Fly-in Adventure: Today's Time Machine

Cat Island Lodge offers much more than spectacular fishing.

To understand the immense appeal of Canadian wilderness fishing you need to hop aboard a time machine. In my case, last July, the time machine starts as we board a vintage 1951 DeHavilland Otter on an adventure to find what Cat Island Lodge website describes as “Fishing as it was over 100 years ago.”

I’ve been on many Canadian fly-in adventures and there is one aspect of the trip you cannot replicate...the feeling of stress leaving your body as you fly back in time. For us the feeling began when lodge owner and pilot Faron Buckler hits the start toggle and our 600hp radial engine begins to spin. When Faron hits the mag switch our time machine rumbles to life like a classic Harley Davidson Knucklehead.
We taxi on the water until the cylinder head temperature hits about 100 degrees celsius and its full ear-blasting throttle for 40 seconds until the floats leave the water and our aircraft slowly gains altitude. Suddenly I have no deadlines, no phone calls or emails to return and no more fires to put. My cell phone signal is long gone and my trip back in time has begun. Everything seems right in the world.

It helps that on the adventure are my closest friends: brother Tim, nephew Joe Thimm (Fishulo’s editor) and cousin (and Fishulo partner) Rodney Schlafer. To perpetuate our love of the Canadian wilderness we’ve also brought along 14 year old Eli Schlafer and another nephew Noah Wetzel.

15 minutes later Cat Island Lodge – about 20 miles east of Red Lake, Ontario – comes into view and we’ve arrived. It’s a compact camp, on a flat piece of shoreline, with a beautiful sand beach facing the setting sun. The lodge does not resemble what fishing was like 100 years ago. New 40hp Yamaha outboards on 18ft flat bottom aluminum boats with depth locators, swivel seats and casting deck sit at the dock. The main log lodge is spotless and classic Canadian serving hearty food for a full day of fishing. There’s a lounge with sporting games and satellite TV for those that don’t want to completely unplug. And, if the fishing weren’t so spectacular you might just sit in front of the vast lodge windows overlooking Trout Lake sipping coffee all day.
The final piece of our time machine is Trout Lake, a massive lake with over 70,000 acres of island studded water. I’ve fished here several times before and it is one of my all-time favorites. Lake Trout, Northern Pike and Walleye fill its water and it is the walleye we’ll spend four days chasing on this adventure.


Unlike most waters in the U.S., in Canada, the best walleye fishing weather in remote areas is clear skies and high pressure. This pattern keeps fish in a feeding frenzy after a long cold Canadian winter. Unfortunately, that was not in our forecast. Ours was four days starting as windy, changing to rain and finishing with a cold front. When I expressed my concern to Faron he chuckled saying, “I wouldn’t get too worried…the fish will be biting. The ministry of natural resources has told us Trout Lake has some of the highest concentrations of walleye in the entire province.”

Faron was right; the weather had no impact on the fishing. On Trout Lake the walleye hit hard and fight like northern pike, stripping line off your spool at will. The average walleye are big, 20-22 inches with a healthy smattering of 23-26 inchers and good opportunity to hook into 27 inch plus fish.
We lost track of how many walleyes we caught on the first day, but it was a lot. And we proved Cat Island Lodge website statement held true; we did experience fishing as it must have been on walleye waters over 100 years ago.  But in the end, like a stiff cocktail, the spectacular fishing just set the stage for something truly remarkable. Something money can’t buy…deepening friendship, lifelong memories and perspective on what’s important in life.


So after four days of shorelunch, campfires, and fishing frenzy we realize the beauty of the Canadian wilderness…you get a whole lot more than what you pay for.  If you’ve never experienced a fly-in Canadian fishing trip, put it on your bucket list now. You’d be well served by starting with a call to Faron and his wife Joyce to reserve a spot aboard your own personal time machine in 2016.


Visit to book your adventure through time!




Joel Prunty -
Editors Note: Joel Prunty of Fishulo,llc 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 sport-show 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.


To begin planning your next Canadian excursion, visit our Adventure Match to find the perfect lodge to suit your personal fishing or hunting preferences.


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