Corporate wilderness retreats have made a huge comeback over the past few years, especially at remote Canadian fishing lodges, and for good reason. Nature, physical activity, and team building without the hyperspeed distractions of today’s busy world, form an extremely healthy corporate cocktail when it comes to increasing productivity at work.

Webber’s Lodges has been successfully offering corporate fishing retreats highlighted by spectacular fishing and fine food in a remote wilderness setting for over 20 years at North Knife Lake Lodge. Clear thinking, creativity, planning for the future, team building and team bonding are priorities among our business clients, some of whom take over the entire Lodge for a week to 10 days, and the remote wilderness location of North Knife Lake allows nature to do its best work on both mind and body.

“This trip gives us an opportunity to get away from technology, to get away from work,” said Try-It Distributing CEO Paul Vukelic, who has been fishing at North Knife Lake with his family-owned company for 20 years. “It’s a very stress-free environment at North Knife Lake. You really get to let your hair down, so to speak. I think that’s why we like it so much there. I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the world where we feel more relaxed than we do when we are there.”

Guide Ryan Suffron Jeff Vukelic (right) with trophy Lake Trout at North Knife Lake.

Guide Ryan Suffron and Jeff Vukelic (right) with trophy Lake Trout at North Knife Lake.

The noise, information and social media activity surrounding businesses today saps energy and reduces productivity if a break isn’t taken. The need to unplug from our warp speed world and get back to nature has become a priority among many of today’s top business executives and their key stakeholders.

Science backs them up.

Shore lunch at North Knife Lake.

Shore lunch at North Knife Lake.

According to an article published on BBCEarth entitled How nature is good for our health and happiness, “exposure to nature can reduce hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure), respiratory tract and cardiovascular illnesses; improve vitality and mood; benefit issues of mental wellbeing such as anxiety; and restore attention capacity and mental fatigue. But more than that, feeling a part of nature has been shown to significantly correlate with life satisfaction, vitality, meaningfulness, happiness, mindfulness, and lower cognitive anxiety.”

“It’s a time that we really cherish together,” said Paul. “Not only the days of fishing but getting together back at the Lodge later on, getting a nice fire going, especially on those cold days, just sitting around hanging out, having a good time with each other. It’s good clean fun. There are no TVs; no Internet, no other technological distractions. In my mind, the way life really should be.”

Research has proven that getting back to nature can boost attention spans and the ability to concentrate, and that time spent in the outdoors makes you feel healthier. It’s good for both your body and your brain. Even the colour green makes a difference, and exercise just seems easier in the outdoors.

Your daily exercise regime at North Knife Lake Lodge includes climbing into a boat every morning and catching limitless numbers of big lake trout and northern pike. When you return to the Lodge after a day on the lake, the weight of the world will have been lifted from your shoulders. And not only will you think more clearly, you’ll also sleep deeply.

Gene Vukelic, Chairman of Try-It Distributing Co. Inc. in Buffalo, New York, knows what nature can do for a company. Twenty years ago he was part of a large contingent on a Labatt-sponsored trip deep into the heart of polar bear country to see the great white bears on Canada’s Hudson Bay coast. The group stayed at a remote polar bear lodge near Seal River owned by the Webber and Reimer families.

Mike Reimer and Gene Vukelic (right). Early days at North Knife Lake.

Mike Reimer and Gene Vukelic (right). Early days at North Knife Lake.

Two years later, Gene returned with his family for another trip with the Webbers and Reimers, but this time it was for a fishing adventure at North Knife Lake Lodge. His family-owned company, the largest distributor of Labatt products in the world, has been coming back to fish with Webber’s Lodges ever since.

“We’ve got good fishing around Buffalo and we have a place in Parry Sound on Georgian Bay where we fish for northern pike,” said Gene in an earlier interview here. “But the big difference between fishing here and fishing at North Knife Lake is the natural environment, the outdoors. And we can catch between 150-200 fish per day. Sometimes they’ll strike as soon as the lure hits the water. Other times we’ll be reeling in a smaller fish and a big pike will grab it.”

“We use barbless hooks and the guides are very careful with the fish. It’s all catch and release. The shore lunches are phenomenal. Every day is different. My favourite is still the fried fish fresh from the lake, with home-fried potatoes and corn and beans out of the can. Good people, great guides and the best food.”

Being enveloped in nature throughout the day while engaged in enjoyable physical activities results in deep restful sleeps at North Knife Lake Lodge, but there’s yet another reason you’ll feel rejuvenated here. The food served at the Lodge is based on our best-selling cookbook series Blueberries & Polar Bears, co-authored by Webber’s Lodges matriarch Helen Webber and Marie Woolsey.

Only the best of the best recipes served at Webber’s Lodges since the late 1970s have made it into the cookbooks, and a fabulous meal after a day of pulling in one fish after another will put you in a rare and peaceful frame of mind.

“The business people we’ve taken have been thrilled,” said Rich Knaebel of Mid-Am Building Supply, who along with brothers Joe and Al, has been fishing with Webber’s Lodges for over 15 years. “We really look to find people who appreciate what an adventure it is. It’s a once in a lifetime adventure. There’s been a time or two when we’ve had clients want to try something different. One of our clients, who had been to North Knife Lake Lodge and on our fly-outs, wanted to go to Great Slave Lake, but when he got back he said, ‘You know, it just wasn’t the same as when you took me to Webber’s.’”

Jeff Knaebel with 47-inch Norther Pike caught with Webber's Lodges.

Jeff Knaebel with 47-inch Northern Pike caught with Webber’s Lodges.

“Doug and Helen and Mike and their families want to make it personal. And they want you to have a good time. They really sit down and talk to you there, genuinely really nice people. They treat us well. It’s hard to explain until you’ve tried a few other lodges. Webber’s sets a pretty high mark. They’re the kind of people you want to come home for supper with you.”

Only 48 people per year fish North Knife Lake. It is a rare and special place in this world, and we want to keep that way. Your group can have it all to yourself. Exclusive access. The Lodge can accommodate up to 20 guests at one time. And it doesn’t matter if you’ve never fished before, we have excellent equipment and guides who can help you land your first fish. You might even catch the monster of the day! It happens.

Whether you’re relaxing around our conference table in the evening after dinner; participating in a skill building activity outdoors; watching an eagle soar gracefully overhead, or a moose and her calf strolling casually through the lake; enjoying the wood-fired hot-tub; engaging in a game of shuffleboard or pool in our games room; watching a movie or playing cards; enjoying a delicious shore lunch, or even holding a team meeting on an island (followed by an extremely refreshing swim!); you’ll notice new relationships being formed and people starting to gravitate towards each other with thoughts and ideas that might just do wonders for your company in the future, not to mention injecting enthusiasm back into your workforce.

A 37-mile long spring-fed lake in the remote Canadian wilderness, far from the craziness of everyday life; exceptional fishing; excellent accommodations; great food; and people who care about you. All will lead to an increase in creativity and productivity for your company. And there’s one last thing we forgot to mention…

Fishing is serious fun.