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Summertime Fishing and the Livin' is Easy in Northern Ontario

As Ginette Goulet will tell you, the walleyes in Northern Ontario never give up. • Credit: Gord Pyzer
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Summertime Fishing and the Livin' is Easy in Northern Ontario

Drop everything you're doing to go fishing with your family and friends this summer



I've got the most important fishing secret of the summer to share with you this week, although it is something you already know. Most of us need to slow down, take a big deep breath and smell the roses.

It's what my thirteen-year-old grandson, Liam, who is the best fishing partner and "first mate" in the business and I found ourselves doing for two days last week when we hosted and fished with several friends and members of the Walleye Anglers Association of Manitoba on Lake of the Woods in Northwestern Ontario's Sunset Country.

Though it started out wet and breezy both days -- finishing up gloriously warm and sunny both afternoons -- I didn't hear a single word of complaint. No grumbling, no mumbling, no complaining. Not that it would have been heard over the non-stop, good-natured ribbing, joking and laughing that was going anyway.

Funny thing, too, while we caught and released some dandy walleyes, topped off by Karen Watts' gorgeous 28-incher and the fat 27-inch 'eye that slurped up my bait, they are not likely the fish that will stick for long in anyone's minds.

That honour goes to the 16-inch walleye Ginette Goulet swung into the boat that had to have been pumping steroids. After Ginette unhooked the fish and held it up for a quick photo, the walleye did a backflip, leaped out of her hands and then slithered like a snake across the casting platform. Even when she finally managed to grab it again, she was never able to fully contain the mighty mite.

woman angler fishing walleye
As Ginette Goulet will tell you, the walleyes in Northern Ontario never give up. (Photo credit: Gord Pyzer)

Of course, having a crowd of hecklers on hand didn't help matters any.

I also learned a new term - Lockporting - while fishing with these walleye fanatics.

As you can imagine, with four boatloads of friends fishing often within a few feet of each other, whenever someone caught a nice walleye or worse yet, lost a big bruiser as Karen did twice, the other three boats would immediately converge on the spot like metal filings attracted to a magnet.

Husband Mike, however, lived even more dangerously, placing his fishing rod over his wife's shoulder as Karen re-baited her hook and dropping his jig into the spot at the back of the boat where she had just missed the fish.

"Hey you guys," Karen laughed, "You're Lockporting me."

Seems pulling in close to other boats is a common practice at walleye tournaments on the Red River when the greenbacks run in the fall near the town of Lockport.

So, having heard the term used profusely -- and even being accused of practising the evil deed myself -- I am now on a mission to have Lockporting declared an official new word when the Oxford Dictionary committee next assembles.

Words can’t describe the joy that kids experience catching big walleyes like this 28-incher that Liam Whetter caught and released last week in Northwestern Ontario’s Sunset Country(Photo credit: Gord Pyzer)

Still, the highlight of both days without exception was the shore lunch that lasted for well over two glorious hours. 

While Liam put the fish, fresh from the livewells out of their misery, Dan Goulet, Mike Watt and I prepared them for the special dressings, spices and coatings that master Chef Cameron Tait had assembled.

Now, you may think it is impressive to hobnob with big wigs in the fields of business, politics and industry but let me tell you if you're an angler they're dishcloths compared to folks like Cameron who know how to prepare a fresh catch of Northern Ontario walleyes fit for a king or a queen.

More Shore Lunch Recipes

And speaking of queens, that inadequately describes Lorraine-Enns Goulet who was busy peeling fresh vegetables and assembling everything from homemade perogies to dessert. Are you kidding me -- eating butter tarts and ice cream bars on a pine- and spruce-studded island in the middle of Lake of the Woods with white pelicans swimming in the bay out in front.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you have never enjoyed a Northern Ontario shore lunch cooked to perfection over a crackling wood fire, then trust me, friends, you have yet to live.

young angler fishing walleye(Photo credit: Gord Pyzer)

So, I'll leave you with the same message with which I began. At least once this summer - and hopefully many times more - drop everything you are doing and go fishing with your family and friends somewhere in spectacular Northern Ontario. And when you do, slow down, take a big deep breath and smell the roses.

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