cooking utensils are provided. Straight Lake Fly-In Cabin is equipped with a BBQ, wood stove, propane refrigerator, range and lights. Although there isn’t any electricity here, there’s no need to stumble out to the outhouse since there’s a three-piece bathroom inside the cottage. There are two bedrooms with two bunk beds each. You’ll need to bring your own pillow and linen.
Sinclair Lake, the fourth outpost was built just four years ago – small and largemouth bass seekers will find both species here. It’s an electricity-free camping style cabin that sleeps up to four people. Cooking is done outside over the fire pit and guests must bring their own linen and food supplies.
People who have done fly-in fishing trips will tell you that it is not just about the fishing. It is about experiencing the beauty and tranquility of Ontario’s north, about truly “getting away from it all”, and about quality time spent with friends and family. Combine that with the adventure and excitement of some great fresh water fishing, and you have a winning formula.
written by Becky Dumais