A Family’s Aikens Adventure Inspired by Their Late Father
Sep. 26, 2018
When Dave Loveys’ father passed away a year ago, Dave thought back to the first time the father and son had ever caught a walleye, experienced a floatplane and embarked on a fly-in fishing adventure into the Canadian wilderness. He thought of Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge.
In the aftermath of his father’s death, Dave’s brother said, “Why don’t we do a fishing trip like you did with dad? Why don’t we do Aikens again?”
It had been nearly three decades since that special trip. Dave was 24 at the time, and because he was the younger generation on that memorable vacation with his father and a few of his father’s friends, he was in fact the only member of the party still alive to make the return voyage to Aikens.
“We made a lot of lifetime memories on our first trip to Aikens, so when my brother suggested it I thought it would be really cool to do a family trip back at Aikens,” said Dave (pictured above), of New Jersey. “I remembered a lot from that trip. It was great to get there and walk around and see the camp, how it looked and was set up. This time we stayed at Great Gray Owl (GGO) which was really an incredible place to spend a few days.”
Dave’s party was comprised of his brother and a half dozen extended family members, so the group got to fish with 4 guides each day, and enjoyed the morning sight of seeing the fleet of guide boats coming across the lake to see pick them up for an exciting day on the water.
“Every day we caught a lot of great walleye, and that’s exactly what I was looking forward to doing,” said Dave, again noting that the first walleye he (or his dad) ever caught was at Aikens.
The scenery and silence remain a huge part of the Aikens experience to Dave.
“The thing I love about it, you get out there and you turn the engine off and it’s just absolute quiet,” Dave said. “That’s the part that I love––you’re out there on that water and looking around and you’re all alone. That’s great.”
The family had a blast both on and off the water, with all the walleye action, relaxing time together and delicious meals emerging as three highlights.
“We had great meals with our hosts––they were incredible,” said Dave, adding it’s unique to be in such a remote setting with such excellent service. “Then to have that lunchtime meal is just amazing the way they prepare the fish for you at the cook out. That lunch really makes the whole day. It’s fun to come back together as a group for lunch and then go back out for a few hours and fish again.”
In the evenings, the family enjoyed playing cards and relaxing in the cabin, with a trip to Big Molly’s back at the main lodge one evening.
“It’s kind of fun to not have TV for a few days,” Dave said. “On Saturday night we went into Big Molly’s and had some drinks and played some shuffleboard and pool. We met some of the other guests at the bar, and our guides were there too so we talked with them.”
During Dave’s first trip to Aikens in 1992, he had a special guide he remembers well to this day: Gerry Turenne, the Big Guy.
“When we got back to the lodge after our first day fishing, Gerry met us, we got to have a drink with him and we found out he was going to guide us the next day. He took us out and we trolled for trout and we caught a nice one,” Dave said. “Gerry was such a neat person to spend a day with on the water. That was a great day with my dad, myself and Gerry.”
In fact, it was Gerry’s personality that Dave remembers best about that day.
“I remember Gerry being a real down to earth, nice guy. We were talking fishing stories and he was telling us about the lake and the history of it,” said Dave.
What blew Dave away upon his Aikens return after three decades was seeing how Pit had grown up to become just like his dad.
“I saw a video of Pit on the website before we got up to Aikens and I noticed the resemblance, and then when got to the lodge and I met Pit it was crazy. It was the spitting image of his dad,” Dave said. “The looks and his voice, even his mannerisms.”
“I was really happy to hear that Pit is helping to run the lodge and it’s successful,” Dave said. “Gerry did such a great job with it. The service was excellent, he was first class in all regards, and to see that happening again and continuing 30 years later … it’s special to see.”