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

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