The Best Fishing Fillet Knife I’ve Never Used

Imagine a fishing fillet knife that the maker claims only needs sharpening once a year.   Sound too incredible to be true?   Perhaps…but if it’s the Leech Lake Knife made by Don Canney of Cedar Rapids, Iowa the statement is probably true.   Designed particularly for filleting use on northern pike and walleye, this handmade knife is nothing short of genius.   Arguably, the design and quality of this knife makes it one of the best, if not the best, fishing fillet knives ever developed.

So what would possess the former mayor of Cedar Rapids to get into the knife-making business?   Quite honestly, he was tired of using inferior quality knives that required sharpening almost after every use.   He then put his engineering skills to work and came up with a uniquely designed double-edged knife that is proving to be “the Cadillac of fillet knives” so to speak…at least in terms of handmade knives found in Midwest fishing circles.

I purchased a Canney knife back in 1999 at a sportshow in Minneapolis.   In fact, it was a proxy purchase because an acquaintance actually picked it out and bought it on my behalf.   I had heard so many good things about the knife I finally broke down and decided I had to own one.   I would go so far as to say I have never heard a single complaint about the knife…just compliments.   If you’re interested in reading more, take a gander at this message thread.


There’s just something special about owning a knife that you know wasn’t stamped out by a machine and mass produced.   In fact, the pride of ownership with a quality knife can equal that of a fine firearm.   Then, of course, when you pay 8 to 10 times more money for a quality knife your pocketbook feels the pride, too…or at least it should instill a little pride in the purchase. 

I have one big regret, though.   I wish Mr. Canney wouldn’t have signed and personalized the knife for me.


You see, ever since I brought the knife home I could not bring myself to put it in my tacklebox.   Nope, instead it has rested on the top shelf of my gun safe with the many other items I cherish.   Occasionally I will take the knife out, admire the superb craftsmanship for awhile, place a new light coat of oil on the metal…and then place it back in for safe-keeping.   At this rate I figure the edge will last me a lifetime with no need for ever re-sharpening it.

Honestly, I’ve been getting the urge to purchase another Canney Leech Lake Knife to add to my collection…and this would be one that actually makes it to my tacklebox.   Occasionally I see ads for the knives in the regional outdoor newspapers…but doing an extensive search I could not find a website for the knife-maker.   I know there used to be one at, but the site no longer seems to be available.   The knives can, however, be purchased online at Reed’s Sports if you can’t make it to one of the spring sports shows where Canney displays.


I do believe that every sportsman should own a fine knife for their sporting collection…and when that knife is handmade there’s just something even more special about showing it off to your friends.   Take a closer look at the Leech Lake Fillet Knife…and I think you’ll agree it’s a bargain of a fishing knife for the price.

© 2006 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.   No Reproduction without Prior Permission.