STORY: ROB MCABEE
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEO BY: NICK PUJIC
It's true, getting to the untouched places left in the world takes a commitment to real adventure. When your destination is only referenced by the weather service as a grid number, and can only be accessed by float plane, you know you're on the right track. Division No. 18 is in Saskatchewan Canada's far north, and is as remote as it gets. Like, Alaska North remote. It's frozen over for most of the year, and for most Americans, they'd be hard pressed to point it out on a map. So why go there? Inside Division 18 is Milton Lake, and specifically the Milton Lake Lodge. We heard that it's one of the best places on earth to fish for Northern Pike, and as far as we knew, we were going to be the first people ever to do that on stand up paddle boards.
Because of the small cargo area on the float plane, bringing hard boards wasn't an option, so we packed up the inflatables and headed out. Our plan was simple; fly fish with a local guide and some seasoned anglers, one of them being Rebekka Redd, famed in the fly fishing world, but brand new to standup paddle board fishing. She expressed to us a desire to challenge herself, and took this one head on.
Our plan worked, the Pike fishing was off the charts, and Rebekka was killing it. Even the new anglers got in on the action and quickly became enthralled with SUP fishing. You could creep up on these huge pike just sitting on the bottom and they wouldn't even move. Everyone loved this new perspective that the boards provided. The weather was epic the entire first day, with perfect paddle fishing conditions. We soon learned how quickly that can change. The following few days were completely unpredictable.
Sunny skies and fairly warm temperatures would quickly give way to dark clouds, high winds and storms that had us hunkering down for protection from lightening and hail. As harsh as that sounds, it was just all part of this great adventure, and even if I could, I wouldn't change a second of it. Overall, the trip was magical, almost surreal. I got to escape with great friends, create some awesome new memories, and ultimately take part in a new experience that went beyond myself, and extended to our entire crew. The fishing was incredible, and the people who run the lodge were amazing. Not many people know about The Milton Lake Lodge and Division no.18. I used to be one of them, but now that I do, I'll certainly never forget it.