janv. 3, 2013
An interview with Nick Leitch
As we enter 2013, we bring you the final installment of our 2012 interview series. Gerry conducted this interview with the last guest of the 2012 season. Nick Leitch has been a guest of Aikens Lake many times over the years. Incidentally, he just won the Hunting and Fishing Preservation Fund's inaugural contributors draw which was drawn at the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters annual meeting held December 10th. Nick won a free trip to the sponsoring lodge, in this case, Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge. Congratulations Nick!
Gerry: First of all, Nick, give us your impressions on being the last guest here at Aikens Lake, on this first day of fall and fishing through a snowstorm.
Nick: Well, it's a new experience! I've been here in the early part of the year, at different times throughout the summer and now at the very end of the season. It's given me the whole spectrum. Let's put it that way!
Gerry: You have a long history of coming to Aikens Lake and also a long history of being associated with charitable and non-profit community organizations. Tell our readers about your association with those charities and the connection to Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge.
Nick: The first trip to Aikens Lake through a charity was with the Children's Wish Foundation of Canada. Pit and the partners of Aikens Lake offered the Foundation an opportunity to raise funds through a celebrity auction fishing package. The hosts of the trip were Jonathan and Bryan Toews and my son Cole and I were lucky enough to buy the package at the Children's Wish Foundation's annual gala fundraising dinner. I had previously been to Aikens with my wife many years before we had children and this was a fantastic opportunity to return. It was fabulous! The Foundation was able to raise a lot of money as all proceeds went directly to the Foundation. It's organizations like Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge that make it possible for the Foundation to grant the wishes of special children who really need a bright spot in their lives at a very difficult time.
Gerry: Well said Nick. What other charities are you involved with personally or with your business?
Nick: On the corporate side, Ranger Insurance is involved with the fundraising arm of the Winnipeg Jets, The True North Foundation. We do a golf tournament and fundraising dinner each year where all profits go to the True North Foundation. It is certainly worth mentioning that this year's dinner featured a celebrity auction package for 2013 which will be hosted by former Winnipeg Blue Bomber great Grey Cup winner and CFL hall of famer, Joe Poplawski.
Gerry: Now we get to the core of the interview and talk fishing. You have come here many times over the years and attended many other lodges and camps during that time. What keeps you coming back here?
Nick: I've mentioned my first two trips to your establishment with my wife and the Children's Wish Foundation. But I've always been a fisherman. I had a very best friend who also loved to fish. He and I did a lot of trips to lodges and outpost camps. When I came back to Aikens Lake after so many years, the camp was practically all made over. With great guides and great new boats, the outstanding fishing here could be made even better. It became a special place for me because of the people here. Pit and Julie and the entire Aikens family make you feel at home. You are always treated with the utmost respect in a warm and friendly way whether I'm here with my family, my friends or my business associates. The fishing here is really outstanding and the guides are fabulous. You really have to experience their specialty, the Aikens Lake Shore Lunch! Words can't do it justice. You have to experience it!
The place is clean and tidy. The accommodations are luxurious. Over the years, I've had my wife, my daughter and my son and daughter-in-law as well as my grandchildren here and they all loved it!
Gerry: Thank you Nick for giving our readers another perspective on Aikens Lake. As it has often been noted in these articles, everyone of our guests has their own reasons for coming and it was great to explore yours. Now to close this chat, I'll ask you to find one word to capsulate the "Aikens Lake Experience".
Nick: Outstanding! Put that word ahead of all that you experience here.....people, fishing, food, accommodations, equipment and especially the atmosphere. It makes you feel good when you finish your day on the lake and come to the bar and dining room and exchange stories and laughs with the other guests. It's just OUTSTANDING!
Gerry: Thank you Nick for this interesting insight and until next time we "Eat, Sleep, Fish".