In the spring of 2005, new majority partners led by Chris Jensen and Jeff Hahn of PV Capital came into the fold. Well, actually, Chris has been fishing Aikens Lake since 1992 - the year his father Dale brought him to Aikens as a high school graduation gift. Chris hooked into a 32" walleye on that first trip and the rest is history. Since the beginning of the partnership, there has been a wonderful synergy as everyone is on the same page when it comes to key decisions. Major investment by the new partners in those first few years instantly brought Aikens Lake into the upper echelons of fly-in fishing lodges. Chris and Jeff both visit Aikens regularly during the season.
Aikens Lake has always kept customer service (and always will keep it) as our top priority and we make sure our young and vibrant staff understands this philosophy as well. We have continued to hire very intelligent and personable staff in all positions at Aikens, from your guides, to your housekeeping and kitchen crews, to our bartenders. We are committed to continually improving your "Aikens Experience" - sometimes this means small improvements but we also aren't afraid to reinvest in order to renovate different areas of the lodge, it's structures, or the incredible boat fleet so that we are always on the cutting edge. Lastly, we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint; especially since we are located in a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as within the boundaries of a Provincial Wilderness Park that is untouched by industry and infrastructure. We love discussing all of the wonderful things we have already done to become "greener" – and those that are planned for the future – with anyone who shares this passion.
Read more about Chris in our Spotlight Article
Many of our valued guests saw Pit grow up at Aikens Lake. When his parents Gerry and Lorraine Turenne first became partners in the lodge in 1988, Pit was but a mere 10 years old! He essentially grew up at Aikens, spending each of his summers working every possible job from rookie grunt worker, logger and laborer, and eventually guiding for several years before becoming head guide for the 2000 and 2001 seasons. His fingerprints are everywhere on this peninsula. For nearly two decades, Gerry and Lorraine did an incredible job managing the lodge, the staff, and the resource. They brought it from a small operation to one of the top fly-in destinations in North America by focusing on the service aspect and providing guests with a memorable experience. By being such consummate hosts, they were the ones who created the "Aikens Experience," which means that your time off the water is just as important and enjoyable as your time on it! Pit has learned how to host people and understands the importance of the experience people are seeking. He strives to make sure that the "Aikens Experience" keeps improving year after year.
Julie's first summer at Aikens was in 2000. She worked several years in the kitchen and housekeeping and has a keen eye for detail. Today, Julie oversees both departments and is our key administrator when it comes to scheduling and planning. You can imagine the logistics involved in hosting over 500 guests per summer, while managing a staff of 24+ people and making sure that everyone has flights in and out, enough food for the kitchen to serve delicious meals, all the supplies everyone needs all way down to things you wouldn't think of until you actually run out of it. Her organizational skills are second to none and she is the glue that holds together our little community by making sure that logistics are always taken care of and no one is ever left wanting anything during their stay at Aikens Lake.
Pit and Julie have been managing the lodge full time since 2005, and they are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity year after year to be able to raise their young family in such an incredible setting. They both spend the entire summer at the lodge, with the children joining them when school is out (and maybe a week or two while school is still in session!) The children (Annika - 2004, Marty - 2006, Natasha - 2009) bring a genuine "family atmosphere" to the lodge. In addition, Pit and Julie thrive in the challenge of providing everyone with that memorable experience they are seeking. They both have the practical knowledge by having worked at Aikens for many seasons, and also have the book smarts to make sure every aspect of your trip is taken care of with professionalism. They use all of this background to make sure that the "Aikens Experience" continues to offer our valued guests an incredibly unique blend of great fishing, unbeatable service, and lasting memories!
In 2014, majority shareholder Christopher Jensen provided Patrick and Janelle with an unexpected but deserved reward for their years of great work and loyalty.... they now own a part of Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge!
Patrick has been working at Aikens since 2000. He started off working on the dock before proving his chops on the lake when he became a guide a few years later. He eventually became our longest tenured head guide, working 5 seasons in that role (2004-2008). He proved himself enough over the years to be offered the opportunity to become the first salaried year-round employee of Aikens, so in 2007 he added the title of "Sales Manager." His knowledge of the fishery, combined with his innate ability to read people and his gift of gab made him a great salesperson right from day 1. He still fulfills that role each winter, and in the summers you can see him in his coveralls taking great pride in keeping the Aikens machine running smoothly both on and off the water.
Janelle began working at Aikens in 2006. She ascended through the ranks working in housekeeping, waitressing, bartending, and even saw spot duty in the kitchen from time to time. Janelle and Patrick served as hosts at GGO for three seasons. Janelle's charm and easy-smile made her a favorite with our guests, and she began working fulltime for Aikens in 2010 as the Guest Relations Manager.
We are proud to have welcomed Patrick and Janelle into the partnership. They are thrilled to own a slice of a place they hold so dear to their hearts - Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge!
Those young staff members make me realize that our future is in good hands. Every one of them are class act young people, such a joy to associate with when you see what is going on across the land. Thanks again for the great hospitality from you and ALL of the staff.
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Truly an experience you'll want to relive over and over. This father-son-grandpa trip went from being a once in a lifetime experience, to an annual fishing trip! See you next summer!
Aikens is the perfect place for a family trip. The cabins are the best we’ve ever been in, the lodge is beautiful, and of course Pit and Julie are wonderful hosts.
Wisconsin President Organization, Group Leader
My husband and I never go back to the same place twice, but we loved it so much at Aikens we knew by the end of our first week we’d be back. It’s just how well they take care of you there. They make you feel like you’re part of the family.
Lake Oswego, Oregon
I’ve taken many large groups to Aikens and I always tell people beforehand how incredible the service is at Aikens. Every person has said to me at the end of the trip, “We believed you before, but I just can’t believe how good they treat you here!” One time Pit and Julie didn’t have the type of alcohol on-hand one of our guests was drinking, so they sent a plane out and got it.
Westman Dreams for Kids
I call it a 5-star hotel in the wilderness. It’s the neatest place we’ve ever been, it’s like fantasy island.
Each year we go somewhere as a family. We’ve been to Hawaii, Disney and many other places, but Aikens was one of the best trips we’ve ever had. Our trip was terrific, and my grandson loved every minute of it.
You think you’re at a Ritz-Carlton, you seriously get that level of treatment and amenities. Nobody in Manitoba can compete with Aikens for the quality of the fishing, staff, and facilities.
Trip number five and once again Aikens Lake out did itself. I thought it impossible for this wonderful place to get any better.
NHL Senior VP of Hockey Operations, 14 year NHL player and captain, and Aikens Lake Honorary Pro Staff Guide
From the accommodations, to the staff and especially shore lunch, the entire experience at Aikens Lake is unmatched.
Former United States Vice-President
The photos are amazing and like the memories, they will last a lifetime.
Former NFL MVP Quarterback, TV Commentator, and Founder of the Boomer Esiason Foundation (against cystic fibrosis)