Is a Canadian outpost really less expensive to fish than a full service Canadian lodge? The short answer is YES, but there are unforeseen costs that go unaccounted for.

With running a fishing lodge for over 40 years, we hear “Lodges are expensive, that’s why we prefer an outpost” every once and awhile from new potential guest.  While a Canadian lodge does have a higher base rate than a Canadian outpost, you are also getting more amenities with the higher Canadian lodge base rate that actually gives you a better chance of landing your trophy fish.  Let’s explore …..

SETTING THE BASE

The average difference between the full service Canadian lodge and a Canadian outpost is 750.00 – 1,250.00 dollars per person.

VERDICT: There is no question that a Canadian outpost is the clear winner in the base rate category.
RUNNING TALLY: Canadian outpost base rate difference: 750.00 - 1,250.00 over a full service Canadian lodge

ACCOMODATIONS

Canadian Outpost fly in fishingA fly in full service Canadian lodge as well as a Canadian outpost offer fine accommodations, especially being located in the middle of the wilderness.  Yet there are a few accommodations that add unforeseen value for both options.

Meals: A full service Canadian lodge offers 3 full course meals daily during you stay.  Your stay at the outpost requires you to plan, shop, prepare, and clean up after each meal.  The average cost for meals at a Canadian outpost for groceries (food, paper products, cleaning supplies, etc.) is 25.00 per person per day, or 125.00 to 175.00 total per person during their stay. Specialty dishes created daily | Cobham River LodgeWhile the average daily cost of meals at a Canadian lodge is 45.00 per person per day.  The only difference is the Canadian lodge cost is included in your full service Canadian lodge base rate.

Next factor in time:  A full service Canadian lodge has a staff that prepares your meals, cooks your daily Canadian shore lunch and cleans up after each meal. All included in your Canadian lodge base rate.  At a Canadian outpost, you are preparing the meals, cooking your daily Canadian shore lunch and cleaning up after each meal.  The meal prep/clean up takes an average of 2 to 3 hours a day. Does not sound like a lot, until you note that the full service lodge guest are fishing while the Canadian outpost guests are in meal prep/clean up.

VERDICT: Full service Canadian lodge. With a full service Canadian lodge, you have higher quality meals and more time on the lake fishing over a Canadian outpost.
RUNNING TALLY: Canadian outpost base rate difference: 625.00 - 1,075.00 over a full service Canadian lodge, Time on the water fishing: Lodge plus 2 to 3 hours daily.

Privacy:  With a full service Canadian lodge you share your stay with other guests.  Whether it’s in the dining room, Lake Sunset on the Cobham | Cobham River Lodgeat the dock, during shore lunch, or out on the water, you are not alone.  A Canadian Lodge also has a set daily schedule (Breakfast a 7AM, shore lunch at noon, cocktails at 5PM, etc.).

A Canadian outpost on the other hand you are alone in complete privacy.  Only your group shares the Canadian outpost cabin, lake and set your own schedule (want to sleep in, breakfast is on your schedule).

VERDICT: Canadian outpost. With a Canadian outpost not only do you get a outpost cabin and lake to yourselves, you also get to set your daily schedule.
RUNNING TALLY: Canadian outpost base rate difference: 625.00 - 1,075.00 over a full service Canadian lodge, Time on the water fishing: Lodge plus 2 to 3 hours daily.

Housekeeping: Housekeeping is a tricky one to determine for a Canadian outpost.  Your on vacation, how much housekeeping do you really do?  More than you think.  Canadian outpost housekeeping on a typical day involves minor cabin cleaning (some broom action, bed Fly in Canadian Outpost fishingmaking (maybe), cleaning up the empties/trash, etc.), daily fish cleaning, boat fueling/cleaning, and firewood for shore lunch/fire pit to name a few.

You may not think its much being 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there. But it does add up to 1 hour or more on average per day, depending on your group size.  A full service Canadian fishing lodge has staff on hand that preforms all those tasks, plus tasks that you have not thought of. Like restocking your cooler, valet dock service, and guidance where to fish.

VERDICT: Full service Canadian lodge. Your on vacation, less time in the cabin means more time on the water.
RUNNING TALLY: Canadian outpost base rate difference: 625.00 - 1,075.00 over a full service Canadian lodge, Time on the water fishing: Lodge plus 3 to 4 hours daily.

FISHING

A Canadian fishing lodge or outpost is not built just anywhere, there are a few reasons why a location is chosen to build.  Let’s explore some of those reasons.Manitoba Canada Walleye Fishing Trip | Cobham River Lodge

Fishing: This one seems like a no brainer, but it is often overlooked.  Is there fish?

Most Canadian lodges and outposts were built in the 60’s through the 80’s and depending on how the resource was managed, they may or may not have great fishing.  When researching a Canadian fishing destination, a majority of fishermen overlook how a lodge owner manages their fisheries.

Most Canadian lodges go into detail on how they manage their resource on their website and those that don’t should raise the question of why?

VERDICT: Tie. A Canadian lodge or outpost should have great fishing. Just remember to ask questions during the booking process. If a lodge owner is not managing the resource, who is? What affect has that management (or lack of) had on the fisheries and ultimately your experience fishing? After all its your vacation and for most this is not a yearly event.
RUNNING TALLY: Canadian outpost base rate difference: 625.00 - 1,075.00 over a full service Canadian lodge, Time on the water fishing: Lodge plus 3 to 4 hours daily.

Location: The provincial government determines the number of fishermen a lake/river can support by size of the fisheries boundaries.  The number of fishermen is a factor in determining if a lodge or outpost is to be built.

Can the fisheries support the investment of a lodge that is Aerial glimpse of Canadian fishing lodge located in Manitoba Canadalicensed for 8 guests, or should a outpost that has a lower upfront/overhead cost be built.  This is why you will have fishing lodges on larger bodies of water that support a higher number of fishermen.

So the larger the body of water, the better the fishing?  Not necessarily, let’s look at lake Winnipeg in Manitoba.  Huge body of water (600 miles long), but no fishing lodges.  Why?

This ties back to our previous topic, Fishing.  Lake Winnipeg is commercially fished.  Most of the Canadian walleyes Americans eat in restaurants come from lake Winnipeg.  How a resource is managed is a factor.  While a larger body of water can better handle unmanaged pressure, there is a tipping point that results in decline of fishing.

VERDICT: Full service Canadian lodge. While a Canadian lodge and outpost can both offer great fishing, you will have days that the additional boundaries of a Canadian fishing lodge will be a benefit in high/low pressure days.
RUNNING TALLY: Canadian outpost base rate difference: 625.00 - 1,075.00 over a full service Canadian lodge, Time on the water fishing: Lodge plus 3 to 4 hours daily.

DRIVE IN or FLY IN

Drive in Fishing LodgeDrive in or Fly in Canadian Fishing Lodge: There is advantages to both.  Drive in lodges are generally more economical than fly in lodges.  This is mainly due to freight.  A drive in lodge everything (including guests) arrives via truck or car.  A fly in lodge everything arrives via aircraft.

Fly in lodges generally have better fishing as a fly in lodge is a closed water system that can easily manage its fisheries.  The only fishermen fishing the waters of a fly in lodge are guest of that lodge, unlike a drive in lodge that shares its fisheries with private cottages, boat launches, and maybe even other lodges.  A drive in lodge can manage the fisheries for its guests, but who is managing the fisheries for the non lodge guests?

VERDICT: Depends if you want more than just fishing. A drive in fishing lodge offers you activities outside of fishing (miniature golf, shopping, etc.) and can be a more economical option than a fly in fishing lodge. If you are looking for higher quality private fishery, that is focused on giving you every opportunity to land a trophy fish, you should explore a fly in fishing lodge.
RUNNING TALLY: Canadian outpost base rate difference: 625.00 - 1,075.00 over a full service Canadian lodge, Time on the water fishing: Lodge plus 3 to 4 hours daily.

CONCLUSION

Yes, an Canadian outpost can save you 625.00 – 1,075.00 over a full service fishing lodge.  But the savings comes at the cost of 15 to 20 hours of time on the water.  This translates into 2 extra days of fishing at a full service lodge over an outpost, during a a typical 5 day fishing trip.  What the 15 to 20 hours are worth depends on how you value your time.  Besides your on vacation to fish, eat, drink and be with family and friends.  Not cook, clean and plan the daily events. No matter your choice, the point still remains, go fishing!  There really isn’t any better time or place to be than on the water in Canada next summer.

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