Following in Father’s Footsteps as an Aikens Lake Fishing Guide
Nov. 24, 2016
A decade before Marco Dumontier was born, his dad became the first fishing guide at Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge. Today, some 30 years later, Marco is following in his father’s footsteps as an Aikens Lake pro-staff fishing guide.
Marco’s experiences as a guide like his dad, Bob, where highlighted earlier this year in a podcast episode of “That Travel Guy.” The show’s host, Ron Pradinuk, fished with Marco and interviewed him after shorelunch.
“I’ve always dreamed of working here because my dad was a guide here,” Marco said in the interview. “My dad started working here about the same age as me. I heard nothing but good things about this place growing up. It’s been a privilege to work here and follow in his footsteps.”
Marco started as a dockhand and junior guide two summers ago, at age 18, and debuted as a full-time guide last year.
“He was very nervous,” said Bob, who introduced Marco to fishing as a young boy with frequent trips to Shoal Lake, Ontario.
“I told him he’d get great training because the staff at Aikens are really good at giving excellent training. I saw him gain a lot of confidence––a big part of guiding is talking with people. Marco was never shy or anything, but he’s gained an even better ability to talk with anyone.”
Marco’s winning personality and ability to put people on fish has made him quite popular with staff and guests alike. At camp, he’s developed the nickname Hedge Hog and, like his father before him, has become an integral part of the Aikens family and day-to-day operations.
“I love the atmosphere at Aikens,” Marco said. “It’s a combination of several things, the staff being a big part of it. Definitely one of the most rewarding parts of the job is you get to meet people from across the globe. Being able to teach first-time fishermen how to fish is also pretty rewarding.”
Another meaningful highlight this past year was getting to take his sister, Sophie, out fishing at Aikens.
“I had the opportunity this year of guiding my sister and her boyfriend when they came up during family and friends weekend. It was an absolute blast, I’m really glad I got to do that.”
Bob, for his part, is grateful Marco gets to experience life as a guide at a place that has mutual meaning for both father and son. Bob can still recall specific days, big catches and unique moments from his guiding days in the 1980s.
“Guiding at Aikens is a great experience for growth,” said Bob. “All the people I’ve seen go thru that experience at Aikens, it’s positive. Especially because it’s such a family there. Those bonds last forever. The people you guided with, you’re friends with your whole life. It’s a life experience.”
Marco is supremely qualified and an excellent guide in his own right, and his family ties helped us know even before Day 1 that he’d be a great fit at Aikens.
“We take great pride in the people we have here working with us,” Julie said. “We interview quite a few people and we look for a certain personality and attitude. We like to sit with them and talk with them and really make them talk a lot. If we can’t picture ourselves sitting across from Big Molly’s having a beer with them, we can’t expect anyone else to.”
In Marco’s case, this experience has been a long time coming.
“I’m very proud of Marco,” said Bob, his father. “I told him when he was young, ‘Maybe someday you could be a guide at Aikens.’ I relive my own guiding experiences when he recounts his guide stories to me.”
Note: Check back in the months ahead for a new blog about Bob’s experiences in the old days as Aikens’ first-ever guide.