What is Semi-Guided Fishing?
As we’ve been guiding a long time, we’ve noticed that most people don’t necessarily want or need a guide in their boat to hawk over their shoulder the entire trip. Our retreat is a place to escape, relax, and enjoy yourself. We know the lake and we will guide you to ensure you know where, how, when, and why to fish various tactics at key times. After time together, either fishing together or specifically guiding you, we invite you to check out a boat and explore, to enjoy your personal time. The bottom line, we’re here to help, yet want the pace to your trip to be what you want it to be, with as successful fishing as hoped. It’s an intimate setting and we strive to provide the service you desire while respecting your personal time. We simply find most people want the freedom to explore, to enjoy the lake, the scenery – that personal time.
What is the average size trout caught at Fortress Lake?
The lake’s population is quite healthy. Trout sizes dipped in 2011 as the population cycled and most trout were 2.5 to 4 pounds with not as many large trout as we’re used to. By the end of the 2012 season sizes had bounced back to 3 to 7 pounds in appreciable numbers with a few larger fish present & caught. Again, per biological study, the brookies in this lake put on an average of 2 pounds in their third year. Fewer small brookies are caught as these fish grow rapidly thanks to considerable movement throughout the lake, making seasonal use of forage. The lake record is 11~1/2 pounds. Anglers can realistically hope for a few trout in the 5 – 7 pound range.
Is it ‘only’ lake fishing?
The Wood River – which flows out from Fortress Lake – provides some river fishing with good structure to work. There are light hatches and some dry fly fishing occurs. The Wood provides some of the most gorgeous scenery on the trip.
About the weather?
We are located at the Continental Divide, surrounded by stunning mountains and glaciers with several of the highest peaks in the Canadian Rockies nearby. Our weather is influenced by the mountains and the weather can change often. During our season, late May through mid October, our weather is generally pleasant with temperatures in the 20 to 30C range (70 – 85F). Precipitation is not generally heavy nor long lasting during our year, but we do get rain. Guests should come prepared for rain and sun, with temperature extremes from freezing overnight (late in the season) to 35C (95F). While peak of summer temperatures can get to mid 30s C (90s F), the cool air of the glaciers drops the overnight temperatures beautifully each night.
Unlike most other mountain lakes, Fortress Lake is an east – west oriented lake with open valleys at either end. This means that we get the full range of sunshine through the day, we enjoy the full sunrise to the east and the full sunset to the west. During the day, the sun lifts well above the peaks surrounding the lake. On sunny days we enjoy full sunshine from first to last light, from opening week in May to early October. In June, fishable light is 4:30am until 11pm.
Where are you located and how do I get there?
For 2020 you can choose a Calgary or Cline River package. If you fly into Calgary we recommend you take the helicopter package from Calgary. We will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the Heli-pad. If you choose the Cline River package you will fly into the Calgary International Airport as well or can rent a car and travel approximately 3 hours to Cline River.
Fortress Lake Wilderness Retreat is surrounded by steep, rocky slopes and the shoreline is gravel. This is not a mosquito habitat and very few bother guests. Black flies common to other brook trout lakes in Ontario & Labrador/ Newfoundland do not exist due to the well drained gravel shorelines. There are some horseflies at the peak of summer and in wet years we do get sandflies. Most years there are very few bugs but there are one or two wet years per decade that see some bugs. 2012 was our first.
What should I bring?
We have included a packing list for your convenience in the confirmation email upon receipt of your deposit. Remember, we fly to Fortress Lake by helicopter, space and weight are limited.
Packing Your Bag for Fortress Lake
We provide a packing list so guests can limit unnecessary extras. Helicopter baggage bound for Fortress Lake is restricted to 30 lbs per person. This is a safety measure, and Transport Canada Regulations require that we weigh your gear when you arrive at the base.
Waiver of liability
Wilderness recreation is not without risk. All our guests are required to read and sign a comprehensive Waiver of Liability in order for us to accept their reservation. A sample of this waiver will be sent to you upon receipt of your deposit. Please either sign and return the waiver via email or bring the waiver with you and present to our staff upon your arrival.
To confirm your reservation, we require a non-refundable deposit of 50% of the trip total for your group/individual. Payment can be made by personal cheque or internet payment. We operate on a first paid, first reserved basis. Dates are not guaranteed until the booking deposit is received.
By necessity, we have strict cancellation policies and therefore recommend all guests purchase cancellation insurance. The cost for this insurance for people under the age of 60 is about 4% of the total trip cost. Costs for people over 60 increase slightly. Please inquire with your insurance agent about this.
We must receive the final payment 60 days prior to your trip. Final payments are to be made by credit card or Paypal. Overdue payments may result in cancelation and resale of the reserved space.
Before reserving, it is highly recommended that guests research and purchase additional and/ or private cancellation, travel, hospital, and accident insurance. Please contact your local travel agency.
Children of all ages are welcome at Fortress Lake Wilderness Retreat, but those under the age of 19 must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian. Parents or guardians of children under the age of 19 (the age of Majority in British Columbia) will be required to complete an “Indemnity Agreement for Minors” in addition to our standard Waiver of Liability for each participant.
For safety, family emergencies and convenience, there is a satellite phone located at the lodge.
At Fortress Lake, we offer a limited selection of red and white wine as well as a variety of beer and wine for sale. Our liquor license does not permit guests to bring their own alcoholic beverages.
Tips & Gratuities
Gratuities are at your discretion. Should you have an exceptional experience it will likely be the result of the team approach we take to customer satisfaction. Management will gratefully accept any offered gratuity and distribute it equally among all the staff, along with your compliments.
All of our wilderness facilities are completely non-smoking. Outside, we ask smokers to be extremely diligent in keeping our site clean of butts and cigar endings. We look forward to your visit. Please contact us if you have any further questions or concerns.
We have strict cancellation policies. The opportunity for refunds and/or credits resulting from a cancellation are limited. Payment in part or full is considered as agreement to the following terms and conditions:
• Your deposit is non-refundable. A cancellation received less than 60 days prior to your arrival will be offered a trip within the calendar year, if possible.
• FLWR reserves the right to cancel any or part of a tour and will give as much notice as possible. Cancellation due to reasons beyond our control (ie weather, helicopter availability or maintenance, etc) will result in a credit for any unused portion of the tour. This credit is valid for one calendar year from the original booked tour.
• Guests choosing to depart their tour prior to tour completion will not be eligible for any credit or refund and will bear the cost of individuated air travel, regardless of reason.
• Guests are bound by scheduled arrival and departure times. “No shows” will forfeit the entire cost of the tour package. If a guest is late, for any reason whatsoever, they will be responsible for the entire cost of missed meals, new flight connections, etc. Guests who miss their scheduled flight either forfeit their trip to Fortress Lake Wilderness Retreat or incur flight costs associated with their transport to the lodge.
• Guests whose flight is delayed due to factors beyond the control of FLWR (such as weather, public emergency, helicopter availability, etc) shall wait at least 24 hours before requesting cancellation. Cancellation will see credit for a tour within 1 calendar year. During this period, FLWR shall be solely responsible for deciding when it is possible to safely proceed with the tour, but will diligently pursue this goal.
• Guests delayed overnight at the helicopter base by factors beyond the control of FLWR (helicopter availability, public emergency, weather, etc) will be responsible for their own accommodation and meals.
• Guests delayed over 24 hours at the helicopter base may request cancellation and receive full credit towards an alternative tour date, within one calendar year.
• Guests held overnight at Fortress Lake due to uncontrollable departure delays shall be charged a flat rate of $250.00 per person, per night. These accounts are payable prior to departure.
© 2023 by David Visser