COVID FAQ

Dear valued guests:

We at Aikens are committed to giving each one of our guests a wonderful Aikens Experience. The safety of our guests and staff remains our highest priority. As the situation around COVID-19 continues to evolve, so will our policies and procedures as new information and guidelines are made available from public health officials.

We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide further details along with any updates to our booked guests ahead of their planned trips if applicable.

That being said, we are optimistic in saying that although we’ve all been living under the thumb of a pandemic for 2 years, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We have plans in place and are looking forward to having you all wet a line at Aikens soon!

In an effort to be proactive and keep you up to date with what we are hearing, we have put together a list of FAQ’s that we’ve been receiving in the office recently. Hopefully, your question is answered below. If not, please do reach out… we welcome all questions and chatter directly as well!

Will Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge be open in 2022?

Yes!  The current Manitoba provincial guidelines allow for lodges and outfitters to operate. We are planning to be open for business this upcoming summer, much like we did last summer. We will adapt to be in accordance to regulations as they materialize this upcoming spring and throughout our 2022 season.

Did Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge open in 2021?

Yes! 2021 proved to be another challenging year in the tourism industry, but once again, the incredible "Aikens Family", which consists of our guests, our staff, our volunteers, our partners and our suppliers, all contributed in their own way to make our 2021 season a success. We juggled the pandemic and all the government restrictions, along with forest fires in the provincial park... not ideal! But, we finished off the last 6 weeks of our season with a bang, and we look forward to carry that momentum into our 2022 season.

Is the border currently open? 

On August 9, 2021, the border into Canada opened to fully-vaccinated Americans. Travelers from the United States who meet specific criteria to qualify as fully vaccinated are allowed to enter Canada without having to quarantine. All travelers must use ArriveCAN to submit their travel information.

Follow these links for more information:

Travel restrictions into Canada

Quarantine Rules

What are my options for flying into Winnipeg?

Canada implemented stricter entry rules for international flights earlier during the pandemic. As part of this new policy, only four airports in Canada were able to accept incoming international flights, and unfortunately, Winnipeg was not not one of them. When international non-essential travel was finally permitted, many routes to Winnipeg were not reinstated. For the time being, Delta has flights to Winnipeg through Minneapolis. Alternatively, you can connect through many Canadian cities.

If my trip needs to be rescheduled because of restrictions, or because of some other issue that has come up, what are my options?

If you do not feel like you can come to Aikens during your booked dates because of COVID restrictions, or for any other reason, we are going to be very flexible in rescheduling without any penalties. Some groups have chosen to target dates later in 2022 (August and September), and as mentioned, others have already deferred to 2023. In all cases, the deposits and payments transfer 100% to the new booking so nothing is lost by officially making these changes with us.

I am a Canadian from outside MB. Am I currently able to travel to Winnipeg/Aikens? 

On February 15, 2022, public health removed self-isolation requirements for people entering the province from other parts of Canada.

Do you have to be vaccinated to come to Aikens?

Yes. As per the current travel requirements put in place by Transport Canada (effective October 30, 2021), travelers 12 years and older will need to provide an official proof of vaccination to board the float plane (guests and staff members).

I would like to book a trip for 2022, are you taking new bookings and deposits?

Yes, we have been taking new bookings for 2022 with the understanding that deposits for these trips are non-refundable. That said, the same flexibility in rescheduling exists as detailed in other answers.

Our bookings calendar is about 85% full. There are only a few openings in the first half of our summer, while August and September still have some decent availability to book new trips. While much of May, June, and July are already sold out, there is a chance that availabilities will be created as we move along this spring. For this reason, we have started a waiting list for specific dates. Contact us to discuss.

I would like to book a trip for 2023, are you taking bookings (new and repeat) and deposits?

This is a bit of a tricky one. Guests will typically rebook the same week year after year and we start off each new booking season by getting all of those on the calendar first. We usually have a 70+% repeat rate, and some weeks are perennially sold out, so we know that in advance.

To offer our visitors more options to book their visit to Aikens Lake, we have opted to open our 2023 calendar earlier than usual and to start penciling dates for guests. Due to the limited availability in 2022, and the pent-up demand we are already seeing for travel, we are confident that some new groups will want to "beat the rush" for 2023 dates. But before we do that, we wanted to offer our current 2022 guests the first opportunity to pencil in their dates for 2023. No commitments (ie: deposits) would be required on those 2023 trips until November 2022, and you can change your mind anytime. We are happy to hold spots in our 2023 calendar for our repeat guests, and it will allow us to build our schedule around it.

What kind of regulations and precautions will be in place for the float plane flights and on-site at Aikens for my trip this summer? 

Restrictions and health orders are often changing. We are keeping up-to-date with the rules, and we will be adjusting as the season goes on, as directed by Manitoba officials. The safety of our guest and staff is our highest priority. As such, we have been working diligently in preparation for this upcoming season.

Out of care and concern for all, we have developed plans and have secured the necessary supplies to perform our enhanced cleaning protocols.

Blue Water Aviation has implemented the following procedures:

- As per the current travel requirements put in place by Transport Canada (effective October 30, 2021), travelers 12 years and older will need to provide an official proof of vaccination to board the float plane.

- All guests must bring and wear a mask while entering the building, within 2 meters from staff and while in the plane.

- All guests must complete a health check questionnaire when arriving at the float base.

- Planes will be thoroughly disinfected and cleaned

Feel free to email julie@aikenslake.com or call 204-237-5253 to discuss restrictions and protocols. 

We look forward to seeing you soon,

Your friends at Aikens

The place is absolutely Top Drawer in every aspect of the experience. Having dreamed about taking my 2 teenage grandsons on a fly in fishing trip for years I could not have written a better script. The accommodations, Food, equipment level of excellence was only surpassed by the people.

—Chip Michel,
St. Paul, Minnesota

You have paid attention to every detail and it shows. The cabin and food is the best I have seen. Lots of neat spots to explore, wish we had more time!

—Jason Mitchell,
Jason Mitchell Outdoors

It exceeded any expectation I had to the point that I’ve told my kids that if I get a bonus that’s exactly where we’re going. When you compare it against other luxury vacations, where you typically pay extra for a guide or various excursions, what you get at Aikens is a really good value. I’ve fished all over the world, from Alaska to Colorado to Costa Rica. I’d put Aikens over those in terms of the size fish you can catch and the quantity.

—Maria Bailey,
Florida

This week at Aikens for our anniversary has been absolutely the greatest gift! The only thing that would have made it better was if my dad and mom could have been with us.

—Amanda Paschal,
Parker, Colorado

They say “you get what you pay for” ... at Aikens you get more. They know what they’re doing, and it shows. Its called “The Aikens Experience.” The lodging is top notch. The food is outrageous! Aikens Lake is a dream to fish. The staff - how they find and keep so many polite, friendly, courteous, intelligent, and attentive people year after year I have no idea. They learn your likes and dislikes; they make you feel welcome and relaxed.

—Steven J Kuzmich,
Loveland, Colorado

People sometimes want to try new locations or lakes in Canada but I really do not know why our group would ever look elsewhere or even think about it. The fishing is world class and the accommodations and hospitality are five-star.

—Gene Reibel,
Omaha, Nebraska

We wanted to get a true fly-in Canadian fishing/wilderness experience, but be able to do that without having to spend two days traveling to get there. Overall, the experience was exactly what we wanted. Great fishing, great setting, great service and accommodations that allow you to really relax and enjoy quality time with your family.

—Tony Abena,
Edina, Minnesota

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)