Each year, the Northern Ontario Walleye Trail (NOWT) has been seeing more young anglers competing in one or more NOWT event.
This is every encouraging to see as not only does it show the sport of fishing is alive in northern Ontario, but that many of these young anglers are fishing with family and friends, building memories while learning more about the sport of walleye fishing.
This week’s angler is not only one of the youngsters on the trail, but one that will fishing for a 2019 Princecraft Hudson DLX190 powered by a Mercury 150HP four-stroke outboard, valued at over $55,000 in the the first Northern Ontario Walleye Trail Championship being held in Geraldton on June 22 and 23 with his father Darcy Guenette.
I’d like to introduce this week’s angler, Mathieu Guenette.
Q: Where were you born?
A: Timmins, Ont.
Q: Who played a role in getting you started in fishing?
A: My dad, Darcy Guenette got me started in fishing. When I was a young kid, my parents bought a property at the cache campground which is mainly where my dad took me out fishing and got me hooked.
Q: As a youth, where did you fish and for what?
A: As a youth, most of my fishing was at the cache campground which is a campground that’s about 30 minutes out of Timmins. Therefore, I fished for walleye, pike, and bass. However, mostly for walleye. Also, when I got a little bit older, my dad started taking me to remote lakes where we would portage with a small boat for rainbow trout, lake trout, etc.
Q: What age did you start fishing?
A: I started fishing for as long as I can remember, I would say around five years old. I actually remember my first time because it was so much fun. My dad took me to Big Water – a campground a few minutes out of
Timmins – and we caught our limit of walleye.
Q: How did you get into walleye tournament fishing and why?
A: When I was a young kid, one of the NOWT tournaments located at the Mattagami First Nation reserve used to be at the cache campground. My dad entered the tournament with my grandfather and fished it for years, and I would always be in attendance for the weigh-in and the prizes. After getting older and more into fishing, my dad asked me to fish the walleye tournament in the spring, and I did not hesitate to say yes. Afterwards, I was hooked on tournament fishing and still am to this day.
Q: What was your most memorial fishing experience and why?
A: My most memorial fishing experience I would say was my first big walleye. I had caught big trout, pike, and bass but never walleye. It was a great experience. It was a sunny day and shallow water and it just took me by surprise – I had gotten a major rush, it’s a little bit hard to describe the feeling. To me, it was a big accomplishment because for many years I would watch my dad bring in good walleye and would be the one to net them. But for me to finally catch my first big one with my dad was really surreal.
Q: List any anglers that helped you learn more about fishing over the years.
A: Anglers that helped me learn more about fishing over the years are Dave Mercer, the main angler in a TV show called Facts of Fishing. I would watch him on TV a lot because he fishes for bass and I wanted to learn more about it. Also, for walleye I would sometimes watch Bob Izumi on TV. And of course my dad Darcy Guenette, my two grandfathers Michel Audet and Gaetan Guenette.
Q: List sponsors and tournament finishes.
A: Tournament finishes are a 3rd and 11th place in the spring NOWT tournament, as well as 6th place at the NOWT Kap River Tournament.
Q: Biggest fishing supports over the years? (example: wife, family and friends)
A: My biggest fishing support over the years I would say is my dad. He is really the one that brought my passion of fishing and he has also sacrificed a lot of time and money to take me on several fishing trips.
Q: What are some of your favourite fish you like to fish for and why?
A: My favourite fish I like to fish for is definitely walleye because they really are a thrill to fish. There are so many different techniques to catch them and their behaviour can change every day according to the conditions which makes a fun challenge. Walleye is also, in my opinion, the best tasting fish and make for great family dinners. Another fish I really like to fish for is bass because I find they’re very unique in the way they fight. They are very aggressive and even a smaller bass can be very deceptive because of how strong they are. Bass are also fairly easy to fish for as they are very territorial.
Q: What is your favourite fishing technique for walleye?
A: My favourite fishing techniques for walleye are just a basic jig, as they are easy to use but work very well, crankbaits, as well as go-getters. All three of these techniques work very well and can catch you a lot of big walleye.
Q: Why do you fish walleye tournaments?
A: I fish walleye tournaments because it is very exciting. No matter how I do in the tournament I think it is still a blast to be in the boat enjoying the outdoors, and meeting all these amazing anglers. I also really enjoy the competitive part because my whole life I have always been very competitive, therefore I love going out there and doing my best to do well. Lastly, every tournament I always leave a better angler. We go through a lot during tournaments and I really learn a lot of things about fishing in different conditions, and I get to learn from my mistakes.
Q: Why did you agree to have your bio done?
A: I agreed to have my bio done because I think it is important for someone trying to get into fishing to read other anglers profiles to learn new things.
Q: Any tips you would give to a new walleye angler looking at fishing the NOWT?
A: Some tips I would give to new walleye anglers looking at fishing the NOWT is to always be patient. Success and consistency really starts with patience because there will be some tougher days where the fish really aren’t cooperating. But if you keep working at it and try different things it will eventually pay off. Also, there are many fishing techniques that many anglers love that you may not like, so use what works best for you. Some things that work well for you might not work for others. Lastly, pay attention to all the small details when you are fishing – if you catch a few nice size walleye, mark down the depth, what you were using, the water temperature, the conditions outside, and of course the spot they were caught at. These things can be very tedious but it’s those small things that can help you have some success.
I would like to thank Mathieu for finding the time during a busy time for him at college to have his profile done.