British Columbia, Canada

Fortress Lake Lodge, Canadian Rockies

British Columbia, Canada

Fortress Lake Lodge, Canadian Rockies

Why We Like It

Fortress Lake is one of the coolest places we’ve ever fished. You cannot beat the scenery nor the numbers of solid brook trout you’ll catch. Expect to catch brookies ranging between 14 and 20 inches, all taken from gorgeous turquoise water under towering mountains and hanging glaciers overhead. You can fish from dawn to dusk here, and the brook trout are never farther than a five-minute walk away. Overall, this is just pure fishing fun, and the lodge’s super remote location ensures a unique, private experience.

Season

June - September

Species

Brook Trout

Accomodations

Private guest cabins with classic canvas roofs and small wood stoves. A large yurt serves as the lounge and dining area.

Occupancy

10

Lodge Features & Amenities

Amazing Food

Beginner Friendly

Non-Angler Friendly

Remote Location

Wi-Fi

The Fortress Lake Lodge, Canadian Rockies Experience

Fortress Lake lodge is located in a super remote valley near Jasper National Park, about three hours north of Banff, Alberta. Guests climb aboard a helicopter at Cline River and enjoy a breathtaking 30-minute flight to the lodge. The only other way in is via a 24-kilometer hike, which limits the fishing to a very fortunate few. Guests stay in private guest cabins and relax with fellow anglers in a giant Pacific Yurt, which serves as the lounge and dining area. A wood-burning stove keeps the yurt comfortably warm. Another large yurt serves as a bathroom and shower room. Two outdoor flush toilet bathrooms are available for guests. A cedar wood-fired hot tub beckons after long days on the water.

After a relaxing breakfast guests spend the day chasing large book trout, which were stocked into the lake back in the 1920s and early 1930s. The population has thrived and produces solid catches throughout the short four-month season. Cruise the shoreline in a skiff and cast to rising trout or beach the boat near one of the lake’s numerous tributaries and cast off deep drop-offs for fish that range to 20 inches and sometimes more. On a very good day you might put 20 of these fish in the net…as long as your arm doesn’t wear out first. After long days on the water you can relax with a glass of wine and feast on dinners that might include beef tenderloin, ribs, chicken, racks of lamb, etc. No one is going hungry here.

Fortress provides spectacular fishing for brook trout that range between 14 and 18 inches on average and often reach the 20-inch mark. These are very strong fish that dig deep for the bottom and test an angler’s stamina when hooked on 5- and 6-weight rods. This strain of brook trout comes from Ontario’s Nipigon River region, which is where the world record brook trout of 14 pounds was taken. There is potential here to see giants, though thick, healthy 17-inchers are the norm. A variety of flies take these fish, including dries for most of the season. Underneath, which is the most productive place to be, balanced leeches, Woolly Buggers, and various streamers take fish. Scuds and other nymphs prompt solid eats, too. When the fishing is really on, guests might catch 10 to 20 fish or more in a day. In late summer and fall these fish hold their gorgeous spawning colors and every one feels picture-worthy.

Fishing Schedule
How much or how little you fish is entirely up to you. Unlike some lodges that hold to a strict routine, you have options here, beginning in the morning prior to breakfast if you choose. A simple walk to the boat dock or to the mouth of Chisel Creek places you in fertile brook trout grounds. If guided, boats usually leave between 8 and 9 a.m. and return for lunch at the lodge or later around 4 for dinner. After dinner, guests again choose their poison, running around in a boat or prospecting the shorelines around the lodge.

Boats and Equipment
Fortress offers a variety of skiffs for anglers to use, all propelled by prop or jet engines. Because of a 50-pound weight limit per passenger on the helicopter flights in and out, it pays to utilize the lodges equipment, including Orvis Helios rods, Orvis Pro waders, and wading boots.

Guests stay in six private guest cabins and relax with fellow anglers in a giant Pacific Yurt, which serves as the lounge and dining area. A wood-burning stove keeps the yurt comfortably warm. Another large yurt serves as a bathroom and shower room. Two outdoor flush toilet bathrooms are available for guests. A cedar-walled, wood-fired hot tub beckons after long days on the water. Each guest cabin has solid pine tongue-in-groove walls, wood floor, and canvas exteriors. In addition, each cabin has a single and a queen-size hand-crafted log bed with three-inch memory foam mattresses. New linens, pillowcases, and duvets keep guests snug and warm at night. Small wood-burning stoves in each cabin can be used to take the chill off summer and early fall mornings. And just the smell and sound of a crackling fire warms the soul.

Cuisine
Excellent breakfasts range from the standard eggs, toast, and bacon or sausage, pancakes or waffles, to frittatas and eggs benedict. Muffins and fresh fruits also available. Lunches are either taken at the lodge or brought onboard with guests. Sandwiches, stews, and soups are common lunch options. Dinners may feature barbecue beef tenderloin, steaks, chicken, racks of lamb, or ribs. Excellent salads and breads compliment the meal, as do complimentary glasses of wine and beer. If conditions are right, guests may take a shore lunch of pan-fried fries and lake trout during one day of their stay.

Connectivity
High-speed Starlink satellite internet provides solid connectivity with enough bandwidth to utilize social media and e-mail. The best connectivity is found at the main lodge/yurt.

There is plenty to do here. Several hiking trails call the adventurous, and boats and kayaks are always available. When paddling the lake you can find loons and other waterfowl, plus the occasional bear walking the banks. Landscape photographers thrive here as mountains over 10,000 feet tall (including seven of the nine highest peaks in the Canadian Rockies) rise straight from the water and into the sky. The nearby Columbia Icefield is one of the only places in North America where water drains into three oceans—the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic.

Round trip shuttle service between Calgary and Cline River is available through the lodge for $300. Those driving or flying to Cline River need to arrive at the helicopter base before 11 a.m. A strict 50-pound weight limit applies to each guest. Please consider using the lodge’s excellent waders and boots to keep your weight in check.

Note: Supplies are very limited at Cline River. Make sure you have what you need before leaving Calgary.

Helicopter flights occur on Mondays and Fridays. Simply put, getting to Fortress Lake Lodge is an amazing experience. Guests climb aboard a helicopter at the Cline River helibase and fly 30 minutes through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. In fact, the flight takes guests over the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park and past seven of the nine highest peaks in the Canadian Rockies. 

Departure
The return flight from Fortress Lake Lodge is just as breathtaking as the flight in. Guests land at Cline River and return to Calgary or other destinations via shuttles or private vehicles.

 

Fly Fishing International’s services are completely free. Clients will not pay more than if booked directly with a lodge. All rates are per person based on double occupancy and listed in U.S. dollars.

Helicopter flights occur on Mondays and Fridays. Packages are four, five, or eight days. Packages include helicopter flights from Cline River to and from Fortress Lake Lodge. All prices based on double occupancy with shared cabin, shared boat, and shared guide.

Double Occupancy
3 Nights/4 Days $4,000 per person
4 Nights/5 Days $4,500 per person
7 Nights/8 Days $6,000 per person

(5% GST will be added to total trip cost)

Included
This all-inclusive package offers all helicopter flights to and from Fortress Lake, accommodations, all meals, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and wine or beer with dinner. Guided fishing, use of power boats, canoes, kayaks and all fly fishing gear, including waders and boots, rods and reels are also included.

Not Included
British Columbia freshwater fishing license, flies, transportation between Calgary and Cline River, guide and staff gratuities.

Bookings are confirmed with a 50% deposit, made no later than seven days after booking a trip. Balance must be received no later than 90 days prior to the first day of the trip. Notification of cancellation must be received 90 days prior to the first day of the trip in order to receive partial or full credit for an alternate date. All payments are final and nonrefundable, with the exception of a medical or family emergency, deemed reasonable at GFFI’s discretion.

Booking a trip or making a deposit represents that the client accepts all terms and conditions. GFFI’s terms are in addition to any terms and conditions of each individual lodge that GFFI represents. Please read those terms carefully—lodge terms, which may differ from GFFI’s terms, supersede any agreements between GFFI and a client.

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