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Guide Spotlight: Dennis Kuhn of Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge, Manitoba

May 26, 2019

Editor’s Note: Travel journalist Tony Capecchi has produced media for television, magazine and radio outlets such as NBC, CBS, ESPN2 and In-Fisherman. He visited Aikens to write a series of articles. Below is a guide spotlight he wrote about his experience fishing with Aikens pro-staff guide Dennis Kuhn.

Click here to read Capecchi’s other guide spotlights about Marco Dumontier, Colin Boissonneault and Brenden Windsor.

Guide Spotlight: Dennis Kuhn of Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge, Manitoba
By: Tony Capecchi

“Ich habe einen fisch!”

You might hear this expression in Dennis Kuhn’s guide boat at Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge, a luxury fly-in fishing resort 90 minutes of Winnipeg. It’s “I’ve got a fish!” in German. One of 8 children, Dennis was born in Germany and lived the first 7 years of his life there until his parents decided to seek an adventure and find a new life across the ocean.

Moving to Manitoba fueled Dennis’ already budding love of fishing, and a decade and a half later he finds himself as a pro-staff guide at the lodge national publications have called “one of the top 5 fishing adventures in the world” where he – believe it or not – will guide a journalist all the way from Germany.

“Was für eine kleine Welt.“

What a small world.

For Dennis, it’s a world where adventure on the water with family, friends and Aikens Lake guide clients provides immense satisfication.

“This is such a fantastic job, and such an incredible place to get to work and spend the summer in this environment,“ said Dennis, who spends his time off in the evenings fishing to experiement with new techniques, scout new spots and absorb more of the magic of Aikens.  “We meet tons of interesting people from all over. The staff is terrific – great camaraderie on our team.”

One of his best friends and frequent fishing partners is fellow Aikens guide Brenden Windsor. The two often explore together in the evenings and fish extensively in the offseason as well, since ice fishing is a favorite pastime for both.

When not at Aikens, Dennis also enjoys spending time with his girlfriend and introducing her to the outdoors. A few weeks before the 2018 Aikens season began, Dennis took her on a canoeing and camping trip in Whiteshell Provincial Park in Eastern Manitoba. After setting up camp on their first evening they threw a couple casts out from shore to try to get a walleye for dinner.

“I hooked a fish, and it was solid. At first I couldn’t see it, then this big pike surfaced and I told my girlfriend, I’m going to need some help here,” Dennis recalled. “When she saw how big it was, she was like, ‘I’m scared, I don’t want to net that.’ I said, ‘Please help me net this fish.’”

Eventually, Dennis brought the pike to shore and his girlfriend reached the net out as far as she could. Ultimately, the duo landed the fish and immediately began celebrating the beautiful 41-inch Manitoba Master Angler pike.

The excitement of a big fish is rarely more pronounced than in those moments when it’s experienced by a kid or first-time angler. Those unique instances are among Dennis’ favorite as a guide at Aikens – a luxury lodge that is well-equipped to introduce people with a wide-range of fishing experience to a “soft” wilderness experience where guests want for nothing in the midst of beautiful isolation in Atikaki Provincial Park.

Part of that experience is a gourmet shorelunch featuring freshly caught walleye, which Dennis is an expert at cooking.

“Taking kids fishing is the best. If they catch their biggest fish, they get super excited,” said Dennis, noting another favorite duo he guided last year was a father-son who received the trip for their 30th and 60th birthday presents, respectively. The family had recently bought a cottage on the Winnipeg River and hadn’t done much serious fishing before, so during their guided days at Aikens Dennis was able to not only put them on fish but also teach them techniques they could apply back their new home on the river. 

“I love it when people say, ‘We’ve never caught a fish before’ or ‘I haven’t fished much.’’ Dennis said. “This is such a special experience to be able to share with people.”

Before long, regardless of how much his guests have fished before, Dennis usually has them saying the same thing.

“Ich habe einen fisch!”