From the West
If you are driving from your home in the US to Nakina and you live in Wisconsin or Minnesota or beyond, you probably will go through Duluth, MN. From there you take North Shore Drive along Lake Superior and head towards the Canadian border. You will be crossing at Pigeon River.
Now if you live in Ontario, west of Thunder Bay, you will be probably be going through Thunder Bay and then Northeast on 11/17.
The thumbnail above is the crossing at Pigeon River.
From the East
If you are driving to Nakina from the East, you will probably be driving through Sault Ste. Marie, MI.
From Detroit it is about 900 miles to Nakina. You might choose to go North on I-75 through Michigan and cross over the border at Sault Ste. Marie.
At the border
You will need to plan on spending a little time at the border crossings. It might only take two or three minutes, but it could take over an hour. It just depends. I went through Pigeon River crossing at midnight once and there was only one other vehicle in front of us and it was a group of fishermen pulling a boat. The customs personnel removed all of the fishermen’s gear, x-rayed it and put it all back. That took quite awhile. We were watching. When it came to be our turn, they did the same to us. They were very nice and very thorough. By the way don’t bring fresh potatoes with you. You can’t. Bring your photo ID and your birth certificate or passport. You probably won’t need them, but just in case. For additional information about passports see the LINKS page. Remember, if you are driving, you still don’t need a passport to get across.
After you cross into Ontario
If you coming from the East, the highway changes to Provincial Route 17B. Then 17 Trans Canada Highway. Then you turn right onto Provincial route 11/Trans Canada Highway. Then you turn North onto 584 and that takes you into Geraldton and on to Nakina.
If you coming from the west, after crossing the border, you will follow highway 61 all the way to Thunder Bay. There you will merge onto 11-17 and follow it Northeast. You will be along the lake for awhile. You will follow 11-17 until you reach the point where 11 turns north. You stay on 11 and continue until you reach 584. That takes you into Geraldton and on to Nakina.
If you think Flying may be in your plans
If you are planning on flying in from some distant place, I would like to make a suggestion on a travel agent that I have used for many years. Her name is Julie and she works for Carlson Wagonlit Travel. She is located in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. S
She will probably fly you into Thunder Bay and then you can rent a vehicle and head towards Nakina from there. Another option is to fly to Nakina from Thunder Bay with Nakina Air Service. This is the same company that will be flying you to your outpost. They also have wheeled aircraft. Julie will help arrange all this for you. If you fly into Nakina, Nakina Air will provide transportation either to the float plane base or a hotel and then to the float plane base, as needed.
The last Night
Why not stay at our BASE CAMP??
You have just driven a great distance usually and probably want to take a short nap before hitting the plane. Of course you could be like me and have driven all night and arrive at Nakina just in time to load the plane and take off. But for the rest of the world, why not rest a bit before your flight.
We have the ideal setup for you and your group. We have three cabins with plenty of beds and there just outside your vehicle door. You can show up any time. Just jump out of your vehicle and crash for a few hours or arrive a bit earlier and relax and visit before you head to the planes. They are just 15 minutes away. It couldn’t be simpler or more convenient.
To get to our base camp just check out the map of Nakina. You stop at the stop sign at the top of the hill, turn right and go one block. Then turn left on Railroad Street and just keep going out of town for about 6 miles (10 km). At a big curve you will see Tom’s sign. Follow them and there you are, at our base camp.
ON THE WAY TO NAKINA
As you are getting closer to Nakina, you will pass through Geraldton. In Geraldton there is a friendly and full service little store that we like to stop at to pick up last minute items before the flight out. They sell minnows and other bait, license, and misc. foods and snacks. It sits all by itself on the left side of the road just before you get to the main downtown. It is called North Star Conveniences. See photo below. Click on it to enlarge.
When you pull into Nakina (MAP) you will go over a small hill and come to a stop sign. Go two blocks further and turn left. If you haven’t eaten yet and have time, there is one spot you could try. It is a little restaurant on Algoma Street between Railway Street and the Highway. It is a run by a French couple. It is rather simple building inside and out, but when I ate there the food was fine and the people friendly. And the prices were OK, too.
As you head north through town, you will see a small Husky gas station on your left.
They also have bait and such things. Stop in, fill up the gas tank, grab the last minute goodies and bait, and of course say HI! As you leave, on the other side of the road you will see an airport. This is part of Nakina Air Service. It is the same outfit you will be using to get to your lake except this is for wheeled planes. If you are flying into Nakina from Thunder Bay, this is where you will land.
Anyway, if you find these two landmarks, it means you are heading in the right direction. Keep going out of town, it will turn into a dirt road and go by a couple intersections. Keep going until the road curves to the left. There are plenty of signs. As you round a couple curves, look to you right and you will see the planes and the dock and one large building on the left. This is Nakina Air Service float base. Off to the right of the big building, next to the lake you will see other vehicles. You can park there. Walk towards the plane dock and you will see a small office on your left. This is where you will find someone, if they haven’t already found you. This is also where you can purchase your fishing license if you haven’t yet. They will be around by first light.
In case you need to contact Nakina Air Service, their number is 800 797-4424.
Now is when you can forget all about what you left behind. Because from here on in, it is nothing but fun and adventure and of course the best fishing you have ever had, Unless this is not your first trip to Tom’s.
The people at Nakina Air Service will take care of you and they already know where you are heading. So just sit back and enjoy the ride.
As you can see in the above photo, Nakina-Air Service has beautiful planes. This is one of two converted De Havilland Otters. They both have been converted to turbo props. What a great ride. These beauties can haul 2000 pounds of people and gear. Amazing!!
About 30 to 40 minutes later you will land and unload your gear and start to feel like you left all your worries behind.
From this point on, until the unfortunate time that you will have to leave, you will be surrounded by Mother Nature at her finest. After a bit of unloading, off you go to catch those big ones.
Now everything seems like fun. Even the work is fun.
OK, now it is time to pack up and get ready to head back to Nakina. The plane will be arriving early and will have other lucky fisherman aboard. So be ready and have all your gear packed and at the dock. Make sure you leave the camp in better shape than when you arrived. That is always a good policy.
Say good bye and enjoy your flight back to Nakina. You will notice the flight seems different somehow. Calmer and more comfortable. Back at the float plane dock, it will seem like coming home; almost. You load up your vehicle and head down the road full of stories and plans for the next time.
I truly hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I did telling it. Believe me I will again and again.
Thanks for letting me share it with you and good fishing!!