Save Money, and Provide Flexibility on Your Next Trip:
There are two basic plans for Canadian fishing adventures, self serve (housekeeping) and full service (American plan). Each has their advantages, but for me the biggest advantage of a housekeeping plan is that you can set your own schedule. This means fishing when/where you want, eating what you want, and sleeping when you want.
The other big advantage to the housekeeping plan is cost. On average, this style of trip can save you and your party 20-30% in costs as compared to the American plan package. With the typical housekeeping plan you receive a cabin with a working kitchen stocked with all the necessities except for food. That means that you are required to bring your own food, cook, and clean for yourself. You’ll also receive a boat, motor and gas for every two people. Don’t forget... Most lodges will provide a discount if you bring your own boat.
When I was younger, I loved the housekeeping plan because I could fish from sun-up to sun-down and beyond. Now that I’m a little older, however, the comforts of American plan have become a bit more appealing.
The biggest challenge for groups planning a housekeeping trip is finding a way to organize the food, cooking, and cleaning for everyone involved. Over the years we at Fishulo have perfected how to get this done in the simplest manner. Below are a few tips to help you prepare for a housekeeping trip where you will be required to bring and cook your own food.
Packing List for Housekeeping Trips:
1. If possible it's best to buy groceries as a group, or have one person purchase everything. If everyone brings their own stuff you’ll end up with WAY too much food!
2. Check with lodge owner. They may supply some canned foods that you do not need to take to the cabin.
3. Assign each group member certain days for cooking and cleaning. This way each person carries their own weight, and each is given days when they can just relax.
4. Plan on keeping dinners simple. Meals like grilled steaks or pre-made foods will provide for good eating, while cutting down on preparation and cleaning time.Remember, you will not need as much food as you think. The quantities listed below are tried and tested for feeding 4 people on a 5 day trip.
- 1 gal of Milk
- 2 doz. Eggs
- 1 box pancake mix
- 3 lb Bacon
- 1 Variety pack of breakfast cereals in small boxes/li>
- 2 loaves of Bread
- 5 lbs Potatoes
- 5 cans frozen juice (powdered drinks for fly-ins)
- 1 can coffee
- Wet Wipes
1. Your oil needs to be HOT for crispy, mouthwatering walleye shore lunch. Always wait until you begin to see bubbles coming off the bottom of the pan. If possible, you can also use an infrared thermometer to make sure oil temperature reaches 385 degrees. Be careful, if the oil reaches 400 degrees it will begin to burn. When oil is hot, place fish in the oil one at a time to maintain your boil as you do not want to lose your oil temp.
2. Save left over bacon from breakfast and add potatoes and onions for lunch.
3. Parboil potatoes the night before. This saves on cook time at shore lunch.
4. NEVER trust a fart after several days of fried fish.
5. Have wet wipes handy – see tip #4.
Try to prepare and fill your shore lunch the night before you plan on serving it. This should include: A Rubbermaid container, 2 fry pans, flipper, salt and pepper, paper plates, oil, forks, cans of beans, cans of potatoes, can opener, breading, zip lock bags, boards to fillet fish, fillet knives, sharpeners, matches, tartar sauce, candy bars.
If possible, try to place everything into rubbermaid container so it’s easy to handle in boat. Here it can be used as a platform between seats for easy access to your lures, pliers and jaw spreaders.
DURING FIRE WARNINGS – Bring a Coleman stove with 2 small propane refills. This alternative to a campfire is easy to use, and wildfire safe. The 2 propane containers should easily last a week of shore lunches.
For more information on perfecting your shore-lunch, visit this article by Gord Pyzer!
Lunch Grocery Needs -
- 2 gal Oil for fish fry
- 5 boxes pre-mixed shore lunch fish batter
- Lemon Pepper
- 5 Canned beans
- 5 Canned Corn
- 3 Lemons
- 3 lbs Onions
- 3 Tartar Sauce easy squeeze bottles (who doesn’t love tartar)
- Potatoes (bring frozen or canned for fly-ins)
- Spam (optional)
- Fresh Fruit (look for wild blue berries at shore-lunch in August)
Each group member should be made responsible for planning a dinner or two. Each “cook” should supply the group leader a list of what they will need, or provide it themselves. Also, don't forget about pre-made options that can lessen the work needed for dinner each night.
Pre-made dinner suggestions:
- Homemade frozen lasagna
- Sloppy joes
- Steaks/ Burgers / Brats
- Pulled Pork
MISC FOOD ITEMS:
- Season Salt
- Tin foil
- Bread - frozen dough
- 3-bags prepared salad mix
- Salad Dressing
- Salt / Pepper
- Miracle Whip
- Ketchup / mustard
- Pickle relish
- Candy bars
- Cheese – bring lots
- Chips – salsa
- Cheese curds (Did we mention we’re from Wisconsin?)
- Granola Bars
- Horse Radish
- UTENSILS – check with lodge or outfitter most provide basics.
- Paper Plates
- Garbage bags
- Zip Lock Freezer bags – different sizes
- Knife / sharpener
- Rubber maid containers-for dry food
- Paper towel
- Paper cups
See you in Canada!
To begin planning your next Canadian trip, visit our Adventure Match to find the perfect lodge to suit your personal fishing and/or hunting preferences.
Editors Note: Joel Prunty is the president of Fishulo,llc and is passionate about using his expertise in Canadian wilderness travel to assist anglers and hunters in planning adventures. Over a 20 year association with a Canadian fishing and hunting sportshow producer, Joel visited over 300 of Canada's BEST lodges, resorts and outfitters. He currently sits on the Marketing Advisory Council for Tourism Saskatchewan and was previously named the Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters Association‘s (NOTO) member-of-the-year.
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