Planning & Packing
Our goal is to provide the best service possible to make your fishing vacation the trip of a lifetime. With this in mind, this guide is to help you prepare for your fly-in fishing trip and we ask that you please read the following information very closely. One of the biggest problems often encountered during the fly-in fishing season is baggage weight. Our aircraft are operated to the strictest of Transport Canada Standards. These standards are very stringent and most specifically in regard to baggage weight. WE CANNOT STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF REMINDING EVERYONE OF THE 100 AND 125LB. BAGGAGE LIMITS RESPECTIVELY. This trip planning guide may make accomplishing this a bit easier for your party.
Below is a list of what we provide at our different facilities and what you should pack to bring with on your trip.
What Is Included
- Smoothrock Camp
Lifejackets and Boat Cushions
Fresh Bed Linens and Towels
First Aid Kit
BBQ and Fish Cookers
- Thunderhook Outposts
Lifejackets and Boat Cushions
Radio or Satellite Phone
First Aid Kit
BBQ and Fish Cookers
What You Should Bring
- Packing List For Your Trip
First Aid Kit for entire party
Insect Repellant and Coils to Burn
Small Tackle Box including fillet knife
Soft-sided cooler for boat
Camera and Batteries
Rods and Reels as required.
Small Radio or iPod Player
Books and Magazines
Depthfinder for each party. If you make a jumper you can connect to our boat batteries for power
Personal Clothing: Hat, Shaving Kit, Toiletries, Sunglasses, Extra Socks, Jacket
Spring and Fall Trips - Long Underwear, Warm Cap, Gloves and Warm Boots
Sleeping Bags & Bath Towels are needed at all Thunderhook Outposts. Linens and Towels are provided at the Smoothrock Camp.
If you take prescription medication or suffer from allergies DO NOT FORGET these things. Many of our guests consult with their doctor prior to their trip with us.
What to bring?
We've prepared a video and a few short PDF presentations that will help you plan and pack for your fly in fishing or hunting adventure. Please watch the video or download the PDF files below.
Click the link for our: Thunderhook Trip Planning Guide
Thunderhook’s Tips for Packing Light
- Pack smaller duffle’s and bags rather than large suitcases. A suitcase alone can weight 10lbs or more.
- Pack Groceries in coolers or soft - sided coolers and not in sacks
- Coordinate things with your group such as insect repellant, sun screen, flashlights, batteries, and depth finders... bringing two of these items adds up quickly!
- Combine tackle and tackle boxes... not everyone needs 10lbs of tackle!
If you are overweight on your gear, the cost of another flight is determined by which destination you are flying to and the size of plane needed to carry the load to your facility. The minimum charge for an aircraft is $900 U.S. Dollars + 13% HST. If the load fits on your plane taking you to your destination, the extra weight will be charged at $1.00 per pound. We highly recommend ordering your pop and beer ahead of time and we can fly it in at our convenience. We currently charge $55 per case for beer and $30 per case for pop and water. We require at least 2 WEEKS NOTICE to accommodate these requests.
All of our camps are either equipped with 2 - way radio telephones or Satellite phones. If you are taking a satellite phone to camp we require a credit card number to take deposit on the phone. You may use the satellite phones as much as you like at a rate of $2.00 per minute in U.S. Funds.
Groceries are an easy place to save on weight. We believe that it is imperative that your group sit down to plan your trip menu accordingly. You do not want to end up with duplicates of things such as condiments etc... We find that 75% of our guests are buying far too many groceries most of the time. It usually is not necessary to plan for more than 2 ½ meals per day while staying with us.
One store that many of our clients do stop at is Safeway. Here you can find most if not all your grocery needs. They are located at:
Hours of operation are 7:00am - 11:00pm EST
Please bear in mind that you are flying to all of our destinations. Glass and Cans are not recommended unless absolutely necessary. It is best to buy things that are in bags such as frozen vegetables, juices, powdered milk, and vacuum sealed products . Please remember that a case of pop or beer weights 20lbs. Also, bait can weigh as much as 25lbs. or more. Pack groceries in soft sided small coolers that can double as a cooler for your boat while fishing.
We highly recommend that you buy your fishing license (s) online. We do offer licenses at our airbase however; it is a more timely process.
Ontario Fishing Lic
- Licenses (U.S. Dollars)
8 - Day Conservation
8 - Day Sportfishing
Bait can be ordered directly from us. Please give us 2 WEEKS ADVANCE NOTICE. All bait is purchased at the Silver Minnow Bait Shop which is located just a few miles up Hwy 527 on the left hand side of the road.
We cannot stress enough how fragile many of our fisheries are. We ask that everyone please use extreme caution in handling the fish. The only way that the next generation of anglers can enjoy these unspoiled places is through th e use of conservation policies. Although we do allow guests to take fish from our lakes, we ask you to only consume what you need while on your adventure and hope that taking fish home from the lakes are is not a priority.
Bait and Live Bait
DO WE NEED TO USE LIVE BAIT ON OUR FISHING TRIP?
We highly recommend that all anglers use live bait. Although there are some good alternatives to live bait our fishing studies have shown that live bait consistently outperforms other forms. For a few extra dollars your group can bring live bait and most likely will experience better fishing, especially on a slower day.
HOW MUCH BAIT WILL WE NEED?
We recommend 2 to 3 dozen per day per person. For example, 4 people for 4 days (30-40 dozen would be a safe bet.) The amount of bait you will use is dependent on numerous factors. How much time will be spent fishing? Will I be casting? What am I primarily fishing for? These are all questions to ask one before buying bait. Don’t be afraid to contact us with suggestions either!
The minnows come packed in Oxygen bags for the flight. At the lake, on your arrival, put the bags of minnows into the minnow buckets (which we provide) and put them into the lake. Minnows will survive if water temperatures are relatively cool. Some of them will die naturally of shock, this is normal of them especially later in the summer when temperatures are considerably warmer.
Note: You CANNOT bring minnows with you across the border unless you they are salted and frozen. You must buy live minnows in Canada.
Leeches are another great choice for the Walleye and Northern Pike fisherman. Typically used on a jighead or spinner rig this is a great mid to late summer tactic for fishermen. Leeches are normally a little “tougher” than minnows and are a bit easier to keep alive. If you keep the leeches in fresh water and in a cool spot they will be just fine. Typically the leeches will come packed in an oxygenated bag which in itself can keep the leeches alive for a long time. The key to keeping leeches is not to let them dry out in the hot summer sun.
Do not put your leeches in a traditional minnow bucket (they will slip out the sides. Instead, bring a leechlocker or coffee can which is a great way to keep leeches alive.
Nightcrawlers are sold by the flat (500) and half-flat (250). The nightcrawlers come pre-package in commercial bedding and in a highly durable foam container for transportation.
Nightcrawlers are consistently the very easiest to keep alive during your fishing trip. With a small amount of attention crawlers are great and they add an extra type of live bait available to you for use. Oftentimes nightcrawlers work very well during the late evening while jigging for walleyes.
Some of our guests report very good results using Gulp! Alive artificial bait. However, we do not feel that it consistently is as good as the real thing. Another variation to artificial baits is to use simple plastics (i.e. twister tail, fuzzy grub, etc…) with a piece of live bait. This seems to be an effective way to fish as well.
We highly recommend buying all bait at the Silver Minnow Bait Shop located just a few miles up the road on Highway 527. Jim (the owner) will be more than happy to take care of all your bait needs at a great price. He will even leave the bait for you on the back step if you can’t make it to the bait shop by closing time.
The most common fishing question that we are asked is, “What type of baits and tackle should we bring!?” Although we are highly opinionated in this department, there are many setups and variations that work. First of all, nothing outfishes live bait. PERIOD . Although Berkley Gulp! And other assorted plastics do work well, they do not come anywhere near the effectiveness of real live bait. For walleye fishing the setup of choice is a ¼ ounce leadhead jig tipped with a minnow, leech, or worm. If you are vertically jigging, you can catch almost anything with this setup. Pike fishing can be a bit different and you may need an assortment of spoons, plugs, and crankbaits. It is good to have a full arsenal... but remember tackle is HEAVY and counts against your weig ht allowance.
From season to season the fishing at all of our lakes remains very predictable and steady. The main differences throughout the season (s) are the depth and areas where the fish can be caught. We will do our very best to help you determine where these locations are and what techniques are currently working the best. Believe it or not, our most successful fishermen have the most simple of tackle arsenals!
Sample Guideline of Fishing Tackle
Note* This is to be used as a reference only.
- 5 dozen leadhead jigs in assorted colors from ¼ to ½ ounce in size
- 6 assorted shad raps or diving crankbaits
- 6 spoons/daredevils
- A handful of 1 ounce jigs with large twister tails for Lake Trout Stringer
- Wire Leaders
- Fillet Knife(s)
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Band Aids and assorted first aid equipment
- Bug spray
As previously mentioned, the easiest way to catch walleye is with a jighead tipped with a minnow, leech, worm, or soft plastic twister tail. You can also troll crankbaits that work at different depths depending on where the fish are. Northern Pike are most easily caught on spoons or Bucktails. Most of the time, Pike are found along weedy flats along the lakeshore or in shallow marshy bays. Lake Trout generally require a bit heavier jig due to the depth tha t these fish reside in. Please bear in mind that Lake Trout fishing is not easy and takes extreme patience at times. The best way to go about fishing is to get a good firsthand knowledge of the fishery you will be visiting prior to arrival at your camp.