"Choosing the Right Lodge to Suit Your Needs"

By Justin Hoffman

  justinlodge2.jpg (2635 bytes)   For anglers of all ages, nothing beats the thrill of experiencing the wonders and opportunities that a fishing lodge has to offer. Whether you are searching for "limitless days of fish" or some "rest and relaxation," there is a lodge available that is right for you. But how do you choose the perfect lodge and what are the criteria to follow when making that all-important decision? Follow these tips and advice and be prepared to stumble upon your own wilderness utopia.

Defining Your Needs
    When picking a lodge for the first time, you must decide what you want to experience and enjoy during your stay. If fishing is your sole means of taking this trip, then your search can be narrowed down right from the start. However, if your family is taking part in the excursion, you have to make sure that the establishment has activities and sights that cater especially to the family unit. Making a list of what you intend to do while you are there will make the job of finding a lodge even easier.
Once your list is full of your needs and wants, then it is time to contact a random selection of lodges to find out if they can satisfy all of these particulars.

To Stay or Go?
    One of the big thrills of getting away to a fishing lodge is precisely that - getting away. But important decisions must be made on how far away from home you can afford to go. Fly-in lodges are always more expensive than drive-in for obvious reasons. Fly-ins do offer the remoteness and solitude that many of us crave, although it does come at a price. If you are looking for that "once-in-a-lifetime" experience, then a fly-in would definatly be the way to go. If, however, you would prefer to make your trip an annual event, then perhaps the less costly drive-in would be best suited to you.
Remember, there are thousands of lodges available to the fisherman, and sometimes the closest ones to home can often be the most out of the way.

Time of Year
    Depending on the time of year or season, rates for lodges can vary drastically. Peak summer months will always be the most expensive, while spring and fall trips will generally offer considerable savings. Fishing can often be best during these off-peak times, and the weather can frequently be more comfortable and refreshing. Spring walleye fishing is an example of fishing being better during off-peak periods, as is fall musky fishing. Investigate the species you are after and the weather history for the area you intend to travel to, and reap the rewards of lower rates during the "other" seasons offered.

Add-On Prices
    There are numerous ways to save money while heading to a lodge, and I have taken advantage of some of them for added discounts in the end. If you own a boat, and the lodge is within driving distance, a savings can be incurred by simply taking your own boat instead of renting one during your stay.
    Another tip is to take your own food if you are staying in a self-sufficient accommodation, instead of paying the extra cost of having your meals prepared for you.
Although many anglers enjoy these "luxuries," and find that these perks are one of the reasons for going, my aim is to point out that those that think they can't afford a trip away can readily do so if they pass on some of the fancy trimmings.

Questions, Questions, Questions?
    My best advice for choosing the lodge that is right for you is to partake in some thorough investigating and to ask question after question. Lodge owners are more than happy to answer any of the concerns or queries you may have, and I have found that asking questions is one way to find success. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • How long have you been in the business?
  • What activities do you offer, for both the fisherman and family members?
  • May I bring my own boat?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • What species of fish are found in your lake and what is the success rate of your guests?
  • Do you offer a cancellation refund in case of an emergency?
  • What were some of the memorable catches from the previous year?
  • Do you belong to any lodge associations or designations?

By asking these types of questions, you will get a better feel for the lodge itself and what it can offer you in terms of a get-away.

Experience the thrill that fishing lodges offer by finding one that suits your needs to a T. By putting in a bit of homework and pre-planning your trip, your remote paradise will surely be yours for the picking.

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Pages Updated On: 16-Mar-2001 - 11:24:20
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