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  • Writer's pictureColby Mullis

Canadian Ice Fishing Lodge Experience

Updated: Mar 12

You know Cree Lake Lodge is world class fishing destination, but did you know it is also a Canadian Ice Fishing Lodge? Some of our guests are shy of Canadian winters, that’s why we’ve interviewed a Cree Lake Lodge guest and friend, Gary Pappenfoot. Gary took the time to meet with us to help walk our readers through a day in the life of an ice-fishing guest at Cree Lake Lodge.

We knew Gary was the guy to talk to about ice-fishing because this Canadian-born-and-raised angler has traveled North to Cree Lake not once but four times, and he’s booked to join us again this summer for what will be his fifth time at the Lodge.

I love fishing. I've been to a lot of different lakes up north. At Cree Lake Lodge the pike and lake trout fishing is second to none.

Gary was originally invited to Cree Lake by a friend of his and colleague named Tom Kadachuk back in 2019 with a large group of anglers. Since then, Gary has played a role in coordinating groups ranging from six guests to nineteen guests at a time! Gary is a great guy through-and-through. We’re lucky to know Gary, and we’re grateful he took the time out of his day to help others understand a little more about the Cree Lake Lodge experience.

“I’ve fished at a lot of lodges. I know what there is out there. Cree Lake Lodge, the family, the staff and the lake can’t be beat.”

Planning a Remote Ice-Fishing Group Event

Obviously, this guy knows what to say to help a friend commit to a weekend of peace and quiet, so when we got him on the phone we asked him to help us understand why he keeps coming back to Cree Lake Lodge and how he convinces people to join him on a trip like this.

“Well, the fishing is of course great.” Gary started, “But the lodge itself is what brings me back. It’s Adam and Brandon. It’s a family run resort and the fishing is great, there’s no doubt about that, but for me it’s the whole package.

What helps me bring others up to Cree Lake is the size of the fish. And ice-fishing is a different kind of trip. For some, ice fishing will be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. But it'll be worth it.

The fish get them interested, though. They want to go for big fish. Cree Lake Lodge offers an affordable way to have that experience.”

What is it like to go Ice Fishing at Cree Lake Lodge?

Next, we asked Gary to walk our readers through a day-in-the-life of an ice-fishing guest at Cree Lake Lodge.

“Well, to start, you get up in the morning, make breakfast in the lodge (the guys let us use the commercial kitchen in the lodge for breakfast, which is great).

Snowmobiles & Cutting Holes in Ice

At about 9:30 or 10:00 we’re headed out. It’s about an 8-mile snowmobile ride out to where we fish. Then we spread out on the lake. The guide comes along and he puts us on the spot. Some of us will drill our own holes, but the guide is there to help and teach.

If the weathers nice we fish right off of our snowmobiles. If it’s cold (like this past winter was bitter cold, our warmest day was -34 and our coldest night was -45)…but you manage if it’s cold. You do what you gotta do to make it work. That’s the unique part of a winter trip.

When we went the third week of March in 2020 and the weather was warm enough at times that we could take our jackets off. We caught some great fish and had a great time. It’s not always freezing when you ice-fish.

An Ice Fishing Lunch on the Ice

You’ll fish until probably around 1 or 2 and then make a fire for lunch. Hopefully you’ve got some little fish to eat fresh, but if not, there is also smokies.

Evening in the Lodge

You hang your gear up to drive, stoke the stove in your cabin and then head into the lodge to talk about the day, maybe have a few shots.

Probably the last person to go to bed might be 1 or 2 depending on the night, you might get three guys who push it like that. It’s all on what you want to get out of your days. Some are there for serious fishing and some are enjoying the time up north just for what it is, and also everything in-between.”

What Are the Ice Fishing Accommodations Like?

And of course, we asked Gary to help us paint a picture about what the cabin accommodations are like — because we know that comfort can make or break a big trip.

The Fishing Lodge

“So this space has got the commercial kitchen, bar, Wi-Fi, big screen T.V, poker table…it’s wonderful. It’s a great place to get together at the end of the day and rehash what all happened with everybody out on the lake.”

NEW Beautiful Private Cabins

“Three years ago, Cree Lake Lodge got wooden cabins with wood burning stoves. They’re what you’d consider a rustic northern cabin. Very warm and very dry…in the winter you’ve ot to keep the stove stoked though.

Something that I appreciate is that Cree Lake Lodge spent some money and built new cabins that have their own washrooms. These new cabins are awesome.

It’s great to see, you know? Because during COVID a lot of places were cutting back and minding their P’s and Q’s — while these guys at Cree were “going for it”. I thought that was awesome.

Not everyone’s the same, some people enjoy the rustic cabins, some people enjoy the tents and some people will really like these new cabins. There’s even a large cabin that sleeps seven people at a time and has it’s own cooking facilities.

Cree Lake Lodge has created a space where there's something for everyone.

Well there you have it!

If you were wondering what it’s like, please take our friend’s word for it. Gary is one of those guys who’s got a good heart, and you just know it. We’re grateful you took the time to sit down for an interview, Gary, and we’re looking forward to welcoming you back to the lodge this summer.

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