Into the Wild

By Gary Cole

A five-star lodge in northern Manitoba is the ultimate destination for freshwater fishing enthusiasts.

A memorable buddy fishing trip requires selecting the right destination and plenty of advance planning. As the evenings begin to cool, it’s not too soon to begin enlisting two or three friends who you can tolerate in the wild for a week, blocking out a spot on next year’s calendar and booking a reservation with the right outfitter.

If you’re a freshwater enthusiast, you can’t do better than Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge in northern Manitoba. With a five-star main lodge situated on Egenolf Lake, Gangler’s offers fly-ins and mechanized portages to more than 30 world-class fishing lakes in this pristine wilderness. And while the terrain may be remote, the food, the beds and the main lodge bar are on a par with an upscale in-town hotel.

I hooked three buddies into a trip to Gangler’s earlier this year. While two friends had some fishing experience, the lawyer in our group had never dropped a line in the water. Of course, by the end of our five-day adventure, he had landed the most fish—an assortment of walleyes, northern pike, grayling and lake trout—and the biggest fish, a 25-pound plus laker. He went from virgin to master angler in five short days, but everyone feels like a master angler on these waters.

The way to Gangler’s is through Winnipeg, where you catch a charter flight that takes you 160 miles north of the northernmost road in Manitoba and sets you down on a 5,000 foot gravel landing strip that Wayne and Ken Gangler bulldozed in the wilderness. Once there, Cree Indian guides keep you from getting lost and show you where and how to fish, a lodge staff of chefs, waitresses, bartenders and maids makes your stay comfortable, and irrepressible Wayne will undoubtedly offer you one of his favorite stogies and his joke of the day.

Each fishing day begins with a hearty breakfast at 7 a.m. The float planes are ready at the dock at 8 a.m. and then you’re off for a short flight to whatever fishing destination you selected the night before. Lunch is either packed along from the kitchen or your guide will filet enough of the morning’s catch for a shore lunch, a routine we wanted repeated every day. Hopefully, your arms are in good shape because you’re likely to catch as many as 100 fish a day. And then you’re back to the lodge for a hot shower, cocktails and dinner by six, which leaves time for that cigar and an exchange of the day’s adventures. At this fishing destination, exaggeration isn’t necessary.

If you’ve dreamed about a fishing trip of a lifetime, stop dreaming and start planning.

The Essentials: Contact Wayne or Ken Gangler at or at 1-866-515-6343.


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