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 a year now, there are some positive signs starting to emerge, and we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Will we be able to start off the season on time? Will the border delay our US groups in May and June? We don’t know those answers yet….but we do know that the fishing and travel itch is setting in big time! 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 2021?
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. Our ability to host guests will depend on travel and group size restrictions. We will adapt to be in accordance to these regulations as they materialize this upcoming spring and throughout our 2021 season.
Is the border currently open?
Currently (June 9th, 2021), the border is closed for “non-essential” travel. Travelers crossing the border (land and air) into Canada also must quarantine for 14 days in a gov-approved facility and show proof of negative test taken within 72hrs. These rules expire and renew monthly; their next re-evaluation is set for June 21st.
Follow these links for more information:
What are you hearing about the USA/Canada border reopening?
Communication from Government toward the border closure has been minimal. We are hopeful that we will start to hear news about reopening plans in the coming month(s). Our hope is that with vaccines being distributed on both sides of the border that we see an eventual loosening of these strict measures, but there have been no indications yet on possible timelines.
Why have flights into Winnipeg been canceled through United or Delta?
Canada recently implemented stricter entry rules for any international flights (February 21). As part of this new policy, only four airports in Canada are now able to accept incoming international flights, and unfortunately, Winnipeg is not one of them. Non-essential travel is still not permitted, so this appears to be a temporary measure to better regulate the return of snowbird Canadians and will be reviewed accordingly.
As a result, and for the time being, people can only arrive in Canada through Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. Flights to Winnipeg were taken off the schedule by both United (via Chicago & Denver) and Delta (via Minneapolis). We expect these flights to reappear once the current policy is reversed.
I have a deposit for a trip in 2021, if the border does not reopen, what happens to the money I have already paid?
While deposits for trips booked are non-refundable, we will honor and carry-over monies to future trips, either in-season or future year(s). We will also honor the original trip’s pricing for the eventual visit if booked in 2022.
I am an American worried about traveling over the border this year, even if it becomes possible. I prefer to stay home or only travel domestically. I would prefer to reschedule my booking at Aikens to 2022. Can I do this without penalty?
Yes, absolutely. We understand that people will have different comfort levels when it comes to traveling during a pandemic. We have already spoken to a few guests who prefer to wait until 2022, so we have rebooked their dates into next year and transferred the deposits and payments accordingly. We have also honored the 2021 pricing. This is an option for those of you that want to delay travel to Aikens for another year.
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 2021 (August and September), and as mentioned, others have already deferred to 2022. 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 booked guest, but when I booked, I chose a time later in the year because most of your spots in May and June were already sold out. If the border does not open, would I be able to switch my dates to earlier in the season if some of those spots become available?
Our 2021 calendar is quite busy. With the combination of annual interest and deferred trips from 2020, late May and June are showing almost no vacancies (July is getting quite full as well). We will not be releasing any dates unless a government-mandated border closure is announced for the dates in question. If the border closure results in us having to reschedule your existing booking, you will have the first opportunity to book similar dates in a season moving forward.
If a guest chooses to voluntarily move their dates, or a border closure renders it impossible for them to travel early in the season, we would at that point offer the spot to parties on our waiting list to migrate/book their trip into said openings. If you would like to discuss adding yourself to the waiting list, please call or email us.
I am a Canadian from outside MB. Am I currently able to travel to Winnipeg/Aikens?
Travelling to Manitoba from other provinces is currently only permitted to individuals who are fully vaccinnated, which means two weeks after your second dose. Canadian travellers who are not fully vaccinated must observe a 14-day self isolation when entering Manitoba.
I would like to book a trip for 2021, are you taking new bookings and deposits?
Yes, we have been taking new bookings for 2021 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 2022, 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.
This year, the pandemic has created a whole new level of possible scenarios because we may not just be dealing with repeat bookings, but with rescheduled bookings as well. Because of this, we cannot say with certainty which weeks in 2022 will become available until we have gone through this spring and early summer. Booked guests from 2021 that cannot make it will be given first opportunity on available dates in 2022. Then we will work off a waiting list of new groups that we have started to build. Given the current situation, and with a bit of flexibility, we are certain we will be able to create a lifetime of memories for as many people as possible next summer.
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?
Blue Water Aviation has implemented the following procedures:
- 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
Here are some restrictions that directly affect us at Aikens Lake:
- Mask use is mandatory in all indoor public places, such as the B&T, the Office and the Main Lodge.
- Indoor public or private gatherings are currently not permitted. This includes in your cabin as well as in the Main Lodge and Bar.
- Outdoor gatherings of up to five people are allowed.
- Our restaurant/dining room is currently closed to in-person dining. We will be delivering breakfast and dinner to your cabin.
- Big Molly’s Bar is currently closed. For those on the Platinum/Platinum Lite Plan, we will stock your cabin with the beverages of your choice. For those not on the Platinum Plan, beverages can still be delivered to your cabin and we will simply add them to your tab.
Restrictions and health orders are changing almost weekly. We are keeping up-to-date with the rules, and we will be adjusting as the season goes on, as directed by Manitoba officials.
Feel free to email email@example.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.
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 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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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)