I am sure like everyone else it would be accurate to say 2020 will not go down as one of my favorite years. This was my first summer at home in 37 years and my year-round proximity to my home resulted in my honey-do list expanding quite a bit. Ignorance is bliss! I am chipping away at it but would much rather be at the lodge hosting our guests! I can’t even enjoy a few pre-season sport shows.

The biggest question for us is the current border closure status. I always trend on the side of optimism and common sense and it is not a question of if it will open but when. Unfortunately I have no crystal ball into the decision making process of the Canadian government so I’ll share my observations and thoughts. Pardon me if some of this seems redundant!

There are now 2 vaccines on the market with another 2 to follow in February. The US is about to ramp up vaccinations shortly. It is a massive undertaking so some hiccups are certainly understandable. As of this date, it is still expected that all US citizens who desire a vaccination will have one by May. In Canada, the process has been slower but they expected to have 6 million vaccinations in place by late March and then 1 million a week after that. The entire population of 33 million should be vaccinated by September and Ontario, the most populated province just stated they will have all vaccinations completed by early August. The two vaccines to date have incredible efficacy rates.

There are several organizations working on proposals for safely reopening the border including a commission made up of former US and Canadian officials  who are expected to release recommendations in late March. Several countries dependent on tourism, including Belize and the Bahamas, are already open to tourism so working protocols exist even without a vaccine. They require a recent Covid test (within 72 hrs. of departure) and another prior to leaving for the return home. It would not surprise me to see that requirement for our 2021 season. Of course masks and social distancing are a must. At Gangler’s, we are working on a set of safety and disinfecting protocols to ensure the highest levels of safety for guests and staff. With the winter spikes of Covid in the US and Canada, I believe it is not yet politically expedient for Canadian politicians to publicly discuss a reopening but as the spikes in both countries drop and vaccination rates accelerate, it will then be dealt with. I expect good news in early spring.

Meanwhile back at the lodge, our winter caretaker Jacques has been enjoying his stay. Our new solar system is performing well and keeping his internet and TV going. The caribou have once again migrated into the area so Jacques has seen a bit of winter snowmobile traffic. Social distancing is the name of the game so all conversations with winter travelers are conducted with masks and a 20’ distance.

Our crew is absolutely chomping at the bit for the 2021 season to arrive. We have a few new faces with new managers at Stevens, Bain, Burnie and Clifton and also at the North Seal lodge. The camp managers did some work for us in 2020 and are all avid fishermen, and highly recommended by our past managers. Legacy faces like Ken, Stan and Gerry have not left us entirely and will still be around off and on in supporting roles. Our new lodge managers Kevin and Cassie did a great job in 2020 with cleanup and special projects and through Kevin’s superhuman efforts, we were able to complete some long-desired projects at the main lodge. We look forward to sharing them with you in 2021. I know all guests will really enjoy our new staff.

Best of all, the fisheries have been virtually untouched for almost two years! Two years of no pressure! Our collection of lakes and rivers is unbelievably world-class and we cannot imagine how hot 2021 North Seal fishing will be. I can’t wait to throw a few casts myself! I know everyone is chomping at the bit to get back on our waters and if you have not reserved your 2021 trip, there are some scattered spots available though out the calendar. We also have some interesting packages including our August fishing and Northern Lights trips. Shoot us an email ([email protected] or give us a call and Katie Jo will respond with available spots and other information. 866-515-6343

For now, it is hurry up and wait. These are tempestuous times but we will get through it and back to normal soon. I can’t wait to stand on our runway and welcome back all of our guests.

My family and I have experienced this virus. For me, the effect was similar to a few days of too many single malts. For another family member, much more serious but they have overcome it. Please practice all safety precautions until you get your vaccine. We are in the home stretch and don’t want you to be in that unfortunate few with a cure right around the corner and great fishing on the horizon.

For now, I wish all of you safety and good health until we see you again at Ganglers.