Prepping for Your Big Trip


Fly in fishing trip for walleye and pike in Northern Ontario, Canada
Chris with a nice fly in pike. Image courtesy of Chris Brock

Nothing beats the excitement and build up to a trip! Perhaps you are flying into a lodge, or you have an epic paddling trip planned – either way it gets the blood pumping. The build up can be intense – especially if you live in a cold climate where I do - the winter months drag on and you’re not as active in the outdoors taking off the edge. For me this is the time of year I focus on prepping for that upcoming trip. What prep is needed? Well for a lot of people not much but if you are a bit neurotic and bored like me – lots!


1) Revisit Your Last Trip

Our group always meets within a month of returning from a trip. The idea is to gather notes on a variety of topics – what tactics worked, did we have too much of something or too little? Would we travel the same way, did we like the lake or the outfitter or is there any gear that could have made the trip easier? Leading up to our next trip I like to review these notes and then reach out to the group to re confirm our thinking. Since we now know our next adventure its easier to nail down items needed or prep to be done. For example, on our last trip we forgot to pack rags – in the past we had always brought a pack our car wash rags – you know the 20 pack you can get at Wal Mart or Canadian Tire. Flying commercial for the first time they didn’t make it to Root Bay and we missed them Root Bay Report . They are great for having in the kitchen, keeping a few in the boat and personally I like one in my boat bag for my hands. Needless to say, I already bought a pack for our 2022 adventure.


Fly in fishing trip for walleye and pike in Northern Ontario, Canada
Algonquin Views - I really wanted a quick coffee here but we hadn't packed instant

2) Meal Planning

I have written a few articles on how we plan out our meals. Overall, I would say we try to balance between efficiency and enjoyment. Breakfast is a simple affair; lunches are made to go in the boats, but dinner is more extravagant. Over the years we have honed our approach but each year we adapt and evolve. Last summer we re-visited canoe camping and loved it Algonquin 2021 With a few trip on the docket for 2022 we need to revamp our menu a bit. We want to go lighter, more dehydrated, or simple meals and not need to worry as much about cooling fresh food. We are also going to be doing longer portages, so we need to be mindful of weight. For our fly in trip, we will be flying commercial again – one thing we missed in 2020 was having some premade meals that just needed to be heated up. We also must accommodate for vegetarian diets and while we did okay on our last trip, we believe we can simplify. For 2022 we are looking to adapt our menu a bit and pull together more 1 pot meals that can be made without meat, but a side of protein can be cooked separately and added later.


3) Gear Updates

I love gear – whether its lures, tools or even clothing – I love researching and purchasing new gear. I have a problem 5 Signs You Have a Fishing Problem There is some practical application though. One of our trips this year will be a Trout fishing trip in Algonquin Park. I have very limited trout fishing tackle – I didn’t go to town, but I did some research and created a small kit with lures and hardware that will serve me well. On all our trips I find I can never have enough water – whether fishing in the boat or paddling to the next lake. I love my Nalgene but often find by mid-day I am needing a refill badly and I am not drinking enough. Watching some Joe Robinet videos, I was intrigued by the Katadyn Be Free Water bottle he was using. Katadyn Be Free It’s a water bottle with a built-in filter – simply fill it up in the lake or river or wherever, put the filter on, squeeze and go – perfect!


Fly in fishing trip for walleye and pike in Northern Ontario, Canada
The Katadyn BeFree 1 litre. Image courtesy of Katadyn Group.

4) Map Study and Tactics

While fishing should be easy on a fly in trip that’s not always the case. Fish don’t always follow the playbook and weather conditions can throw a wrench into well laid plans. That’s why I think it’s important to formulate a solid game plan prior to the trip. We review bathymetric maps, look at google earth, scour the internet for trip reports and read articles on tactics for the targeted species. Typically, I will also have a call or exchange emails with our outfitter asking for tips and tricks. We end up with a decent map highlighting a roster of high percentage spots and a plan to attack. We have learned the hard way that just assuming every fishy spot has fish leads to disappointment.


Fly in fishing trip for walleye and pike in Northern Ontario, Canada
The map we created for Ogoki Lake - was very helpful

If you have booked a trip and our starting to feel the pain and excitement of the buildup diving into a few of the outlined tactics may help take the edge off and make your trip a wee bit better. If anything, use it as an excuse to get together with your group over a malty beverage and some spicy wings!


Cheers

Andrew

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