Between December and April most lodges and guide services hit at least one or two shows and some of them hit many more, ranging from New Jersey all the way to Lynwood, Washington, and all points between. If you are like me, you hit one or more of these shows, as a consumer, each year. I’ve been doing this since I was five or six years old and I’ve always found it fun to wander the isles and dream about the trips I couldn’t afford. These days it’s a little more doable and hopefully that’s your story, too.
Even though you’ll likely spend some time at the shows this winter, I thought I’d make some suggestions on dream trips you might be able to book in 2015. Here are three specific trips that surely would offer some thrills. I’ve attached images from my trips to these lodges to get you fired up. Here goes. Dream big!
Camp Bonaventure/Salmon Lodge, Gaspe Peninsula, Quebec: No fly fisher can say they wouldn’t like to fish for Atlantic salmon. They are one of the world’s great gamefish and one of the best places in the world to fish for them, especially large salmon, is on the Grand Cascapedia River in Quebec. Flowing off the Gaspe Peninsula, the Cascapedia draws in salmon that range to 60 pounds. The average fish probably weighs 10 pounds and 20-pounders are pretty common. I visited the Gaspe for a couple years straight and stayed at Salmon Lodge, which sits right on the lower Grand and offers great access to all of the river’s pools. I also spent time at Camp Bonaventure and it was equally awesome. The season runs from late May through early September. Early season means fresher and harder fighting fish. Late season means (likely) low water and more sluggish fish, but lots of them. Contact: http://www.campbonaventure.com
Kluane Wilderness Lodge, Yukon Territory, Canada: If you’re interested in northern pike this is one of the best places to be. I visited a couple summers ago and caught pike pushing past the 40-inch mark, many on surface poppers. Wellesley Lake, where the lodge is located, is a large lake with tons of shallow grassy bays that hold scads of northerns and these fish aren’t shy. In addition to the pike you can catch big whitefish, up to four or five pounds, and scads of lake trout, up to 40 pounds. Most of the big lake trout are taken by gear fishermen, but fly-fishers have reasonable chances to catch lakers in the five to 15 pounds range. And many of those are taken in the shallows, sight-fishing. Summer in the Yukon. What’s not to like? Contact: http://www.kluanelodge.com
Hawk Lake Lodge, Ontario: I visited Hawk Lake Lodge in June, bent on catching a bunch of big walleye on the fly rod, and I failed. It’s not like I didn’t try—I ran all sorts of leeches and streamers and crayfish past the noses of walleye that appeared on the electronics, but could not get them to bite. So, to make up for that disappointment I switched focus to smallmouth bass and had an absolute blast, luring smallies up from the bottom in super-clear water, where they would eat poppers in two ways—either with a splashy grab or a slow sip, just like a trout taking in a mayfly. These smallmouth ran up to five or six pounds and were great sport on a five weight. The pike ranged to 38 inches. The beauty of Hawk Lake is an opportunity to fish numerous private, wilderness-like lakes, all from one lodge. No worries about a lack of fishing time here. Get in the skiff and be gone for the day, even the night if you choose. Contact: http://www.hawk-lake.com