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Thinking of buying a fishing lodge….need help!

Forums Lodge and Resort Discussion Forum Thinking of buying a fishing lodge….need help!

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      Starting the process of fulfilling a life long dream in buying a fishing lodge and I am hoping this list can help me with some research. I would be interested in your hearing your responses to the following five questions. If can indicate whether you are someone who has gone once or many times to a lodge…..or as someone who is thinking about going to a lodge for the first time…..or maybe you are either a current or past lodge owner.

      1. American Plan versus Housekeeping. What are your thoughts on these two options….is the modified American Plan a good in between option (you cook breakfast and lunch….eat dinner at the lodge).

      2. Fly In versus Boat in versus drive to. Thoughts? I know fly in is expensive…but is the over all experience worth it? Is boat in a good in between option? Or is the ease of a drive in lodge (even if the fishing is not the greatest) the way to go?

      3. Boats….16 foot aluminum boats with pull start and hard bench seats….versus 18 foot electric starts with casting platform, live well, padded seats. Is it worth a few extra dollars for the upgrade to the bigger more comfortable boat worth it? What about cedar strip? Does a bit of nostalgia/history make the trip more memorable?

      4. Guides…have you used them? Are they important….or is simply a good map and suggestions on hot spots the way to be.

      5. Repeat clientele…or like to move around. If you go to a lodge and have an positive you repeat going to that Lodge or do you still look for other places to switch things up.

      I appreciate any and all advice, comments, thoughts, etc. Thanks in advance…..and I’m sure I will have more questions in the future.

      #50067 Reply

        I have only been on one fly-in but guided for several years back in my younger days (a long time ago)

        On my trip I chose house keeping because I wanted the freedom to eat what I wanted when I wanted, the idea of having to be back at a lodge for supper right in the middle of a good bite didn’t appeal to me.

        I chose fly-in because I wanted something remote for my son and I, no cell phones, no internet, and no one else around to bother us.

        We had 14′ aluminum boats with 9.9 pull start and padded swivel seats (two per boat) which was quite adequate for the lake we were fishing, It was a smaller lake, we didn’t have long runs from our camp to get fishing, and we didn’t have to worry about rough water. A cedar strip boat requires maintenance, an aluminum not so much.

        Guides; I think are important especially if you are fishing big water or in something like the French River system where there are numerous hazards. In our case some very basic knowledge and a good map was all that was required.

        Repeat or move around; well I have only ever done one fly-in and I won’t be going back there but there are a few reasons for that. In the past though when i have gone on holidays and found a place I really like I tend to go back to where I’m comfortable rather than explore and take a chance.

        Hope this helps, good luck!

        #50509 Reply

          I sought out the advice of a very experienced lodge owner before making my purchasing decision. This owner had owned an operated all manner of resorts over several decades. His advice to me was:
          1) Drive to lodge on a lake with good fishing that is close to a small full service community so you can access personnel, and the materials and supplies you’ll need to operate and maintain your resort. Also allows you to extend your season by augmenting the local accommodation industry and renting cabins to contractors, etc. An issue he had with fly in resorts was when weather issues delayed flights and messed up bookings causing a lot of headaches. Plus very expensive to operate aircraft. Fly in lodges also don’t have as many repeat customers due to it being a much more expensive vacation than a drive to lodge.
          2) Housekeeping is best and give the most flexibility for your guests. American plan is a huge headache in terms of finding staff and having a quality product that is not a source of complaints for your guests.
          3) Buy a lodge that is already successful. it is cheaper to buy a good business than build a good business.

          We run 18′ crest liner kodiak boats with 50 hp Yamahas and bow mounted trolling motors. They are very comfortable and sturdy and our guests love them.

          I followed this advice and bought my place in March 2020, just before the world fell apart. However, we weathered the storm well by acting as a hotel and once the COVID restrictions were lifted, our many regulars quickly returned. I have not regrets at all, and love the love. Another few years and it will be time to move on to the next adventure.

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