Outpost fishing success isn’t guaranteed, but you can up your odds

6 expert tips for having a great (and budget-friendly) outpost fishing trip


If you include fresh fish in your menu, have a back-up… just in case


Floatplanes have strict guidelines on the weight and amount of gear you can bring, and operators charge extra (sometimes a lot extra) for exceeding them. Carefully consider what you plan to bring, particularly food and drink, which can add up quickly. To get the amounts right, plan a full menu in advance. The redoubtable Don handles this for our groups, and shares his menu beforehand so everyone can comment. Our grub leans heavily on barbecue proteins, with a few easy, one-pot meals for rainy days or when the blackflies around the grill become intolerable. We also plan on a few fresh fish dinners, but throw in an extra pack of hot dogs in case the fish don’t cooperate.

I often see groups toting cases of bottled water, which is a huge waste of space and weight. Instead, filter lake water using a modern lightweight system. I have a gravity filter that purifies four litres of water in five minutes; it weighs mere ounces and packs very small. One way to handle other beverages is a quota system, with group members using up their share with whatever drinks—hard or soft—they deem essential.


Dry goods are easy to pack in boxes or lightweight bins, but perishables are trickier, especially when there’s a lengthy drive to the floatplane base, or a night in a motel. First of all, freeze anything that can be frozen, especially meat. When packed tight in a lightweight cooler, it will easily survive a day or two without ice. If you’re really worried about perishables, try dry ice. It melts from a solid directly to a gas, reducing the overall weight without soaking your food.

Plan to filter water rather than lug bottles of it

Also, when loading the floatplane, two small boxes or duffels are always easier to pack than a single larger one; this holds true for all your gear. And since you have to fly your garbage back out, remember to bring some sturdy bags and avoid single-use containers, especially glass ones. For example, you can save on weight and garbage by transferring canned food into plastic containers or sealable bags. And even if it feels a little déclassé, this may also be the time for boxed wine, and decanting liquor into plastic bottles.