GREEN STATEMENT: The first rule of ecology, “If you use it, you effect it”. We acknowledge that our existence in one of Canada’s most incredible settings has an impact. As passionate caretakers and stewards of Hamber Park, its healthy and functioning ecological web, and tremendous brook trout fishing, we take great care to limit our footprint. Fortress Lake Retreat owns this responsibility – to operate in a manner that is environmentally responsible. We operate through policies and procedures that address waste reduction, re-use of goods, recycling, reduction of our footprint, environmentally preferable purchasing, and energy conservation. We have achieved this through:
• Reducing usage of fuels as much as possible by eliminating propane lighting; transitioning to smaller/cleaner 4 stroke motors; use of an extremely efficient on demand water heater, among others.
• We strive to use new technologies for power. We’ve converted to a self tracking solar system for our main power and each cabin is now lit with individual, rechargeable lanterns.
• We have increased insulation to the main buildings.
• All garbage is flown out, with no storing. If it can be recycled, we strive to do so.
• Implement catch and release fishing.
• Minimize exposure to chemicals and cleaning products by using the most environmentally safe products available.
GUEST INFORMATION & FAQ’s
What is Semi-Guided Fishing?
As we’ve been guiding a long time, we’ve noticed that most people don’t necessarily want or need a guide in their boat to hawk over their shoulder the entire trip. Our Retreat’s is a place to escape, relax, and enjoy yourself. We know the lake and we will guide you to ensure you know where, how, when, and why to fish various tactics at key times. After time together, either fishing together or specifically guiding you, we invite you to check out a boat and explore, to enjoy your personal time. The bottom line, we’re here to help, yet want the pace to your trip to be what you want it to be, with as successful fishing as hoped. It’s an intimate setting and we strive to provide the service you desire while respecting your personal time. We simply find most people want the freedom to explore, to enjoy the lake, the scenery – that personal time.
What is the average size trout caught at Fortress Lake?
The lake’s population is quite healthy. Trout sizes dipped in 2011 as the population cycled and most trout were 2.5 to 4 pounds with not as many large trout as we’re used to. By the end of the 2012 season sizes had bounced back to 3 to 7 pounds in appreciable numbers with a few larger fish present & caught. Again, per biological study, the brookies in this lake put on an average of 2 pounds in their third year. Fewer small brookies are caught as these fish grow rapidly thanks to considerable movement throughout the lake, making seasonal use of forage. The lake record is 11~1/2 pounds. Anglers can realistically hope for a few trout in the 5 – 7 pound range.
Is it ‘only’ lake fishing?
The Wood River – which flows out from Fortress Lake – provides some river fishing with good structure to work. There are light hatches and some dry fly fishing occurs. The Wood provides some of the most gorgeous scenery on the trip.
Do you provide Fly Fishing Instruction?
Yes. Guides on site are efficient casting and technique instructors. We will host you and help you understand how the rhythm of casting works and where the fish are and how to catch them. Guests who have not previously fly fished are often casting proficiently enough within 1/2 hr to have a good chance at catching fish!
About the weather?
We are located at the Continental Divide, surrounded by stunning mountains and glaciers with several of the highest peaks in the Canadian Rockies nearby. Our weather is influenced by the mountains and the weather can change often. During our season, late May through mid October, our weather is generally pleasant with temperatures in the 20 to 30C range (70 – 85F). Precipitation is not generally heavy nor long lasting during our year, but we do get rain. Guests should come prepared for rain and sun, with temperature extremes from freezing overnight (late in the season) to 35C (95F). While peak of summer temperatures can get to mid 30s C (90s F), the cool air of the glaciers drops the overnight temperatures beautifully each night.
Unlike most other mountain lakes, Fortress Lake is an east – west oriented lake with open valleys at either end. This means that we get the full range of sunshine through the day, we enjoy the full sunrise to the east and the full sunset to the west. During the day, the sun lifts well above the peaks surrounding the lake. On sunny days we enjoy full sunshine from first to last light, from opening week in May to early October. In June, fishable light is 4:30am until 11pm.
Where are you located and how do I get there?
Guests fly to either Edmonton or Calgary, Alberta, Canada to the international airport and rent a car to travel west to the town of Hinton, just east of Jasper. Travel time is 3 hours from Edmonton and 5 from Calgary. Renting a vehicle from at the Calgary or Edmonton International Airports is the most economical and flexible option for transportation to the float plane staging area.
Fortress Lake Retreat is surrounded by steep, rocky slopes and the shoreline is gravel. This is not mosquito habitat and very few bother guests. Black flies common to other brook trout lakes in Ontario & Labrador/ Newfoundland do not exist due to the well drained gravel shorelines. There are some horseflies at the peak of summer and in wet years we do get sandflies. Most years there are very few bugs but there are one or two wet years per decade that see some bugs. 2012 was our first.
What should I bring?
We have included a packing list for your convenience in the confirmation email upon receipt of your deposit. Remember, we fly to Fortress Lake by helicopter plane, space and weight are limited.
Upon arrival, where do we check in?
You arrive at the helicopter base and greeted by the pilot. He will assist you through the flight to the Retreat, where you will be welcomed by our staff and get the updates from outbound anglers. It’s usually a good report!
What are the daily fish limits?
All guests of Fortress Lake Retreat are Catch and Release. Replica mounts are available and good photos are available of your catch. We do periodically serve a fish or two for guests to have a taste.
Do you get many couples?
We consider couples a very important group. Yes, we get many couples. Many honeymooners, birthdays, and anniversary celebrators have joined us.
Packing Your Bag for Fortress Lake
We provide a packing list so guests can limit unnecessary extras. Helicopter baggage bound for Fortress Lake is restricted to 30 lbs per person. This is a safety measure, and Transport Canada Regulations require that we weigh your gear when you arrive at the base.
Waiver of liability
Wilderness recreation is not without risk. All our guests are required to read and sign a comprehensive Waiver of Liability in order for us to accept their reservation. A sample of this waiver will be sent to you upon receipt of your deposit. Please either sign and return the waiver via email or bring the waiver with you and present to our staff upon your arrival.
To confirm your reservation, we require a non-refundable deposit of 50% of the trip total for your group/individual. Payment can be made by personal cheque or internet payment. We operate on a first paid, first reserved basis. Dates are not guaranteed until the booking deposit is received.
By necessity, we have strict cancellation policies and therefore recommend all guests purchase cancellation insurance. The cost for this insurance for people under the age of 60 is about 4% of the total trip cost. Costs for people over 60 increase slightly. Please inquire with your insurance agent about this.
Before reserving, it is highly recommended that guests research and purchase additional and/ or private cancellation, travel, hospital, and accident insurance. Please contact your local travel agency.
We must receive the final payment 2 weeks prior to your trip. We prefer final payments to be made by cheque or by internet payment. Overdue payments may result in cancellation and resale of the reserved space.
Children of all ages are welcome at Fortress Lake Retreat, but those under the age of 19 must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian. Parents or guardians of children under the age of 19 (the age of Majority in British Columbia) will be required to complete an “Indemnity Agreement for Minors” in addition to our standard Waiver of Liability for each participant.
For safety, family emergencies and convenience, there is a satellite phone located at the lodge.
At Fortress Lake, we offer a limited selection of red and white wine as well as a variety of beer and wine for sale. Our liquor license does not permit guests to bring their own alcoholic beverages.
Tips & Gratuities
Gratuities are at your discretion. Should you have an exceptional experience it will likely be the result of the team approach we take to customer satisfaction. Management will gratefully accept any offered gratuity and distribute it equally among all the staff, along with your compliments.
Guests are not permitted to bring any pets, and all of our wilderness facilities are completely non-smoking. Outside, we ask smokers to be extremely diligent in keeping our site clean of butts and cigar endings. We look forward to your visit. Please contact us if you have any further questions or concerns.
Fortress Lake Retreat
We have strict cancellation policies. The opportunity for refunds and/or credits resulting from a cancellation are limited. Payment in part or full is considered as agreement to the following terms and conditions:
• Your deposit is non-refundable within 90 days of your booked trip dates. Cancellations outside of 90 days will be refunded, minus $100. A cancellation received less than 90 days prior to your arrival will be offered a trip within the calendar year, if possible. Refund Currency: All reimbursements will be made in received Canadian Funds.
• FLR reserves the right to cancel any or part of a tour and will give as much notice as possible. Cancellation due to reasons beyond our control (ie weather, helicopter availability or maintenance, etc) will result in a credit for any unused portion of the tour. This credit is valid for one calendar year from the original booked tour.
• Guests choosing to depart their tour prior to tour completion will not be eligible for any credit or refund and will bear the cost of individuated air travel, regardless of reason.
• Guests are bound by scheduled arrival and departure times. “No shows” will forfeit the entire cost of the tour package. If a guest is late, for any reason whatsoever, they will be responsible for the entire cost of missed meals, new flight connections, etc. Guests who miss their scheduled flight either forfeit their trip to Fortress Lake Retreat or incur flight costs associated with their transport to the lodge.
• Guests whose flight is delayed due to factors beyond the control of FLR (such as weather, public emergency, helicopter availability, etc) shall wait at least 24 hours before requesting cancellation. Cancellation will see credit for a tour within 1 calendar year. During this period, FLR shall be solely responsible for deciding when it is possible to safely proceed with the tour, but will diligently pursue this goal.
• Guests delayed overnight at the flight base by factors beyond the control of FLR (helicopter availability, public emergency, weather, etc) will be responsible for their own accommodation and meals.
• Guests delayed over 24 hours at the base may request cancellation and receive full credit towards an alternative tour date, within one calendar year.
• Guests held overnight at Fortress Lake due to uncontrollable departure delays shall be charged a flat rate of $150.00 per person, per night. These accounts are payable prior to departure.