If you have a fishing licence you can cast your line pretty much anywhere you like on Great Slave Lake, but many people have their own ideas about where you should and shouldn’t drop a line.
Exclusive fishing rights don’t belong to anyone — fishing lodges included — anywhere on the lake, according to the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
But the regulations don’t stop sport fishers from having their own opinions about what’s good to go on Great Slave Lake.
‘Why are you fishing here?’
Last month three men from Yellowknife set off in their boat on a six-day camping and fishing trip to the East Arm.
One of those three men, Jamie Hynes, said it wasn’t too long after anchoring near the shoreline of a fishing lodge when they saw another boat motoring toward them.
“I thought he was just coming to say hello. He looked friendly enough,” Hynes said.
“Then it was ‘Hello, how’s the fishing?’ And then ‘Why are you fishing here? I can’t tell you not to fish here, but why are you fishing here in our spot?'”
Hynes said the man continued to question them for about five minutes.
“It put a sour mood on the trip, to tell you the truth. It killed the buzz that day for sure.”
The men were just outside of Plummer’s Great Slave Lake fishing lodge, established 60 years ago.
Chuk Coulter, the general manager of Plummer’s for the last 15 years, has a different version of what happened.
“We were like, ‘these guys must have a problem.’ Why else would they have all this water and are just fishing within 100 yards of the lodge windows doing a U-turn and then doing it over and over again?
“I went out there and wanted to know what they were doing,” Coulter said. “If they had a problem and if there was something they wanted to tell us … it did not seem logical. I reiterated a bunch of times that: ‘Boys I’m not telling you where to fish or where you can’t fish. I just want to know why you are insisting on fishing right here’.”