Short Haul vs Long Haul - How far do you need to go?

Posted by Rich B. on to Fishing Trip Tips & Advice

We have all "been there" as we looked over different brochures or reviewed websites of fishing camps and lodges for a Canadian fishing trip. Whether it's a family vacation to head north of the border with our children or other family members; or it's going north with a group of fishing buddies; the same discussions arise...."where to go and how long will the drive take" ?

How far should/can we go?

For those of us that are not fortunate enough to live within a few hours drive time of the the Canadian border, this discussion always seems to involve the two fundamentals.

  • The amount of travel time on the roads to get there
  • Travel related expenses such as gas, motels, tolls and meals.

With many families today having both spouses employed, it is often a chore to line-up everyone's schedule for a 7 day week up in the north country, without adding several days drive time (both up to the camp and then back home). With most camps and lodges having their guests arrive on a Saturday and leave the following Saturday, a trip with drive time of 7-8 hours allows you to leave early enough that you can drive north, and then later the same day hit the water around dinnertime after unpacking and setting up one's gear.

With a 12+ hour trip of driving, that would be much more difficult to pull off (especially with younger children). While I know of families that do drive a long day (or drive two days) and arrive to their camp later in the evening, doing so is more taxing and adds additional expenses to the vacation costs. Then if you are towing your own fishing rig (or a fish & ski boat), this also adds to the travel costs as well as stress (i.e. being in heavy traffic or stop & go traffic).

How can I find what camps/lodges are within the time/distance I'm will to travel?

You can also use this site,My Canada Fishing Trip, to help determine which camps are withing your travel distance using our Trip Finder and also when Browsing Trips. While browing trips select the closest major city to you and you can filter on driving time (8 hours, 12 hours, etc) and also see estimated driving distance when viewing camps/trips. For exampe for me Cleveland, Ohio would be the closest city. Since I know Cleveland is a 2 hour drive and that I'd like to keep my travel time under 12 hours. I select Cleveland as my city and look for trips 10 hours or less away.

What are you looking for from your fishing trip?

The initial discussions of where to go for a week of fishing (and R&R with family and friends) includes meeting the needs of younger children; and often those are provided at some of the more southern camps and lodges that offer swimming pools, lake beaches, and play areas (both outside and inside); as well as having local towns that offer other entertainment. From my experience, the further north one travels in Canada the better the fishing (in most cases) will be for your vacation, though the less amenities are found at those camps for families with young children (and many times these camps are located further away from local towns and stores).

For groups of "die-hard" friends that fish strong all day, and every day; one of the main factors (if not the most important) is the quality of the lake's fishing. Whether it's trophy walleye fishing or looking for action that is found all day long with numbers; this topic is always discussed. Followed by the quality of the lodging (and those costs) with "how long of a drive is it to this camp" ? For myself and my fishing buddies, we have decided that driving around 24 hours on the road each way (for fishing the Spring Opener in Northwest Ontario) is well worth our efforts.

However, for my family over the years, we decided that a one day drive to a nice camp that meets our family's needs is just fine. Our Holiday time at camp is often found around the camp's swimming pool or boating, followed later by a bar-b-q or camp fire (and fishing time is fitted into the very early hours).

Often one's final decision rests on a compromise (every married person knows this, and hence, that is why we have our "bucket lists"). Though which ever trip and camp you decide upon, I have found these vacations provide you with life long memories of fun times with your family and friends; and that is worth every mile of your drive north.