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Testimonials

Norm,

I wanted to let you know what a great time my family had at Caribou Lodge this past August. It is always special to get four generations of us together, and you and your staff made our stay all the more special with your hospitality. You did a great job keeping everyone well fed and comfortable with great food and cozy rooms.

The fishing was great fun. Mike and Sheldon were great guides, and were wonderful with the boys. Robin has been eager to find a lake with Northern Pike here in Colorado so he can start training for our next trip up to Caribou Lodge. He is confident that with a little practice he will get that Master Angler qualifying Northern Pike.

We all were captivated by the wonderful scenery. The Grass River was absolutely fantastic. I really enjoyed getting to explore the Cranberry Lakes while we were fishing. It is such wonderful country, its worth a trip for the scenery alone.

The wildlife was unbelievable. The boys got a big kick out of seeing the caribou swimming from the island we had the shore lunch on Elbow Lake. I really enjoyed the bird life, particularly the eagles and abundance of loons. My only regret was that I didn't have another week to explore.

Again, thank you for an absolutely wonderful time. We are looking forward for the next visit.

- Bill Kelley, Fort Collins, Colorado

My son and I booked a hunt with Norm Sancartier Of Caribou Lodge Outfitters. What started out as five or six day hunt, turned into a two week trip of a lifetime for my son and I. Norm encouraged us to participate in all aspects of the hunt, and we did.The accommodations, meals and staff were all first class. Norm's knowledge and passion for Black Bear hunting is stunning.We seen multiple bears at all bait sites.

We will be back.

R.V. and Alisha Robertson,
High Plains Drift Inn, Colorado

Our group started making the annual 1,300 mile trek north from Nebraska to Cranberry Portage, Manitoba many years back. Our attempts were to search out a fishing lodge that could provide comfortable accommodations, ease of travel, a commitment worthwhile of our investment and of course world class fishing. Over the years our group has ranged in size from 12 – 28 people, with age groups of early teens to Grandfatherly senior citizens. Finding a lodge capable of handling a group with these demographics was no easy task. Being familiar with many past guests of Caribou Lodge, we were more than willing to take their advice and book our arrangements with Norm Sancartier. We had stayed with several other lodges in the area before, but simply put Caribou Lodge meets our needs the best. Ease of scheduling, on-site facilities, quality rental equipment, experienced guides, and a staff committed to your success are all found at Caribou Lodge.

During the June fishing season of 2006, we made our first direct arrangements with Norm and his staff at Caribou Lodge.  It was refreshing to find the new ownership with a desire to succeed and to present the best Canadian fishing adventures possible. Upon our arrivals Norm personally greeted every member of our party, from young to old, and quickly began to make everyone comfortable with the surroundings. Norm proved himself as a quality host to our group early in our first visit.  We had scheduled a shore lunch outing on a selected island. About midway through the morning Norm realized that due to the incoming weather conditions and an early mosquito hatch the island of choice would have provided a very difficult boat landing and massive mosquito swarm to greet us. He personally moved all the shore lunch cooking supplies and equipment to another bug free island and then guided the incoming boats to a sheltered boat landing to hold the mid day break.

Norm’s commitment and desire to making Caribou Lodge an outstanding Canadian fishing destination are easily presented by his time and investments in the facilities. The remodeling of the cabins, cleanliness of the rooms, uncluttered grounds and top notch rental boats all speak well of his efforts. The in house tackle shop is a wonderful spot to visit about the lake surroundings and current fishing conditions. The experienced guides are always quick to offer advice on where to find the fish, which baits to use and the right lure presentations working at this time. The five lake Cranberry watershed spans over 50 water miles with bays, islands, rivers and reefs all holding Trophy Walleye, Lake Trout and Northern Pike. Our party has found quality fishing opportunities from the lodge’s home dock on Lake Cranberry One to farthest northern lake in the chain "Elbow Lake" accessible by the Grass River. The natural landscape and wildlife viewing opportunities on the Grass River are second to none an d well worth your time and efforts. Within the community of Cranberry Portage you’ll find all the necessities needed to insure a successful trip. Services ranging from fuel, groceries, hot meals, boating supplies to a hardware store which stocks just about everything available on earth are all available in town and close to the lodge. A quick drive into town to see the sites, sample the local hospitality or a "Road Trip" to Flin Flon is just the right way to top of a great day on the water.

"Arrive as a Guest. Leave as a Friend." No truer statement can be made about the experience’s to be had by all at Caribou Lodge. Owner Norm Sancartier and his staff have fulfilled their promises time after time to all those who venture northward in quest of world class fishing and the never ending dream that come with just one more cast.

Pat Mertens,
Nebraska

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Norm,

I can't begin to tell you how much my wife and I enjoyed our stay at the Caribou Lodge. I had come the summer (June 2007) before with the Atlanta Group, and thought that my wife would really enjoy the scenery, the geology of the land and its uniqueness, and the fishing. I must include the cooking and the hospitality. She did! The fishing was great. Our guide, Mike Dubois, put us on the fish every time. Remember the 301/2 inch walleye that was a citation fish. I have included a picture. Thanks so much for taking great care of us.

Wayne and Nancy Talley
North Carolina

I have been fishing the Cranberry Lakes for well over thirty years. The fishing has been very good from the beginning, however, over the last fifteen years, as the limits have been reduced and the maximum size limits installed, the fishing has improved dramatically. The Lakes have always produced good quantities of fish but those changes have increased the daily quantities, the average size, and the number of trophy fish caught.

Over the last five to ten years, I have been averaging three to four walleyes over 28" per week, one to two Northerns over 41" per week, and one Lake Trout over 30" per week, and I really don't devote as much time to the Northerns and Lake Trout as I do to the Walleyes. My largest fish caught so far are a 42" Lake Trout, 51" Northern, and a 341/4" Walleye.

Obviously for a drive to Lake the fishing is absolutely outstanding!

I especially enjoy the fact that there are five lakes all interconnected by channels and the river; which allows for multi-species angling in the same day. It also allows and offers many fishing opportunities away from any crowds that may accumulate at any particular location.

I also enjoy the fact that many other lakes in the area can be trailered to for additional outstanding Walleye and Lake Trout fishing all within a 10 to 45 minute drive.

- Craig Stough, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Norm,

Just wanted to drop you a note thanking you for the wonderful trip to Caribou Lodge. We visited the first week of August, which is a somewhat slower time of year in regards to fishing, but we still managed to find the fish and have a great time in doing it, good weather and great company. The five connected lakes gave us unlimited possibilities for areas to fish and just kick back in the boat and relax when we wanted to, we were never crowded by others.

The cabins at Caribou Lodge were very clean, fully functional and we were never short of hot water, after a long day on the lake that's pretty important. We spent a majority of our evenings out around the fire pit enjoying the peace and serenity of the northern sky, having a beverage and talking about the big one that got away.

Last but not least, the staff. I cant say enough about Norm and his staff at Caribou Lodge, they truly go the extra mile to make your stay the most comfortable possible. The food at the lodge was excellent with a fully stocked store to get that hook that might catch the fish of a lifetime. We will definitely be back next year and plan to make it an annual trip, we came as a guest and left as a friend.

P.S. The ball cap we bought our three year old hasn't left his head.

Craig and Tascha Jasper, Mark McOuat and Tammy Cronin,
Regina, Saskatchewan

I hadn't fished in Canada for a number of years, and was excited about starting up the tradition again with my dad, and with my son, who had never had the experience. I was concerned though, that my son might not enjoy it enough to want to return. Norm and the crew at Caribou Lodge provided us with such a great trip that my son hasn't stopped talking about it. Every other week he tells me that he can't wait to go back. The cabins were great and the fishing was excellent. Best thing though, is that we felt like we were staying with friends. Norm always checked on us to make sure we had what we needed and to make sure thing were going well. We can't wait to go back, and the Caribou Lodge is a big reason for that.

Scott Simpson Elkhorn, Nebraska

Norm,

I wanted to take a minute and tell you how much we enjoyed our latest stay. I started coming to Cranberry in 1993, and have had some of the best times of my life while there. I have had the opportunity to hunt bear as well as fish in a place most people would not be able to imagine. The lakes the scenery, the wildlife and the people, it’s all amazing!

While staying at Caribou over the years, we have made some lifelong friends, and spent many hours laughing and lying about the days events, giving true credence to the fisherman’s motto “Early to bed, early to rise, fish like hell, and make up lies”. Well O.K. maybe we don’t get to bed early, and we really don’t get started to early, but we sure fish like crazy! It’s not too many places in the world you can go fishing, and even on a bad day catch so many fish that you can hardly hold you fishing rod.

I have been up there quite a few times, and have had the opportunity to bring lots of people with me to introduce them to the spectacular views and events of NW Manitoba. I always tell whomever I have with me, even if we didn't catch a fish, you'll never regret your time, and will be anxious to book your next trip before you leave…….it’s been true every time.

In short, I can’t wait to bring my son up to Caribou so that he will have a place north of the border that he can enjoy as much as I have, and make lifelong friends as well.

See ya May 26th,

Dan Bullock, El Dorado, Ks

It was 12 degrees and snowing. Colby and I (Brent) we're sitting in the blind and the mallards where coming in, there landing gear was down; all we had left to do was "take-em". The dogs where having one of the best retrieving days a handler can dream of. And what was the topic of discussion that day?

FISHING.!!! That is right.!! We where actually talking about fishing in Canada.

Me and my brother, friends and family have been coming up to Caribou Lodge since 1990. I could tell you about the hundreds of fish that we caught each trip, and the size. But, that is not why we go to Caribou Lodge. I have been all over North America hunting and fishing, it can't come close to this. From the shore lunches, the guides in the cleaning shack, this is our "get away from reality trip". From the animals, to the scenery, to the loons' wake up call. You can't imagine a better family outing, waiting for your kid or friends to say "FISH ON"

This is a quote from my nephew Bill; he was 12 in '06',, it's on video.

"We have landed 87 fish.!" Can’t believe he kept track of the fish, but he did. "Colby's boat is catching more, can I fish with him this afternoon?" All I wanted was fresh fish for a shore lunch. Now I'm think'n, catch a few more till he get's the fire going. Remember people this is only 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Anyone can make up stories about how good the fishing is. If it wasn't that GREAT, why would you KEEP going back every year?

Well, to tell the truth, I love my waterfowlin every year. Follow the migration of birds, but all I think about is this trip. The fishing speaks for itself. I've fished Minn., Mich., Neb., and many other trophy lakes in these an other states. YOU CAN NOT touch this for a family fishing trip. IT IS THAT GREAT. How many states in the lower 48 can you have a shore lunch and don't hear the phone ring...?????????

Check the prices of other trips. You can’t touch this at Disney World or the ISLANDS. If you don't book a trip, it is you loss. The fishing speaks for itself, read the other testimonials, their not telling you HOW GREAT IT IS, that's for you to experience. It is a pleasure to go and a pleasure when you leave. Caribou Lodge has us as a guest and a friend for LIFE..! See you there.

Great Fishing
Your friends – The Ohlson bros’
Brent ~ Lewellen Nebraska
Colby ~ Cord Arkansas

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Caribou Lodge... I can honestly say this is the best fishing and hunting camp I have ever stayed at in Manitoba. Norm, his staff and his two sons Darren and (sorry norm I forgot your little guys name) define hospitality. I am a die-hard angler, I work to fish. In August of 2007, I had the pleasure of being sent up to Cranberry Portage, Manitoba for three weeks on a job for work. I lucked out by picking Caribou Lodge for my accommodations. I had never fished this far north yet, and Caribou Lodge is only 5 minutes away from Athapapuskow Lake, and Second Cranberry Lake is the next lake over from First Cranberry Lake. There was no way I wasn’t taking my boat with. I know there's good Walleye fishing up here, but I'm a Trout guy and this is definitely Trout country. I have had good Lake Trout fishing, but this place is a league of its own. I brought all of my Trout gear to target deep fish and boy did it pay off. I took five days off to hit the water and each day I had the lake all to myself. My best day was 22 Lake Trout with average sizes in the 7 – 8 pound range and my personal biggest Lake Trout at 37.5", 20 pounds. This year the goal is 30 pounds.

The nice thing is, there's no regrets coming off the water at the end of the day because you're only going back to camp, which I consider paradise next to pounding the snot out of the Trout. Norm put me in his motel which has rear entrance onto the longest lakefront deck I have ever seen. It was a nice thing to come home to. Norm kept me well fed with excellent meals, my room and bed were very comfortable and you even have satellite TV if you don't like fishing in the rain (I love fishing in the rain). The main lodge was a highlight. It has a certain ambiance and a lot of history. You can just imagine all the fisherman decades ago coming in to have a drink at the bar after a day on the water talking about the big one that got away.

The resources this place has for people bringing their own boats is definitely a selling point. The lodge can accommodate any size fishing boat hosting a huge parking area, a boat launch, two 50 foot docks with gas tanks at the end of each. If you want to fish on Athapapaskow Lake, its not even a 5 minute drive to the government launch. Barbe Lake is also only 45 minutes south of Cranberry Portage. Barbe Lake holds monster Rainbow Trout and Brook Trout. On a separate trip last summer my party landed some 40 Rainbows per boat and the average size was 20” with our biggest being 26". The Cranberry Chain of Lakes also has excellent fishing. Second Cranberry is chalked full of Lake Trout and Third Cranberry and Elbow Lake have amazing Walleye and Pike fishing.

I also had the pleasure of getting to know Norm. Norm runs a great show up there and definitely knows how to take good care of his guests. We put a couple cold ones back and shot the breeze when I wasn't fishing and he wasn't doing one of the Million things it takes to run a fishing camp. But his motto definitely holds true: you arrive as a guest and leave as a friend. Thanks Norm, we'll see you soon and soon isn't soon enough.

Jon Friesen, Winnipeg, MB.

I made my first trip to Caribou lodge in 1984. After seeing Tom Osborn, Head Coach of the Nebraska Corn Huskers featured on a sport’s program fishing out of Caribou Lodge for northern pike, walleye and lake trout. Having fished a number of times in Ontario and all over northern Minnesota I was really ready to find a spot that would satisfy my desire to catch trophy size fish. The group of guys I fish with and I loaded up and began a fishing adventure to northern Manitoba. I can honestly say we never regretted making the 1,100-mile trip from Omaha. The first trip produced more and bigger walleye and northern pike than we had ever caught before and with the added bonus of the lake trout that can be caught out of the 200 foot deep Second Cranberry Lake its been a no-brainer for the last 21 years.

Caribou Lodge is located on First Cranberry Lake with access to 4 proven trophy producing lakes and the Grassy River. With each lake being 7 to 10 miles long, it would take a lifetime to explore all the bays and islands.
Float planes fly in and out and can pick you up at your front door and take you to outpost camps for a day of fine fishing or a week of seclusion. With the option of a modern cabin or staying in the hotel it gives you the freedom to cook your own meals or be treated to Martha’s home cooking.

During that first trip in 1984 we were happy to catch master angler size walleye up to 28 inches but with the new fishing regulations adopted years ago, we're seeing walleye over 30 inches and over 10 lbs. Our June 2005 trip the largest walleye was 31 1/4 inches and the largest northern pike was 44 inches. When you combine fishing like that with family or good friends and a good shore lunch; it just doesn't get any better.

Year #22 is coming up. Our reservations are made for the first week in June 2006. My trip is longer now that I live in Missoula, Montana but still well worth it. See you there!

- Mike Reinhardt

I wanted to take this opportunity to share my extraordinary experience bear hunting Caribou Lodge Outfitters with Norm Sancartier. My parents and I, along with a friend, drove from Texas to Cranberry Portage in the fall of 2009. Little did we know...we were all about to embark on (not only) an unimaginable vacation, but also an experience, hunt, and even friendship of a lifetime!

I had already been on a bear hunt with my dad in Ontario the year before, but I could tell something was going to be very different on this trip. The first evident distinction was that Caribou Lodge was not a big bear camp where, before, I had hunted with 12 other hunters that week alone and was on their last heat of hunters that season! I was very excited for the opportunity to hunt a large area with almost no hunting pressure at all. I was unsuccessful in Ontario, and since I was hoping to tag my first bear at Caribou Lodge, I was still a bit unsure of how to distinguish a trophy. Before our hunt, Norm sat me down and reviewed several bear hunting videos, took me to a few of his sites and marked multiple trees at the height of the barrel, and even took us to the local trash dump so that he could teach me how to judge bears on foot. My mom wanted to sit me with while I hunted. Neither one of us had used climbing stands before. Norm took the time to show us how to use them and (even more important) always made sure we were comfortable and safe. He also took the time to teach me about the land, showed us why he placed the bait sites where he did, and encouraged us to use our gear everywhere we went in order to get the most out of our hunting experience. He showed me signs of other wildlife species including moose, caribou and even wolves! While traveling to and from the sites, Norm always encouraged me to ask questions. So it wasn’t just a guide taking us to our sites; it was a guide striving for a successful hunting experience….and a memorable learning experience.

The thing I appreciated most about Norm is how, as a female bowhunter, he treated me equally. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I can’t explain how aggravating and degrading it was when I had been told multiple times by the guide on my hunt the year before that “you’re a girl….with a bow….so any bear you shoot would be a trophy”. Norm held me at the standards of every single one of his hunters, and probably encouraged me to hunt harder than ever. Throughout my experience, I did hunt hard and Norm worked hard! He did everything you could imagine for my success. I had seen multiple bears, but I elected to hold out for that trophy of a lifetime. After Dad tagged a 380-pound bear, he wanted to take my mom’s stand and witness me harvesting my first black bear. On the last night of the hunt, with probably five minutes left of good shooting light, an enormous bear appeared downwind. (Textbook, I know…) However, it didn’t take long for the bear to come in to the site, and with the dwindling light, I shot the bear the first opportunity I had. With good shot placement through the heart and both lungs, the bear didn’t even make it out of the site before he expired. I was so excited and anxious to get my hands on my trophy; I swear I almost shook myself right out of that climbing stand! When Norm came to pick us up, he saw my bear and was sincerely and equally as excited as we were.

Norm’s Caribou Lodge Outfitters was an experience that far surpassed any expectations I could have ever imagined, due in part to the effort that was put in by the people, namely Norm, his two sons, and his mother. I know this experience will be the most memorable hunting trip we (Mom, Dad, Justin and me) have had. I am truly very doubtful if any other hunting lodge will offer me what I have already experienced at Caribou Lodge. The quality of the hunt, as well as the food and lodging accommodations, was impeccable. It was refreshing to have a guide that was very personable, enthusiastic, experienced and dedicated. For those striving to tag their first black bear (as Justin and I was) as well as serious, seasoned, and experienced trophy bear hunters (as Dad was), Caribou Lodge Outfitters is unquestionably for you.

- Brandi Crider

I had spoken to Norm, owner and guide of Caribou Lodge Outfitters, multiple times previous to our hunt regarding our group’s needs and preferences including hunting stand types and accommodations for each hunter and even special meal requests. Anything we wanted, Norm ensured that it would happen….and it did! When we finally arrived at the lodge Norm greeted us, and immediately we felt as if we had known him for years. He is absolutely one friendly, enthusiastic guy! It’s a great family operation where his two sons helped prepare the sites and mixed the bait for our hunt and even helped at the shed when we finally bagged our bears. His mother is an outstanding cook and prepared our food beyond our expectations! It was great to see a family working together to accomplish a goal. There wasn’t paid guides that just wanted to get a paycheck and leave. It was a very personal experience with Norm and his family….and very close friends that knew the land and served as Norm’s assistants.

Which brings me to my next point...

The seemingly untouched land, coupled with at most very little hunting pressure ensures hunters a great opportunity at tagging a MONSTER bruin! That’s exactly what I did! Norm put me in a very comfortable 2-man ladder stand that had plenty of evidence of a blonde coming in frequently. I had watched a really nice boar that I would have been happy to harvest, but Norm asked us to hold out for a bigger bear. I completely and whole-heartedly trusted Norm... and did as he requested. It was the third day, about 7:00, and I had a 380-pound monster bruin on the ground after running about 30 yards from where I had shot him. Upon walking up to my trophy, one thought ran through my mind, “Wow! Where is this big ‘ol bear gonna fit in my house?” Norm had guided me to the biggest bear of my life, and that was only part of the memorable experience. I was also able to take my wife and watch my daughter take her first bear! Norm runs an exceptional outfit, and I recommend him to anyone looking for an outstanding hunt and an unforgettable experience.

- Lenn Crider

Let me just start by saying THANKS for the most exciting and "interesting" time ever hunting! I got the call to come up to Canada and hunt at Caribou Lodge Outfitters 2 weeks before we were supposed to leave and I jumped on the opportunity. When we got to the lodge, you welcomed us like we were friends not clients. I’ve been on other hunts and have also guided myself, so I know a lot that goes on behind the scenes. I’m glad you let us go along and show us how everything is done and explained why you chose the sites we hunted. From the first day we were there, I could tell you were very knowledgeable of the Black Bear in the area and you loved what you do. The accommodations and meals were all top notch, and your staff and family were all very friendly and helping. All of us got bears with the biggest weighing almost 400 lbs. and 1 color phase bear. I will definitely recommend Caribou Lodge to anyone that wants to go on a Black Bear hunt of a lifetime!

- Justin Sowell

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Norm,
My family & I just wanted to take the time to thank you for the wonderful summer holiday we had (July '09). You and your sons went out of your way to make us feel like we were family, the time you spent taking our kids around to show them the wildlife (especially the bears) are memories that we will have forever. The accommodations were exceptional and all facilities are first class. The kids can't wait to come back which is why we have booked again for the following year. The fishing, scenery and wildlife are like no where else in the world. Hats off to you Norm as you and your lodge are one in a million.

- The Knutson Klan
 Calgary, Alberta, Canada