Chasing Northern Lights in Northern Alberta at a fly-in fishing camp was a fantastic experience that provided me with an aurora fix during solar minimum. My trip out to Andrew Lake Lodge and Camps coincided with my birthday as well, keeping up a tradition of going somewhere new by myself every year as a way to celebrate. My week’s goal was to get some photos for the company and do some scouting for a 2021 Aurora Workshop.

With the fall colours coming in, the area was stunning – especially when seen from above during my floatplane rides. Larches were already turning yellow, and the aspens and various other foliage were showing off a range of yellows, oranges, and reds.

Aerial image of fall colours in Northern Alberta
The transition of summer to fall as seen from the air.
Float Plane taking off in front of fall colours at Andrew Lake in Northern Alberta
The float plane taking off at Andrew Lake.

The cabins and lodge were rustic but very cozy. As a backcountry camper, I considered it a relatively luxurious stay in the middle of nowhere (there were hot showers available!).

Fly in fishing cabins under Aurora Borealis
Two of the cabins at camp under the Northern Lights

During my stay, I toured various fishing spots, beaches, and original trappers cabins’ locations. My host, bush pilot, and owner of the camp, Dan Wettlaufer, was able to tell me all about the history of the area and the Andrew family. Assisting Dan at the lodge was Jim, who was also very knowledgeable and full of stories.

Fisherman holding fishing rod and looking out at Aurora Borealis at Northern Alberta Lake
Dan with the Aurora and Mars.
Dilapidated trappers cabin in Northern Alberta
An original trappers cabin.

Andrew Lake sits almost precisely on the 60th Parallel North, meaning you are almost guaranteed to see Northern Lights anytime there is a clear night. The only thing is that you don’t know exactly what time the show might start.

Many people expect the Northern Lights to just be “on” on certain dates, or that they will appear at a specific time. Every night that there were clear skies (and even one night where there was just a little break in the clouds), I was able to see the aurora. However, almost all the spectacular aurora shows started after midnight, and after everyone else at the camp was asleep.

The predicted strength of each night I caught increased for every show.

KP1 Predicted

Aurora borealis reflecting in Andrew Lake, Northern Alberta
Lights dancing in the North.
Aurora Borealis streaming in line with Float Plane rotor
The float plane and fishing boats with the aurora band in the East. The moon is just starting to rise.
Woman watching Aurora Borealis and Moon reflecting in lake from fishing dock
Self portrait on my birthday night.

KP2 Predicted

Green and Yellow Aurora reflecting in Andrew Lake
An intense show was just starting.
Aurora reflecting in lake at fishing dock in Northern Alberta
Fog rolling across the lake as the lights dance.
Red roofed cabin in Northern Alberta with Aurora Borealis dancing in the sky
The A-Frame. A cozy place to take advantage of wifi, check data and weather.

KP3 Predicted

Aurora streaming through the sky above a float plane and boat on small lake
Aurora dancing over the float plane base.
Northern Lights at Float Plane base in Northern Alberta
The clouds were a problem on this night, but luckily they opened enough for some good shots.
Aurora arcing over tree silhouettes and clouds picking up light pollution

If you’d like to enjoy one of these Northern Lights images on your wall, select ones are available in my Fall Print Sale Special. Limited quantities until November 4th, 2021.