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Catching up with Fish On! host Paul Ethier

This week's angler is an angler that invited me to attend a presentation he was giving on the benefits of fishing back in April of 2016.
11-2-2019 TT Fishing north paul ethier
Paul Ethier

This week's angler is an angler that invited me to attend a presentation he was giving on the benefits of fishing back in April of 2016.

During his presentation, he touched on a number of subjects, such as what is health, leisure activities that increase health, health benefits of fishing, physical benefits (outdoor activity, excellent motor skills, gross motor skills, and nutrition benefits) of fish, mental health benefits, social benefits, and the benefits that fishing brings to the community and local economy.

Today this same angler hosts a local fishing show, which he brings the same passion and enthusiasm as he did back then to the viewers.

Since the 2019 episodes will be airing this Sunday, I thought I would give the viewers a little background on the show and what the viewers can expect to see this season.

I want to present this week's angler, FishOn! host, Paul Ethier.  

Q) Now, in the third season, what kind of feedback are you getting from the public?

PE) Although FishON! is only available to Eastlink customers, there is quite a significant viewership. It’s very humbling to run into a person that watches the show and comments how much they enjoy watching it. In 2018, FishON! was broadcast nationally in all Eastlink service areas. The feedback we receive from all areas is very positive and encouraging. Most viewers I chat with are interested in knowing when new episodes will be released.

Q) For those that might not have seen FishOn! can you tell us what the main object of the show is?

PE) The main objective is to get people excited about fishing and out on the water; Northern Ontario has so much to offer. Research shows that positive pastimes and sports like fishing can help manage stress. One of this year’s episodes was dedicated to promoting health and wellness among first responders, including Police Officers, by showcasing how fishing can help reduce stress and assist with managing PTSD.

Q) What is the format of the show?

PE) Because of my passion for tournament fishing, I decided to implement a competitive style format for FishON!. Myself and another angler challenge another team of anglers on a lake in Northern Ontario. We only have about 5-6 hours of filming on the scheduled day, and we follow typical tournament regulations of either six walleye or five bass to determine the heaviest combined weight. The format has been very entertaining over the past few years, where the teams start the “smack talk” weeks in advance of filming. Our competitors are always up to the challenge, including the fun of some pre-filming banter.

Q) Does weather play a factor in the schedule filming dates, or do you still film rain or shine?

PE) This year was the first year where weather played a significant factor. We typically film rain or shine, and usually this is not problematic, in fact it actually brings authenticity to the episodes. We like to film in all types of weather because that is the true challenge of fishing. This year, we scheduled an episode on Nippissing Lake out of Sturgeon Falls, and the winds were very high where safety became an issue and made our targeted areas not “fishable” so we had to find sheltered areas. Unfortunately, there were technical difficulties during this episode and it may not be able to air as a full episode; we will get some footage out of it, however, so viewers can experience the impact of powerful winds and the safety precautions used while boating in those conditions.

Q) How many shows are airing this season and from what lakes?

PE) We hope to have six episodes air this season, with a 1 hour special episode from the Northern Ontario Walleye Trail 1st Championship Event, held at the Geraldton Walleye Classic in June.

  • Episode #1 – Kenogamissi Lake
  • Episode #2 (1 Hour Special) – NOWT Championship – Kenogamissis Lake in Geraldton
  • Episode #3 – Minnisinakwa Lake – Gogama, Ontario
  • Episode #4 – Ivanhoe Lake – Foleyet, Ontario
  • Episode #6 – Nippissing Lake – Sturgeon Falls, Ontario (May not air)
  • Episode #7 – “Secret” Lake – Bass Episode

Q) Which show would you consider to be one of your favourites shows this season and why?

PE) As the host of the show, every episode is my favorite. I get to do what I love, and there is so much variance from lake to lake, different times of the season and different competitors and conditions. For three weeks post filming, the back and forth talk with the competing anglers is probably what I like the best. I said it many times this year that although the show does have a winner and loser, its about the experience and what we can showcase of Northern Ontario. I also learn a lot of new angling skills from all competitors of FishON!; every episode there is a new technique or strategy that emerges.

Q) When are the shows scheduled to air for this season?

PE) FishON! starts airing Sunday Nov. 3rd at 12:30 p.m.. A new episode will be released every second Sunday until they all air.

Q) Where can viewers watch FishOn!?

PE) FishON! is available to Eastlink subscribers in all Eastlink service locations across Canada. The Community TV Channel is 610 for HD and Channel 10 for non-HD.

Q) Would you say FishOn! has evolved over the last three seasons and if so how?

PE) Over the years, I have become more comfortable on camera. The biggest challenge is to make sure that all competitors are also comfortable and able to talk for the camera. We prepare our competitors ahead of time to ensure a lively show.

We try and film in many areas to be able to bring a diversity to the show but that comes with challenges as well. Logistically, we have to plan to get two boats, four anglers and the camera crew out for 5-6 hours of filming. We like to make good shows so we try to get out at least a day ahead of time to get some knowledge of the lake and safely look for obstructions to ensure the safety of anglers and the camera crew as well as to try and find the targeted species of Fish.

Q) What are the plans for FishOn! in 2020?

PE) We will see where our efforts bring us. I would like to get a little more independence with the filming crew and acquire some filming and editing equipment that would allow us to film more frequently and maybe release some content on Youtube or a TV network where we would be able to reach a much larger audience. The main goal for 2020 is to keep it going and keep having fun. This program is built 100% on the volunteer efforts of myself and our competitors. We have to make sure we can balance and accomplish all of our goals, including spending time focused on the family.

Q) Who would you like to acknowledge for their support for FishOn!?

PE) Obviously the largest supporter of FishON! is Albert’s Sports and Workwear. Chantal Cauchon has always been a supporter of all my crazy ideas and together we have been able to hopefully increase angler participation in the sport of fishing. Albert’s has been the only Sponsor for FishON! since we began 3 years ago, offering the maximum eligible agreement with Eastlink Community TV.

I must say the support I get from my family is tremendous, with the tournaments I participate in and the filming of FishON! it takes up a very big portion of the summer months. My wife Sarah Robinson, and sons, Maxim and Caleb, have been supporters of my dreams for a very long time. My wife always says “Everybody should get to do what they enjoy”, and we make it work as a family. The rest of my family play a vital role as well, including my parents, Roger and Diane Ethier, and my sister and brother in-law, Kim and Steve Meunier. Steve lends me his boat every fall to finish the open water season; I really love the upgrades he has made this year to his Lund 1600 Fury. Rob Christie is our merchandiser and he got us set-up with FishON! merchandise last year to help promote the show; we appreciate his support and want to thank him for his donations. Rob Racine (J&B Cycle and Marine) deserves recognition as well. Rob is a community supporter of the show and spent a full weekend shuttling the camera crew between boats during the 1 hour episode of the NOWT championship event. Rob also provided a utility boat for the camera crew on our “Secret Lake” bass episode this season.

Without a doubt, all of the anglers participating on the show are incredibly important assets. It takes significant support for these episodes to occur; we do this 100% as volunteers and we create a fairly big production for Community TV; without the anglers’ support we would not have had the success we have had.

That being said, there are other significant supports that are most definitely needed and assist with making this possible. Marc Fortier from Tri-Town Toyota has been a great assistance this year. I purchased a new Toyota Tundra from his dealership to travel safely and proudly across Northern Ontario; we need to have a reliable vehicle and Tri-Town has provided that, as well as other on-going support.

For the past 5 years, I have been fortunate to fish out of a Lund Boat, sponsored by Lund and provided through Guiho’s Saw Sales & Marine. The tournament series PRO-V is amazing. Although it’s not the boat that catches fish, it certainly makes it more comfortable for the camera crew to film our episodes out of a sturdy, spacious and well-designed fishing boat.

Lowrance Electronics have been great supporters as well, I have been using these electronics since I started tournament fishing and every year the technology is enhanced to help us anglers locate fish and structure for a success

Viewers can find us on Facebook.

I would like to thank Paul for his commitment to continue sharing the benefits of fishing with us while promoting the fishing opportunities available here in the Northeastern Ontario region while filming "Fish On"