Tinker's Place

By Larry Dablemont, Contributing Columnist
Posted 8/25/21

About 20 years ago I flew out to a little lake in northwest Ontario with Canadian guide and bush pilot, Tinker Helseth. It was a place where Tinker’s father, Forrest Helseth, who had also been …

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Tinker's Place


About 20 years ago I flew out to a little lake in northwest Ontario with Canadian guide and bush pilot, Tinker Helseth. It was a place where Tinker’s father, Forrest Helseth, who had also been a Canadian guide and outfitter, had an old trapper’s cabin. Tinker was fixing it up to use as a fisherman’s cabin for Americans who wanted to fish a wilderness lake far from civilization. About mid afternoon I decided to take a boat and go out to catch some walleye for supper. Tinker told me where they could be caught, jigging a small lure up and down over a certain hole out a ways from a big rock not far from the cabin. “But,” he added, “you won’t catch a one until 5:00, so come get me at 4:30.”

I kind of laughed at that, but I fished the spot for more than an hour and didn’t even get a bite. Tinker came out and joined me but we caught nothing! Then at exactly 5:00, and I mean EXACTLY 5:00, we both had walleye on. For the next hour we caught them one after another, nothing larger than 18 inches and few smaller than 15 inches. I had to know how he knew what was going to happen. I remember him telling me… “When you have done this as long as I have, you can’t help but learn a few things.”

About a month ago the book about his life story was finished. The name of the book is “Tinker’s Canada.” I published it for him and you can get copies from us at our office, but you can get an autographed, inscribed copy directly from Tinker by going fishing with him. It is easier to fish with Tinker in Canada than you think. Right now his lodge and cabins are pretty much below capacity because of the covid problem. This is one of the few times I remember in the past 30 years that I have known him, that he isn’t all booked up. 

To come to his lodge in Nestor Falls, Ontario you will need a passport. You can get one at your courthouse but if you decide you want to come, you will need to do so quickly, it takes a little time. Besides a passport, you will need proof of vaccination and a covid test just before you come which shows that you do not have it.

Through the magic of computers, which I want no more to do with than I have to, I am sending this column from Tinker’s Place on Lake of the Woods. Yesterday evening I caught several small walleye and a sauger, then finally hooked a 17-inch walleye that will be good eating for supper. I intend to go out tonight in the last hour or so before dark and fish topwater lures for smallmouth bass. 

I will be here at Tinker’s Place in Nestor Falls again in late September and early October, so you may be able to fish a day or so with me here on Lake of the Woods. Contact me if you are interested. However, with Tinker or one of his sons’-in-law you’ll have a lot more fun and catch more fish. The last half of September and the first half of October are the best times of the year to fish… with gorgeous color and passing migratory birds.

For more information about fishing with Tinker, you can reach his wife Sharon or his daughter Kari by calling 807-484-2664. Their website is tinkersplaces.com. 

I will be back home in time to attend the Homestead Expo Friday and Saturday at Marshfield. The event really interests me because it involves experts in the field demonstrating ways to live a country life like our ancestors did. Over two days there will be about three dozen demonstrations… on hog butchering, poultry raising, bee-keeping, lumber milling, making maple syrup, black smithing, soap making and dozens of other old time ways of living practiced here in the Ozarks more than 100 years ago. Tickets are $15 for one day and $25 for two days, children not charged. There will be about 40 vendor tables and no music involved. I will be speaking at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday about the Ozark culture of 100 to 150 years ago, trapping, fishing, and hunting amongst the first people to settle the Ozarks! It will be held each of the two days at the fairgrounds in Marshfield. If you will come by and visit me at my table, I will give you free copies of my two summer magazines, and have signed books for sale at 1/3 off. There are now 11 total. Hope to see you there. For more information look on your computer Homestead Expo at Marshfield. I urge you to see that page.

To contact me call my office at 417-777-5227 or email me at lightninridge47@gmail.com I should be home from Canada by the time you read this.


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