By Jason Reid
Reporting from the 2016 Safari Club International Convention.
A storied operation about which former Outdoor Life Field Editor Charles Elliot once wrote, “I wanted to belong to the most exclusive club in the hemisphere.” Elliot got his wish by visiting the oldest fishing and hunting lodges in Canada’s Arctic, Northwest Territories.
As the last reaches of North America were Explored throughout the 40s and 50s outdoor writers flocked to the North West territories in Canada to experience the pristine waters and unsullied landscapes. Plummer’s father helped open these territories to fishermen by championing the use of amphibious planes while many still explored the water ways by boat.
Chummy Plummer, owner of the famed Plummers Lodges on Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake was one of the pioneers of helping open these lands to allow the adventurous spirit the chance at exploring virgin lands. From the tender age of 13, Plummer worked with his father guiding clients on fishing and hunting adventures. Living and working in such a majestic places certainly becomes apart of your fabric as a person and for Plummer it was no different. His tenure with Ford Motor Company was brief.
He told me only a short six months.
His boss once described him as a caged bird. I don't think much explanation is needed. Going from the wilderness to a desk job doesn't lend itself to great productivity. Think about how you feel going back to work after a great weekend in the deer woods feels. Multiple it by the soul jolting refreshment of the northern wilderness and you can start to put yourself in the shoes of a young man who had to report to down town Detroit.
Plummer returned to the North West and bought the original lodge from his father at the age of 30. With a business mind, Plummer expanded to a total of Seven camps for hunting and fishing adventures. He even he built runways for Boeing 737 planes to fly into, to bring in adventuresome guests, which he told me was the key to success. Plummer also innovated with his planes to continue to expand accessibility and comfort. Those innovations included an STC to put bigger floats for bigger payload on the de Havilland DHC-3 Otter and a new engine mount for the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver aircraft.
When it comes to the fish and game of the area, Writers like Jimmy Robinson, Art Mercier, Al Spiers & Ray Heady scrambled to cover the area in the 60s and Plummers Lodges have been named a top fishing destination by Field & Stream. Rightly so Plummer’s Arctic Lodges hold the World Records for Lake Trout, Arctic Grayling and the 32 lb. 9 oz. Arctic Char caught at Plummer’s Tree River Char camp just upstream from the Arctic Ocean.
Plummer also guides a few hunts from his lodges. Most notably for early season musk ox. Musk ox are certainly one of the toughest creatures on the planet as they can thrive in the sub zero temperatures of the Arctic. A Musk ox provides a challenge for those chasing the elusive Superslam and hunters looking for adventure because of the location and time most hunts are run.
Plummer told me about life in the winter in the arctic as a pure fight for survival and is not enjoyable. Plummer hosts a select number of musk ox hunters in August and September each year. Babe Winkleman and his crew traveled to hunt with Plummer a few years ago and they were able to not only tag out, but each animal placed in the Boone and Crockett record book. Plummer told me this past fall they were able to donate 2,500 lbs of musk ox meat to the local village.
Plummer, now in his mid seventies has hosted scores of celebrities and politicians. Outdoor legend Johnny Morris, founder Bass Pro Shops, refers to Plummer as “Maestro” for conducting his lodge organization to run smoothly.Plummers Lodge incorporates the history and culture of the North with world class hunting and fishing. Travel North to these lodges and you will find yourself fishing in one of the most storied clubs in North America.
About Jason Reid:
Jason Reid is a writer and business professional from upstate New York. After deciding to pursue his dream of becoming an outdoor writer, Jason started a blog from his dorm room at Houghton College, growing it and working hard to earn opportunities. While bow hunting big game is his ultimate passion, Jason welcomes all outdoor challenges which force him to push his limits. Jason’s work can be viewed on his website Pushingthewildlimits.com