Ottawa River Champions Voice their Thoughts on Sustainable Fishing and what the river means to them

Ottawa River Champions, Lawrence and featured Chef Steve Mitton sit around the camp fire

Lake2Plate is a new video series designed to inspire viewers to harvest and prepare fish and wild forage in ways that both celebrate our shore-lunch tradition, and the ability to harvest wild fish and food sustainably using local knowledge and science-based selection techniques. Our first Lake2Plate took place on the Ottawa River and featured Steve Mitton from the Whalesbone restaurant. Lawrence Gunther teaches Steve to fish, and learns some amazing campfire cooking techniques in return.

Jim coffee, Owner of Esprit Whitewater, starts us off with his vision of eco-tourism on the upper Ottawa River, and why he feels it’s essential that everyone experience paddling a canoe, raft, kayak or paddleboard, and whether fishing or rafting, why it’s vital that we all form connections with our rivers, lakes or bays. Lawrence Gunther follows up Jim’s comments with his own opinion on what it means to be both a steward and angler.

Meredith Brown, Ottawa’s Riverkeeper, and talks to us about how we all need to take responsibility for our rivers, and why fishing is one of a number of perfectly acceptable ways to demonstrate a commitment to the wellbeing of the ecosystem.

Forager Chef Matthew Brearley discusses the First Nations origins of many of the wild foods now found along the banks of the Ottawa River. We then here from fish biologist Shannon Bower about the important role recreational fishing plays within society and the economy, and how anglers play a key role in conducting fish health research.

Ron Ferguson from Irish Creek Outfitters explains how his livelihood is directly connected to the productivity of the River, and what he advises his clients when considering the removal of a large predatory fish.

Steve Mitton from the Whalesbone Restaurant then discusses the value of purchasing and preparing fish that are sustainably caught and what you should look for when judging freshness.

We end with Chris Thompson from Whitewater Brewery on why he and his co-owners take serious the sustainable production of beer and the operation of their restaurants.

It was my honor to organize a shore-side feast in celebration of the stewardship role each of these local champions play to ensure future generations of people will have the opportunity to experience nature in traditional and sustainable ways.