Saturday, September 03, 2005


Fishing Lake Lodge:"Present" Photos, and "Past" Memories....

Fishing Lake! I "greased" the floats of "Polack" Otter C-GHYB onto the shimmering lake surface, and dropped the water rudders. I turned and pointed the nose towards the floating dock, protruding from the 1/4 mile plus of sand beach, and taxied in. I was back, and my mind began to wander........

In May of 1986, as a younger man, full of piss, vinegar, and testosterone (still am), I was hired by Reg Treacy to fly his 1959 Cessna 180, CF-LDW, on floats. I was given a "one circuit" check-out on the Red River by St. Andrews Airport, massively loaded with meat, canned goods, and an electrical panel that spanned the width of the cabin, full long-range fuel tanks, and told to head for Fishing Lake Lodge. If I arrived safely, the job was mine. Well, I am still here, and yes, the job was mine, which I held for 4 years. After 70 hours on the 180, I upgraded to 1959 deHavilland Canada Beaver C-GJJG. I needed 50 hrs. on type before the aircraft insurance was valid, and I was told "not to screw up". I didn't, made the 50 hrs., the insurance became valid, life was good! During the next 4 years, I learned much, flying trappers, government employees, fishermen, and all forms of cargo. I gained valuable experience at this time also flying tail-draggers, floats, and skis. Crap, enough about me, let's talk about Fishing Lake!

Fishing Lake is the northern half of the Fishing/Family Lake system in central Manitoba, with the "Little Grand Rapids" dividing the 2 lakes. The Berens River is the major river system, with the drainage area stretching from about 75 miles southeast of Pikangikum, Ontario, by Casummit Lake, all the way to Fishing Lake. This is about a 135 mile stretch. As Fishing Lake flows over the Little Grand Rapids into Family Lake, the flow then splits into the Berens River and the Pigeon River. Both rivers drain into the east side of Lake Winnipeg, another 70 miles west!

Reg Treacy built Fishing Lake Lodge in the early 60's, if my memory serves me correctly. Reg is a proud WWII veteran (still alive and in good health), having been a Flight Engineer on bombers. He then was a Hudson Bay Manager traversing the north, with wife Dorothy in tow. Viewing the location of the present day lodge those many years ago, he knew he had to build! And he did! With help from some locals from Pauingassi and Little Grand Rapids communities, Fishing Lake Lodge was built. It was constructed of all local materials. The logs are beautiful, twisted grain, straight-as-an-arrow jackpine. The lumber used was all milled on-site, as Reg had a portable saw-mill. It is a beautiful place. Anyways, in 1986 I lived the majority of the summer at the lodge, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Joining me were my wife Lucille, and toddler daughter Kelly, #1 child.

As I snapped back to reality, I shut down HYB, and tied the old girl up. I unloaded my passengers, present-day owner Byron Grapentine, his wife Patty, and some of their guests. Having an hour to kill before having to pick up a construction crew nearby in Pauingassi, I went for a stroll..........

C-GHYB arrives safe at Fishing Lake Lodge! The sand is luxurious! Posted by Picasa

I could hear the diesel power-generating plant in the distance, so I followed the noise!

I remember the rear of this old building, the "diesel shed"! Posted by Picasa

Ah-hah! This one is making the noise. A Stamford 20 KW generator driven by a Deutz diesel! Posted by Picasa

There is also a larger generator, when power demand is higher, a 37 KW Kohler generator, driven by a John Deere diesel! Posted by Picasa

I wondered what happened to the 2 Lister generators Reg had 20 years ago, as they were very reliable. Then, I spied something...........

"Holy Shit!" One of them is still here, albeit a little worse-for-wear. The old Lister 3-cylinder diesel, driving a Lancashire Dynamo & Crypto generator............. Posted by Picasa

I decided to look at some of the buildings........

"Crap", my old "quarters" from the Summer of '86! I remember sleeping very well due to the "pureness" of the northern air......... Posted by Picasa

The house Reg and Dorothy lived in while at the lodge. Reg had dug a well underneath to supply the whole lodge with water, and the interior was quite comfortable. Posted by Picasa

A typical cabin at Fishing Lake Lodge. All "local" materials. Posted by Picasa

The northwest corner of the main lodge building. Posted by Picasa

Jackpine log corners, supported by local stone. Posted by Picasa

The lodge and buildings are "chinked" with "oakum". Oakum is a material obtained by untwisting and picking into loose fiber old hemp ropes, and is used for caulking the seams of ships, and log cabins, amongst other uses.  Posted by Picasa

The "duplex" cabin right on the lakeshore........ Posted by Picasa

I decided to have a look inside the lodge.............

Up in one of the corners of the lodge, a beautiful wolf, harvested locally by Tony Crowe, from Pauingassi Indian Reserve.......... Posted by Picasa

A "majestic-looking" moose! Posted by Picasa

Local stone fireplace........... Posted by Picasa

A very valuable, and also very rare (or at least elusive), lynx.............. Posted by Picasa

A black bear watches for "unruly lounge patrons"...........  Posted by Picasa

Beautiful dining area. I love the varnished jackpine supports. Posted by Picasa

A shot of the lounge and relaxing area.............. Posted by Picasa

A "fisher" peers down at me inquisitively.................. Posted by Picasa

Man, this is one beautiful lodge. I decided to take a look at the beach and runway...........

There is a trail that runs the length of the camp above the beach. Posted by Picasa

Beautiful shot of the beach, and old HYB! Posted by Picasa

Over a quarter mile of sand beach! Posted by Picasa

HYB gets closer! Posted by Picasa

That is one long beach, now seen from the south............. Posted by Picasa

Behind the lodge is the 3800' runway, which Byron has expanded and maintained well over the last number of years........ Posted by Picasa

FISHING LAKE LODGE! SUMMER! 1986! Kelly, first-born child, 1 year old, in front of Cherokee 6, GPJ. Kelly is now a 3rd year student at the University of Manitoba.................. How time flies........ Posted by Picasa

Yes, Fishing Lake Lodge is one beautiful spot, and holds many memories for me. The fishing is outstanding, and the location is second to none. A 1 hour flight from Winnipeg!

I gaze at Fishing Lake, and something stirs inside me, as this lake holds , and is part of, many of my aviation memories............. Posted by Picasa

Fishing Lake! A thing of beauty to behold! Posted by Picasa

VISIT - Fishing Lake Lodge

Till next time,

"Catch ya' later".......(Canadian)

Just saw this online and It brought back memories....
Whilst holidaying in Winnipeg during the summer of 2015, my youngest son Fraser, who was 20 at the time, and I were lucky enough to spend a long weekend at Fishing Lake.
We were blown away by not only the location, but also the hospitality shown to us by everyone. We were a group of only five and as it was fairly early in the season, the only guests there at the time.
Being from west central Scotland and brought up more with football than fishing, Fraser and I weren't sure if we'd feel a little out of place. We needn't have worried. Help was always at hand and advice readily given.
We were brought to Fishing Lake as a special treat and it was certainly that all right..! We were lucky enough to experience something that the majority of people won't during their lifetime. We have so many beautiful photos and so many special memories from our time there. One time we were out on the lake in shorts n tee shirts when within minutes the sky changed and were hit by hailstones the size of golf balls..! We had to make a run for it to the nearest shore and get into the trees for shelter. And I thought the weather in Scotland was unpredictable...?! Half an hour later and still laughing (well that's always a must eh..??!) we back in the boats trying to photograph the golf balls for proof before they melted. But we actually have a local paper that shows the damage this freak hailstorm caused around the area so we can prove it wasn't just a fisherman's tale ....
But the whole trip was an adventure for us from the minute we took off from St Andrews until the minute we landed there again four days later. Even the mosquitoes were pretty friendly compared to the midges we get in Scotland...!
Fish we'd caught in the morning was so expertly prepared for us on a different island each lunchtime by the guys from the lodge. Washed down by a bottle of cold beer and we were back in the boat for the afternoon sessions.
With a good bottle, or bottles (well we were on holiday) of malt whisky in the evenings, good company and a perfect peaceful location, an amazing time was had by all.
Thanks to cousin Doug, our friends Randy and Dan, and everyone at Fishing Lake for making this possible.
We'll always remember our time there and smile..!

Peter Blackwood
Glad you enjoyed your adventure, Peter! Cheers!
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