Vintage Bush Planes a Big Part of Fly-in Fishing Experience

The float plane ride adds something very special to your Canadian fly-in fishing trip.

Your Ticket to Remote Fishing

If a trip to a remote wilderness lake with no roads and spectacular fishing isn't enough, the ride into the lake on a Canadian bush plane adds so much more to this great vacation experience. Whether you are staying at a remote outpost camp or a full-service fly-in lodge, you'll get to experience the thrill of a float plane ride. 

Fly into a remote outpost like this one of Nestor Falls Fly-in Outposts' Larus Beach outpost. Photo: Bryon Stoll. 

Canadian bush planes have a storied history in these parts of Ontario and for good reason. These workhorses of the north country have been involved in the development and success of more than just the tourism industry. Miners and prospectors looking for gold, foresters planning cut blocks, and many other industries have used these planes to gain access to remote areas where no car or truck can go.

Here's a quick review of the "Big Four":

A couple of Norseman getting ready to take off at the Norseman Festival in Red Lake.

Noorduyn Norseman: First built in 1935 and in production until 1959, the Noorduyn Norseman is one of the longest-serving and most reliable Canadian bush planes. Designed by Robert B.C. Noorduyn, this awesome bush plane has a unique engine sound and can carry a relatively heavy payload. In Ontario's Sunset Country, you will see Norseman primarily at float plane bases in the Municipality of Red Lake. This community celebrates the history and contribution of the Norseman every July at the Annual Norseman Float Plane Festival.

Wilderness Air Escapes' Turbo Otter.

Dehavilland "Otter": Rivaling the Norseman for ruggedness, the DHC-3 "Otter" is another iconic Canadian bush plane. This large and sturdy aircraft is widely used up here in Northwestern Ontario, and you can see one at float plane bases across the region. Able to carry a very heavy payload and well-known for its short take-off and landing capabilities, if you are going on a fly-in fishing trip in Sunset Country, the chances are pretty good you may fly into your destination on an Otter.

Northwest Flying Inc's Beech 18.

Beech 18: The Beech 18 wins the award for the sleekest-looking of Canadian bush planes. With its clean lines and twin-engine design, the Beech 18 is immediately recognizable whether it is flying overhead or docked at the water base. Another "heavy hauler," the Beech 18 is widely used in Canada and across North America in tourism and in other industries.

Viking Outposts' Beaver.

DHC 2 "Beaver": A smaller but no less rugged version of an Otter is the DHC 2 "Beaver". The DHC 2 is another very common sight in the skies over Ontario's Sunset Country. The Beaver is used for groups of anglers of up to four and has similar landing and take-off capabilities as the Otter. The sound of the piston engine is music to the ears of any fisherman who loves fly-in trips. This plane is very versatile and is an excellent cargo hauler as well as a passenger carrier.

Watch Amik Outposts' video to see what you can expect during your fly-in vacation.

All in all, your Canadian fly-in trip is made so much better when you consider how fun it is to fly on these birds. They are all extremely reliable aircraft and undergo Canadian Transportation Safety Board inspections on a regular basis.  Even if you are not going on a fly-in trip, these planes can be rented (with a pilot of course) for sight-seeing excursions – usually on a 30- to 60-minute basis.

See the beauty of Sunset Country from a bird's eye view!

About Gerry Cariou

Gerry is Executive Director of Ontario's Sunset Country Travel Association and is an avid fisherman and nature photographer. Gerry has been writing about Sunset Country's varied travel experiences for over 20 years and lives these experiences year-round in Kenora, Ontario.

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