I love to fish. Anyone who knows me knows this simple fact about me. If I’m not fishing on a river in North Florida then I have my rod in the ocean. My life’s irony, however, is that I am married to a man who has never baited a hook. I’ve always dreamed of going to a fly-in and fish lodge but thought it was out of the question because I’d have to go alone. That was until I was introduced to Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge.
The thought of catching big Walleye and Pike on a lake in northern Canada quickly got me over any apprehensions I might have had, including my plane landing on water, possibly being the only woman at the lodge, and not knowing the right casting techniques for lake fishing. Aikens Lake is a 30-minute small plane ride north of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada. It’s a family owned business run by Pit and his wife and a team of wonderful staff. In fact, you immediately feel like part of the family when you arrive because everyone comes out to greet you on the dock as you arrive.
I flew from South Florida to Winnipeg and was picked up the next morning by an Aikens shuttle. The 45-minute drive took me to the seaplane where we boarded, along with all the fresh foods and provisions also traveling to the lodge. Since there are no roads to Aikens Lake everything is flown in. I might be a million miler on Delta but I’ve always had a fear of drowning in a plane that crashes into the water. Sitting in the back of a plane I knew would land on water was a bit unnerving but I reminded myself that my attraction to this fishing adventure was the “fly-in” part. Surprisingly the flight was fantastic. It was beautiful to fly over untouched landscaped dotted with dozens of lakes and the landing was as smooth as any at LaGuardia. The staff greeted me as I de-planed and, after a quick breakfast of yogurt, fruit and egg whites, I was fishing within one hour of arriving.
My guide was Marco and to say that he was a GREAT GUIDE wouldn’t do him justice. This guy knew how to find fish. My stay included two days of fishing and the best part was that I could select the times, type of fish to target, and fishing techniques. Not only did I learn so much about fishing from Marco but I caught over 100 big fish in those two days.
The first day, I caught over 40 fish with three rods in the water. All the fish are catch and release except the Walleye we intended to cook for lunch. The Aikens experience includes a shore side lunch of fresh cooked fish and potatoes. They cook the fish in several ways, from beer battered and fried to Cajun spiced and it’s all done on an open fire on the side of the lake. These were my favorite meals of the trip only because I love fish so much and the ambiance of eating in the woods on the side of a lake was amazing. As a mom, I felt a little guilty to just lay on a warm rock while Marco did all the cooking but I quickly got over that when I decided to embrace the experience. Other than spotting a black bear in the woods while I was squatting, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so relaxed.
My biggest catch of the weekend was a 34-pound lake trout.
At times, I had a fish on every rod. Amazing.
I never felt out-of-place as a woman traveling alone and there were several times that I thought Aikens Lake would be the perfect girls’ weekend destination. It’s perfect for the novice or serious fisherwoman, offers beautiful scenery and a relaxing beach, food that is comparable to some of the best restaurants in New York, and five-star services. What else could a woman want? It even had a popcorn machine and pool table in Big Molly’s Bar where everyone gathered each evening to compare fish stories or just enjoy a nice glass of wine.
As Marco and I headed back to the dock after catching our 60th fish of the day, all I could think of was planning my next fishing trip to Aikens Lake. Next time, I’m bringing my entire family because there’s truly something for everyone… even my husband.
Author and CEO of BSM Media, Maria Bailey is a trendsetter and the leading expert in Marketing to Moms. Her expertise in influencer markets is recognized by Ad Age, Wall Street Journal, CNN, New York Times, Billboard Magazine, as well as hundreds of other media outlets. Maria is an invited speaker around the globe and her eight marketing books on Mom Marketing and Influencer engagement are published in 12 languages. Maria resides in South Florida and is the mother of four children.
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