What do I Need to Pack for my Family’s Fishing Trip in Ontario, Canada?

An Ontario family fishing vacation is a great opportunity to make fun life-long memories. Wildewood on Lake Savant is one of the very best Canada fishing lodges. The time to start thinking about packing is right after you book your reservations. Waiting until the last minute will guarantee that you over-pack and have overly heavy luggage while at the same time forgetting several things that you will need.

Anglers often know what fishing gear they need, but struggle to know what else they need. Here are two lists you can use: bare necessities list for people who like to travel light and a more comprehensive list for people who need more stuff to function comfortably. Pick one. Add or subtract to make the list work for you.

Step One: Gather now everything you will need to pack later.

If you skip this step, you will start to pack and then discover there are things you are missing that take time to acquire. Read this article and actually check to see if you have everything on hand. Get or order any missing items now.

Step Two: Collect the items you will pack into a staging area.

This will save you lots of valuable time when packing and will greatly reduce stress. You won’t be able to stage the clothes and things that you use every day. Because you use them every day, you will be able to find them easily. Stage everything else that is on your list at least a few weeks before departure day.

Step Three: Start packing.

Not later than 3 days before departure day, start packing your luggage. Keep a running list (maybe on your smart phone) of everything that goes into each piece of luggage. This is important. Many times someone will need access to a particular thing. If you are able to check a packing list, you will be able to find that needful thing without going through all the luggage. Try to pack similar items into the same piece of luggage. For example: all the kitchen items, all the bathroom items, all the airport security items (passports, one-quart bag of your liquids, laptop, electronic gadgets, etc.). That way one small bag has all the items TSA needs to inspect. If you are flying during a part of your trip, some items (aerosols and liquids) may have to be purchased after you land. Create a list for those items and keep it handy.

Step Four: Finish packing.

The day before departure day, pack everything left on your list, except what you will wear or use that day, or purchase in Canada. This will be quick and easy.

The Basic ‘We are traveling light’ List

This list contains the minimum things you need for an Ontario family fishing vacation.

The Go Bag

  • Passports, driver’s license, vehicle registration, car insurance card, optional Canada traveler’s health insurance card, Ontario Outdoors Card and Ontario fishing license (for each angler over 17 years old).See more information here. Double checks to make sure all documents are valid and will not expire during your trip.
  • A snack and bottled water
  • Hand wipes
  • Multitool (Gerber, Swiss Army knife, etc.)
  • Flashlight w/ fresh batteries
  • Paper maps. Your phone will not have signal many places during your trip. Your phone also may not always have a charge.

The Cook’s Bag (Check with your lodge on what items they supply)

  • Frying pan, spatula, tongs, oven mitt
  • Aluminum foil, plastic wrap, 1-gallon freezer zip lock bags
  • Dish soap, dish cloth & towels, scouring pads
  • Garbage bags
  • Knife – chef (sharpen before your trip)
  • Cutting board (thin plastic is best)
  • Can opener – manual, vegetable peeler
  • Camping plates, cups, utensils
  • Paper towels

Hygiene Bag

  • Bar soap
  • Hand sanitizer/wipes (for outhouse)
  • Shampoo
  • Toilet paper
  • Tooth brush, paste, floss
  • Wet wipes
  • Bug spray (for cabin/outhouse)

Medic’s Bag

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Aloe Vera gel (for burns, insect bites, rashes)
  • Antihistamine (for allergic reactions)
  • Antiseptic (Iodine for cuts)
  • First aid kit (bandages, alcohol pads, gauze, tape, scissors, tweezers, scalpel)
  • Heart burn meds (Tums)
  • Rubbing alcohol

Personal Bag

  • Glasses, contact lenses w/cases
  • Batteries (for each device)
  • Bed roll/sleeping bag
  • Towel
  • Work gloves
  • Insect repellent (deet)
  • Lighter
  • Multitool or knife (may share this with other camp mates)
  • Rope
  • Sewing kit
  • Solar charger for batteries/cell phone
  • Stick matches
  • Sunscreen
  • Wet wipes

Fishing Tool Bag

  • Braid scissors or sharp knife
  • Extra spool of line
  • Jaw spreader
  • Line clippers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Measuring tape/scale
  • Pliers
  • Cooler (only if packing out fish)

Clothing Bag

  • Bandana
  • Camp shoes – 1 pair
  • Hat, brim all the way around – 1 (baseball style, if you must but it is inferior for this task)
  • Rain suit
  • Flannel/denim shirt, long sleeve – 2
  • Pants – 2
  • Shorts -2
  • Socks – 7 pair
  • Sunglasses, polarized – 2 pair
  • T-shirts – 6
  • Gloves, suitable to fish with on cold mornings – 1 pair
  • Underwear- 7 pair
  • Boots, water-proof – 1 pair
  • Sweatshirt – 1
  • Jacket -1

The More Comprehensive List

For this list, to the contents of each bag listed above, add the items listed below.

The Go Bag

  • More snacks and water

The Cook’s Bag

  • Coffee filters
  • Corkscrew/wine opener
  • Ice cube trays
  • Fillet knives (sharpen before trip)
  • Knife sharpener, manual
  • Paper plates
  • Plastic cups
  • Plastic utensils
  • Vacuum sealer w/ bags (for taking fish home – follow regulations, page 14)
  • Vegetable peeler

Hygiene Bag

  • Air freshener (for outhouse)
  • Bleach (purify water, sterilize cutting board)
  • Razor w/ blades
  • Shaving cream (or use dish soap)

Medic’s Bag

  • Acid reflux meds (Pepcid AC)
  • Anti-diarrhea meds (Imodium)
  • Anti-nausea med (Gravol)
  • Antibiotic ointment (Polysporin)
  • Aspirin, chewable
  • Cold/Flu meds (Nyquil)
  • Hook removal kit
  • Hot/cold pack (muscle aches)
  • Ibuprofen
  • Insect bite relief (Afterbite)
  • Laxative
  • Upset stomach meds (Pepto Bismol)

Personal Bag

  • Alarm clock
  • Hatchet
  • Coffee maker, camping or stove top
  • Cooler (for beverages, food)
  • Cards, deck (for playing)
  • Camp games (Backgammon, cribbage, etc.)
  • Fan, electric
  • Emergency candles
  • Extension cord
  • Heavy duty gloves
  • Lantern, battery
  • Mosquito coils
  • Saw, small hand
  • Solar camp shower
  • Water filter for camping

Fishing Tool Bag

  • Cooler (for packing out fish)
  • Compass
  • Rod repair kit
  • Sponge, thick (for bailing water out of the boat)
  • Fishing rags (many uses, drying boat seat)
  • GPS
  • Landing net
  • Walkie talkies (radios communicate when cell phones don’t)

Here are some ideas on what fishing gear you could bring.

Make your reservation for your dream Ontario family fishing vacation here.