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Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Fly In Trip

Fly in fishing trips in Northern Ontario, Canada
Views like these eventually became awesome, not fear inducing

So, you have decided to jump into the world of fly in fishing. I remember my first trip like it was yesterday (even though I was skinnier, had more hair and was better looking on that first trip) First Fly In Report . It was magical and with a few more trips under my belt I think back to that first one and a few things that if I could so it again, I would change.

You Will Catch Fish

Heading into our first trip we were excited but in a lot of ways nervous. We were counting on eating fish a lot to manage our weight (more on that later) and bring in more beer. In the end we didn’t need to sweat it, we caught lots of fish, more than we imagined. For the most part a bad day on a fly in will be at least equal a great day on your home lakes. I recently read a report from a fly in where the anglers faced abnormal conditions, enough wind to keep them off the lake for a day and still averaged 30 fish a day between 2 anglers. I don’t know about you but that is way better than I have ever done at the cottage. So do yourself a favor, don’t sweat the fishing – they won’t jump in the boat, but they will be there.

Fly in fishing trips in Northern Ontario, Canada
Colin and I with meal fish on Shekak Lake

Plan Ahead

This may be counter intuitive to the first post but personally I think it is beneficial to do some planning ahead of your trip. I did a whole series on this – you can find it here Planning Post You don’t need to go crazy, make it fun (beers and wings anyone) but understand who is bringing what, do some lake research, communicate with your outfitter, do up a meal plan. Take a few hours from when you book until when you go – I think you will be thankful you did.

Fly in fishing trips in Northern Ontario, Canada
The map we created for Ogoki Lake as part of our plan

Don’t Weigh Yourself Down

In our group I was called the weight police. I couldn’t help it, I swear. I am a worrier by nature and leading up to the trip the idea of being “overweight” really had me on edge. I had visions of large bills or worse having to leave precious cargo at the airbase. Personally I don’t really even think about it anymore. Most outfitters will work with you, most are okay with some overweight and even if you have to pay a bill it’s probably less than $50 per person. I learned (the hard way) that I am fine to pay a few dollars or wait a few days for something I really want to go with me. Here’s a post on how we manage Weight Management

Fly in fishing trips in Northern Ontario, Canada
Our gear getting ready to be loaded onto White River Air's Turbo Otter

Soak it In

There is something magical about a fly in trip. The drive, the flight, being left alone on a lake for a week, disconnecting, enjoying nature – I could go on and on. My point is that while fishing is your main goal take some time to enjoy it all. Try not to rush, enjoy a late-night campfire, have a nap midafternoon, BBQ tomahawk steaks for dinner, enjoy a leisurely shore lunch. On my first trip I feel like the first few days were a blur as I worried about catching fish, then bigger fish and more fish and wondering if we forgot something or if there was a bear around every tree. Once I finally let go and just took it as it came, I began to relax and fully experience it.

Fly in fishing trips in Northern Ontario, Canada
Fire time at Root Bay

Keep it Simple

The number of stimuli and adrenaline that happens on that first fly in is impressive. For me I was freaked out by flying in a plane from the 60’s, by the time we landed, unpacked and sorted our gear it seemed like days since we left the air base. Simplifying our trip would have been a big benefit. We had to many options for meals, too much food, too much tackle, not enough coffee and so on. I can now fit all my tackle in two trays, breakfast is a do-it-yourself approach, and we try to limit our meals to basic except for one or two nights. Not saying any of the above needs to work for you but I think the more basic you keep things the more you can enjoy the important stuff.

Fly in fishing trips in Northern Ontario, Canada
A simple yet effective tackle selection

Take it or leave it – these are the things I wish I knew ahead of my first trip – or maybe not, who knows as I still rank that first trip as the most special but personally I have found that each trip we have been on since has allowed us to refine, simplify and spend more time enjoying than stressing out.



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