Anyone who has ever spent a day elbow to elbow with a couple hundred other anglers off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, when bluefish are running or at any other overly poplar fishing vacation destination can dream of having a secret fishing hole all to themselves. It is a dream that is obtainable – at a price.
Just as every popular tourist location on the coast or anywhere near water has tried to sell itself to anglers, there also are places that can pick which anglers they wants. These fishing lodges and preserves cater to a more select crowd, with some of the choicest locations being booked up years in advance. To get in some of these, it really comes down to who you know, not what you know.
Hail to the Chief
Some, such as one in the fly fishing hotbed of Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania, are completely private and only people like American presidents and friends of the owner get to sample the trout stream there. When someone like ex-president Jimmy Carter is in town, he does not have to worry about the neighbors. The place gets shut down except for him and the U.S. Secret Service.
This is the very high end of the market; most fishing lodges are not that exclusive. Still, do not expect the trip to be cheap. Booking a three-night stay at a fishing lodge in Alaska is going to run somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,000 to $4,000, maybe as little of $2,500 in the off season.
A Guide and a Pilot
Paying for this type of vacation does have its benefits. The price tag includes accommodations, all necessary equipment and fishing tackle, the expertise of local fishing guides, and maybe even wet bar near the lodge fireplace to swap stories in the evening. Where vacationing anglers might be accustomed to having a guide lead them to the best nearby stream, some of these wilderness lodges offer to fly guests to more remote fishing holes.
This type of fishing vacation traditionally has centered around fly fishing for trout or salmon. If you go shopping for fishing lodges on the internet, tourist destinations in Canada or Alaska will dominate the list. Some of these locations are limited exclusively to fly fishing and boast of having been in business for more than 100 years.
Even in the more modest surroundings of the wilderness of British Columbia, vacationers opting for a weekend at a fishing lodge easily can spend more than $300 a day (“per rod”) with a fishing guide for two an additional $150 a day. There are less expensive deals. For instance, a night’s stay at Woody’s Lodge in northern Alabama, near some fine bass fishing lakes, starts at only $45. Of course, the price goes up from there as additional features are added as needed.