There are few things in life more Canadian than ice fishing…and Brad and his team at Pemberton Fish Finder are as Canadian as they come.

They live and breathe the outdoors. True mountain men. They have been fishing since they were little snappers themselves and know the inhabitants of the rivers and lakes in these parts better than most of us know our own family – and that shows in their respect for the fish, the environment and their skill.

A day spent with Pemberton Fish Finder is more than just a tick on your bucket list, it’s a chance to learn life skills and knowledge that have become lost to most of us through generations of commercialization and mass food production.

On our trip, deep in the wilderness north of Whistler, we found a little bit of ourselves that had been hidden away in the shade of fast-paced lives and demanding jobs. The part of us (of all of us) that has an inherited connection to Mother Earth.

We have the pleasure of sharing this incredible experience with the inspirational travel-blogging couple, The Expeditioners.

Here’s our photo diary of the day:

The Expeditioners, Bella, drilling her 1st ever ice fishing hole

At 8am Brad and Scott (our two guides) collected the group from the Summit Lodge and drove us out a spot known only as “Secret Lake”, about 40 minutes north of Pemberton, British Columbia.

Most visitors to Whistler don’t know that the west coast of British Columbia makes up part of one of the most endangered rainforests on the planet – the Pacific Temperate Rainforest. Arriving early enough to see the spectacular mountain mist that is so iconic to these parts, made the early start more than worth it.

Before we could even begin baiting our hooks we had to earn our catch by drilling a hole to get to the water. Bella (one half of The Expeditioners) went first showing the boys how it’s done. The huge corkscrew-like device is called an auger and it creates 8″ holes in thick ice, just big enough to pull your fish through.

Looking through the holes into the ice from inside the ice fishing tent

The next job was to set up the ice fishing tent. The light from outside the tent combined with the dark interior creates a glow under the ice and a beautiful window into another world. The water had such an intense luminescence that it lit up the inside of the black tent and we could see the fish nibbling at our bait through the crystal clear water below.

Expeditioners Bella Making The First Catch Of The Day

Bella struck gold early on catching the first Rainbow Trout of the day…and then the race (powered by our passively competitive spirit) really began to catch lunch!


Two more fish later and our bellies were rumbling to try some of Mother Nature’s delicious bounty.

Like most people in Whistler, our connection to the outdoors drives us to make responsible and ethical food choices as much as we can. As a population we buy processed, pre-packaged “food” so often that it’s easy to forget where it comes from, and that the fish and meat we eat has given its life for ours.

Going through the process from beginning to end has given us a renewed respect for taking only what we need, and nothing more, from Mother Nature.

BBQ rainbow trout for lunch

After Scott showed us how to gut, clean and prepare the fish for cooking it was time for a sprinkle of salt and pepper. 15 minutes on the grill and they were ready to go. We thoroughly enjoyed every last mouthful and no piece was left to waste. The heads, tales and skins were given to the local crows.


Expeditioners Bella taking in the majesty of the whistler backcountry

trees at the edge of secret lake


Don’t forget your camera on this trip. The vistas are incredible! After lunch the sun began to break through allowing us a few glimmering moments to get arty with our camera.

Things to do in Whistler in January" Ice Fishing with Pemberton Fish Finder

Having not caught a single fish all day Roberto, who is no newbie to fishing (he’s been on fishing expeditions all over the world), was starting to think he was cursed by his love for bananas – which are an essential energy boost on most of his expeditions.

“Bananas are bad luck on fishing trips”, said Brad firmly as he filled us in on a superstitious fisherman’s tale.

The story goes that when the west first started importing bananas by boat, the captain’s had to sail their ship at breakneck speed to get home before the fruit spoiled. This speed left a giant wake behind the ship that made it almost impossible to fish. The crew’s lack of sustenance was then forever blamed on the bananas.

Despite the presence of the cursed yellow fruit, Roberto finally caught his fish. Just in time for dinner with is beautiful wife, Bella.

And we still haven’t owned up to the day-old banana muffin we had in our pack 😛

If you’d like to try ice fishing (and we really think you should) call our front desk toll-free on: 1 (888) 913-8811 / (604)-932­-2778

If you’re local, or not staying with us, we’d still be happy to help you book or you can contact Brad and the team directly at

Related post:

The Expeditioners // The Expeditioners Mag // Pemberton Fish Finder // Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel

Photos by Victoria Farrand