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Catch of the DayBy Laurence Haien
In this article, Laurence Haien, Senior Rehabilitation Counsellor Vocational Services, interviews Artem Dolia regarding his enjoyment of fishing. Artem currently fishes from land but hopes eventually to purchase a boat and fish on the water.
Artem, you introduced yourself to the membership in ParaTracks a few years’ ago when you began working at SCI Manitoba Inc. For those who didn’t read your introduction or who may have forgotten, could you tell them a few things about yourself?
Sure. I was born in Zaporizhia, the capital of south-eastern region (Oblast) of Ukraine in 1981. Just as Canada has provinces, Ukraine has regions. Zaporizhia is a large city with a population of approximately 750,000. The city is an industrial centre with many factories, including steel, automotive, and electronic. The Cossacks originated there.
The region is flat and windy. It’s about a two hour drive from the Azov Sea. Summers are hot and can reach 40 degrees Celsius; winters are mild with temperatures ranging from 0 degrees Celsius to -10 Celsius. We were able to grow peaches, pears, plums, apricots, apples and cherries on my parents’ property.
My sister, Daria, is five years younger than I. She’s married to Max and has three children, Anna (8), Elijah (4) and Mark (9 months). My father, Nicolai, worked at the steel factory in Zaporizhia and is retired. My mother, Natalia, worked at a facility similar to Manitoba Hydro. She is also retired.
I moved to Canada from Ukraine in 2017. I’m single and live with my family. I began to work at SCI Manitoba in 2018 as a rehabilitation counsellor assistant. Currently, I’m employed as a rehabilitation counsellor vocational enhancement.
When did you first develop an interest in fishing?
I was young, probably about 9 or 10-years-old. It was my father who introduced me to fishing because he liked to fish. We went fishing on the Dnieper River that runs through Zaporizhia. Since then, I go fishing as often as possible. Even my spinal cord injury couldn’t keep me away from fishing, although my participation in fishing was interrupted for a few years while I recovered from my spinal cord injury.
What do you enjoy about fishing?
I like the sensation of the fish taking the bait, tugging at the line and then resisting as I try to reel them in. I enjoy eating the fish afterwards. I also enjoy spending time with my father and the peace and tranquility of being near water and looking at the scenery.
Who do you fish with?
Usually, I go fishing with my father. Sometimes, my mother tags along because she likes to watch us fish. I’ve also gone with friends.
Other than a fishing rod, do you use other equipment?
I use a fishing rod and lure or bait. My fishing rod is not adapted, as I’ve been able to manage this without any modifications. Sometimes, though, my father will assist me to reel in a particularly large and energetic fish from the river or lake.
How do you decide where to fish?
Well, my father and I collaborate on this. We’ll look at different sites on Google Maps and then drive to the site to determine if it’s accessible for me. I use a wheelchair for mobility. So, I need a flat surface near the water’s edge where I can park. Sometimes, it’s hard to locate an area that is flat and close to the water. Then, we fish and bookmark the spot later if we like it.
Do you fish year round?
Yes. I’ve fished at Lockport, Selkirk, Lake Manitoba, and the Assiniboine River during the winter. We own a gas-powered auger to cut through the ice, a gas heater, tent, and fish finder. So, we remain warm and comfortable. Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to drive the van onto the ice because of snow drifts, the steepness of the slope towards the river or lake. In these situations, I’ll remain in the van while my father goes fishing. Surprisingly, we have found the fish to be plentiful during the winter and quite large.
Do you have a favourite time of year to fish? Why?
I enjoy fishing during the spring, especially at the beginning of the season around May 10th. I find that the fish are plentiful as they journey from the rivers to the lakes.
Tell the readers about the types of fish you’ve caught in Manitoba?
We’ve caught pike, perch, walleye, and catfish.
What are your favourite fish? Why?
Well, I have several favourite fish for different reasons. In Ukraine, catfish are not plentiful. Catfish tend to be very strong, regardless of their size. They put up a good fight, and I enjoy the challenge of struggling to reel one in. They are my least favourite fish to eat, though. Pike can grow quite large. We’ve caught several up to 60 cm. long and weighing up to 3 kg. It’s very satisfying to catch a fish that will feed the entire family. I particularly enjoy the taste of pike and perch.
Who in your family prepares the fish, and how do they do this?
Usually my mother and sister prepare the fish. Nothing complicated. They flour the fish; add some salt and then pan fry it.
Do you have any advice for members who have considered but have not yet tried fishing?
My advice is that people contemplating fishing should just do it. I think they’ll be hooked when they get their first bite and feel the resistance on the line while the fish struggles to get away. Like me, they may also enjoy releasing fish back into the water.
It’s important, too, that beginners know they have to purchase an annual license for fishing. For Manitoba residents 18 – 64 years-old, a yearly fishing license costs $25.00 plus tax. People also need to review the Manitoba Anglers’ Guide https://www.gov.mb.ca/sd/pubs/fish_wildlife/angling_guide.pdf . This outlines the rules and regulations related to fishing. For example, fish over 70 cm. must be released, sturgeons which are endangered must always be released, and only four perch are allowed per person.
Any last thoughts about fishing you’d like to share with the membership?
Don’t hesitate, enjoy. You won’t know until you try. The warm seasons in Winnipeg are short, so get busy and go fishing. Who knows what you’ll catch?