EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chapleauites everywhere 'returning home' to vote for community to win Ultimate Fishing Town contest with social media making participation possible

The other day when Henry Byce messaged me on Facebook, "Sorry Chief.......they're a little bigger than the 2 you caught!! LOL", it struck me just how involved Chapleauites had become in the contest to decide the Ultimate Fishing Town in Canada.

Every morning when I get up and log in to Facebook, I am greeted by folks who no longer live in Chapleau but are part of the virtual community united in a common effort to bring victory to their home town. Fishing stories abound.

Just this morning, Hugh McGoldrick, Earlene Chambers, Paul Carson, Jamie Thibault, Bob Lewis and Lise McCarthy had posted messages on Facebook urging us to vote. Others were indicating they had. It happens several times a day as Chapleau remained in a tight race with Port Colborne for the title. Voting ends on May 31. Here is link: http://www.wfnfishingtown.ca/town/chapleau-on

I am delighted that Chapleau people are rallying in support of he community. It is great to see the community spirit.

Also as many know, after joining the faculty of College of the Rockies I led a team that developed the first college post graduate program in New Media Communications in Canada, way back in 1994. Many back then told me that email was okay but would never really catch on and virtual communities were a non starter. Social media consisted of chat rooms.

Today, Chapleau, the little town that can, is receiving global attention as it battles to win this contest, all because internet technology is providing the tools and Chapleauites everywhere are participating. To adapt an old dictum: "You can take the boy or girl out of Chapleau but you can't take Chapleau out of the boy or girl".

The photo of me to which Henry was referring was taken at Healy on Lake Windermere, 17 CPR miles west of Chapleau at our camp circa 1948. I had caught the fish from Sunday School rock, so named because Mrs. F. M. 'Maud" Hands would conduct Sunday school classes there. Henry sent me photo from his catch, taken in 2010 on a fishing trip home to Chapleau. You win Henry!

Dr. Vince Crichton, who still spends summers at the family camp on Mulligan's Bay was in touch ny email with an interesting insight into how the pickerel arrived in the Chapleau (Kebsquasheshing) River.

Vince wrote: "Where did the pickerel (walleye) in the Chapleau River between the 18 mile rapids and Chapleau come from? They were not always there. For many summers while attending high school and university I had the privilege of working for Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources which in the late 50’s and 60s was known as the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests. The only fish in the aforementioned part of the river were pike, suckers, whitefish.

"One of my summer jobs was to live trap pickerel in Nemegosenda Lake and these fish in turn were relocated to Henderson Lake which is about half way between Chapleau and the 18 mile rapids. Myself along with Robert Lemieux and occasionally conservation officer Tom O’Shaughnessy would spend almost all of July camped in a tent at the north end of the lake capturing pickerel.

"My father (Vince Crichton Sr.) would come in with the Beaver aircraft every 3 or 4 days and airlift the fish to Henderson Lake. The aircraft was fitted with appropriate tanks and oxygen to ensure there was no mortality during the short flite to the river. We used what was called a trap net - when the fish were removed for the trap they were placed in holding pens which we had constructed along the shore. The camp site was at the north end of the lake and the trap net was just below the old dam at the point where the Nemegosenda river exits the lake. The net was secured to the old dam and it had a long centre lead extending down river from the capture box and 2 wings extending at 45 degree angles from the centre lead all of which helped divert fish into the capture box. Care had to be taken when lifting the net (which was pulled over the side of the canoe) daily to ensure the square stern canoe we used did not flip in the current."
Hugh McGoldrick
Here is one of Hugh McGoldrick's Facebook messages to rally us to vote: "Chapleau is movin' up agan.... We need to keep it going. We got "plenty of fish" and people know it!!! Now lets prove it with "plenty of votes!!" Come fishing, maybe you'll catch the fish of your dreams!!!! Vote Chapleau!!!"

Hugh also recalled: "One of my best fishing memories was the time I flew out with John Theriault and John Tangie for an afternoon of fishing. With a canoe strapped to the pontoon we took off in the Beaver and headed about ½ milenorth of Chapleau landing on Trump Lake. It didn’t look like much of a lake but the lake trout we pulled in suggested otherwise. We spent a few hours there and then packed all of our gear back onto the plane and headed about ½ hour east to the Chapleau River. We landed just below a nice rapid and within an hour we had our limit of pickerel. So, we jumped back in the plane and flew home to Chapleau. You can’t ask for much better fishing than that".

John Theriault

Bill Groves, long time Chapleau resident has been sharing some of his fishing photos starring his grandchildren who are clearly enjoying their trips on the pontoon boat.

Paul Carson shared a precious moment on a fishing trip with his father Ron: "In the morning we would venture up the lake to a larger camp and fill our stringer with walleye and lake trout, never go hungry because we always caught plenty of fish.... lunch would be a shore line lunch over a camp fire.... and dinner would be even more fish.... trout on the fire with lemon wedges and spices, how the meat would flake off because it was cooked perfectly.... the smallest things about fishing with my dad and brother as kids I remember fondly."

Janice Selin reminded me of a tradition started by the Chapleau Int A Huskies in the 1970s. "There is a small creek just when you turn onto the Sheppard & Morse & Island Lake road. When it was not dried up we use to creep up not to let the fish hear something was coming.

Bill Groves on pontoon boat with grandson
"All you needed to do was drop a small daredevil in & we would get many little brook trout. On New Year's day it was a tradition that all the Husky team would go to Five mile lake & ice fish. The guys chipped in & bought an electric ice auger & the girls would get a fire started on the lake & place down the Hudson Bay blankets. All the kids were very young then but we all had a great time."

Reflecting on fishing and the Huskies, I have to admit that I never went along on any of their fishing trips in Chapleau, but I did go deep sea fishing with a number of the players off the Florida coast. Danny Vaughan caught a shark, and he was in touch recently so we shared memories of the experience.

In fact as the voting ends on May 31 to decide the Ultimate Fishing Town, I am planning  to be on my way to Florida for my first visit in years. I am not planning to go shark fishing though. Keep voting Chapleau wherever you are. I will vote before I leave. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Islands in lake named after grandchildren contribute to Chapleau as ultimate fishing town

Bill Groves, an avid supporter of Chapleau as the ultimate fishing town  named the islands in the lake at the cottage after his  grandchildren. 

"I  thought with a sign on each island the visitors and tourists would be able to find their way around the lake better. So it was sort of for two reasons. The second reason was they had no name so who better to name them after", Bill wrote.

VOTE FOR CHAPLEAU http://www.wfnfishingtown.ca/town/chapleau-on

Cody Plummer is the son of daughter Susan.

Matthew Plummer is also son of daughter Susan

Jacqueline Groves is son Ken's eldest daughter 

VOTE FOR CHAPLEAU http://www.wfnfishingtown.ca/town/chapleau-on

Monday, May 23, 2011

JOHN THERIAULT: "Is that an alligator...?", as 35-pound Northern landed on fishing trip from Chapleau

http://www.wfnfishingtown.ca/town/chapleau-on VOTE FOR CHAPLEAU TO WIN AS ULTIMATE FISHING TOWN

John Theriault kindly provided the chapter from his father George's book "Trespassing in God's Country' to help showcase Chapleau as the ultimate fishing town. George Theriault arrived in Chapleau in 1954 and founded Theriault Air Services. Mr Theriault celebrated his 91st birthday in April, 2011. Thanks to John for his cooperation in bringing us this story written by his father....Belated Happy Birthday George!... MJM

George Theriault

BY GEORGE THERIAULT from his book 'Trespassing in God's Country'
During our first year in Chapleau, I met Mr Ralph Stedman from Flint , Michigan. We had the pleasure of taking care of him and his son Larry for many years. He was such a naturally amicable man that within a year or two our business relationship turned into a long standing friendship between our families. 

In the fall of 1956 my five year old son, John, and I accompanied Mr. Stedman and his son Larry to our little tent camp on the north end of Nemegosenda Lake. I didn't have any boats at the site, so for safety we tied two canoes together--a 17 foot square stern with a 9.9 hp motor and a smaller 16 foot canoe, loaded with our gear. We motored down the river to Alcorn Lake and spent the better part of the day still fishing for walleye.

Once we had our fill of catching walleye in the holes along the shore,we decided to troll down the center of the lake. I was using a red and white daredevil in hope of tempting a northern pike to hit my line. Most northern pike are found in shallow water near weed beds where they feed on smaller fish. Ralph and Larry were using casting reels whereas I was using an Alcock spinning reel with about 300 yards of 6 pound test line. It wasn't monofilament line: it was actually made of silk like the thread used on parachutes.

All of a sudden I felt my line tighten, as if I had hooked into a huge log. Ralph immediately saw my line go down and told his son Larry, who was running the motor to turn around because he thought my line was snagged. There was no reverse on motors back then , so Larry turned the boat around and I held the rod up. We motored back up the river about a 100 feet. The line was still out another 200 feet. At this time I began to entertain doubts about this snag. Larry pushed the motor a little faster until we were a 100 feet from where the line was hugging the bottom. Only then did I coinfirm my suspicions that this had to be fish. Whatever was on the line took it on a run for another couple of 100 feet.

George at his 91st birthday party April 2011
We had to wait 10 minutes to get a glimpse of the fish. As soon as it surfaced, I knew it was a northern. It barely stayed on the surface for a few seconds before it dove to the bottom, pulling at least 50 yards of line.Then it sulked and pulled and held the 6 pounds of drag. We sat in this suspended state for several minutes. I knew if I expected to land this fish , I had to make the next move.

I asked Larry to paddle the canoe so that I could put side drag on the line. The northern made a dash and we followed, running the motor slowly enough to keep the pressure on. After a few minutes of this chasing game, the fish stopped, turned 90 degrees and took off a little faster. By now we were in the middle of Alcorn Lake, at a depth of 30 feet and the fish still on the bottom. The pressure was so intense that I could only imagine that I had hooked a 15 pound northern by the tail.

It seemed we had been trailing this fish for an hour, but when I looked at my watch, it had only been about 20 minutes. My hands were sore and tired, but I wasn't about to give up until I had gotten a good look at my opponent. Finally the fish eased up and I could reel in some of the line. This time I got it within 30 feet of the boat. 

From our vantage point, we could see a huge northern. It looked like it was about 5 feet long. I knew my line couldn't handle much more pressure and I figured if this fish decided to take another dive to the bottom it was going to take all my line with it. I began to feel satisfied just to have seen this monster.

Just about the time I was giving up all hope of landing it, the line slackened. I quickly used the opportunity to reel in. My last ditch efforts to get the fish close to the boat paid off. Fortunately the fish seemed to have given up all its will power. By the time I got it within a foot of the boat, there was no fight left in this brute. Larry leaned over the boat and got his hand on the gills. 

With a litle help from  Ralph, he managed to hoist the fish into the smll canoe.

John Theriault on 70s fishing trip
Raoul Lemieux, George & John Theriault. Frank Boucher, David  Morris
My young son John took one very nervous look at the fish and said "Is that an alligator Mr. Stedman ?" His fear of the fish soon subsided and curiousity took over. He climbed over to the other canoe, examined it and decided it was the biggest fish or alligator he had ever seen. It was a huge one. The fish turned out to be a 35 pound northern--the biggest one I ever caught. We had the fish officially weighed and measured and the Stedmans took it home to have it mounted.

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


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Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE