It All Began…

in June of 2013 when I decided to rent a cottage on Lake of the Woods, in Kenora, Ontario, Canada. I invited Bob Cortez, my ex-boss, and his wife, Linda with whom I have become good friends over the past few years. This cottage was just a mile or so from another good friend, Dorothea Belanger (remember the flute player in the “Supporting Dorothea” section?). Her husband Mark is an excellent fisherman and a great guide to this enormous lake of over 14,000 islands. Mark is a man of many talents. In addition to knowing all there is to know about the lake, he also built his own brick pizza oven near his dock so they could bake pizzas right on the water. What you see below is a combination of beautiful nature mixed with beautiful people … a great little moment in my life.

Eagle landing on his nest
Bob Cortez and Linda Cortez - Fish catch of the day

My Best Bud and his Wife

These are two very important people in my life, Bob and Linda. I Invited them up to Lake of the Woods because they love to fish. I teamed them with Dorothea’s ace fisherman husband, Mark. And the story can be told by this picture. Two very satisfied tourists.

Beautiful Lake of the Woods

While out on the lake, heading to a restaurant on an island called Wiley’s Point, we came across this rock formation with thousands of cormorants nesting gracefully on the cliff. We turned down the motor and just soaked in the beauty while they sang to each other. It was glorious.

Rock formation on Lake of the Woods
Mark Winkler Kenora Friends

The Kenora Gang

And here is the mighty group at Dorothea and Mark’s home on Storm Bay Road. This was taken at the Name-Your-Own-Pizza Party at the dock. From left to right: Wayne Kelso, Michelle Lundy, Mark Belanger, myself, Dorothea Belanger, Bob and Linda Cortez. Take a look at the video below for more info.

Hand-Built Pizza Oven

Here is Mark Belanger’s hand-built pizza oven in action. The “pizzaiolos” are Bob and Linda. They actually did a great job. Filmed In the style of Julia Child. For a step-by-step look at how Mark built this oven, click here: Building a Wood Burning Pizza Oven.

Mark Belanger and Linda Cortez with walleye

Linda’s 29″ Pike


Linda and Bob came back up to Kenora in June 2015. Leave it to Linda to catch a 29″ walleye. Our guide Mark Belanger said he has only caught a few like the one in the 50 years he’s been fishing on Lake of the Woods. Unbelievable! P.S. The walleye was released back into the waters immediately. As Linda stated, “if this fish lasted this long in the lake, it’s not going to be me that takes it out!”