The sun rises on a beautiful day glinting off the water’s surface in a million tiny diamonds. The lake was calm while everything was coming to life—birds chirped, loon calls echoed, frogs croaked and the dew started to lift into subtle fog. Following the lead of my companions, we entered a small float plane. Inside, tucked into every available square inch, was gear clearly meant for one thing, and one thing only—fishing.
Welcome to the start of any great adventure set forth by the great folks over at Air Ivanhoe Limited. This is a top notch fly-in outfitter that exceeds expectations, with 24 fly-in outpost camps, three boat-in outpost camps, the drive-in Ivanhoe River Inn and—the Cadillac of them—the fly-in Nemegosenda Lake Lodge.
Air Ivanhoe was established in 1980 by George Jr. Theriault and his wife Jeanne, just west of Timmins near the town of Foleyet. The Theriault family has strong roots in the flying industry, as well as the outdoors. George Theriault Sr., the trailblazer of the family and the business, started Theriault Air Service in 1959 after an amazing career of over 70 years flying. He served with the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II, flew survey crews throughout the Arctic, and established multiple air services in Northern Ontario, Quebec and the Belcher Islands in Hudson Bay. George Sr. also wrote a book that is highly recommended for any outdoor adventurer called Trespassing in God’s Country that outlines his travels through remote sections of Northern Ontario, Quebec and Labrador.
With all this rich generational experience, it’s no wonder that the lakes, cabins, and adventures they offer are as successful and rewarding as they are. I also need to say a word about the fish. The variety of fish species are seemingly endless—including walleye, northern pike, brook/speckle trout, lake trout, smallmouth bass and lake whitefish. And it’s not just the abundance of these fish—it’s the opportunity at every cast to catch the fish of your dreams. These remote outpost locations have very little fishing pressure and hold fish that are often very willing to bite at a moment’s notice.
Nemegosenda Lake Fly-In Lodge & Cabins is an American Plan lodge that offers housekeeping packages where guests can bring their own meals. The full American Plan package offers outstanding meals and daily lunches to enjoy on the lake. This lets guests spend their time on the lake doing what they intended—fishing. Nemegosenda Lake is one of the biggest lakes that Air Ivanhoe services at a 13km length by 3 to 5km width, including the Nemegosenda River and all of its tributaries meandering for 22.5km prior to becoming non-navigable. Excellent fish catching structure is provided on both the main lake basin and the countless locations within the river. A nice bonus for Nemegosenda Lodge is their access to two trout ponds that hold some of nature’s true beauties, wild brook trout.
The outfitting store at Ivanhoe Inn has everything you need for your adventures, and the staff are more than willing to help you plan your trip. Their website has very detailed checklists to ensure you don’t miss a thing. One of the hottest baits as mentioned by all the staff is a simple jig and minnow – specifically pink in the 1/8, 1/4 and 3/8 ounce sizes for all species.
I really can’t say enough about the staff here—they are accommodating and want you to feel at home, help you to unwind and cater to your every need. Meals are home-cooked and remind me of eating at my grandmother’s house where the portions are bigger than my belly can handle. By the end of the week my belly adjusted nicely to clearing my plate, no problem.
I recommend calling your closest fishing buddies and pulling up the online brochure to pick the trip that is right for you. Air Ivanhoe responds with a warm, sincere greeting and it’s clear that they intend to offer the best service they can. Maybe you want a week filled with non-stop fishing action, or a family getaway, or a couple retreat or a corporate getaway to assist in team building—they’re set up to handle all of these smoothly. Whatever package you choose, it will be a trip of a lifetime and you’ll likely have stories to brag about for years. You won’t regret your choice and, chances are, you’ll start planning your next trip back before your plane takes off to get you home.