Many anglers have a misconception that an adventure to Canada is expensive. If you are willing to do a bit of research and plan ahead, you’ll soon see it’s possible to organize an unforgettable trip to the “Great White North” on almost any budget.
Hopefully this article will motivate you to put a Canada fishing adventure at the top of your list and help you save money without compromising the quality of your experience.
Although I don’t watch the status of the international money-markets on a daily basis, I have picked up a few bits of news lately that bode well for anyone looking to plan a trip to Canada this year. As compared to previous years, the U.S. Dollar is strong right now and appears to be getting even stronger in the upcoming months. What does that mean for you? It means that trips to Canada this year are on sale—if you know what you’re doing, that is. With a strong American dollar at nearly a 30% premium in value compared to the Canadian dollar, it means that each American dollar you have saved for your trip has more “bang for your buck.”
To use this to your advantage, look for lodges accepting Canadian funds. Many lodges are already on U.S. funds so you would not benefit quite as much, but there are still plenty that don’t. If the lodge you chose charges in U.S. funds, you still benefit from all the incidental costs along the way! Combine that with the continuously falling fuel prices and you have a real bargin in the making for 2016!
American vs. Housekeeping: One easy way to reduce the cost of your trip is by choosing a plan providing everything you need, with no unnecessary amenities. If you are willing and able to cook and clean for yourself, I highly recommend choosing the Housekeeping Plan instead of the American Plan. Doing so, eliminates the fees related to the lodge cooking and cleaning for your party. This alone can save you 20 to 30% on your lodging.
If you do choose the Housekeeping option, have a solid plan for what you will need for food and how you will prepare it. You’d be shocked how much people over-pack food stocks only to wind up leaving much of it behind. Fishing and travel expert Joel Prunty once told me he knows a lodge owner helps stock a local food pantry with leftovers, and that he and his friends haven't had to buy beer or whiskey for personal use in the last 10 years because of the “supplies” left behind by visiting anglers.
This brings up another money-saving tip. If you like to indulge in alcoholic refreshments back at the cabin, purchase beer or liquor in the U.S. and bring it with you. Right now a case of beer on the Canadian side goes for $5 to $10 more.
Guides And Boats
If possible, be your own fishing guide. This typically applies to individuals who have experience navigating a boat and finding/catching fish at home. Choosing to fish without a guide will save a nice chunk of money and will allow you to captain your own rig.
If you are less experienced, however, I recommend using the guide services provided because navigating unfamiliar water can be hazardous, and like almost everything else in the Canadian Bush, help might be hours away.
Bringing your own boat is another money saver as renting a rig can be one of the most expensive parts of the trip.
Fishing live bait is a big part of the Canadian angling experience, but it costs money. Purchasing an unnecessary amount of minnows, worms, leaches etc. can be an unexpected shock at check-out time. It’s best to wisely manage the bait you do purchase. Take only what you need for the day and make sure to store unused bait so it remains fresh and lively for the next day. A final tip: be sure to verify bait charges on your bill. Some lodges will have a standard issuance and fee per day.
Besides the unbelievable fishing in Canada, one of the main draws for Americans is the scenic beauty and the solitude of a remote wilderness lodge. There’s more than one way to make it happen.
Fly-In Trip: If you plan to fly into Canada, look for a lodge that charters its flights out of a major city, such as Winnipeg or Saskatoon. You’ll be surprised at how many do. This eliminates the need for a mid-leg flight to a smaller airport or floatplane station and can cut your in-country travel costs in half.
Boat-In Trip: Although fly-in options allow anglers to reach some of the most remote fishing locations, many people mistakenly believe that you must choose a fly-in trip to experience the true wilderness that Canada has to offer. It simply isn’t true. If you are looking to save money on your remote adventure, I recommend the boat-in options for traveling to a resort or outpost. Very often, a boat-in lodge will offer the same remote feeling of a fly-in resort—at half, or a quarter, of the cost. Also, don’t think that because you chose a boat-in option your trip will be less enjoyable. In many cases, boat-in lodges offer the same high-quality fishing with vast unspoiled wilderness to match.
Drive-In Trip: If neither a boat- nor a fly-in trip meets your budget, don’t be discouraged. Canada offers numbers of drive-in resorts with lodging and fishing quality that can’t be matched anywhere else on earth.
If you do decide to drive, however, there are a few money-saving tips to keep in mind. First, fill your vehicle’s fuel tank on the U.S. side of the border. Right now, gas in Ontario, Canada, is just under $4 per gallon. Don’t be fooled by the low numbers on gas station billboards; those prices are for liters, not gallons, of gas.
Finally, be prepared for the unexpected. Many Canadian roadways are isolated and don’t see a lot of traffic on a daily basis. Make sure your vehicle and trailer tires are in good condition and properly pressurized, the vehicle’s fluids are topped off, belts are in good shape etc. You don’t want to have multiple flats or break down in the middle of nowhere without a back-up plan to keep the trip afloat. Without a spare tire (two spares, if possible), a tool set and extra fluids, a breakdown could easily cost you a day of your trip and $1,000 to get back on the road. Check everything before you leave home.
If you take the time to utilize some of the money-saving strategies, you’ll be surprised at what a bargain a Canadian fishing adventure can be. You can take the trip of your dreams for the price of a few night’s stay in a local hotel.
Editor’s Note: Joe Thimm, the Website and Social Media Editor for Fishulo, LLC. As an avid angler and outdoorsman, Joe is a frequent vistor of Canadian lodges and outposts. At Fishulo, we dedicate our time to to helping sportsmen and women pinpoint and plan the perfect fishing or hunting trips to Canada. For more information, visit the Fishulo website.
To begin planning your next Canadian adventure, visit our Adventure Match to find the perfect lodge to suit your personal fishing or hunting preferences.
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