Canadian Odyssey – Part Four

It is believed that the name Nipissing meant “people of the little water.” Frankly, I don’t believe it. Most likely Nipissing was a derogatory term meaning  “lake of very few fish.”

Sunrise on Lake Nipissing. You can almost hear the fish calling ... from some other lake.

Sunrise on Lake Nipissing. You can almost hear the fish calling … from some other lake.

But we don’t go there to fish. My father, brother Jeff, and I have been going there for about four years now. Prior to that, we went to Dollars Lake, which actually has fish. And plenty of them. In reality, we go to Canada to spend quality time together — and to keep the old man out of trouble. At least for one week out of the year.

We also go for the hospitality. The lodge we stay at, Shuswap on the Nipissing, offers great food, comfortable cottages and live entertainment.

Our host, Heinz Loewenberg provides the entertainment, joining us at our dinner table and regaling us with select yarns and filling us in on what we missed by not being there in the winter. Apparently that part of Canada rivals the South Pole for hostile climate.

Meanwhile, his wife and Gerda never fails to serve up a great meal. She also serves as a fact-check for Heinz’s tales.

It rained a lot this year, but we didn’t mind. That gave us the opportunity to take a break from sitting out in the boat all day drowning worms. Instead, we’d jump in the car and head for the big cities — exciting metropolises such as Sudbury or Sturgeon Falls.

Actually, Greater Sudbury (which apparently comprises everything in Ontario that isn’t Toronto) had quite a bit of excitement this summer. As mentioned in previous posts on my Canadian Odyssey, bears have been a big problem this year. A June frost wiped out the blueberry crop, forcing the the bears to forage for food in back yards, trash cans and an occasional pantry. While we were there, the local newspapers reported daily confrontations between bears and residents.

In Canada, newspapers don’t use circumlocutions such as “dispatched” or “harvested.” In Canada, problem bears are simply shot.

The burning question was, who had to do the shooting? From what we read in the papers, that responsibility normally falls on Natural Resources Ministry. However, they’re a little strapped for funds these days, so they were relying on the local police to shoot nuisance bears.

Jeff and his trophy sheepshead. We heard someone in the other boat holler, “You lucky bastard.”

Jeff and his trophy sheepshead. We heard someone in another boat holler, “You lucky bastard.”

Apparently, the police weren’t happy about it. This didn’t allow them time to go after real criminals — like maple syrup bootleggers and other Canadian miscreants.

On the days we could go fishing, my brother Jeff caught all the fish. All three of them.

Next — Algonquin


7 thoughts on “Canadian Odyssey – Part Four

  1. i don’t want to poke anybody in the eye here. well maybe i’m a liar. i googled sheepshead and the google sheepsheads have stripes. great big stripes. 5 0r 6. apparently the fish cannot decide. anyway where are the stripes on your brothers fish? not sayin nutin here, just askin, just askin.

    further down the page on google scientificamerican had a picture of a running horse with a bunny on it’s back. that kind of sets the tone. their sheepshead had “human teeth”. i have memories of stuff like this. so i’m kind of discounting the teeth and the bunny. but what the hell do i know.

    3 fish. i never keep fish, i dislike cleaning them. krogers sells them. i also garden there.

    sudbury. i hitchhiked thru there twice. the first and last time. my memory was of stinking slag heap. see 2nd paragraph.

    sherbet. raz


        • That would be them. Cursed by anglers, they ARE fun to catch. And they rarely get away because of their bony lips.
          Their bad rap is that that they aren’t good eating. I must confess that I blanched some in salt water then cooked fillets as one normally would and they were not too bad. Basically the same as fake crab. Same deal, crap fish prepared right.


          • being ignorant hooooosiers(indiana) we just ate them. also grass pike(pickerel), suckers, gar, dog fish and last but not least carp. the carp we cut the mud vein out and marinated for a day. cut them up in chunks about the size of your first joint of your thumb. then deep fried or just fried. the rest we cut them across the bones about 3/4″ apart and marinated for a day. then do what ever you want. the marinate softens the bones. kinda like canned salmon.

            all but the carp we usually just scaled, gutted, definned and deheaded the fish, then ran them through a hand meat grinder. made fish patties. a lot less work. we scaled all but catfish and we skinned them. by the way catfish are full of bones and people eat them. they love them.

            also when i say we. well my people believed in the imperial we, meaning me. it worked out for me in life.

            popsicles. raz


  2. I understand what you’re saying about Sudbury — probably the nickle mines you saw. Apparently the place was smacked with a huge meteorite way back when, leaving nickle to mine. Guess that’s not going too well these days, though.


  3. Pingback: Canadian Odyssey – Epilogue | IRV OSLIN

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