I didn’t know what to expect flying from Winnipeg to the North Seal River area of Northern Manitoba to Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge. It was 6 am and barely light when departing on Calm Air Charters’ 10 passenger plane. We were greeted by our German-born pilot and native Madagascar co-pilot, both speaking better English than my Southern slang. They went over the safety rules and offered us snacks and water before takeoff. The flight was two hours, so we all settled in for a morning’s nap with dreams of fishing in our heads.

By 9 am, we were landing on the lodge’s sand-packed runway. ATVs met us with a warm welcome. We settled into our cabins and met for breakfast at the lodge: amazing blueberry French toast, bacon, and, of course, Canadian maple syrup. The staff came by and introduced themselves and outlined our first day fishing. We met our native Cree and Dene guides, who were waiting in boats to take us fishing on the endless waters out the lodge’s back door.

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Photo by Gangler's Seal River Lodge

All tackle is welcome at Gangler’s, but my favorite is fishing with a fly. I was fortunate to have Kelly, a Cree guide, who has experience with fly anglers, and who is learning fly himself. Being a fly instructor, I welcomed the opportunity of instructing him, while he guided me to my first pike. We came to an early partnership and the mission was on for both of us. We took a boat ride around islands, granite rocks, little stick trees, eagles, otters, and did not see one person or boat for miles.

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Photo by Gangler's Seal River Lodge