If you are driving to a Canadian fishing lodge, your baggage (with all your best fishing lures) is only limited by the size of your car. If you live in the Northern United States or a neighboring province, driving there may not be practical. That makes baggage a different beast altogether.
These are mostly the same whether you are headed for a lodge with drive-in access or a fly-in fishing camp. With the latter, you will be much more limited in what you will be able to bring.
These packing tips will help.
1. Bring the proper identification documents, including a Canadian fishing license.
Make sure all your ID is current and valid all the way through your trip. You will need your driver’s license, U.S. passport, Ontario fishing license, and Ontario Outdoors card.
You need both of the last two documents to fish legally in Ontario. You can get them here.
2. Use a packing list.
This is critical. Weight limits per person on commercial airlines for checked bags is typically about 50 pounds per person and 62 linear inches (27 in. x 21 in. x 14 in.) Carry on generally is 40 pounds and 45 linear inches (22 in. x 14 in. x 9 in.).
You will be tempted to bring tons of stuff, hoping you won’t need something you left home. You will probably need half of all that. You are limited by what you can carry on the plane and check at the airline counter. Buy food in Canada before you arrive at your lodge unless you are going to a fly-in camp.
Customize your list from this basic template. Use the first circle to check off items packing to leave. Nothing gets left home. Use the second circle when packing to return. Nothing gets left in Ontario.
O O Passports
O O Driver’s License
O O Airline tickets
O O Ontario fishing license
O O Ontario Outdoors Card
O O Receipt from the fishing lodge
O O Cash money
O Batteries (for all devices)
O O Camera (film, if necessary)
O O Clothes (rolled, by outfit)
O O Over the counter drugs (antihistamines, etc.)
O Lip balm
O O Prescriptions
O O Rain gear
O O Rubber boots
O O Shoes (appropriate to activity)
O O Swimsuits
O O Towels (dish, bath, swimming)
O O Wet/Dry bag
O O Razor
O O Toiletries (travel size, per person)
O O Toothbrush/toothpaste
O O Compass
O O Electronic equipment
O O Fillet knife
O Insect repellent
O Map (of the lake)
O O Reels
O O Rods
O O Sunglasses (polarized)
O O Tackle
O O Tools (net, pliers, spreaders, etc.)
O O First aid kit
O O Life jacket, per person (the U.S. or Canadian Coast Guard approved)
If you are continuing on to a fly-in fishing camp, that Cessna or de Havilland plane will limit your baggage further.
You will be limited to between 100 and 150 pounds per person. And a good deal of that weight will be for the food you bring with you. Weigh your bags at home, so you know you are not over the limit.
3. Use soft-sided luggage.
Hard-sided luggage is unforgiving. You have precisely so much cubic space that will not flex to accommodate the shape of objects you try to put in it.
If your bag is canvas or similar, it can expand and flex. You will be surprised how much easier these are to stuff.
Make sure to empty your bag of contents from previous trips. This will avoid something weapon-like appearing as it goes through TSA’s x-ray machine.
Pack a photocopy of your ID documents inside each bag you are taking. Include driver’s license and the ID page of your passport. If any of your bags get sent somewhere different than your destination, it can be found and returned to you.
4. Pack your clothes rolled, not folded.
Decide what outfits you will wear each day; underwear, outer clothes, and external layers. Pack only those specific clothes.
Lay it all out first. Do not fold. Roll each item to maximize space in soft-sided luggage. Pack by outfit, with all pieces together. Be disciplined about this process.
5. Bring written contact numbers and itinerary information.
Your cell phone may die, but you will still need the contact information in it.
6. Buy travel-size toiletries to pack.
It is recommended to buy travel-sized bottles of shampoo, deodorant, or anything else. TSA does not prefer them. This will give you space for other essential items.
7. Pre-rig your tackle as much as possible.
The Transportation Security Administration says to take the hooks of your tackle, sheath them, and pack them in checked baggage.But, you won’t be able to do pre-rig if you bring knockdown rods.
8. If you are not sure you need something, you don’t.
You are not going around the world in 80 days, you will be gone a week or so.
9. Bring extra cash to your Canada fishing lodge.
ATMs will be scarce most of the way there and back.
10. Use soft tackle organizers and fly notebooks.
Plastic fly boxes do not cram well and can crack. Use a soft bait binder and soft-sided tackle bag. They are better suited to air travel, especially small aircraft.
11. Suggestions for transporting fishing rods.
Duct tape several rod cases together to form one checked bag.
Consider rods that break down into pieces that can be packed into a duffel with clothing.
You can make a rod case from a thin-walled PVC pipe cut to the length you need with simple plastic end caps. Choose a diameter that is not much bigger than is required. There are simple to inspect at the airport.
12. Pack your best fishing lures and keep TSA happy.
Fishing hooks are considered dangerous. TSA wants them sheathed, securely wrapped, and put in your checked baggage. If you like, you could remove the hooks from your best fishing lures so you could pack the lures in your carry-on bag.
Making your fishing reservations with Wildewood on Lake Savant? Check our list of what is included and what you should bring here. To make fishing resort reservations, check availability on our website here: https://wildewoodonlakesavant.com/search-availability/