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Denis Martin: A winner among winners if enthusiasm is part of the competition

This week on Fishing in the North, David W. Reid talks with a man who distinguished himself right from his first Northern Ontario Walleye Trail Championship

This weeks angler is someone that stood out from the very first time I saw him on the Northern Ontario Walleye Trail. His enthusiasm for competing in his first NOWT event was contagious among other anglers that weekend.

In 2008 he went on to win the Angler Of the Year. Today he still continues to have that passion as he had when he first started.

I like to introduce this week angler Denis Martin. 

Q) Where were you born?

D.M.  I was born in Hearst, Ontario.

Q) Who played a role in getting you started in fishing?

D.M.  My Dad and Grand Dad

Q) As a youth, where did you fish and for what?

D.M. In small streams in Hearst areas fishing brook trout and we used to own a house with a small river in the backyard where I learned how to jig for walleyes and pikes in the spring.

Q) What age did you start fishing? 

D.M.  Started fishing as soon as I could hold a fishing rod.

Q) How did you get into Walleye Tournament Fishing and why?

D.M.  One of my friends Gino Fauchon asked me to join the Hearst walleye tournament and I got hooked on the first day.  Not knowing what I was doing, I got tough by him on how to use a leech and a bottom bouncer for the first time, none to say that I was sceptical on his setup at first, but as soon as I caught my first walleye on it, I just could not believe they would actually hit on them little creepy creatures.  But eventually evolved over the years not wanting to fish without them, better to say that I have a hard time going back to a jig and a minnow or a hard bait.

Q) What was your most memorial fishing experience and why?

D.M.   Most memorial fishing experience was with my wife Sylvie when she actually beat my biggest walleye with a 11.08 lbs walleye.  I still got the video on file (on my phone) and by the way, she still holds the record in my boat.  Sorry to disappoint you guys but all bigger walleyes then that has come unbuttoned and nope, I did not go to Bay of Quinty yet but it’s still in my bucket list. (out of vacation)

Q) List any Anglers that helped you learn more about fishing over the years? 

D.M. My Dad Ronald, My grandfather Lucien, friends Gino Fauchon, Jean-Paul Laflamme, my partner Perry Caverson, all my fellow friends in the NOWT circuit (we do like to brag on how to catch fish over a case of cold beer and countless stories and lies that may turn out to be true of years LOL!!!!!!)  And of course there are a few that went too close to my boat and I got a glimpse at what they were doing. (I am a fast learner) Yeah believe it or not, I got schooled pretty good a few times in my own spots too!  I got a good memory with their boats still stamped in the back of my brain that will stick forever. LOL

Q) List sponsors and tournament finishes?

D.M. Princecraft boats, P & L Sales in Hearst, Mercury Marine, Hearst Auto Parts, Typer’s Live Bait.

I did not take the time to count how many tournaments I participated in but I have two tournament wins, a few 2nd places, a few 3rds, fourths and many top 10.  I was lucky enough to win NOWT angler of the year in 2008 with a second, third and fourth.

Q) Biggest fishing supports over the years.

D.M. Biggest supporter is my wife, she fishes on weekends and lets me fish tournaments whenever I want.  All we do in the summer is fishing and I hear no complaints about it.

Q)What are some of your favourite fish you like to fish for and why? 


  1. Walleyes, separate the men from the boys, they make you scratch your heads and ask questions on why the heck they wont be cooperative from time to time. When you think you got them figured out, the very next day, they put you back into your boy pants with a few tears running down your face and ask yourself as to why we put ourselves through that.
  2. Lakers, is a new species I like to tackle in the last few years.  I have never caught the big one yet.
  3. salmon, I never got one yet but I got a funny feeling that it’s going to be going to top of the list very soon.

Q) What is your favourite fishing technique (s) for Walleyes?

D.M. Bouncing with a leech, crawler, minnow.

Q) Why do you fish Walleye Tournaments? 

D.M. Main reason why I like fish walleye tournaments is for the companionship (beer drinking), acquaintances, meet new friends, learn new techniques and the desire to strive to become one of the best at walleye fishing.  People do realize that over the years, when you participate in tournaments, you become better at fishing, you do learn about your mistakes as you go on and this because you are forced to fishing into all kinds of weather situations, water levels etc.

Q) Why did you agree to have your bio done?

D.M.  Exposure I believe.

Q) Any tips you would give to a new Walleye Angler looking at fishing the NOWT?

D.M.Patience, perseverance are key, never be a lazy fisherman, keep changing and trying but always keep it simple.  Key in tournament winning and placing is to be consistent.  Find your own patterns, do your own thing.  A big fish in a tournament will not make you win unless you have the unders to go with it. Here in the north anyways.  If you place in top twenty percent of the field, you are a consistent fisherman, keep at what you do best and you will eventually fall in the top ten with consistency after a few years and perhaps with a couple of wins on top of that.

Q) What would be some of your greatest accomplishes over the years of fishing.

D.M. Winning the angler of the year in 2008 without actually winning one of the event.

Over the last couple of years I have been trying to get Denis to have his profile done however the timing wasn't right until now so I would like to take a moment to Thank him for agreeing to share his story with us.