Unforgettable Adventures

Great getaways for the discerning sportsman.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Bonefishing in Belize
If you've ever dreamed of fishing in a relaxed, tropical paradise, this is it. Belize has the world's second-largest barrier reef, and within its boundaries lie some of the finest bonefish and tarpon waters on the planet. Miles of flats and crystal clear water. Blue lagoons and sugar-white sand beaches. And they're all easily accessible from El Pescador Fly Fishing Resorts.

El Pescador has two facilities-one at Punta Gorda and one at Ambergris Caye. I fished at the Ambergris facility and had a fabulous experience.

Fishing was done out of very stable center-console boats, and the guides were very experienced. When we visited last spring, Bob Stevenson had just signed on to run all of the resort's fishing operations. Bob was always on hand to ensure clients were well cared for or to help work the tailing loop out of your back cast with a few pointers.

Bonefishing here is world-class, and there are excellent opportunities for tarpon and permit on miles of uncrowded flats. On windy days, bring along some light spinning tackle and troll inside the reef for barracuda, or catch loads of yellowtail snapper for a tasty shore lunch.

Accommodations range from hotel rooms in the colonial-style main lodge to luxury villas with full living room, bath and kitchen facilities. All are right on the beach. Meals are served family style in the main lodge and are varied and tasty, with fresh-baked breads and local seafood.

Going in and out of Belize is easy, and the local people are very friendly. You can literally leave the U.S. on an early-morning flight and be fishing that afternoon.

El Pescador, Belize
Available Species: Bonefish, tarpon, permit, kingfish, barracuda, ladyfish, snook, snapper, grouper, billfish and wahoo.

Best Months: There's good fishing year-round, but the best flyfishing months are July and August, when trade winds are calmer.

Access: Direct flights to Belize City leave from several U.S. hubs. You then connect to a short commuter flight to San Pedro, where El Pescador staff will be on hand to greet you and whisk you away on the short boat ride to the lodge.

Cost: Packages start at $1,190 (2 per boat/2 per room for 3 nights and 2 days of fishing). Includes all guide fees, meals, and air, sea and land travel from Belize City to El Pescador.

Other Amenities: Scientific Anglers fly shop in main lodge. Pool, snorkeling, scuba diving. Mayan archaeological sites and ecological park inland.

Contact: 800-242-2017; www.elpescador.com.

-Todd W. Smith

Shooter's Resort in Rockies
When Osama bin Laden popped up from behind the door, AK-47 at the ready, I had only one option and I took it. Spinning to my left in a half-crouch, I extended the Glock .40-caliber S&W; with both hands and put a slug through Osama's left cheek. As he flipped out of view, I lowered the semi-auto and continued my stalk through the dark city. I was in no mood to cut the bad guys any slack, even if they were just painted plywood cutouts.

It's easy to blur fantasy with reality at Valhalla Shooting Club, where the elaborate live-action shooting scenario I experienced is the centerpiece of Elk Mountain Resort's elaborate range facilities. The 275-acre resort, which opened in July, is located in the foothills of the San Juan Range in southwestern Colorado about 30 miles from Montrose and 45 miles from Telluride.

Valhalla Shooting Club also offers trap, skeet and five-stand shooting, and there's a conventional handgun target range in the 16,000-square foot indoor shooting facility. Guided trout-fishing trips to area streams and hunting trips can be arranged through guest services. Everything at Elk Mountain Resort is first-class, from the Pyrenees-style cuisine to the climate-controlled cigar smoking room and 2,500-ttle wine cellar.

Elk Mountain Resort, Colorado
Available Species: Elk and trout.

Best Months: There's not a bad time to be at Elk Mountain, whether you go for fishing in summer or hunting in winter.

Access: Fly to Montrose from Denver or other points west. Guests are shuttled to and from the airport. Heliport on premises.

Cost: Rates vary by season. $310 per night (spring) to $750 (summer). Family cottages run from $1,000 per day in spring to more than $2,000 during summer's high season. Other Amenities: Meeting rooms, fitness center, climbing wall, skeet, trap, five-stand, pistol range, horseback riding, mountain biking, skiing, canoeing, hiking and tennis.

Contact: 970-252-4900; www.elkmountain resort.com.
[pagebreak] -Colin Moore

World's Biggest Brook Trout
Interior Labrador is the last and best stronghold of the largest brookies on earth. We're talking 5-, 6-, 7-, 8-, 9- and, yes, even 10-pound fish-on dry flies! For years the Minipi Camps territory has carefully preserved its fishing from three lodges, and now it is offering new day or overnight fly-outs to virgin lakes from the lodges. This is exclusive fishing; no other outfitters are allowed to tap these waters. Choose from Minipi Lodge, a Lindal Cedar structure; Minonipi Lodge, a rustic ranch-style cabin; or the new Anne Marie Lodge, with private rooms and baths-all on the water. A fully equipped tackle shop is nearby at Otter Creek for last-minute needs.

Available species: Giant brook trout, landlocked arctic char to 10 pounds, pike to 20 pounds.

Best Months: June 15 through September 15. Choose dates based on the hatches and flies you like to fish. Access: From Montreal or Toronto, fly to Halifax, Nova Scotia. From there, fly to Goose Bay, Labrador. A 30-minute floatplane trip brings you to your lodge.

Cost: $3,500 for the week includes pickup at Goose Bay, all meals and guiding. Fly-outs are extra. Other Amenities: A DeHaviland Beaver at camp offers more flexible scheduling and quick fixes for travel snafus. Fisherman's library, fly-tying bench, den with overstuffed furniture. Most meals can be cooked to order.

Contact: 877-266-7377; www.minipi camps.com.

Migis Lodge, Maine
Available Species: Smallmouth bass, landlocked salmon, lake trout and panfish.

Best Months: June for salmon and lake trout; June, July and September for bass.

Access: Portland airport is 35 minutes away and is serviced by most major carriers.

Cost: $185 and up per person per day, depending on the season and cottage.

Other Amenities: State-of-the-art conference center, Internet access, outdoor fitness center, tennis and water sports. The No. 1 golf course in southern Maine is a five-minute boat ride away.

Contact: 207-655-4524, www.migis.com.
-Jerry Gibbs

[pagebreak] Turkey Hunting in First Class
Like everything he owns, Ted Turner's Vermejo Park Ranch in game-rich northern New Mexico is top-shelf. Though many outfitters offer great hunting, the accommodations at Vermejo put it in a class by itself. The lodge, set at 7,500 feet along a valley that offers panoramic views of the 588,000-acre property, boasts a large, uniquely appointed dining room and a plush lounge. Guests can stay in one of six bed-and-breakfast-style houses surrounding the main lodge. There is also a hotel. Long-term guests can arrange to stay in Turner's ranch house.

Vermejo's excellent hunting for Merriam's turkeys attracts sportsmen from across the country. The limit is two gobblers, and clients boast 85 percent success rates for taking their first birds and 60 percent on their second.

Available species: Merriam's wild turkeys, elk, mule deer, antelope and bison.

Access: Vermejo Park Ranch is at the end of a single paved road that runs 45 minutes from the property's entrance in Raton, N.Mex. The closest airports are in Denver, Colorado Springs and Albuquerque.

Best Months: The ranch operates three separate turkey hunts that run from mid-April through early May.

Cost: The first two hunts cost $3,000 per hunter; the third hunt costs $2,500. Includes room and board, license, guide, vehicle, sporting clays and skeet.

Other Amenities: Conference center, Internet, fishing and wildlife viewing.

Contact: 505-445-3097; www.verme joparkranch.com.
-Doug Howlett

Great Camp for Smallmouths
The narrow driveway into Migis Lodge runs through towering old-growth pine and fir that sweeten the air and impart a sense of calm and timelessness. Soon the way is bordered by low walls of perfectly stacked firewood for the cottages and main lodge, in whose great stone fireplace a flame burns year-round. Pine and wood smoke are the incense of North Woods Maine, yet Migis is a mere 35-minute poke from Portland. The lodge has been in operation since 1916, beginning as a rustic fishing camp. Under owner Tim Porta's hand, the cabin interiors have been transformed into fully appointed luxury accommodations. The venerable main lodge is original and features a sprawling flagstone veranda, huge windows and overstuffed furniture in the common room.

The area is well-known for its excellent landlocked salmon and smallmouth bass fishing. Local guides may be booked through guest services.

Migis is surrounded by 100 forested acres with 2,000 feet of shoreline on beautiful Lake Sebago. Classic water and land sport activities are available, Chef John's meals are superb, and the staff could not be more attentive.

Sip a cocktail on the veranda before an incredible sunset while a loon cries in the distance and you'll not want to leave.
-J.G.

[pagebreak] **Georgia Fin And Feathers **
The rich sporting tradition that attracted many of our nation's wealthy to the Georgia coast in the early 1900s is alive and well at Cabin Bluff, where visitors will find a wide variety of guided fishing and hunting opportunities.

The Lodge at Cabin Bluff is located on 50,000 acres of pristine coastal woodlands and marshes along the Intracoastal Waterway in southeastern Georgia. The property includes a rustic lodge with full dining facilities plus eight cabins and meeting rooms. Marketed primarily as a corporate retreat (the facility can accommodate up to 40 people in its 22 rooms), the Lodge offers limited open dates for smaller groups of sportsmen.

Available species: Sea trout, redfish, flounder, tarpon, king mackerel, cobia, dolphin, grouper and red snapper. Nearby freshwater lakes hold largemouth bass, catfish and bream. Guided hunts for wild turkeysis at the end of a single paved road that runs 45 minutes from the property's entrance in Raton, N.Mex. The closest airports are in Denver, Colorado Springs and Albuquerque.

Best Months: The ranch operates three separate turkey hunts that run from mid-April through early May.

Cost: The first two hunts cost $3,000 per hunter; the third hunt costs $2,500. Includes room and board, license, guide, vehicle, sporting clays and skeet.

Other Amenities: Conference center, Internet, fishing and wildlife viewing.

Contact: 505-445-3097; www.verme joparkranch.com.
-Doug Howlett

Great Camp for Smallmouths
The narrow driveway into Migis Lodge runs through towering old-growth pine and fir that sweeten the air and impart a sense of calm and timelessness. Soon the way is bordered by low walls of perfectly stacked firewood for the cottages and main lodge, in whose great stone fireplace a flame burns year-round. Pine and wood smoke are the incense of North Woods Maine, yet Migis is a mere 35-minute poke from Portland. The lodge has been in operation since 1916, beginning as a rustic fishing camp. Under owner Tim Porta's hand, the cabin interiors have been transformed into fully appointed luxury accommodations. The venerable main lodge is original and features a sprawling flagstone veranda, huge windows and overstuffed furniture in the common room.

The area is well-known for its excellent landlocked salmon and smallmouth bass fishing. Local guides may be booked through guest services.

Migis is surrounded by 100 forested acres with 2,000 feet of shoreline on beautiful Lake Sebago. Classic water and land sport activities are available, Chef John's meals are superb, and the staff could not be more attentive.

Sip a cocktail on the veranda before an incredible sunset while a loon cries in the distance and you'll not want to leave.
-J.G.

[pagebreak] **Georgia Fin And Feathers **
The rich sporting tradition that attracted many of our nation's wealthy to the Georgia coast in the early 1900s is alive and well at Cabin Bluff, where visitors will find a wide variety of guided fishing and hunting opportunities.

The Lodge at Cabin Bluff is located on 50,000 acres of pristine coastal woodlands and marshes along the Intracoastal Waterway in southeastern Georgia. The property includes a rustic lodge with full dining facilities plus eight cabins and meeting rooms. Marketed primarily as a corporate retreat (the facility can accommodate up to 40 people in its 22 rooms), the Lodge offers limited open dates for smaller groups of sportsmen.

Available species: Sea trout, redfish, flounder, tarpon, king mackerel, cobia, dolphin, grouper and red snapper. Nearby freshwater lakes hold largemouth bass, catfish and bream. Guided hunts for wild turkeys