As It Happens

Why this Ontario angler plans to keep his fishing spot secret, despite Freedom of Information request

Mike Borger of Canada Fishing Guide was "stunned" that someone filed Freedom of Information request to find his favourite fishing spot.
Mike Borger holds a giant Algonquin Park brook trout. The angler received a Freedom of Information request after he posted video of his 'secret' fishing hole. (Mike Borger)

Story transcript

Mike Borger loves to fish — and normally, he loves to share the locations of his favourite fishing spots with others, on his website Canada Fishing Guide.

But where one particularly amazing trout-fishing spot is concerned, Borger has been less forthcoming. To date, all he has revealed is that it's on a remote lake inside Ontario's Algonquin Park.

That's terribly frustrating for some other anglers. In fact, it's been so frustrating for one fellow angler that they filed a Freedom of Information request demanding Borger go public with his private spot.

As It Happens guest host Piya Chattopadhyay spoke with Borger about why he plans to keep the lake a secret — to protect his business and the fragile fish population. Here is part of their conversation.

How did you find out there is someone out there who filed a Freedom of Information request on you?

I received a five-page letter from the Ministry of Natural Resources Information Management Section, just outlining this request from the private individual and then suggesting that they would like my input on the matter so they could make a decision.

Mike Borger holds one of the big brook trout that prompted someone to file a Freedom of Information request to find his fishing spot. (Mike Borger)

Specifically, the person who requested the information was asking for a copy of my interior camping permit for Algonquin Park. Anytime anybody travels in the interior, you're requested to fill out a form outlining each specific lake that you're camping on each night.

In theory, if somebody had that itinerary they would clearly be able to figure out which lake I caught the gigantic trout in.

How did you feel about being asked to give this up?

Violated, angry, stunned.

Why?

First of all, I'm in the business of promotion. I travel the county, promoting fishing across Canada — that's my job. I never try to hide anything, but this was a private trip.

I wasn't promoting anybody or anything. It wasn't funded in any way by Ontario tourism. This was a personal trip I did with my 10-year-old son to a lake that I discovered, probably 15 years ago.

It's very hard to get to and I'm very protective of it. But because I'm in the business that I'm in, I still wanted to share the story with everyone because, honestly, it's incredible.

I had a park biologist actually speak to me after the trip, after he saw the video, and in his words, kind of tongue-in-cheek, he said, "What you guys accomplished in Algonquin this past May probably hasn't been done since the year 1917."

What'd you accomplish? You mentioned a gigantic trout.

Brook trout. You know, they're common in Algonquin but not the size that we caught. We caught a number of brook trout in the five- to six-pound range. Fishing like that is like the angling equivalent of being struck by lightning and winning the lottery in the same day — it just literally does not exist.

So I wasn't surprised at the enormous response. I had a lot of people actually reaching out to me asking me for the name of this lake. I'm assuming one of the people who I politely declined was the person who filed this information request.

This interview was edited for length and clarity. For more on this story, listen to our full interview with Mike Borger.

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