How To Pick The Best Fishing Lodge

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Why Are Fishing Lodges So Popular?

When it comes time to take a break from the normal routine, the fishing enthusiast has several options available. For example, a camping trip in a nearby park or conservation area, or simply hiring a charter for a full day of fishing with the family.

If you’re looking for the ultimate outdoors getaway with little stress, it’s tough to beat the time you could have at a fishing lodge.

Jack Bollinger/callwild

Fishing lodges will give you adventure and variety while at the same time offering a relaxing environment. You can choose to go for an untried species far away, or save some money by sticking with a lodge closer to home. With there being so many great fishing spots out there, you are bound to find a fishing lodge that fits your desires in a vacation.

Things To Consider When Looking For A Lodge

By Andrea Wow/

There’s more to picking a lodge than knowing where it’s located. If you’re looking at ice fishing lodges for example, you’ll need to know in advance what warm clothes you’ll need in advance and what equipment is provided by the lodge (such as flashers or live bait). Below is a basic list of the major things you need to consider before booking a lodge.


How much per room? How many beds per room? Is there a deal for staying a certain amount of days? What food is included? Are all meals paid for including snacks? Is there routine cleaning service? Can you fish at night? Does each cabin have its own shower, or is there a common shower room? Remember that no matter the reviews about how well the fishing is at a lodge, a trip can be ruined if it’s not comfortable.

Nearby Amenities

Are there grocery stores nearby? Souvenir shops? Health clinics? Clothing stores? You may forget something when you pack, meaning it’s always a good idea to know what stores you may need close by just in case.

Non-Fishing Activities

Remember, not everyone you go with may be completely into fishing, so it is important that there are other things to do for the non-angler. And sometimes you’ll want to take a break from your break and go shopping or see other sites. If you foresee you or your friends and family getting that itch, be sure to know in advance what shopping centers and other attractions are nearby. If you flew in to a location, are you completely isolated from any nearby villages or is there a way to get to town somewhere?


Not every lodge is perfect for the whole family. Be sure to ask around for how accommodating the lodge is for children.

Guide Service

How much does a guide cost? Is every guided fishing trip included in my deposit, or must I pay per outing? Does the lodge offer guides or just accommodation? Oftentimes lodges provide you room and board for a fee and then you spend a greater amount on a chartered trip that includes a guide.

Cancellation Policies

Sometimes planning a trip goes awry and you have to cancel a trip. It happens. Though you may give the lodge ample notice, many fishing lodges have very strict cancellation policies and will not give you a refund for canceling. Be sure you know the risks and policies of any lodge you sign on with. Consider travel insurance as a safety precaution.

Fishing Licenses

Do you have to buy a fishing license in advance or does the lodge sell one on site? Remember that just because you may have a license in your home state, doesn’t mean it will cover somewhere else. Same goes for certain species you catch. For example, fishing for king salmon in Alaska requires you to buy a separate salmon fishing stamp in addition to a license.

Fishing Equipment

Not all lodges provide fishing equipment for its guests. Often lodges that do are more expensive; however the service erases the stress on the guest of possibly forgetting a crucial piece of gear. Always make sure what’s provided for you by the lodge and what you need to bring.

Where Are Prime Fishing Destinations?

Some locations are much more popular than others, and though there will be more lodges to choose from as a result, there are also many more customers competing to rent out the same space. When looking to go somewhere popular, like for BC fishing lodges, give yourself plenty of time before your vacation date to book a lodge when you want. It is not uncommon to have to book a year in advance for some of the more respected lodges.

By Roman Krochuk/

British Columbia, with its outstanding saltwater and freshwater fishery, may very well be the most popular destination for fishing vacations in Canada. There seems to be an endless amount of sport fishing lodges available. Salmon fishing lodges are the most prevalent in the province, but other species such as sturgeon, steelhead, and halibut are also targeted. However, as good as the fishing can be in BC, its trademark as a great vacation destination lies in its scenery. From beautiful mountains to watching the sun set over the Pacific coastline, BC will not leave you disappointed. Queen Charlotte Lodge, is a perfect mix of excellent fishing (salmon and halibut) and beautiful ocean scenery.

For those looking for a little more adventure, flying in to a lodge well off the beaten track is the way to go. Alaska is home to plenty of lakes and rivers and even ocean coastlines that don’t receive the same fishing pressure as most of the southern states and provinces. For the true sportsman, hunting fishing lodges are set up for the best of both worlds in one trip. Given the harshness of this environment – especially the more north you go – be sure you bring with you the proper equipment, food, and clothing to make your vacation as comfortable as possible.

The east coast may not receive the same notoriety for lodges as they do along the Pacific Ocean, but the variety of fish species found in places like the Florida coast and Chesapeake Bay is virtually unparalleled. In Canada, a St. John’s fishing lodge in Newfoundland grants you both adventure and the luxuries of a town as you pursue Atlantic salmon, an immensely popular fish choice for western Europeans.

Sometimes the province or state you go to does not matter so long as there’s fish. For example, high quality pike fishing lodges can be found in many locations across North America. Saskatchewan contains some of the biggest northerns in the continent, but northern Ontario isn’t too shabby either.

For whatever species you choose to target, always be sure to check the regulations for the province or state you end up going. You may know all the rules for pike at home, but those rules can change elsewhere.

Jack Bollinger/callwild

Warm weather isn’t the only time to seek out a fishing vacation. Ice fishing lodges are very popular in several Canadian provinces as well as northern states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and most of all, Minnesota. These kinds of lodges will have ice shanties on a nearby a lake you can rent out to fish through the ice in warmth. For ice houses further out on the lake, lodge staff will drop you off and pick you up at your convenience.

Business Opportunities Abound

If you’re looking for a way to get into the fishing business, owning a fishing lodge is a good way to go. Finding fishing lodges for sale is the easy part as you can find many advertisements online or in magazines, and many will already come fully staffed in the sale. If you plan on keeping the business going, owning a lodge will give you some extra income. If running a business seems a little too intimidating, another route is to buy a lodge and just turn it into your own personal fishing locale for friends and family.

Jack Bollinger
Born in Massachusetts, Jack is an avid fisherman most of his life. He is currently a fishing guide in the bay of California. He has been fishing for more than 40 years and fly-fishing for more than 30. His favorite fish to catch is the rainbow trout and small-mouth bass. He has earned many top places in different lake fishing competitions.

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