Toyota's Call of the Tundra

A big thank you to all participants and staff! Dave Mercer

Call of the Tundra: In the summer of 2008, the camp was abuzz with excitement as camera crews scoured the lake capturing the experience of contestants in Toyota's annual "Call of the Tundra" promotion. The tournament-style event featured five randomly drawn (and very lucky) winners selected from dealerships from the Prairie Zone in Western Canada fishing for the keys to a brand-new Toyota Tundra truck! For four fun-filled days, we were the proud hosts of Toyota's "Call of the Tundra" grand prize trip.

Beautiful morning fog greets contestants About to catch a lunker on tape.

The tournament begins:In two morning sessions of fishing each angler scored the total length of their five biggest walleyes (total of ten fish). The first morning of tournament fishing challenged the anglers with high West winds and cooler temperatures. Many fish were boated and each competitor got back to the dock eager to up their scores on day two. However, Mother Nature had other plans. Day two began with heavy winds and constant rain… Not conducive to filming. A revised plan had our guests fishing with the guides for fun and everyone enjoyed a classic Aikens shore lunch at the Great Gray Owl site, warming their hands by the fire and their bellies with deliciously prepared walleye.

Contestants in the morning fog on day 3Capturing the experience.

Day 2 of the tournament: Having practiced their hook-sets and rested up for the last day’s event, the competitors (staff and film crew alike) were overjoyed to wake up to a beautiful sunny day for the final tournament session. The Back Bay had a magical fog hanging thick making for some awesome picture. Our host Dave Mercer, creator and host of “Facts of Fishing“, sounded the air horn to set off the five competing guide boats for an exciting shotgun start to day three.

Dave and Ron go evening fishing.An incredible shorelunch makes one's mouth water.

At high noon, everyone congregated at shore lunch knowing that one of them would soon be the proud owner of a new truck! The afternoon was spent on the lake fishing, while back at the lodge, scores were tallied and the dining room was readied for the award ceremony. Lights, camera and action filled the lodge while Dave Mercer entertained the crowd before handing the keys to the winner. It was a very cool event to host in our spacious lodge.

Dave shows his dad how to bring in the big ones.Guide dock in the morning fog.

The partners that made this event happen: Aikens is proud to have partnered with Prairie Toyota Dealers and Travel Manitoba in hosting this televised competition which promoted Toyota Tundra trucks, Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge and Manitoba wilderness! Also, a very special thanks to Dave Mercer for being a consummate host and for sharing his incredible talent for making people laugh anytime, anywhere.

Guides lining up to take contestants out on the lake.Ron Ball from Precision Toyota.

So who won?!? Many of you are probably asking who left the lodge with such a huge prize? You will have to watch the show to find out! We are thrilled at how the show is able to showcase the incredible experience that each of the contestants had while at Aikens… and most of them had rarely (if ever) fished in their lives! It’s a true testament that the “Aikens Experience” is very unique and special in our industry. To view the show, click the link at the top of the page.

Microphone check.Ryan with a lunker walleye.

Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge in Manitoba is one of the premier Canadian fishing lodges. It first opened in 1949 and has expanded over the years to meet the changing needs and expectations of its clientele.

In present times, from the totally ecological Great Gray Owl, to the incredible moderness of the Boardwalk Chalets, to the beach front luxury of Park Place, and to the remodeled elegance and comfort of Master Angler’s Row, we provide a choice of accommodations to meet your needs as well as your budget. As a result, Aikens Lake has become one of the best luxury Canadian fishing lodges.

The Beginning of the Construction

Our History - Canada Fishing Resorts - Manitoba Fishing Resorts - Canadian Fishing Lodges

Eric Carlson, the first proprietor of the 9 acres on Aikens Lake, had had a trap line in the area since the early 1940s. His cabin stood close to today’s lodge. One day, he decided to approach the federal government seeking permission to fish commercially on Aikens. This had been tried unsuccessfully back in 1938. The government suggested to him that tourism and sport fishing might be a better idea.

Eric and his son Eddie began preparations in the fall of 1947 for construction the following spring. Trees were downed and brought into camp in the winter with the aid of a three-dog team. It was, of course, much easier to let the dogs drag the trees through the snow than to carry the logs in the summer!History - Luxury Fishing Lodges - Canadian Fishing Lodges History - Canadian Fishing Lodges


The Grand Opening

On May 19th, 1949 Aikens Lake Lodge made its grand debut. Among the structures that Eric and Eddie had built was the lodge, which is now used for storage (called "Le Portage"). The first two cabins, cabins 1 & 2, were also up, although they have since been torn down to construct our Boardwalk Chalets. In 1950, Eric’s son Alfred came to help build 5 more cabins, which were called Wilderness Trail (they have since been torn down to construct our Sunset Chalets). Eric and his wife Elsie Abestine spent the winters at Aikens Lake, where Eric trapped and built boats in the lodge dining room.

History - Canadian Fishing Lodges History - Canada Fishing Resorts - Manitoba Fishing Resorts

In the Portage, there is a trap door which leads to an underground storeroom connecting to numerous tunnels and pens where the Carlsons kept their animals in the winter time. Eric was a trapper and would spend weeks away from Elsie in the wintertime.

History - Canada Fishing Resorts - Manitoba Fishing Resorts History - Luxury Fishing Lodges - Canada Fishing Resorts

Guests arrived at Aikens Lake by air. Ontario Central flew out of Kenora and Central Northern Airways flew out of Lac du Bonnet. Some guests came from Winnipeg to Lac du Bonnet by train.

The dock wasn't always in the calmness of the back bay. With engines only being a few hp, it would have taken too long to bring the boats all the way around the peninsula every morning and night. Most of the fishing was done in the little section of Gammon River flowing into the lake. There was also some lake trout fishing done in front of the lodge. There are still old dock cribs on the main beach in front of "Le Portage".

Why is Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge the perfect place for a corporate trip? For starters, we’ve specialized in hosting corporate groups for nearly 30 years. Our remote setting in the midst of a boreal forest lends itself to creative thinking, quality conversations and team bonding. It’s easy to get here–fly from anywhere in North America and arrive to watch the sunset over Aikens Lake that same day–and once you walk off the floatplane, life only gets easier. Hand-crafted luxury cabins, five-star service and gourmet dining including fresh walleye shorelunch prepared by your guide over the open fire are signature aspects of The Aikens Experience.

Plan Your Trip Now

EXCLUSIVE USAGE


Guests often tell us Aikens is like a whole different world. With a corporate group, you can have that world to yourself. Enjoy exclusive access to the entire lodge, staff and Great Gray Owl mini lodge with any group of 24 or more. We can comfortably host up to 32 people at the main lodge.

Our staff is devoted to taking care of your every wish. We’ll pre-stock cabins with all your favorite snacks and drinks, and facilitate any celebrations, workshops or activities anywhere on our property.

Imagine a lunch-time training seminar on an island at one of our group shorelunch stations with a dozen boats bringing your team to a scenic spot for a mid-day feast.

FLEXIBLE PACKAGES


You name it, we can do it. We understand how valuable your guests are to you and we are uniquely able to accommodate everything from arrival times to custom activities to special dietary needs.

Our guides are flexible, so if your business needs include an afternoon meeting rather than fishing, our guides are ready to take you fishing after dinner for an awesome dusk walleye bite.

If you’d like, we’ll set up volleyball tournaments, beachside bonfires, voyageur cultural experiences, karaoke, fishing derbies and golfing from the dock. Let us put our 30 years of experience to use in tailoring the perfect trip specifically for your group.

EASY TO GET HERE


When you’re watching a moose swim across Aikens Lake you feel a world away, but in reality we’re only 90 minutes from Winnipeg Airport and can be reached within a day’s travel from anywhere in North America. We can arrange your travel details for you and pick you up at the airport.

SMALLER GROUPS


If you have a group of 6 to 12, consider our remote Great Grey Owl Mini-Lodge (GGO), across the lake from our main lodge. You’ll be similarly pampered with a group concierge, private guides and gourmet meals, and your group can share our exclusive luxury cabin.

GGO is well-suited for board/sales meetings, seminars or planning sessions.


 

GREAT FISHING WITH FIRST-CLASS EQUIPMENT


Aikens is an excellent fishing destination for first-timers and experts alike. Our quality guides (one for every 2-3 guests), state-of-the-art gear and fleet of supremely comfortable boats with 60hp engines makes fishing our private lake both fun and easy.

We provide everything you need. Good fishing is found within minutes of the lodge so outings can last as long or short as you'd like.

Our professional guides are equally adept at teaching beginners how to fish and helping serious anglers master a specific technique or pursue the biggest fish of their lives. Of course, newbies often land the catch of the day.

Manitoba Master Angler walleyes and pike are not uncommon. Neither are moose, eagle or other wildlife sightings; a day on the water can consist purely of boating around the lake, taking in the sights and enjoying conversation with team members and clients.


 

UNINTERRUPTED TIME


Quality bonding time goes hand-in-hand with the Aikens Experience. Relaxing boat rides on a pristine lake. Catching your first fish or a personal best. Spotting a moose and its calf, savoring a leisurely shorelunch, swapping stories about new adventures over happy hour–during experiences like these, the guard comes down between co-workers, customers and friends.

Aikens offers uninterrupted face time, away from cell phones and other interruptions so that each moment is an opportunity to bond one-on-one.

THE BOTTOM LINE


The bottom line on any corporate trip is a return on the investment. We know that. And we deliver it–please call us for referrals or check out our testimonials online.

Fact is, Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge is uniquely equipped to provide a remarkable corporate group experience. Let us do the work, and treat your top customers and most valuable employees to a luxury wilderness retreat unlike any other.



One of Canada's Signature Experiences - as evidenced by our inclusion into Canada's exclusive "Signature Experience" Collection.  We are the only fishing lodge in Canada with this designation, and the Pathways of the Voyageur is truly a Canadian iconic experience. 

One of the most compelling ways to experience Canada is by float plane. During this fly-in adventure, you’ll fly to Aikens Lake Lodge in the Atikaki Provincial Wilderness Park, a large area that is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation bid to protect the boreal forests and woodland caribou of eastern Manitoba and western Ontario.

You’ll meet local guides and head out by boat to learn about wilderness fishing. You are guaranteed to catch a fish, which you will then help to filet and cook in a traditional shorelunch on the edge of the beautiful lake waters surrounded by wild nature. The Great Gray Owl Wilderness Adventure Camp featuring sustainable design will be the setting for lunch. Travel by river boat to a historic fur trade portage, a wilderness walking trail where fur traders would have carried canoes and goods around rapid waters or waterfalls, to take a short afternoon hike. Supper will be a Franco-Manitoban cultural experience – cuisine and story-telling with your hosts at Aikens Lake Lodge. A late night walk to listen for wolves, owls or other night sounds is a great way to end the day.

The following morning, you can try fishing for a different species of fish as well as try a new shorelunch recipe. Learn about the sustainable logging and wood production practices used at the Aikens Lake Lodge. Meet your pilot and learn about fly-in fishing before you head back to Winnipeg. This itinerary a great combination of wilderness travel and soft adventure, presented in the luxury of a wilderness lodge that practice sustainability, far from the stress and noise of an urban city.


Package price $3,495.00 for three nights.
 

We want to offer a little something for everyone. That's why we have a number of different specials you can chose from.  

“Season Opening Special”


Come experience the thrill of post-spawn walleye, voracious pike, and the best lake trout fishing of the season. Book your trip during our first week of operation (starting May 24, 2017) and earn a 10% discount on your trip. 


"Fisherkid Discount"


Any fisherkid 18 years of age or younger receives a 25% discount when accompanied by an adult. 


"Prepayment Discount"


Trips prepaid in full by Feb 28th of every year receive an additional 5% discount


"Patriot's Discount"


We love celebrating our country’s rich history, and we know that the same is true for those who live south of the border. So, why would you have to pay to be at Aikens on your nation’s birthday?!?  July 1st is a free day for Canadians, while July 4th is a free day for Americans!  Pay for 3 nights but stay for 4... or pay for 4 and stay for 5... you get the idea!  Essentially get a free day's stay on any package booked over this time frame. (note: Minimum 4 night stay).

 

"Driving to Silver Falls on your own"


All our packages are priced to begin at the International Airport in Winnipeg, MB and include a 90-minute van transfer to our float base.  It also assumes a same-day, late afternoon arrival to the lodge (we can get anyone in North America on our dock by 5PM, same day!). That said, not everyone flies to Winnipeg to begin their "Aikens Experience". By driving up to Silver Falls, MB on your own, (90 minutes NE of Winnipeg), we substitute the van transportation cost ($200/person) of the package for an early a.m. arrival to Aikens Lake (also $200)... essentially getting you an extra full day of guided fishing at no extra cost!


"Fishing Unguided"


Some guests prefer fishing on their own, cooking their own shorelunch, and setting their own schedules.  If you want to fish unguided, remove $200/person/day from your trip (applicable to main lodge packages only).


"Aikens Lake Customer Loyalty Program"


Our most popular discount! To reward those loyal group leaders who bring their groups back to Aikens Lake year after year (our repeat rate is around 75%!), we have developed the “Aikens Lake Customer Loyalty Program”. This three tiered program automatically allows for discounts of 5% on your 2nd trip, 7.5% on your 3rd and 4th trips, and up to the maximum discount of 10% on 5+ trips. 

We have a service level and package for every type of group. From the fully guided, full service main lodge experience; to the customizable service levels available at the Great Gray Owl private mini-lodge; to the "on your own" serenity of the outpost cabin on Lost Lake; you are sure to feel right at home in any cabin or service level you choose!

Specials Regular Rates

Pathways of the Voyageur

A combination of wilderness travel and soft adventure, experienced in the luxury of a wilderness lodge.

More about this Package

CME – CDE – CLE Program

Every week, May through September

Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge and the American Educational Institute have partnered up since 2010. Aikens Lake, an elite fishing lodge, has been chosen as the Manitoba host for the Medical-Dental-Legal Update, a unique and accredited 20 hour survey of pressing issues in Medical Malpractice, Risk Management, Healthcare Law, Practice Management and selected clinical topics produced and presented on broadcast grade digital media DVD’s at each lodge. Imagine spending your days fishing, relaxing and receiving your CME credits right at the facility. The program is available EVERY WEEK!! 

2017 cost: $614.25 USD + 5% GST tuition for the AEI Seminars can be added onto any package we offer. 

*As administered by American Education Institution (AEI) via DVD format

More Information

2006 PWT Celebrity Shootout

Andrina Turenne providing some entertainment at shorelunch

Background Info: We were first approached by Boomer Esiason in 2005 about hosting an event to raise money for the Boomer Esiason Foundation for Cystic Fibrosis (BEF). Boomer, with his son Gunnar and his daughter Sydney, enjoyed a 5 day vacation at Aikens Lake in July 2005. Although never really having fresh-water fished before, they caught on really quick… especially Sydney! She became known as the "Walleye whisperer" while she was at the lodge. She had the uncanny ability to "feel" bites 10-15 seconds before anything ever nibbled on her bait. Aikens Lake partner Dale Jensen has long been a supporter of the Boomer Esiason Foundation, being named their MVP in 1997.

Anticipating that fresh walleye Bait and Tackle shop

Julie and Charlie at the shuffleboard Kinger and Gartz doubleheader in the pre-fish

The Esiason family loved their experience at Aikens Lake. So, it was at that point that we started exploring different fund-raising events that could be hosted at Aikens. It started out as a small invitational trip for 12-16 fishermen each donating a specific amount to the BEF. It then evolved into a tournament-style trip. Eventually, we teamed up with In-Fisherman and the PWT walleye tournament circuit and the idea was born. An “all-star” field of the top 10 finishers during the 2006 PWT tournaments would each fish with a celebrity in order to raise funds for the BEF.

Beer batter walleye Big Molly's Bar

Kinger with a great walleye Krieg and Flansberg

Many prominent companies stepped up to the plate to help make this event a success. Black & Decker, Under Armour, Johnsonville Brats, Berkley, Lowrance, DeWalt, Canon, and most noticeably Office Depot made the event a fundraising success!

Bill St-Peter with twin 'eyes Boats leaving the dock

Kris King and Jim Carroll after a great day on the lake Les Stroud and Ron Seelhoff

We hosted the Shootout over a frigid week in late September (we actually had to extend our season by a week to accommodate them!). The pros all showed up early and had 2.5 days to pre-fish Aikens. Most used trolling techniques as no fresh bait (minnows, crawlers, leeches) was allowed for this particular tournament. The tournament itself lasted two full days from 8AM to 5PM (with a 60 minute break for shorelunch… another treat the pros weren’t used to!). Despite the cold temperatures, the action was hot and it didn’t take the pros long to hone in on the large schools of monster walleye at Aikens! The action was hot both on the lake and also in the evenings in Big Molly’s Bar. Card games (those poker pros sure can read a hand!!!), live music, and general bacchanalia was the nightly theme.

Bobby Crow helps Hoyt Corkins reel in another Bobby Crow with a Master Angler Walleye

Les Stroud at the guitar Les Stroud showcases his musical talent

In the end, over $100K was raised though this event. All the PWT pros, their celebrity partners, and the rest of the In-Fisherman and BEF representatives left Aikens with some cherished memories.

Capturing the shorelunch on tape Carroll and King on a chilly morning

Mark Martin and Scott Flansberg Lining up for the team selections

For the PWT, this tournament broke two significant barriers: 1st - It was the first event they ever held outside the USA. In fact, it became the pre-cursor to events in Ontario (Lake Wabigoon) in subsequent year.

Celebrities pose Crow and Corkins

2nd – It was the first ever “CPR” tournament for the PWT. The style of “Catch, Photograph, and Release” had never been used. In what could become a standard for future tournaments around North America, no fish were kept in livewells or weighed-in at the end of the day… all that the contestants returned to the docks with at the end of the day was a Canon camera loaded with pictures of their fish on official yardsticks and a log book of their day’s catch. After downloading all cameras, fish were verified by tournament judges right down to the 1/4” before total length scores were announced.

Dale Jensen and Bill St-Peter Dale Jensen welcoming everyone to Aikens Lake

This style of tournament, while tougher to adjudicate, has too many positive ecological and competitive benefits to ignore. There is no danger of accidentally killing fish that don’t survive a full day in a livewell. As well, no longer are contestants limited to slot size fish or maximum lengths on any specific body of water… they can now count all of their biggest fish in any day!

Dave Krieg and Van Oss Dave Krieg with one that doesn't quite make the grade

The BEF was started in 1993 the moment Boomer learned that his young son Gunnar has Cystic Fibrosis. According to the BEF website (www.esiason.org), Cystic Fibrosis is a fatal genetic disorder that affects more than 30,000 Americans, usually the most vulnerable among us: our children. Although cystic fibrosis is not yet curable, the good news is that the situation is not hopeless. Since 1993, they have raised over $50M for Cystic Fibrosis research, and in that time the average life expectancy of a child with the disease has nearly tripled from early teens to late-thirties!

Don Lamont and Andy Kuffer Evening camaraderie

Inaugural PWT Celebrity Shootout Walleye Fishing Event Benefits Boomer Esiason’s Foundation, September 18-21, 2006 Rick Schroder, Mike Gartner, Kris King, Robert Williamson III, Dave Kreig and other celebrity fishing fans, will team up with the top ten professional walleye anglers from the Professional Walleye Trail (PWT), North America’s most prestigious and influential walleye fishing circuit, September 18-21, to help raise funds for The Boomer Esiason Foundation, which provides financial support to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. The event, which takes place in Manitoba, airs on The Outdoor Channel as part of the In-Fisherman PWT television series airing October 2006 through March 2007. Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge, an exclusive fly-in destination in Canadian Shield bush-country terrain, will host this Inaugural PWT Celebrity Shootout Walleye Fishing Event.

Evening concert Everyone poses

Celebrity fishing enthusiasts include: NHL greats Kris King and Mike Gartner, NFL player Dave Krieg, poker stars Hoyt Corkins and Robert Williamson III, Les Stroud (star of the Discovery Channel’s Survivorman), actor Rick Shroder, and Scott Flansberg (the renowned “human calculator”).

Professional walleye anglers include: Mark Christianson, Bobby Crow, Andy Kuffer, Mark Martin, Sheldon Meidinger, Ron Seelhoff, Bill St. Peter, Dave Van Oss, Jim Carroll, and Daryl Christianson.

Filming and waiting for that bite Filming the selections

“Fishing events have long played a role in calling attention to causes like finding a cure for cystic fibrosis,” says Esiason. “I was just at Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge last summer with my two children and it was an experience of a lifetime. This event is a unique opportunity to show the world the amazing sport of walleye fishing, the beauty of Manitoba and, most importantly, to benefit finding a cure for cystic fibrosis.” Esiason’s son Gunnar was diagnosed with the disease in 1993.

Gartner and Christenson Gartner and King sandwich Ty Sjodin from In-Fisherman

The competition is a pro-am format with each professional walleye angler drawing a celebrity partner for two days of fishing. Teams will measure, photograph and release their fish. In a unique, and tasty, twist to the tournament scene, teams will dine lake-side at noon for an official Canadian shore lunch on the first day of competition.

Gearing up before the tourney Greeting the pros

“Having the PWT’s top anglers at Aikens will showcase the excitement and popularity of walleye fishing,” says Pit Turenne, general manager of Aikens. “It will also be the first time that the PWT takes its tournaments north of the border into Canada.” The PWT, a 17-year-old sporting event, is part of the In-Fisherman Communications family. In-Fisherman is the fishing industry’s leading communicator.

The 2006 PWT Celebrity Shootout Raised More Than a $100,000 For the Boomer Esiason Foundation for Cystic Fibrosis.

Aikens Lake, Sept 2006: The top ten In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail pros in the Johnsonville Brats Angler of the Year race were joined by celebrities for a fun-fishing event held at Manitoba’s Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge.

The winners were pro Mark Christianson, full-time walleye pro and guide for 29 years and Robert Williamson III, World Series of Poker winner. In accepting the first place trophy, Williamson said, “This was a great week and to thank the Boomer Esiason Foundation for Cystic Fibrosis (BEF), I will donate an additional $10,000 to help the cause.” Christianson said, “He’s the most positive guy I’ve ever met. He told me we’d win before heading out on day one, and he had never caught a walleye.

Guide dock abuzz with action Hockey greats study the field

This was the first measure, photo and release event for the PWT. Pros were paired with celebrities and their top five fish were counted daily. The first place team measured a total of 240.75 inches. Second went to pro Bobby Crow and World Series of Poker winner, Hoyt Corkins with 239.50 inches.

Jim Carroll and Kris King Les Stroud showcases his musical talent

Pro Ron Seelhoff and Discovery Channel’s “Survivorman” Les Stroud tied for third with pro Sheldon Meidinger and actor Rick Schroder. Both had 238.25 inches. The other top PWT pro participants included Bill St. Peter, Jim Carroll, Mark Martin, Dave Van Oss, Daryl Christensen and Andy Kuffer. Their partners were Dale Jensen, Arizona Diamondback owner, Kris King and Mike Gartner, NHL Hall of Famers, Scott Flansberg, the human calculator, Dave Krieg, former Seattle Seahawks quarterback, and Don Lamont, Travel Manitoba.

Hoyt Corkins and Bobby Crow JK reeling in

Many special accolades went to the Aikens Lake Lodge staff. “The setting in Manitoba’s wilderness, walleyes of all sizes, the fly-in experience and food fit for a king were enjoyed by the entire crew,” said, Jim Kalkofen, PWT executive director.

Proceeds by major sponsors will benefit the BEF. PWT sponsors E-Cell and StowMaster donated an extra $5,000 to the Foundation. Nick Koken, representing the Foundation said, “This was a great event for the BEF.”

The Legend of Elsie

Some of our guests have had the opportunity to sit around the campfire and hear about Elsie, our friendly neighborhood ghost. In fact, this is more than just a clever spinster's imagination. Although Elsie passed away in Winnipeg, and not at the lodge, numerous staff members have seen Elsie in the past. Everytime she has been spotted, it has been either in, or around, "Le Portage"... her old cabin. The oddest episode happened back around 1994. Gil Lavack, head guide at the time, was sleeping heavily at 6:00 AM. He felt a hand shaking him and a female voice urging him to wake up. Assuming it was only one of the girls from the camp, he ignored it for awhile. After much persistence, a groggy Gil turned around and was staring directly into the image of Elsie, 1950's attire and all. He could not sleep another wink, and at breakfast was completely shaken up. This is one of many encounters, but is probably the closest contact anyone has had with the apparition.

History - Canadian Fishing Lodges - Canada Fishing Resorts History - Luxury Fishing Lodges


The Gaffray Years

After 18 years of operation, Aikens Lake Lodge was sold in 1967 to Arthur Gaffray, a pilot, who had first flown in to Aikens Lake in 1953 while hauling freight. In 1956, he began to fly guests into the lodge.

History - Canada Fishing Resorts

During the Gaffray tenure, the kitchen and dining room were built along with the motel unit known now as Master Angler’s Row. The North Star and the Lone Coyote cabins (staff quarters) were also erected.

History - Luxury Fishing Lodges


The Lavergne/Frechette Partnership

In 1974, Gerry Lavergne and his partner Antoine Frechette bought Aikens Lake Lodge. The partnership dissolved in 1980 and Gerry continued alone. The Master Angler’s Club Room was added to the dining room. Orion, (the current Managers Residence) was built along with a modern shower and laundry facility.


The Turenne/Lavack Partnership

History - Canadian Fishing Lodges

In the fall of 1988, Aikens Lake Lodge was sold to Gerry & Lorraine Turenne and Philippe & Jackie Lavack. It became known as Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge. The first major purchase after acquiring the lodge was the sawmill. It has enabled us to produce our own wood. Not only does this save us the great expense of buying the wood and flying it in, but gives us the unique opportunity to build hand-crafted log structures. These cabins, especially the Great Gray Owl and Boardwalk Chalets, have become some of the most beautiful and unique accommodations that are unmatched among Canada fishing resortsHistory - Canada Fishing Resorts


PVCAP & The Turennes

 

In 2005, Phil & Jackie retired from the lodge business.  Chris Jensen and the PVCAP team entered the fold to work with the Turenne family in bringing Aikens into a new era.  The new partners put their immediate stamp on the lodge by investing heavily in the infrastructure of the lodge, which was essential in getting us to where we are today.  Their philosophy was that they had loved Aikens so much as guests over the past 13 years, their main focus wasn't to change the philosophies at Aikens, but rather their goal was to bring the cabins and boats up to the same level of quality as the customer service and the rest of the experience had always been for them... and boy did they accomplish that!  In those first three years, new structures went up in quick succession starting with "Le Canot" (2-storey men's residence which today houses 16 male staff/year), two new Sunset Chalet cabins, a new laundry facility, guide lockers, and the Ursa Major (office, store, manager's residence).  This made everyone's experience off the water that much better.  They also brought in our new fleet of incredible Lund Alaskan boats, a revamped fleet of 4-stroke engines to provide reliability and safety on the water, and a luxury van to help shuttle our guests from Winnipeg to Silver Falls in comfort.  The modernization of a 55 year old lodge was well under way!

Since those first frantic years, annual reinvestment in the lodge has led to continued improvements including a remodeling of Master Angler's Row Suites, renovations at Park Place, Great Gray Owl, the main lodge, North Star (girls residence), Orion (managers residence), the Lone Coyote, new permanent docks at the lodge and GGO, more boats, new walk-in freezer & storage, and most recently the new construction of the Lost Lake Outpost Camp.  It's this commitment to excellence that shines through to all our guests when they step off the plane and see the excellence and craft in every structure at Aikens Lake.  It shows that we are not here for the short term - we live and breathe Aikens Lake every day of the year, and we want your experience with us to be as good as can be.  Like Doug Stange from In-Fisherman Magazine said all those years ago... "As good as it gets, is that good at Aikens".  It continues to be true to this day.

Corporate Retreats

The best insight from an offsite meeting.

Come to another world, and reap the benefits of hard work with your company's most valuable players or your most loyal clients. With over 15 years of experience, Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge management and staff, Corporate Meeting and Incentive Specialists, provide you with a surprising range of services, designed to make your valued guests feel welcome, comfortable and safe.

Corporate Retreat Details

One of the coolest things about Aikens is you could have terrible fishing and have an awesome time there. Well-fed and well-served, plenty of beer to keep you warm. Tremendous service. Of course, the fishing’s great, too, but you have fun either way.

—Nate Siegal,
Salt Lake City, Utah

Incredible staff and amazing fishing. The accommodations are top notch and the food is first class. You won't find a better lodge in North America for pike and walleye fishing. The owners really know how to run this place. The memories made here are like no other.

—Jesse Bleeman,
Toronto, Ontario

What I love about Aikens? The ever present welcoming attitude that starts when you exit the plane and ends, well, never actually ends from what I can tell. The entire staff which is well selected and well trained, guides who make fishing fun and easy, the size of the lake (not too small for serious fishing and not too big for novices), the breakfasts, the shore lunches, the dinners, the awards handed out at dinner, the evening fishing with dock staff making sure your boat is ready, and the bar that gives you a chance to meet fun and interesting people to share a fishing story, a joke, or life story.

—Dennis Munson,
Solon, Iowa

Our guide really listened to what we wanted to do and tailored our day specifically to us. To me, the shorelunch was the highlight of each day. The shorelunch sites are set-up so well in very scenic spots. You can watch the Aikens videos and read the website about the fancy cabins, and the food, and how great the fishing and the service is, but one thing you can't really appreciate until you're here is how beautiful it all is.

—Paul Capecchi,
Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota

I’m an amateur rank fisherman and I caught a ton of fish, including a Master Angler pike. That’s what makes Aikens Lake so great, you can get guys like me that really don’t know what they’re doing, and you start to believe that you might.

—John MacDonald,
Minneapolis, Minnesota

My husband and my dad had always talked about going to Canada or Alaska, so when I got the idea to give them a fishing trip as a surprise gift I did about six months of research. Once I talked with Pit, I was sold. It was really a surprise to them. They were so excited, and they just had a wonderful time at Aikens. They enjoyed their dream trip, and I don’t think it will be their last time to Aikens.

—Debbie Nutter,
Elizabeth, Colorado

Pit and his team have done a wonderful job of putting together the perfect gem of an outpost camp. We love going to the Lost Lake outpost because it provides you the seclusion and serenity without comprising the nice luxury-type components.

—Scot Woolley,
Minnetonka, Minnesota

The Four Seasons of fishing lodges. What's truly impressive is that ownership is constantly improving the experience. Every year you arrive and notice improvements. I'm just back from our trip to Aikens with my son. In the last 15 months he's been to Copenhagen, Berlin, Estonia, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Venice, Croatia, Greece and Turkey – but said this was his favorite trip ever. He slept with his Aikens hat on last night!

—Greg Borca,
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

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.

—Jeff Hall,
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!

—Mark L.,
Winnipeg, Canada

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.

—Jim Deleeuw,
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.

—Denise Kozlowski,
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.

—Ron Ball,
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.

—Joe Harrington,
Monticello, Arkansas

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.

—Sherry Martin,
Cordova, Illinois

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.

—Steve Andersen,
Lincoln, Nebraska

Trip number five and once again Aikens Lake out did itself. I thought it impossible for this wonderful place to get any better.

—Kris King,
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.

—Dan Quayle,
Former United States Vice-President

The photos are amazing and like the memories, they will last a lifetime.

—Boomer Esiason,
Former NFL MVP Quarterback, TV Commentator, and Founder of the Boomer Esiason Foundation (against cystic fibrosis)