Saturday, 28 March 2015



By L.M. Buzz Lein, September 25, 1970

Note: The names used are the names of people who were living in Nipigon in 1886.  The prices quoted were current at the time.

(IMAGINE the conversation)

We ran into Mr. J. L. Morris, of Montreal, last July who was a visitor in our area this summer.  He was asked about his interest in this district.

“I think that anyone who likes to fish for trout is interested in this area.  Heaven only knows you can’t escape reading about Nipigon River trout, especially since the editor of Forest and Stream magazine was here a couple of years ago and had tremendous catches.”

Mr. Morris casually swatted at a couple of mosquitoes and resumed his narration. “I think those fellows in Cleveland, Ohio, are more trout crazy than anyone else. Some of those guys come here twice a year!”

“Well,” we broke in, “Did you have any luck?  Where’d you go?  How long did you stay?”

“Luck? Luck !” Mr. Morris exploded. ‘You don’t need luck in that river!  All you do is drop a hook in, and pow!  There’s another one!”

“wait just one lousy minute, pal, “ we shot this one in as Morris paused for breath.  “Do you mean to say this is better than average fishing?”

We thought Morris was going to have a stroke.  “Man, this is better than there is anywhere.  Don’t you ever go?”

A little shamefully, we confessed that we left fishing for the tourists.

“Yuk! Was Morris’s answer.

“That guy, Flanagan, at the Hudson’s Bay Store, says to a couple of guides that this tenderfoot wants to go trout fishing for a couple days.  So Joe Bouchard and Denis Deschamps allow – as they haven’t anything to do for a couple days – so, they took me.”

Morris stopped, took a deep breath, and was off again.

“Yeah.  We went up the river to the first portage about twelve miles from the railway station.  Bouchard and Deschamps set up the tents, and we started to fish – or at least I did.”

Mr. Morris grabbed me by my shirt, looked me straight in the eye.

“Do you know,” he whispered, “I caught 108 trout that weighed over one and a half pounds?  Do you know that at least half of them weighed better than four pounds?  And all this in about 48 hours?  If I didn’t have to work for a living, I’d stay here.”

We did a little mental figuring.  It cost about 50 cents a day for canoe rental, about $1.50 a day plus board for each guide. And Flanagan at the Hudson Bay Store probably hung a little extra on.  The whole deal probably didn’t cost the guy more than thirty bucks from portal to portal.

So, we asked Morris what he did for a living.

“Oh,” he chuckled, “I’m a lawyer and I live in Montreal.  I came to the Lakehead with my brother, Alexander Morris.  Maybe you remember him. He was Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba in, I think, 1884.  He couldn’t come here, but I could, and am I glad.”

“The fish?” he replied, “Oh heck, we ate three or four, and let all the rest go.”

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