Vintage Vernon

Fishing keeps us - part of us anyway - boys forever ... Geoffrey Norman

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The following stories were written by my very good friend Vernon Fredericks. Born in 1944, in a fishing village, Vernon spent his boyhood to the present day wandering the woods and fishing every little hole, river and lake that he could find. He also spent a great deal of time at sea, fishing mackerel, cod, haddock and anything else that was edible. He was the one who started me on fly-fishing. He helped me select my first rod and gave me flies that he had tied. It must have been somewhat frustrating watching me cast and lose those flies because he then taught me how to tie those flies. We have shared many a great time together, fishing everything from small local rivers to the large salmon rivers of Newfoundland.

Mixed up thoughts from my fishing past.

In the beginning there was Adam and Eve then I came along. The first thoughts I have on going fishing (I was seven or eight) was in the only new boat my father ever owned. Twice I went with him over to Western Shore, first to order the boat, then to see it when it was being timbered out. The thing that stands out most of all in my mind is, how could such a little man build such a big boat. Now the boat was only twenty eight feet, but it filled the boat shop, you could walk down one side only, to get around the whole boat you had to crawl over and under braces right up against the wall, but to me as a kid it looked like a ship. My father was not a big man but Ray Stevens was a lot shorter and skinny. The only help he had was someone on the inside with an iron up against the timbers to clinch the nails that Ray put in from the outside. I thought Ray must have been Superman, but I didn't see any red S on his chest, maybe Super Ray.

A Ray Stevens boat     A Ray Stevens boat
Two of Ray Stevens boats

Many times I went out in that boat and many times I got very seasick. I didn't learn, I did it over and over and swore every time that I would never go out again. The day went like this. We left the house just before daylight and walked to great-grandfathers old fish store in Yankee Cove, I have no idea how it got the name. We lost the old store to a hurricane some years later. This old fish store was my holy terror, there were no windows downstairs so when you came in the front door and closed it behind you the only light came from windows upstairs through a hatch in the back left-hand corner of the ceiling. This old building was only used to keep the rowboat at the wharf, it was full of old unused fishing gear and puncheons. It wasn't bad enough for me to stumble through the junk, I was always in hurry to get in and get out, but with eyes no longer accustomed to the light when you burst through the back door you felt like you were going right overboard. The wharf was only six-feet-six, so when you stepped out and closed the door your back was at the edge of the dock, I hated it. From there to the boat and then to Middle Point Cove for the bait and gas. We fished from the old fish store, which I bought and sold much later.

We fished, I said, fact is I never did, I was always sick long before I ever got to the fishing ground. I'd spend the day up under the cuddy in the bow with a spare anchor. The rougher the weather the worse the pounding I got, hit the roof hit the floor over and over. Seasickness is a strange feeling, at first you feel like your going to die, if you stay that way long enough you start wishing you would.

Later on in life, Vernon would own his own boats. This was one of them ...

Vern's boat

Thoughts On Crooked Lakes part 1

Roy called me in August to ask if I would like to go fishing at Crooked Lakes. So away we went to Mooseland. It's about a two-hour walk into the lakes, over what at the time seemed like one continuous bog. You can see one lake from a hill about twenty minutes from the lake and I remember thinking, I will never make it with this pack on my back. But we did and made many more trips over the years with packs, too heavy to put on by yourself.

On one trip we (Harvey and Roy) helped each other get our packs on and I started off ahead. Now when your by yourself with a pack that is too heavy to put back on yourself, you can't stop to rest until you find something high enough to sit on so you can get back on your feet. This is sometimes hard to find, but I did by the time I could go no further. A rock two-by-two feet, so I parked my arse on it and immediately went ass first, feet in air over the rock backwards down in the bushes, tangled up in my pack. My biggest problem was to get the hell out of that mess before the boys caught up, they would be laughing at me yet.

Arriving at Lou's old camp on Davison Lake, the first thing I saw were two rowboats tied to a tree, in front of the camp, on the bottom of the lake. Not where I thought they should be. The camp was pretty neat, maybe fifty years old built with logs for the first two feet, which were slowly rotting into the ground. Inside a plywood patch on the back wall told me that a bear had made his own door some years earlier. Our first job in the camp was to bring up water and wash all the dishes, the squirrels and other rodents were using the cutlery drawer for there own private shithouse. They must have come great distances to use it, because it would take a large number of rodents coming and going to keep the paper in the bottom of the draw that drenched with urine. The knives and forks were never kept in that drawer after that.

August is usually too hot for fishing, we hoped it might cool off in the evening as the sun went down, but it never did, so no fish. But we had some beautiful evening on the lakes. It turned out that only one of the boats was useable, so we bailed out the good one and left t'other on the bottom, but there was another boat in the lower lake to use. To say I didn't like the boats is an understatement, every time I tried to move a little bit around Roy would say don't step there you will go right through the bottom. So I felt very uncomfortable when aboard the boats. When we arrived back home Roy asks if I would like to go back again sometime. Thanks I said, but no way am I going in those boats again. I never heard from Roy for a year, then I get a call from him. His first words are, "We fixed the boats. When are we going?"

Vern at Crooked Lakes
Vern at Crooked lakes

Thoughts On Crooked Lakes part 2

Going into Crooked Lakes after a lot of rain is no treat, maybe a boat would be useful. Waders are a must, but in August when it's dry you can do it with sneakers, that's the best. This time when we arrived at the camp we had another mess to clean up. The bears had been there ahead of us, not much damage but what a mess. The door may have been left open, just as well, they would have broken it anyway. Bears can smell food for miles and they have learned all about tin cans, they punch them full of holes then squeeze everything out and clean it up. When we arrived, a month or so later, there was just enough food left in the cans to make the camp smell to high heaven. They didn't miss one of about twenty odd cans, I almost wish I'd been there when that bear bit through that large can of Raid. A few years later at another camp, cleaning up after the bears came through, we were in cranky moods and Harvey said something that at least, made me feel better. He said, "Don't let what the bears do bother you. Can you imagine how tough they have it back in here, trying to make a living. It's the two-legged ones that do damage that bothers me." From then on I felt sorry for the bears and couldn't imagine making a living back there either.

As usual, no good fishing in August, but beautiful nights on the lake, but too hot at mid-afternoon. I remember Roy sitting up under a tree saying, "What the hell is wrong with us, why didn't we bring that case of beer with us that's in the trunk."

Thoughts On Crooked Lakes part 3

Our next trip was in late September, it was cooler then and the fish were starting to move late in the evening. This particular night we headed for what they call the Mud Hole, where the fish started to show as the sun went down. We had two boats so we didn't have to worry about wrapping our lines around each others ears. Roy was down to his last Mickey Finn. I had a good hit but I didn't hook the fish. Roy was west of me one hundred and fifty feet, just a silhouette in the afterglow of the sunset when he hooked a two-pound fish. He had his new felt hat on with the feather on the side and he was standing up in his little boat side on to me. When the fish hit it went three feet in the air (trout don't normally do that) then the rod bent down in a half circle almost to the water. Roy never moved or gave that fish one inch of line, everything went still for about five minutes, except for the words that passed between us. Then slowly the boat started moving right across my field of view, that fish played himself out real quick once he started towing the boat along. I will never forget the scene, it was just like in the movies when the hero rides off into the sunset, except there was no music coming from behind the trees.

Thoughts On Crooked Lakes part 4

Roy made pea soup once when we were at Lou's camp and he had foxberry tarts with whipped cream for desert, wow. When Roy made the pea soup he had too many peas, but he didn't want any left over, so he put the whole bag in. There was only two of us, so at the end of our stay we still had this huge pot of pea soup. We decided it would spoil by the time we got back again, so Roy put it out on the rock, as he said, for the birds. It came out of the pot in a big blob, onto the rock in front of the camp and stayed that way. Nothing ever ate it. The next time we arrived at the camp it was still there, nothing ever touched it. It's years now and they tell me that the camp is gone but that blob of soup is still there on the rock.

Thoughts On Crooked Lakes part 5

The camp
The camp at Crooked lakes

Someone burned Lou's old camp, that was very sad, but it led to a new adventure, building another camp. We chose Davison's, the lower lake on the southern side, which was a bad choice because the north and south-easterly winds blow right across the lake, up the hill and under those big trees that keep the sun off, except when it almost directly overhead. This made it a very cold location, but we had some real fun fishing from this camp while it lasted.

There was four of us in on this camp and experience teaches fools. When you have four men sleeping in such tight quarters and they all snore like hell, the one who gets to sleep first, gets the best sleep. Harvey gets all the awards for snoring. He will, sooner or later, get kicked out of heaven or hell for snoring. I wouldn't want to be judgmental. So I got the bright idea to get a small tent and put it up on top of the hill where it was quiet. This worked out great, I got more sleep and the boys had a little more room at night. Now with hindsight, and thinking about the bears, maybe it wasn't such a good idea. Anyway they now had room to bring in some new unsuspecting fishing buddy to enter the snoring contest, I believe Pat was one of the first. My tent lasted for a few trips then the bears came back. Those bears I'm sure, sat up there behind the trees waiting for us to leave, maybe they were up there laughing at us. Think about it, Roy and Harvey have been going in there over fifty years, they have never seen the bears, but the bears come and ransack the camp once every year, when there is never anyone around.

We went home for a few days, when we returned the bears had been through the camp. They destroyed my tent, went in one side and out the other, dragged my sleeping bag outside and ruined it, and ate the face out of my ski mask. They were probably wishing my face was in it. They also ate a can of sterno which I had sitting on a stump outside the tent. There was no food around the tent at any time, I made sure of that.

So back to the snoring contest for me. Getting up early and going out on the lake as the sun comes up, with hopefully no wind, is one of my favored times. Rainy days were good enough for laying in the bunk judging the snorers. It always seemed so cold when you left the camp at this time of the morning, but felt so good when you got out on the lake in the sun. Once up off of Lou's camp I was having trouble trying to reach a fish and discovered my line was freezing in the guides. I soon discovered that if I held the rod under the water for a few minutes, I could cast for a few minutes then repeat the process. I had no idea the air temperature was that cold, there were trout rising to a few flies hatching, but the flies were not getting off the water the air was so cold. I finally got one trout and hung it on a tree while I had breakfast. After breakfast it had frozen solid.

There is a rock pile in the upper end of Davison Lake, with one to two feet of water among the rocks that are sticking out. I arrived there one morning just when there was major hatch coming on, something I had never seen before. The flies were coming out of the water into the air and onto the rocks by the thousands, the rocks became black with them, the trout were going nuts. They were going through the rocks everywhere, one thing for sure, you don't have to be a very good fly fishermen to catch fish in these conditions. If you tied a swallow on your line the trout would try to take it.

In about forty-five minutes my arm was shot, then finally I saw Reg and Roy out on the lake. I waved for them to come over, Reg got so excited, within a few seconds he had his line around Roy's ears. Roy said that's enough, I got to get out of this boat, put me on a rock. I had to go for breakfast so I took Roy with me so he could use my boat, which was really his boat anyway. Reg got so excited that he could hardly get his line out. Roy was able to drop me at the camp, go back up the lake (which took about twenty minutes) and still outfish Reg. Watching Reg reminded me of the first time I caught a trout on a fly rod, I was so excited I never did get the trout. Reg had more fun than the rest of us, I'm sure. That hatch of mayfly must have lasted over two hours before the wind came up and later in the day when I went back to the rock pile, there was barely a fly left on the rocks. They had all moved to the shore. The next couple of years I went to the rock pile every morning that I had opportunity, I know the hatch happens but I could never get there at the right time. Lucky to see it once.

Mickey Finns
Miniature Mickey Finns

One morning when the mayfly were just over, I headed for the rock pile, I had these little Mickey Finns I wanted to try. They were made on fourteen and ten hooks with dyed duck feathers married together. It was just an experiment, they didn't look like a regular Finn because of the married feathers instead of deer tail, they looked very short, sort of square. I didn't think they were any good, but to give a fly a fair try you have to know for sure there are fish present. On the way to the rock pile I gathered up some dead mayfly along the shore on spruce boughs, these I put into the water thirty yards or so upwind of the rock where I would fish from. Sure enough by the time I got on the rock, fish were taking the dead fly. When they drifted in close enough, I cast my Finn, let it sink, twenty seconds before the first trout took it. I caught three more like that, then it was over, I lost interest in the fly after that, maybe because I found it hard to make. Cornerbrook Newfoundland, in a fly shop is where I first saw this pattern, I thought it was just a joke to catch fly fisherman. I never thought that it would really work.

For non-fishing stories of Vernon's past go to Part 2
My cousin

Boutilier's Lake is where I first went trout fishing, that I remember. I went with my uncle and father and caught the only two fish. Beginners luck I guess, because I don't remember ever catching a trout again in Boutilier's Lake and I was there many times.

I don't remember going fishing after that until my early teens though I'm sure I did. Corney's and Long Lake is where I fished in my early teens. We midged when the mayfly came on until they were over, my cousin and I. Long Lake never had many fish compared to Corney's but they were bigger. But Corney's was the place to be when the sun went down and wind died out, that's what we always hoped for. The lake would become a mirror and the trout would start slowly until the whole lake became alive, there was not one square yard that didn't have a trout ring in it. I used to imagine that the gods had built a huge fire under the whole lake and were boiling it for some reason. The trout that I caught were few, my cousin always caught more.

There were two days that stand out in my mind most of all, and not because of the fishing. Just a small happening that keeps it in your memory for ever.

The first one happened when my cousin and I walked in to Long Lake from home, which is about five miles through the woods. If I could get there today I could show you the rock I was sitting on. We had started using these new fangled open-face spinning reels and we had the cheap ones. They didn't work that well, in fact the line always seemed to get wound up behind the spool. The wind blew hard enough sou'west to cause white caps, so I went just around the corner to the left out of the wind and started fishing, or maybe I should say catching mayflies for bait. My cousin went to find a boat, the next time I saw him he was drifting down past to the right of me, about twenty feet out. He was sitting in the boat with spinning reel all apart and thumb through a coil of a hundred yards of six-pound test line. I found out later that the spool split in two. The wind blew him the whole length of the lake, right out of sight. He didn't get back until late in the day. I had a great day, eight fish. My cousin came back with ten. Go Figure.

The second day that I will never forget, all thanks to my cousin, was at Corney's Lake. It was one of those days we always hoped for, no wind, lots of flies and we were there early. Sixteen fish I got that day, off the southern end of the island. Somehow we got out there without a boat, my legs were longer then. Actually the beavers have dammed it up since then, the last time I went through that little channel in my canoe, I thought there is no way now. I caught my fish long before supper but I had to stay until dark to watch the fish, the fires were again lit under the lake that evening.

Back to my cousin, the grass is always greener, there is always better place. Anyway we weren't there too long and he says I got to find a boat. Nothing unusual about that, I'm used to that and off the island he goes. An hour later he shows up in a boat and starts fishing up behind me on the north side of the island, about fifty feet from shore. This was good for me, I could turn and keep an eye on him from time to time. In less than an hour I turned just in time to see him jump out of the boat into the water up to his waist, turned to the boat, picked up his rod and bag, and walked to shore. The boat looked to be half full of water. I went a few yards over so I could see the other side of the island, where I expected see him coming my way. Instead, when next I saw him, he was off the island heading for home. He never told me what happened and I don't remember going fishing with him after that. At the time I thought his reel must have broken but later in the day I saw that the boat had sunk where he got out of it. We didn't have phones in those days, so by the next time I saw him I suppose I'd forgotten about it. But I had a great day and I've never seen anyone but my cousin do that before or since.

Corney's Lake.

Vern at Corney's
Vern at Corney's

In the late fifties I had this telescopic bait rod, very heavy, made of steel with what looked like copper plating on the extensions when you pulled them out. This rod was hexagon with dark green enamel paint on the butt end, I blame its massive weight for its loss. I made a cast with it one day in Corney Lake and it came apart and went flying into the lake breaking the line. All I had left was the butt end and reel, the rest is still on the bottom of the lake.

My first fly rod was a split bamboo. I have no idea if it was a good or a bad one. My reel was all brass, I don't know where I got it, or if it was a bait or fly reel. The rod I bought from my cousin, maybe because he didn't know how to use it, I know I sure didn't. The fly line was non-existent, I didn't know there was such a thing. Six-pound test plastic line off my spinning reel is all I had and two Quill Gordon's that my father got for me from a man he worked with. So off I go to Corney Lake with all this new gear. If I had a dip net I don't remember, sure didn't need one.

It was a still evening, the sun was going down and I was all by myself out on the island. The trout were taking flies in along, and under the bushes. You didn't need to be able to cast, good thing, I pulled four or five feet of line from the tip of the rod and hung the fly over the trout. I caught two trout and lost them all because I didn't know how to tie a fly on properly. But I was hooked, fly-fishing was the way to go, I never midged for trout again.

Proper gear

It was about twenty-five years later before I really started to learn to fly-fish. Nicky took me to get the proper gear and a fly line this time. After that I spent a lot of time fishing with Les up the river, nobody knows the river any better than him. I remember watching him catch ten trout at the Mill Pond one afternoon, I couldn't hook one.

Vern at the Mill Pond
Vern at the Mill Pond

The dead mayfly were coming down the river from the lake above, which kept the trout feeding off the rock pile all afternoon. I was new at it and so excited, I kept reacting too fast and pulling the fly out of their mouths before they got a chance to turn. Later, once I caught a few, I realized what I was doing wrong, then it went ok. Now that I'm older, I move in slow motion and don't have that problem anymore.

I lost my rod in Porter's Lake

Vern at Porter's lake
Vern at Porter's Lake

Nicky and I discovered an interesting spot to fish at the head of Porters Lake. We had fun catching sea trout from time to time. We arrived there one day after a big rain up country, but the lake was quite low. So you had a lot of fast water from the brook shoot past in about a three foot slot, you could stand on the edge far enough from shore to get a backcast. We were getting a few hits when I decided to change my fly, a good choice I made too. I didn't reel in my line, just tucked the rod under my arm, got the fly in my hand and the line fell by my feet. While tying on the my new fly and b'sing to Nick I accidentally dropped my rod, away it went out in the lake pulling more line off the reel until it got out of the fast water. I remember thinking, whatever you do don't let go of that line or goodbye rod and reel. So slowly I started pulling my rod in and letting my fly go out to get rid or the line. At about thirty feet out I felt a trout hit the fly and I set hook, then I'm thinking what the hell did you do that for. Here I am with my rod in the lake and a trout in the lake and me in the middle. As I started pulling in the trout, I then became aware of three people in a speedboat stopped handy by my rod watching me. They watched me pull in and dip the trout, then pull in my rod. They then all clapped, waved and sped off. Nicky said, you're a hard act to follow.

My Big Brown Trout

Andy talked me into going brown trout fishing at the Waugh River on April fifteenth. I must have been out of my mind, we used night crawlers anchored to the bottom. That's all of the details I will give you, because I think it should be made illegal. There was ice drifting down the river. I remember standing there on the bank, in the mud, half way to my knees for over four hours. I damn near froze to death. We caught eight, two-to-two and half pound trout, in about thirty minutes. The rest of the time I spent hopping from one foot to the other and banging my hands together, trying to keep warm. Finally I said the hell with this, I'll go clean the trout, then I'm going back to the motel where it's warm. I was so cold that I changed my plan and took the trout to the motel and cleaned them in the bathtub. Somehow at the time it seemed so wrong, but I made myself feel better by thinking, hell it could have been worse, I could have had a moose to clean, that would be way worse. You might even get kicked out for that.

I was warmer the next couple of years that we went to the Waugh fishing, but we were still there too early for fly-fishing. I would end up leaving Andy there in the mud while I went up river, smelt fishing, much more fun. I found that bait fishing for browns, was not my cup of tea, so I didn't go to the Waugh fishing for a few years. Then out of the blue Andy calls and asks if I would like to go to the Waugh for a little fly-fishing for the day. It's a little early but I'll go if it's only fly-fishing, I said. Not expecting to catch anything much I took my trout rod from the year before, still geared up with a two pound test tippet and a Mickey Finn. The next day on the river I worked this little section until my arm ached and I was totally bored. I had cast to the upper far side of the run, I was watching my fly as it came down the far side and started across the bottom end back to my side, when I saw something moving toward me along the bottom. Any distraction if it's alive is better than nothing, so I leaned over, staring into the water trying to see what it was, when this big fish hits my line and hooks itself. I'll tell you I was no longer bored and I had very little control over that fish with the two-pound tippet. That's my luck, Andy just happened to be looking my way when the fish caught me, and he started in on me right away about my style of fishing. Caught again, so I couldn't even lie about it.

Brown trout don't jump like a salmon, and this one never jumped, so we assumed it was a brown. I had no expectation of ever getting it in, all I wanted was to get it in close enough for a look, before I lost it. I had hooked a large brown only once before this, on ten-pound test line, and it kept going on up river until it broke my line. This one stayed in deep water and didn't move around very far. Only once did it start down river, I asked Andy to go down around and come up below the fish. It worked, the fish came back up in front of me. Some of the local guys driving by saw me with a fish on and came down to watch me, from time to time. They all wanted to see me land it, they all said it was a brown, they all got fed up and on leaving said you're never going get that fish in. Then this next local guy shows up with some good advice. I told him what I had on for a tippet to work with. He says, the hook in that fish is just a minor irritation to him, but if you don't keep the fish moving all the time, to play him out, you will never get to see him. So that became my plan, put just enough pressure on him to make him keep moving around, without breaking the tippet. People came, people left and I just sweated. My arms felt like they were falling off, finally I got Andy to take the rod while I took off my coat. It took me two hours and forty-five minutes to bring the fish in and I had two more of the local guys show up just as I bought it in, for our first look at it. Sea run browns look very much like salmon except for their tail, the salmon's tail is forked and brown's tail is more square. The guys didn't agree with each other, one said it was a brown, the other a salmon, but I knew it was a salmon, a little over three feet long. It laid on it's side for the few seconds it took me to unhook it, then I lifted it up into the current for a second or two and it took off like a shot. Getting that fish in had all to do with having the drag set just right, and keeping your fingers off the line. Andy would say it was dumb luck. All the time I had the fish on, my biggest fear was that I would lose it without knowing what it was, of course it would have been nice if it had been my first big brown on a fly rod. I sat on the bank the rest of the afternoon watching Andy fish. I was all in but the shoe strings.

Mosers Lake

When I was about forty-five years old, I started lobster fishing with Kent. This was twenty-five years since I last lobster fished. Some things had changed -- power haulers, wire traps, rubbers bands, and insulated lobster gloves.

In the good old days I wore cotton gloves, or nylon if we had them. Your hands were always wet, cotton lasted a day but the new ones were at least dry and warm when you first put them on in the morning. Nylon lasted forever, but once you wore them they stunk so bad, you just hated to put on cold wet stinky gloves on a cold morning. Man I could go on forever, how we used to dry them so they were warm when you first put them on. We would wring the water and blood out of them, then put them overhead on a beam. If the weather turned bad and you didn't get out for a week, the flies would lay their eggs in them. These days lobster gloves are made of insulated rubber, four times the size of your hands and florescent orange. Clumsy as hell, but on the plus side, if you lose them you can see them for twenty miles.

Things that hadn't changed -- ice in the bottom of the boat to stand on. Kent had an open boat so when the wind was up a little, you had the thrill of salt water splashing in your face and have it run down your neck inside your shirt, while there was ice freezing on your oilskins. If you're unlucky enough to have to wear glasses like I do now, you can't see through the salt that's dried on them. I don't know how Kent found his lobster traps, most of time you couldn't see his eyes through the salt on his glasses.

Because of lobster fishing in May, Kent went trout fishing in late September at Mosers Lake and that is how I got to see Mosers Lake for the first time. Mosers Lake is a two hour walk, but I got to go on the back of Kent's ATV, gee that was fun. What a kidney buster of a trip that is, but you save five minutes, you take more gear, plus the motor and you don't have to walk.

The trout are big and fat and hard to catch in Mosers Lake. They must have some good food supply because you have to use live bait, and that doesn't often work. Kent had some good luck trolling from time to time, I liked it better on the shore where I could use my fly rod now and then. Catching a trout on a fly rod was a real challenge, it took me two years. You need to be there in May, when the mayflies are on and you have to wait until it's dark, too dark to make the two-hour walk out. So when the flies came on I set up a tent so I could stay over night when the weather looked good. The first year I spent a total of six days there when the flies were on. Due to wind and cold weather conditions I didn't see one trout break in those six days.

The next year only one night out of six did the wind die out just before dark and I began to think there was not a fish left in the lake. But just as I was about leave for the tent a trout came up and took a fly. It was too dark to fish, but in the afterglow from the sun I could see these lazy fat trout just staying up fining around on the surface taking flies, just the silhouette of their fins and tail, going in circles. I caught one fifteen-inch trout and one a little smaller. In the morning, I got one twelve-inch one while canoeing up the shadow side of the narrows. There were bubbles all along the shore from trout taking flies before I was even up. They must have been up some early and already gone back to bed. That pretty much ended my fly-fishing in Mosers Lake.

Kent and I had many fun trips, also Kent's wife Lillian came along several times. But the road got in such bad shape from too much ATV use that Kent decided to drive two thirds of the way in on the ATV and walk the rest, the worst part. Our first trip that we did this, Kent parked the ATV and asked me to hide the key, so he wouldn't lose it. So I looked around and saw three small birch trees jammed together in a little triangle, dug a hole in the middle and buried the key. We backpacked the rest of the way in and had a good day fishing.

It was pretty dark when we arrived back at the ATV that night. We packed all our gear on the machine, Kent got on and as I started to get on, he said oh, I forgot the key. Now can you imagine how dumb we felt, when I reached down and dug into the hole that I had made in the morning and found a spruce cone. Not a key, a damn spruce cone. I imagined squirrels looking out from behind the trees laughing at us. I think I went into shock after that, because I don't remember walking out. Kent got a new key and went back the next day to get his ATV. After that I couldn't walk by those three birch trees without digging in that hole. Some squirrel must have that key in his trophy drawer.

I don't know how many trips we made to Mosers Lake after that, but I do remember my last trip. Roy and I went in to try for a fish and bring out my canoe. We went in late in the afternoon and stayed in Scott's camp. We planned to try for a fish early in the morning then leave for home right away. That evening we geared up our rods so they were ready for the morning. In the morning while we were eating breakfast in front of the window that overlooks the lower part of narrows, the trout started going all over the place. We must be getting old because we didn't even try for a fish, just sat there watching until they stopped, it was great. Then we packed up our gear and headed for home with the canoe. It makes me feel good to know the trout are still there, alive and well.

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