Monday, November 17, 2008

How to fly to Red Lake, Ontario in 2011

Bow Narrows Camp guests who are coming from great distances will be interested to know they can fly to Red Lake, Ontario. (Note this blog entry was updated in December, 2010)

There are several ways to do this. The best is to fly any of several major carriers to Winnipeg, Manitoba which is a few hundred miles to the southwest of Red Lake.

Winnipeg is a major city of nearly three-quarters of a million population and has a large international airport.

Some of the carriers that I know of who fly into Winnipeg are Air Canada, Delta, United and Westjet but there may be others as well.

From Winnipeg the connecting flight right into Red Lake is via Bearskin Airlines. Bearskin flies what most people would know as commuter aircraft. They are small, very fast, turboprop planes that can fly in just about any weather. This non-stop flight from Winnipeg to Red Lake is just 45 minutes and there are several flights a day most days in the summer.

Another way to reach Red Lake by air is to fly to Thunder Bay, Ontario, at the top of Lake Superior via either Air Canada or Westjet and then take Bearskin from there to Red Lake. This flight usually makes at least one stop and takes considerably longer than the one from Winnipeg.

There is also a third option taken by quite a few of our guests. That is to fly with the major carriers to either Winnipeg or International Falls, Minnesota, and then rent a car and drive to Red Lake. From either airport the drive takes six hours and probably means you will need to spend the night either in Red Lake or along the way and catch the camp boat in Red Lake the next morning. It still means you only spend one day travelling up here.
There could be significant savings in flying to International Falls and driving from there. A price check in November, 2010, showed this route to be about $200 less expensive than the Winnipeg route.

You should check with the airlines that you will use to see how many pieces of luggage and their weight that you are allowed to bring without paying extra. You should also find out if there are going to be extra costs for bringing a fishing rod case.

Long rod cases are certainly going to be labelled as oversized and you may have to pay a fee for that.

To transport your rods you just need a conventional plastic rod tube, the kind that are sold in any sporting goods store. If it doesn't already have it, put some foam in the ends to protect your rod tips. I would suggest you not make a tube out of PVC sewer pipe because this is heavy and you might get dinged for the extra weight.

From the experience of one of our guests last summer I can absolutely tell you NOT to ship your rods via a courier. Not only will you have to pay for the shipment, you also will get a bill for duty and taxes. This doesn't happen when you bring your rod case with you.

The airlines may not charge you anything if your rod case isn't too long. One of the trade-offs you might need to make in exchange for getting to Red Lake in one day is that you will need to bring shorter rods. A two-piece 61/2-foot rod breaks down into a tube that is less than four-feet long. Frankly, these are the size rods that most of our fishermen use anyway, including those who drive up here. You might be able to get 6 rods in a 3-inch-diameter rod case if you alternate the tips and butts. A rod case that is three feet long and three or four inches in diameter may not even be classified as oversized.

However, your rod case is absolutely going to be classed as oversized if it is 7 feet long.

We recommend that anyone flying to Red Lake at least get a price quote from Red Lake Travel. These people are experts at getting people into Red Lake whereas travel agents from outside the area and outside the country can't even find Red Lake on the map. They are in no way connected to our company. We recommend them just because of the great service they have provided our customers over the years. Many times they are aware of seat sales that you just cannot find on your own. Tell them you want to go to Bow Narrows Camp. They'll do all the rest.

If you can, give them a choice of taking either of our packages: arrive Saturday, leave Friday or arrive Sunday, leave Saturday. This gives them some alternatives so they can select the quickest way of getting you here.

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