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The Geologist As Fisherman


During a summer of recon geology in Northern Manitoba , my assistant and I were dropped off for a two week stint at a seasonably abandoned commercial fish camp on a large lake. It appeared that the fishery was likely active in the fall as the ice house was still full and there were no signs of any activity previous to our mid-summer arrival.


On our second evening at the camp my assistant suggested that perhaps we could supplement our rations with a fresh fish by setting a net that was hanging in the ice house. It sounded like a good plan to me and we took the net out about 200 yards from shore and set it in about 25 feet of water.


That night the weather turned and by morning we were enveloped by major winds and rain and we could not safely get out to haul the net to see if a fish supper was indeed at hand. In fact, it was not until the late afternoon of the second day that we were finally able to retrieve the net.


Surprised we were to find that we had somewhat more than a single fish for supper in our net. In fact, we had some 34 fish in all, ranging in weight from two to 10 pounds. They were predominantly whitefish and walleye, with a few ancillary ling and one large lake trout thrown in for good measure. We decided to eat the lake trout, but what to do with the rest of the catch? We couldn’t eat them all and we were not prone to simply discarding them. My partner then suggested that we send them back to Thompson on the plane that was due in the next day.  So we cleaned them up, packed them in ice in a couple boxes we managed to cobble together, and sent them out to civilization.


Eight days later when the pilot returned for a planned camp move, he had orders from some of the locals for more fish, in particularly walleye. Our new found popularity with the Thompson crowd quickly abated, however, when the pilot returned with the message that we had retired from our fishing career. Our boss, on the other hand, was delighted to think we were back at geology full time!