Your Adventures With the Big Wildlife at Little Duck

By Joshua Rapp Learn

Little Duck The Lodge at Little Duck is one of two fly-in lodges in Manitoba offering prize trips to registered attendees winning the draw at the 2015 TWS Annual Conference.
Image Credit: Courtesy of The Lodge at Little Duck.

All registered attendees for the 2015 TWS Annual Conference will be automatically entered into a draw for a 2016 fly-in fishing trip for two at The Lodge at Little Duck, compliments of the lodge and Travel Manitoba. The trip includes the roundtrip charter flight from Thompson, Manitoba, all meals and accommodation in the five-star lodge, a non-resident fishing license guides, boats and gas and fishing equipment. The draw will take place at the conference.

Lakes and ponds stretch out infinitely across the landscape, interspersed by short trees and shrubs that represent the tallest vegetation that grows this far north in Manitoba. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch sight of some of the wildlife crossing the landscape as your small charter plane descends for a landing.

But if you’re unlucky, like Jeff Kimbell was two years ago, a herd of caribou will crowd the dirt runway that provides the only access to get to the five-star Lodge at Little Duck — one of Manitoba’s premier tourism lodges for northern wildlife experiences — and you’ll have to fly around for an extra 10 minutes while the hotel manager gets on an ATV to scare the animals off the runway.

For Little Duck, the middle of nowhere is perhaps an understatement. Nejanilini Lake is the kind of place that you have to click “zoom out” a half dozen times after entering the name into Google Maps just to figure out where it is. You’ll see a large lake, surrounded by hundreds of other lakes, and eventually Caribou River Park Reserve and Hudson Bay off to the east.

This vast watershed provides unique hunting and fishing experiences for people like Kimbell (he’s visited the lodge six times so far) looking to hook the giant northern pike (Esox lucius) which can live as old as 50-60 years.

“As soon as the temperature of the water hit 57-58 degrees, it was literally boiling fish,” Kimbell said of fly-fishing in one of the many bays of the lakes that surround the lodge. “You could see these massive creatures under the water that looked like dinosaurs.”

It was Kimbell’s wife Jessica who hooked the biggest one on a trip to the lodge in 2012. At 48.5 inches, it was the largest one recorded caught in the province that year, according to a certificate she later received from a Canadian politician.

“It was absolutely the biggest I’d ever seen,” Kimbell said. “It took two of us to get it out of the water.”

Exploring the rapids immediately outside the lodge or moving through unexplored bays in search of pike, lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), or Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) is half the adventure, according to Kimbell. “There have been a lot of areas that have never been fished before.”

But despite the amount of fresh water to boat around in, the area around Little Duck isn’t all fishing. You’ll have opportunities to hunt animals from the 400,000-strong central barren ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus) Qamanirjuaq herd and numerous chances to check out wildlife like bears, wolves and moose.

Learn more about the educational and professional networking opportunities available to you at this year’s Annual Conference at our conference website.

Joshua LearnJoshua Rapp Learn is a science writer at The Wildlife Society.

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