Mastering the Northwest Ontario Shorelunch - Wilderness North

Celebrating 30 Years of Wilderness North  –          

Mastering the Northwest Ontario Shorelunch

Just thinking about the delicious satisfaction of a fresh shore lunch of walleye makes my mouth water! Shore lunches are an iconic Northwest Ontario tradition and have become a staple here at Wilderness North! We have cooked many shore lunches over the years and have gathered some secret tricks of the trade to make your meal the best it can possibly be. Many guests choose to cook their own shore lunch; from catching and cleaning the fish, to building a fire and cooking up their own feast! Here are a few hard earned tips to take your shore lunch over the top.


From Brian Tabb – Co-Manager at Miminiska Lodge:

Be organized!!! Organization is the key to not only a successful shore lunch experience, but an easy one too. Make sure you have everything you need for fire, cooking and clean-up! There is nothing worse than arriving at your perfect piece of paradise to find you’re a pot short or shy a pack of matches. Small things like a grill, or a dry fire starter can make all the difference in your lunch rocking the lake or laying flat and soggy! Thankfully, Kate and I along with the other lodge managers have an all-inclusive shore lunch set-up, to minimize those forgetful mornings!

From Keith Missewace – Guide from Fort Hope:

Fish handling!!! Cleaning your fish properly is a vital move in ensuring you maximize your eatables and you don’t waste any fish. (ie walleye cheeks and wings) That’s a given; however, when you’re about to cook your fish here are two tips to ensure they are perfect.

  1. When you batter your fish, put your dry ingredients in a small plastic bag, add a fish fillet or 2 then blow up the bag, give it a twist at the top and shake vigorously. This ensures equal dry ingredient distribution on the fish for a uniform golden batter.
  2. When you cook your fish, place the fillet in the hot oil, skin side down. This prevents the fillets from curling and risks non-uniform cooking. Skin side down keeps the fillets flat and totally submerged in the cooking oil.


From Joe Boyce – Guide from Fort Hope:

Keep an eye on the weather when you’re about to make your shore lunch! Be prepared for rain. Not because you’ll get wet, but because for whatever reason if any water drops get in the cooking oil, it seems to make the batter quite soggy, not nearly as crispy as it would be without the added raindrops – and yes a tiny bit of water can ruin your batter. So do your best to keep the water out of the oil for best fish results.

From Krista Cheeseman – Owner at Wilderness North:

Turn up the heat! A hot fire is key for cooking walleye properly. The best way to get your fire roaring hot is to use kindling or smaller slices of dry wood. This gets the temperature up fast and if you keep feeding the fire that will keep it hot all throughout the cooking process. DON’T get the fire started with small stuff and throw an overnight log on it; your fish will be terrible! To that, making sure your oil is to temperature is key as well before you place your catch in to cook. A trick I like to do is take a pinch of your dry fish coating and toss it in the hot oil. If it sizzles and “dances”, you’re good to go.

A great shore lunch is as integral part of a Wilderness North fishing adventure as catching the fish! These easy secret tricks of the trade will help you wow your friends and family, having them come back for more!

Tight lines,

Wilderness North

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