Key Planning Considerations

 
The most difficult planning decision will be choosing a fishing destination – either a location or an outfitter, usually both. With so many options in Northern Ontario, it is essential that fishing destinations and outfitters are thoroughly researched before ante-ing up a deposit. The best decision can only be made after addressing the key planning considerations – as listed below.

Key Planning Considerations

  • Destination / region / departure point ?
        Do you have a specific fishing destination, MNRF region or access / departure point in mind ? Having a specific target area will narrow your search considerably, making your research more effective and decisions less clouded. Not sure where ? How far are you willing to drive ?
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  • Type of access ?
        How will you access / get to your fishing destination – driving, boating in, flying in ? Again, this one decision will narrow your focus considerably. Taking your own boat ? If flying, what airbase best serves your targeted destination / region / outfitter ?
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  • Type of accommodations ?
        What level of service and comfort would you like ? Road accessible lodges usually offer both all-inclusive (AP) and housekeeping (HK) plans; cottage camps usually offer only HK plans; fly-in options include outpost camps (HK) and full-service lodges (AP or HK).
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  • Preferred fish species ?
        Invariably the easiest decision, most anglers know exactly what species they want to target. However, some regions offer better fishing for specific species than others, and this is especially important for trout anglers.
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  • Time of the season ?
        Spring invariably offers the best fishing for walleyes, pike, trout, perch, … but not everyone can schedule that (or tolerate spring conditions – weather, bugs, high / fast water, …). Go when you can. Just be especially detailed in your planning.
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  • How much to spend ?
        Most everyone works within a budget, so having the best fishing experience for your money is the primary goal in planning. From HK cottage camps to full-service, fly-in AP lodges, there’s a Northern Ontario fishing destination to meet every budget. Factor in how long you’re planning on staying, and be sure to include applicable taxes, travel expenses to & from – gas, tolls, meals, motels …
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  • How far to travel ?
        Driving time might be a limiting factor because of fuel costs, time on the road, motel stays, meals, personal / medical concerns, … Long drives also cut into fishing time, too.
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  • What meal plan ?
        Some guys like to cook, most don’t. If choosing a HK camp or fly-in outpost, factor in the cost of food & beverages. It’s almost always more than you might think. At AP lodges, don’t overlook staff gratuities, bar beverages, guide fees and, perhaps, the cost of live bait.
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  • Need a guide ?
        At some camps a guide is included / mandatory. At others, especially when fishing unfamiliar lakes, recruiting the services of a guide is a good idea, even if only for a day or two or shore lunch. Ask about guide fees, shore lunch & gratuity policies when booking.
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  • Taking your own boat ?
        Hauling your own boat to drive-to or boat-in camps is a great way to reduce trip costs. Ask the outfitter about launching, dock space and docking fees, as well as the availability of fuel.
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  • What special MNRF regs or outfitter policies are in place there ?
        Knowing and abiding by specific / local MNRF fishing regulations (e.g. slot sizes, limits, live bait, … ) and / or outfitter policies (e.g. shore lunch fish, no-fish-out, …) is important. Check the regs; ask the outfitter about such things.