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Fortress Lake Fly Fishing Retreat

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Expedition


Phone icon403-899-8815 Email iconcraig@fortresslake.com Link iconfortresslake.com
Fortress Lake, BC, Canada

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The Story

Escape to Orvis-endorsed Fortress Lake Retreat, and enjoy a memorable fly-fishing expedition. Fortress Lake will give you the opportunity to catch giant brook trout in a truly incredible and stunning world-renowned mountain location. Fisheries research shows that these brook trout put on approximately 2 pounds in their third year; hence, the majority of fish caught will typically be 3 to 6 pounds with even larger trout present. Few trout under 2 pounds are caught. Growth rates are exceptional, as forage is heavy in given areas of the lake, and water temperatures force seasonal movement. The lake record is 11.75 pounds. While these are not noticeably long, most trout in the 17- to 24-inch range grow in the shape of footballs, are very heavy, and use their weight to put on a great fight. Our Retreat is often described as remote-luxury. We added a wood-fired cedar hot tub for relaxing after a successful day on the water.

Remote luxury is the best way to describe our accommodations. Each cabin has a queen bed and a single bed, each handcrafted from log, and all beds have new memory foam mattresses, new linens, pillows, and duvets. The Lodge has Satellite wifi, so turn on your wifi calling well before you arrive.

The cabins are bright, clean, well kept, and provide an inviting atmosphere where you can enjoy personal time. All cabins are furnished with wood stoves for a little extra warmth during those cooler spring or autumn nights. Our cabins are literally surrounded by spectacular, towering mountain peaks and glaciers.

The gourmet comfort food quality matches the Rocky Mountain fishing and ambiance, ensuring that meals rank among our guests’ favorite memories of their trip. At Fortress Lake we keep the groups small. We take 8-10 guests max.

Season:

June – Some very good sight fishing occurs in early - mid June, leeches and minnow patterns work amazing. By the second week of June, the chironomid fishing can get mind-blowing. Stillwater author Phil Rowley was blown away in his many visits as he has never seen as many chironomids in a stomach pump sample as he has at Fortress Lake. The peak of chironomid fishing is the third week of June.

July - Early July is awesome for chironomids, along with nymphing and streamers. Water is clear, and sight fishing can be phenomenal.

August - Sight-fishing begins to really take shape, and the fishing once again can be exceptional. Trout begin to get darker colors and show like pepper spots in the water. Dry-fly fishing can sometimes be had in the evenings with caddis, sedge, and mice patterns. Pods of fish and fishing along structure is exceptional.

September – The lake is usually very clear, and sight-fishing throughout the lake is at its peak in September. Pods of fish are strong, and spotting along structure can be amazing. Mousing continues in the evening through late Sept. Some of the largest trout of the year are caught during this time. Spectacular fall colors of brook trout are at their peak.

Species:

Genetically pure, world-record strain Nipigon coaster brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) were originally stocked into Fortress Lake in the early 1930s. Brookies are the only fish in the lake!

Region/Terrain:

Fortress Lake is located in Hamber Provincial Park. Hamber Park is in a remote reach of the province of BC, and is butted against Jasper National Park. The region is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are no roads, no industrial activity, and no motorized ground access. The valley is dominated by several mountain peaks. The lake is at 4,400 feet elevation and the mountains angle steeply to heights over 10,000 feet. The fly fishing and the scenery experiences at Fortress Lake Wilderness Retreat are second to none—except, perhaps, the flight accessing our location. Getting here is half the fun. Described as “an IMAX movie come to life” by Fly Fisherman Magazine, we enjoy one of North America’s most scenic Rocky Mountain flights.

Typical 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 overnight temperatures beautifully each night.

Rates:

Rates start from: $4,000 USD You can find all pricing information at: www.fortresslake.com

What is Provided:

We are an all-inclusive Lodge. Accommodations at Fortress Lake Retreat include: all meals, beverages, along with a small selection of house white and red wine and domestic beer. Guided fishing & sharing of lake knowledge, use of powerboats & canoes/kayaks, trail & paddling knowledge. We have a large selection of Orvis Rods, reels, and waders—all for the guest use. PST & GST will be added to package pricing.

Gear Recommendations:

Rods/Reels - 6- to 8- wt. are best (5-wt. is fine—especially for chironomids and dry-fly fishing).
Sinking Fly Line: Type 5 or Deep 6 full sinking lines.
Floating Fly Line: floating lines for chironomid, nymph, and shallow water streamer fishing.
Leaders: for streamer fishing we use short leaders of 8-20lb pound tippet. Total distance from fly line to fly is 4-5 feet. Bring a few 12 ft, 3X leaders & extra spools of 3X & 4X tippet for chironomid & nymph fishing—we will build longer leaders for chironomid fishing.
We have a huge selection of Orvis rods, reels, flies, waders, and boots for guests to use.

What to Bring (Additional):

Clothing & Personal Effects (you should be wearing some of this for the flight):

  • 1 T-shirt/2 lightweight long-sleeved poly/nylon shirt
  • 1-2 pairs wind/water-resistant pants
  • 1 pair light weight shorts
  • 2 pairs smart wool or breathable socks/underwear
  • 1 pair long underwear (tops & bottoms)
  • 1 fleece jacket
  • 1 rain jacket with hood/1 pair rain pants
  • 1 fleece or wool hat and 1 pair warm gloves (cold weather)
  • 1 baseball cap or sun hat
  • 1 pair lightweight hiking shoes & 1 pair sandals (something that can get wet)
  • Polarized Sunglasses (these are critical for fishing)
  • Lip balm/SPF 30 sunscreen/Insect repellant
  • Pajamas/toiletries/prescription medication
  • Camera/phone, memory card, and batteries

Other:

We do offer a shuttle service from Calgary (YCC) to the heliport, please refer to our website. We can take service dogs but remember we are remote with porcupines around.

Additional Activities:

We installed a woodfired cedar hot tub in 2020 for your relaxation after a long day. Fortress Lake Wilderness Retreat offers guests a unique opportunity to paddle the lake in single or two-person kayaks or by canoe. We also offer you the opportunity to hike several trails in the valley, either up the Chaba River on level terrain or up one of the valley passes to one of several stunning alpine destinations.

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