Access & Resources: Treeline Lodge
The cost for a seven-day trip is $3,595 (all-inclusive) from Winnipeg. Treeline also runs two self-guided outpost camps on Nueltin Lake, Windy River and Nueltin Narrows ($2,295 for seven days). For details, call 800-361-7177 or visit www.nueltin.com.
WHEN I WANT TO see envy plastered on the faces of my fishing pals, I mention that I'm heading to Treeline Lodge on Nueltin Lake in the roadless Manitoba wilderness to catch trout and pike longer than my legson a body of water that's longer than the drive from Los Angeles to San Diego. Then I add that the last time I went fishing on Nueltin I hooked a small pike and was about to land it when a monster fish appeared, chomping the smaller one sideways like a shark. In the ensuing pandemonium, the piscine beast released the tiny fish to attack my lure. After running around the bay, it streaked past the boat, where the guide deftly intercepted it with the net. Together we hoisted the three-foot-long pike into the boat, drenching ourselves with spray.
There's no better place than Nueltin Lake for catching northern pike and lake trout, and there's no better lodge than Treeline from which to launch a fishing expedition. The log outpost and its surrounding clapboard cabins sit atop a sand esker 300 miles from the nearest road. It's so remote that it has its own private airstrip and flies its guests in each Saturday via charter jet from Winnipeg.
Sure, Canada has its share of outback fishing lodges, but Treeline is one of the few facilities that replaces the motors on its boats every year, and its registered Chipewyan and Cree guides are among the country's best. In 1978 it instituted a catch-and-release policy (everyone fishes with single barbless hooks to facilitate the unharmed release of fish, although keeping a five-pound or smaller fish for daily shore lunch is permitted), making Nueltin the first lake in Canada with such a distinction.
After a day fighting pike, anglers can return to private, heated cabins for a shower before gathering at the lodge. First, cocktails are served around a blaze in the stone fireplace, the warmth enhanced by floor-to-ceiling lake views and the wolf-and-bearskin-rug decor. Then there's roast turkey, prime rib, or grilled steak for dinner. Afterward, guests can check e-mail or catch up on the news, thanks to a stealthy satellite connection, or head into the midnight sun to hit a few golf balls on the lodge's driving range. But most visitors choose to wind down the way I do: lounging on the deck and basking in the memory of the day's action while watching the faint glow from a sun that never sets.