All-Tackle World Records For Arctic Char
The Tree River produces the largest arctic char in the world and boasts the all-tackle world record at 32 pounds! Every summer several dozen char in the 20-pound range are caught with 8 – 12-pound fish commonplace. Accessed only by float plane, the Tree River Outpost is located 232 miles to the northeast of Great Bear Lake Lodge within the Arctic Circle and only 4 miles from the Arctic Ocean. This is a magical place located above the tree line of the world with lush green rolling hills, crested buttes, with aqua blue rushing water and abnormally large arctic char! A night or two at the Tree River Outpost can easily be booked as a combo with a Great Bear Lake Lodge package.
At the Tree River Outpost guests stay in canvas-roofed plywood cabins that accommodate four guests each in twin beds. All of the cabins have wooden floors, oil or propane heat and 24-hour electricity. The rooms are equipped with good storage and hooks for drying gear and waders. The cabins are certainly rustic but cozy and comfortable!
Food and Beverages
There is the main building where the kitchen and dining room are located and this is where breakfast and dinner are served. The food is fantastic, especially when you consider just how remote you really are! Dinners are four-course with appetizer, salad, and desert. A hearty full breakfast and hot coffee are prepared each morning. Lunch can be packed and taken upstream with you if you are hiking or you can plan to come back to the camp and have it there. The water in the river is pure and void of parasites so the guides typically just bring cups!
Typical Length of Stay
Most packages to Tree River are taken as a one (1) or two (2) night side trip and add on to a weeklong package at Great Bear Lake Lodge. Four (4) and seven (7) night trips are available from Kuglugtuk although space is limited on extended stay trips. Call Yellow Dog for additional details!
Non-Angling Activities and Options
While fishing is still the biggest draw to the north in the summertime, you can’t spend a lifetime in the Arctic without getting into a few other adventurous outlets. Plummer’s can book you on many adventures in the Arctic including hunting for exotic big game like musk ox, floating the Coppermine River in rafts, canoeing endless rivers in the Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake watershed’s and kayaking the freshwater ocean we call Great Bear Lake. This lake is amongst the shelter of the islands of the McTavish Arm from the old frontier outpost of Cameron Bay through the archipelago past the 1930’s mine site at Port Radium to our Arctic Circle Lodge. Plummer’s can also organize targeted wildlife photography tours. Wildlife sightings are common including migrating caribou at certain times of the year, musk ox herds, moose, grizzly bears, multiple varieties of raptors, wolves and many other species. You might even stumble on a century-old teepee.
Internet / Communications
There is a satellite wi-fi connection at Tree River but the connection can be spotty.
How To Get There
All guests visiting the Tree River Outpost will fly to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (YZF). Daily flights by West Jet, Air Canada, and others fly to Yellowknife from both Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. Guests will then take an included air charter from Yellowknife to Great Bear Lake Lodge or Kuglugtuk. From there, the Tree River Outpost will be accessed via otter floatplane.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
There are no flights available into Yellowknife that arrive in time to connect with the charter to the Great Bear Lake Lodge so all guests must overnight in Yellowknife on the Friday prior to arrival. We STRONGLY recommend that you also overnight again in Yellowknife the night after departing from the lodge just in case there are any delays getting back from Great Bear due to the weather. Upon arrival in Yellowknife on Friday you will be met at the airport by a representative of Plummer’s Lodges. The Plummer’s representative will connect you with a transfer to your hotel and will also outline the transfer time back to the airport to meet the charter flight to the lodge the following morning.
On Saturday morning a shuttle driver will meet you at your hotel and transfer you back to the airport to meet the charter flight to Great Bear Lake Lodge. The time of the charters can vary but typically depart around mid-morning with a mid-day arrival at Great Bear Lake Lodge.
A passport is required for U.S. citizens to enter Canada. Anglers can purchase fishing licenses for Great Bear Lake and the Tree River onsite at the Great Bear Lake Lodge tackle shop.
Drunk Driving or other Criminal Record
Anyone with a criminal record (including a drunk driving conviction) may be excluded from Canada. A waiver of exclusion may be issued but several weeks are required and a processing fee must be paid. Contact the Canadian Embassy or a Canadian Consulate in the U.S. for more information.
Yellow Dog works directly with and recommends Kanna Travel. They can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact them at 855-739-3139 or [email protected] for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services, and trip insurance.
The Tree River has long been known to produce the largest arctic char in the world and the Plummer’s program has exclusive access to the best fly water on the river. There are about five miles of fishable water that the guides focus on from the Tree River Outpost. There are about three miles upstream of camp to an impassable waterfall that the char cannot get by. This is certainly the main focus for fly anglers. The water is an intimidating mix of giant class five rapids and tight pocket water with many defined pools mixed in. The water is accessed by hiking upstream of the camp with your guide. The water below camp flattens out and there are a few classic swing runs with a few seams that can safely be fished by wading. The guides do like to use the boats to fish several of the deeper, slow runs below the rapids and downstream of the outpost to access water that you cannot reach from the bank.
The char is typically very aggressive early in the summer and get a bit pickier and can be tougher to feed in August when the water drops and the fish have been in the system for a bit. The fish in July is bright and fresh from the ocean with an iridescent olive and pink hue with red spots. During August the males look like pumpkins – super colorful with deep oranges and reds!
The fishing on the Tree is a mix of swinging flies in classic runs and twitching flies along the edge of heavy water in tight pockets. Bright steelhead patterns are the name of the game with short, heavy sink tips and big rods to keep the fish out of the rapids!
Boats and Equipment Required
There are two Lund boats that are stationed at the Tree River camp. These boats are used for ferrying anglers who are hiking up the river to the other side and also used to fish some of the deeper slow runs with clients below the rapids. The Tree River Outpost is accessed from Great Bear Lake Lodge via one of two otter float planes.
Remember that Yellow Dog’s services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge or outfitter. All prices listed below are per person and based on double occupancy in the room and sharing a guide. All prices below are quoted in US dollars. Most guests fish Tree River as an add on to a Great Bear Lake Lodge package. Following is per person pricing for a Tree River only package. Please call Yellow Dog for custom package pricing in conjunction with Great Bear Lake Lodge.
Tree River overnight side trip from Great Bear Lake Lodge (based on availability) = $1,045.00 per person, per night
Five (5) day trips from Kugluktuk (Limited weeks and Wed. – Mon. only) = $3,995.00 per person
Seven (7) day trips from Kugluktuk (Limited weeks and Wed. – Wed. or Sun. – Sun. only) = $6,245.00 per person
- Meet and greet service at Yellowknife airport
- Transportation to and from the airport and your hotel
- All accommodations at Tree River as specified in your package
- All guided fishing as specified
- Round trip air charter between Yellowknife, NWT and Great Bear Lake Lodge
- Charter flight from Great Bear Lake Lodge or Kuglugtuk the Tree River
- Family style breakfast each morning with a four-course dinner each evening
- Lunch on the water with your guide or back at camp
- Non-bottled, non-alcoholic beverages
- Daily housekeeping service
What’s Not Included:
- Airfare to Yellowknife, NWT
- Hotel and meals while in Yellowknife
- Fly outs in one of the Lodges Otter Float Planes
- Additional nights at Great Bear Lake Lodge
- Alcohol beverages (BYO)
- Fishing licenses
- Flies, tackle and rental equipment (if needed)
- Laundry service
- Staff and guide gratuities
- 5% Sales Tax (added to final YD invoice)