Wednesday, 27 May 2015

65,017 PAGEVIEWS and its not the end of the month of May

Thank you to the old and new readers of the Nipigon Museum Blog.

Work is progressing in setting up Displays for the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Dr. Cook's catching of the World Record Speckled Trout , July 21, 1915.
The Township of Nipigon will be holding a Brook Trout Festival that weekend, July 17, 18, and 19th, 2015.  The Museum will be part of that celebration plus we will have added activities on Tuesday July 21, 2015 in honour of the specific day.
Relatives of the original fishing "Party" will be in attendance. Those whom we have missed getting in contact with are welcome to join in.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015



THE 1936 WINNER’S STORY  By Edwin Mills

The fish was taken during the course of a canoe trip down the Nipigon.  My guide was the well- known Johnny Abisikung  of Orient Bay and who has guided the winners of the C.N. R. Trophy at Orient Bay twice in the past four years.  His splendid river ability coupled with an almost uncanny “fish sense” marks him a most prominent and sought after guide on the Nipigon.

We camped at Virgin Falls the night of July the 7th last and I had taken one nice fish of about four pounds on a  cockatouche fly” at that spot.

The following day we went down river and, after a short pilgrimage in the form of an hour’s trial at Rabbit  or Macdonald’s Rapids where Dr. Cook of Fort William took his world’s record fontinalis in 1915, we proceeded  down river and prepared to run Miner’s Rapids.

Just before we reached that spot I mentioned to Johnny that in the course of reading an article by Ozark Ripley which had been given me before leaving home by Bill Griner of Hamilton,  Ripley made the statement that whenever possible he cast from the canoe whilst shooting the rapids thereby touching spots he would be unable to reach from shore.  I told Johnny I would like to try it and settled myself in the bottom of the canoe, rod in hand and prepared to let him take her through.

The water was high and about half way down I made a short cast over a likely spot, using a red Daredevil, and let the line and lure run along parallel to us for a bit and slowly reeled in.

I had a nice strike, hard to know its weight due to the tossing of the canoe and so I let it run out whilst Johnny took me on down and into a back-water to play the fish.

Previously we had been making little bets between ourselves as to whether the strikes were pike or trout by watching the action of the rod tip and Johnny called this one a pike.

There was a lot of line out and we had not seen the fish but in the back-water it felt heavy so I played it carefully not wishing to lose it as I had often done before in roughing a good fish too hard.

Suddenly Johnny got a glimpse  of the tawny belly and warned me that it was a big trout. Then the safest thing seemed to be to get ashore and play it from there in case we had to beach it.

I always feel the single hook is much safer than a gang of three and this fish felt secure but nevertheless it was nearly twenty minutes from the time he struck before I was able to gently ease him into the net, Johnny in the meantime  taking some pictures which have turned out excellently.

The beautiful male fish was in perfect shape  and magnificent colouring and had none of  the heavy misshaped belly which spoils  the lines of many large fish. We snapped him from all angles  and then Johnny volunteered to take him back to Virgin Falls after we weighed him and found a record fish for that time of year on the Nipigon.

Mary Pickford Speckled Trout Trophy

25 inches
6 pounds  11 ounces

INDIAN TAXIDERMY ... The Nipigon Style



Illustrating Indian Taxidermy practiced at the riverside.

The fish is skinned and rolled in damp moss and certain roots.

A sheet of birch bark is nailed to a flat surface, later to be framed, and the skin stitched to the bark.

It must be cured for several weeks and the guides are clever at this and later give a few more natural retouching than can be done in town.

However, it is best to let the skin cure properly for at least a month if the final colours are to hold, as the original oil must be taken out of the skin for complete success.

Sam Morriseau’s observations to K.K.

“ You skinned the fish out along the lateral line…stretched the skin over a piece of dry wood – an old canoe paddle worked well – then you smoked it over a cedar bough fire,” Old Sam said, “ the fish would keep forever after this treatment but it did stain the fish a deep brown colour.”

6 lbs  11 oz.
Speckled Trout
Mary Pickford Speckled Trout Trophy
1936 winner
Edwin Mills

THE ONTARIO FISHERIES ACT circa 1887 ...Extract

Extract from : The Ontario Fisheries Act  circa 1887


The Commissioner may authorize to be set apart,  and to be leased,  any waters for natural or artificial propagation of fish,  and any person who wilfully destroys or injurs any place so set apart or used for the propagation of fish,  or fishes therein without written permission from a Fishery Overseer,  or from the lessee or licensee thereof,  or uses therein any fishing light or other like implement for fishing,  during the period for which such waters are so set apart,  shall for every such offence incur and pay a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars,  with costs of prosecution,  and in default of immediate payment of such fine and costs,  shall be imprisoned in the common gaol of the county wherein the offence was committed,  for a period not exceeding three months.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Nepigon River FISHING PERMIT Hiram W. Slack, 1887

This is the fishing permit issued to Hiram Worcester Slack of St. Paul Minn. For his fishing trip on the Nepigon in 1887. That trip journal is published in this Blog as the August 14, 2011 POST: Diary of a Mad Fisherman




No. 33

Special Permit

Granted By Order of the Commissioner of Crown Lands of Ontario


The holder of this Permit    Hiram W. Slack     having duly applied , is allowed to angle from     25 July to 25 Aug.  1887  ,  in     Nepigon River    within the district of the undersigned Fisheries Overseer.

This permit is NOT TRANSFERABLE , and requires strict conformity to the various provisions of the Fishing Laws and Regulations

Newton Flanagan

Fishery Overseer  

Sunday, 10 May 2015



Rod and Gun, Vol. 7, No. 2, July 1905

(Buzz’s Notes)…at South Bay (Lake Nipigon) there are the buildings of the Canada Fish Company, their store, and boarding camps.  This point is the end of the Winter Road from Nipigon Station, and a busy place in the winter season, supplies being moved both by horse sleighs and dog sleds to the north.

…Cedar Portage seems to be the name given the portage around Split Rock.  Island Portage is just above Split Rock.  Camp Cincinnati seems to be just above island Portage…

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Lake Nepigon, fishing Licenses Prices 1904

Nipigon Museum Archives, Buzz Lein Collection…1972

Fishing Licenses Lake Nipigon 1904

“Licenses for non residents of Canada fishing on Lake Nepigon"

Lake Nepigon

 2 weeks $15

3 weeks  $20

4 weeks  $25

For residents of Canada

2 weeks  $5

4 weeks  $10

From: Statistical Year Book of Canada 1904, Dept. of Agriculture, Ottawa

Lakehead University collection

Page 250.  Table showing the Open Season for fishing and hunting in the several provinces of Canada.

Buzz’s editorial comment:  These volumes are a mass of interesting and useless statistics especially the older ones….Saturday March 18, 1972

Friday, 8 May 2015

Fishing on the Nepigon 1863 , 1886, 1888


Fishing stories appear just about anywhere.  In 1978 ” Buzz” Lein found one in “Lakehead Living”, a Thunder Bay Magazine, and clipped it out for his files.

Written as a “Flashback” article by Patricia Forrest .

“ With spring upon us, there is noted throughout the land the miracle of metamorphosis, which changes men and women from armchair athletes to rugged outdoorspeople, seeking the primal thrill of outwitting those elusive creatures who dwell in the realm of Neptune.  In other words, fishing season is here.”

“ As fishermen and women ready their gear, I couldn’t help but wonder what the sport was like in years past.  Though the occasional fish I manage to pull in runs me somewhere in the neighbourhood of $50 per pound, I had a hunch that the pioneer sportsman of the area did somewhat better than I.”

“The following article was taken from the “Port Arthur Illustrated” which is dated May, 1889:

“Judge John M. Hamilton, then living in Sault Ste. Marie, was the first fly fisher in the Nepigon, having taken a Mackinac boat direct from the “Soo” to the present Camp Alexander, arriving there June 22nd, 1863.  With him were Messers. Alexander of St. Louis, and Capt. Dodds, of Indianapolis, their guide being a half-breed named Kenosh or Etienne Jolyneux.  The Judge discovered the pool named after him, and the party  were astounded at the fishing, the trout plainly seen swimming and jumping – in fact the guide became frightened thereat, thinking the place enchanted as he had never seen so many fish before. The weight of single trout on this stream is heavier than any other known.  One party in the last of August, 1888, had fish 5,6,7.5, 10 and 12 pounds, and Mr. Leronde of Nepigon House, has taken them up to 17 pounds and down to five each. One writer says fishing in the Nepigon is wearisome from its success, and the weight of catch is startling to anglers accustomed to the fingerlings of elsewhere. This book is kept by Hudson’s Bay Co.’s factor there, and was begun in 1874, the first name being W. M. Cameron, Cincinnati, July 2.  Since then over 1,300 visitors have enrolled thereon, the yearly average being about 75, last year being the largest with some 160.  In 1880, a record of the number and weights of the trout caught was begun, and a couple of entries we give.  July 10th to 23rd, 1886, L.H.Clark of Palmerston,  W.D. Mathews of Toronto, Canada, and two others caught 243 trout, including 1 of 7.5 pounds . 2 of 7, 10 of 6, 16 of 5, 26 of 4, and 64 of 3 pounds each.  From July 19th up to August 20th of 1886, F.H. Birds, George A. Gates, of New York, and two others caught 950 pounds of trout, and in one day, August 16, caught 102 pounds.”
“Some fish story!  But I wonder… this year, mightn’t I have just a little of the “wearisome success”

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Best Flies for The Nepigon

The Best Flies for the Nepigon River

 according to” Sandys

(Not sure what “Sandys” is – likely a fishing guide at the turn of the century)

Standard flies:



‘grizzly king’


‘Seth Green’




‘Silver doctor’

‘grey drake’

‘green drake’

‘yellow, brown, black and grizzled “hackles”

-          From “The Nepigon Region” page 36

Gearing Up For The Nepigon


In the Time of the Gentlemen Anglers

Circa 1890’s

W.T. Whitcher’s Guide:

The Kit:

ü  Tents

ü  Axes

ü  Hatchets

ü  Knives

ü  Tin candle-sticks

ü  Candles

ü  Folding camp bedstead

ü  Or canvas stretcher

ü  Or make your own with boughs


A regular canteen for cookery:  

ü  Utensils – eating and drinking

ü  Pails – inside for drinking – outside for boiling

ü  Wire grid-iron

ü  Baking pan

ü  Dutch oven

ü  Extra kettle

ü  Tea pot

ü  Coffee pot

ü  Dishwashing pan

ü  Coarse towels

ü  Yellow soap



ü  Ample

ü  Warm

ü  Stowed in oiled duck dunnage bags




ü  Woolen

ü  Durable

ü  Stowed in soft leather valise

ü  Overalls

ü  Water proofs

ü  Laced ankle shoes

ü  Water-tight boots – thick soled – thigh high

ü  Tarlatan veil - for bugs

ü  Gauntlets – for bugs

ü  Mixtures of coal oil and tar – for bugs

ü  Ungent compound of camphor and Vaseline – for bugs


Toilet articles plus: 

ü  Pins

ü  Needles

ü  Thread

ü  Buttons

ü  Tape

ü  Wax

ü  Hooks and eyes

ü  Scissors



Whiskey is not recommended.


ü  Tea

ü  Ground or condensed coffee

ü  Flour

ü  Fat pork

ü  Smoked and spiced bacon

ü  Corned beef

ü  Ham

ü  Lard

ü  Salt

ü  Butter

ü  Corn-meal

ü  Oaten-meal

ü  Biscuits

ü  Pea-flour

ü  Corn-starch

ü  Rice

ü  Potatoes

ü  Onions

ü  Pickles

ü  Salt

ü  Pepper (white and red)

ü  Baking powder

ü  Soda

ü  Condensed milk

ü  Canned preserves

ü  Canned vegetables

ü  Canned meats

ü  Tongues

ü  Lemons

ü  Lime juice

ü  Vinegar

ü  Maple sugar and sirup (syrup)

ü  (and anything else you fancy)

Eked out by fish twice a day

Pipes and tobacco if you smoke.