Former Winnipeg police officer now patrols fish derbies in northern Ontario

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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LAKE OF THE WOODS, Ont. - Lorne Huff is a warden of walleye, a patroller of pickerel, a protector of perch, a saviour of the speckled trout and the smallmouth bass.
In other words, Lorne Huff is a member of the fish police.
Huff, a retired officer with the Winnipeg force, travels to fishing derbies throughout northern Ontario and gives polygraph tests to competitors. Participants must sign a waiver agreeing to be tested. Failing the lie detector gets you disqualified.
Truth? Fishing? In the same sentence? Who would pass?
"There's an old saying - Do all fishermen lie? Or do only liars fish?" joked Huff.
Giving lie detector tests started in northwestern Ontario after an Ontario Provincial Police boat ran over a cage full of caught fish in a fishing derby.
The OPP hid and nabbed the angler when he showed up to pick up his fish.
"That's fraud," said Huff.
It's one of the most common forms of cheating. Fish are caught before the tournament starts and stored in underwater cages. The cheater then picks them up when the tournament begins.
First prize goes to the highest gross weight of fish caught over the two or three days of the tournament.
"You're not even allowed to step ashore to relieve yourself without an OK from a judge boat," said Huff. "You could have a stringer of fish attached to a tree."
Another form of cheating is a where a boat of anglers with a chance to win obtain fish from another boat that is out of the running. Fishermen have also been known to stuff lead weights down a fish's gullet - metal detectors are used in some American tournaments.
It's also cheating to use live bait.
"In some derbies, we check lunch boxes to see if there's any meat in the sandwiches," said Huff, explaining that some special Black Forest pastrami drives jackfish crazy.
One individual was caught with his "lucky eel," a live eel he claimed he took to all the fish derbies as a lucky charm. Huff gave him the lie detector test and he actually passed, but he had to leave his lucky eel on shore all the same.
At stake isn't just some tin trophy - first prize at the Fort Frances fish derby is $40,000, while the Kenora Bass International pays out $20,000.

Organizations: Ontario Provincial Police

Geographic location: Winnipeg, Northern Ontario, LAKE OF THE WOODS Northwestern Ontario Black Forest Fort Frances

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