Lovable Leslie

"Hi Old Dorgle" ... Leslie's greeting

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Leslie Fraser

I was born July 31 1942 and lived my life in Glen Margaret, N.S.

My brother Reg and I caught our first trout with our father at Boutilier's Lake when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I can still remember it. I didn't even know I had it on the hook. We were so proud.

We later learned to fish using a curved stickpin and a wooden alder at the three brooks at the border of Gen Margaret and Hacketts Cove. Worms were bait. This was an old grist mill site where there were two small ponds and there would usually be one or two trout maximum in each one. If you caught them you may as well go home for a day or two 'til some more trout would move in. It was always a rush to get there first to see who would get first catch, the Morash boys lived a little closer than us to the brook.

Leslie enjoying his river

Leslie began writing his boyhood fishing adventures in May of 2008. He passed away on June 10th 2008. He never got to finish his story.

The following was written by Leslie's brother, Reg

As we got older we started to fish Frasers, Woodens River, Boutiliers, Corneys, Moser Hill and Oak Hill lakes and river.

One trip to Moser Hill Lake we got hungry and found someone else's lunch and had a little for ourselves, we did not eat it all. We think it was Garnet Fralick's. Not sure.

When we used to go to Woodens River Leslie seemed to catch more trout than anybody else. Leslie sort of gave up fishing Woodens River when they closed it to catch-and-release but he did go up a few times.

Went to Oak Hill Lake and Leslie had a flatfish lure that was really good to catch fish on. It wasn't long before we all had them.

When he was about 11 or 12 years old he started to tie his own flies. It was nice to catch a trout on something you made yourself. At that same age Leslie hooked a big trout in Frasers Lake. He was in a boat and it towed him around for about half-an-hour before he landed it.

Les and I went to Five Bridges Lake one trip and I caught four or five trout and Leslie never got a bite. That is the only time I said I caught more than Les.

Les and Gerald Maher made several trips to Hip Pool Hill Lake during May, fly-fishing. The lake was full of mayflies but they never did see a trout break. Don't know why they kept going back there.

Leslie's fishing relatives

The following photos were taken in 1913.

Left to right
Oswald Isnor, J. Louis Fraser, Uncle Fred Fraser (Halifax), Fred Fraser (Glen Margaret)

Seventy years later (1983), the next generation of fishers ...
Leslie with his sons Grant and Shannon
My memories of Leslie

Leslie and I

It all began, very early in the spring, almost twenty years ago, and I was out with Leslie and Vern. Leslie was fishing with a minnow and, coming from England as I do, he was doing something I'd never seen done before. I was absolutely amazed at the way he could flick a minnow into a tiny hole and bring up a trout. They were the kind of holes that a sane fisherman would have walked right on by. He was fishing from the bank, or from a rock. He had hip waders on but rarely stepped into the water. If my memory serves me right, the clothes he was wearing twenty years ago were the same clothes he was wearing two years ago, at least they looked the same to me. When he headed up the trail he knew exactly where the next hole would be and he'd walk through the brush like it wasn't even there, branches would be whipping in every direction. Leslie wasn't one to drag his feet. He'd stop, step out on a rock, flick the minnow and up would come another trout. And he was insistent that what he'd hooked wasn't just a fish, it was a Trout. Then off he'd go again up the trail. He truly knew that river like the back of his hand. And he wasn't one to keep so-called secret spots to himself, he would point them out to me.

When the water warmed up a bit and the mayfly came on, he'd put away his minnow gear and drag out the fly rod. I wondered how old that fly rod was, I think it was fiberglass, and I wondered how old the line was and maybe the reel was an antique. But, however old his gear was, he could sure cast a fly.

Leslie flicking a fly

What was really great about Leslie was how much fun he had, and not just when he was fishing. He was always laughing and telling stories about the old days.

We also played cards together. Every second week on a Wednesday evening at Noble's. Leslie, Vern, Roy, Noble and myself. You can almost judge a person by the way he plays cards. We played Hearts, with a vengeance. Leslie was always trying to get control. The type of cards he passed to me would confuse me. I believe he did it to make the game more interesting, and a challenge, or maybe he was just being mischievous. Most times he knew he couldn't get control but when he did I would chuckle to myself. Leslie would win in a joyful way.

And how could I ever forget the day he came down to our place so's I could glue a tooth back in that had fallen out of his upper plate. That's just how I'll remember him, always good for a laugh.

Leslie with his upper plate and a can of beer

I consider myself very lucky to have had Leslie as a friend.

The Cornwallis

Leslie (in front) and Vern on the Cornwallis

From my logbook...
April 14, 2006, 8 - 4. Overcast. With Vern and Leslie.
We had a little rain last night and the water was at a good level and slightly coloured.
We had several browns attack our flies but only managed to hook two, and they were lost on long distance release.

Leslie had never fished the Cornwallis before and I thought it might be a good idea if he fished a river that was totally different to his river. The section we fish on the Cornwallis is slow, muddy and meandering, much like a lot of English rivers, and very unlike the slippery, rocky, tea-coloured river that Leslie is used to.

I could see he was interested when he first saw the river. I don't know as he'd ever fished anything like it before; or maybe he had. Off he went in his usual let's get fishing attitude. Walking down the bank without a care in the world. That's what fishing does for you. Flicking a fly as he worked his way along, fishing every likely hole and bend. After a while I could see he was losing interest but he wouldn't stop, not when there was another bend ahead. I asked him what he thought.
"I don't like as I can't see what's on the bottom, like where's there a hole, Old Dorgle."
"Interesting though, isn't it?"
"I guess so. You're always thinking there's gotta be a fish at that next bend," flicking the fly all the time he's talking.

We walked quite a way that day. About three quarters of the way along Vern said that he thought he'd take a rest. Leslie and I carried on. Now and then we'd get a swirl at the fly and I'd be cursing them under my breath. They're like some salmon, make a rush at the fly and turn away when they're within one inch of it. We came to the bridge and decided we'd had enough fun and began working our way back.

We couldn't see Vern anywhere. Our first thoughts were that he was making his way back to the car. Then we saw his waders, toes in the air, sticking out from behind a tree.

Thoughts of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation entered our minds, and left as quickly as they came. It was then that we heard, above the cry of the vultures, a sound somewhat similar to a chainsaw. The quest for the golden fish had taken its toll and Vern had fallen fast asleep.

And in the end, Leslie said once was enough.

Tales Casting contest I Tangier River I Boyhood memories I Newfie salmon I Muddler's memories I Does a bear? I First ever salmon I The Tickmobile
U-Fish I 4 a.m. I Lyin seasun I Anecdotes I Fishgirl salmon I A natural fly I Main Event I Honeymoon I Vernon I Leslie I Coyote? I Newfie trout I Fantasy

Pat Donoghue, Canada, ©1997