Tag Archives: fish

Another Fish Tale- Clayton Lake and the Minnow Can — Fred Blake, Dennis Nolan and George Comba 1934

Another Fish Tale- Clayton Lake and the Minnow Can — Fred Blake, Dennis Nolan and George Comba 1934

I have a couple of snake stories today found in the Almonte Gazette. Here is one of them.

From the Almonte Gazette July 26th 1934

Two weeks ago it was announced In these columns that Messrs. Fred Blake and Dennis Nolan had gone on a fishing trip to Clayton Lake. It will be recalled that before starting on that famous expedition Mr. Nolan made the dreadful threat he would cut the ends of his moustache unless he broke all fishing records for the season.

Both Mr. Blake and Mr. Nolan are back in town and, as the last mentioned gentleman’s facial adornment is unimpaired his friends have concluded. In notation he caught about all the fish there were to catch. But in jumping at this conclusion people are a trifle hasty. Where these modem Isaak Waltons are concerned it is always well to peer below the surface—to do a little proving as it were. We have done the probing this week and now propose to unfold the results—which are quite interesting— for the benefit of our readers.

In telling a story of this kind it is always well to begin at the beginning. It appears that Mr. George L. Comba kindly agreed to transport Messrs. Blake and Nolan to the scene of their fishing exploits. On their way to the lake they paused for an hour at a convenient creek to stock up with minnows. Plenty of minnows in this junior part of their fishing activities and they were quite successful and soon had their minnow can well filled with bait.

They then proceeded to the foot of the lake where Mr. Comba saw them aboard a motor boat and waved them a tender farewell as they chugged-chugged toward the cottage. As this story hinges largely upon the minnow can —a description of that utensil is in order at this point in the narrative.The can was one of those affairs built with screened sides to allow a free flow of water. Fitted to the top of it was a tin lid such as covers the average kitchen pot but this one had numerous holes punched in it about the size of quarters.

On reaching the fishing grounds the two sportsmen placed the can of minnows in the lake so the bait would be kept alive during the night. Having done that they retired to bed at an early hour with the intention of starting to fish at the crack of dawn. When the first streaks of light appeared on the eastern horizon Messrs. Blake and Nolan leaped out of bed as bright and spry as the crickets that didn’t keep them awake all night.

After taking a preliminary plunge in the lake and vowing that there was nothing like this life in the great open spaces they held a conference on the beach as to whether they should fish first and breakfast afterward or breakfast first, and fish afterward. This weighty problem was finally solved when the anglers came to the logical conclusion it would be foolish to eat bacon for breakfast when the lake was full of fish ready and willing to jump at their hooks. As Mr. Nolan observed on that occasion “Who has a better right to eat the first fish that fall to our rods than those who catch those fish?”

This was unanswerable logic so they straightway seized their trusty gear and headed for the minnow can and the boat. Having shoved the boat into the water and noted that the oars had not disappeared during the night, the anglers reached for the minnow can with that air of calm expectation that is always associated with something dead sure. Like the oars and their hopes the can had not vanished during the night. Up it came in answer to a hefty pull, distributing little streams of water from all its many pores. The anglers then placed It in a larger vessel of water, clambered into the boat and proceeded to the best fishing spot on the lake.

Having reached the desired place they heaved an anchor overboard, lit their pipes and prepared to break all piscatorial records established on Clayton Lake or any other body of water in this section. Leaning over in a leisurely manner Mr. Nolan opened the perforated top of the minnow can and reached into the water for a minnow to bait his hook. As there had been several dozen of these little martyrs to the sportman’s art swimming about in the can the night before he felt he would have no trouble in grabbing one at random. What was his dismay, however, as he felt about in the water to find his fingers clutching nothing but aqua pura. A look of dismay overspread Mr. Nolan’s face and he began to splash about madly with his hand in an effort to capture one of the elusive minnows. Finally his fingers clutched something slimy that slithered away and filled him with an odd feeling of loathing.

Closing the lid he pulled the can out of the water and as it emptied the astounded vision of the two fishermen rested upon the sole denizen of the cage—a large black snake. The dreadful import of the situation rushed upon their minds simultaneously. The snake, they figured had crawled through one of the holes in the lid while the can reposed in the lake, and had devoured all of the minnows. The gluttonous reptile bolted its food in the usual reptilian manner and swelled itself to such proportions that it couldn’t get out of the can.

We will draw a veil over what was said by the disappointed anglers at this stage in their activities. Picking up the broken thread of the story we find them hastening to shore with long, hefty strokes that threatened to break the oars. Having landed on the beach they departed from such a short time before they dumped the snake out of its happy home and killed it. After that they performed an autopsy and recovered the two dozen minnows. The minnows, unlike Jonah, were dead as the proverbial dodo bird but that didn’t hinder the fishermen from trying them out after they had eaten a prosaic breakfast of bacon, and toast washed down with coffee.

Now fish in Clayton Lake are very particular about their food. Dead minnows do not appeal to them at all. The two fishermen soon discovered this fact to their sorrow and though they stuck to the sport with a perseverance worthy of old Walton himself their efforts received but a meagre reward. As they looked at the results of their fishing they bemoaned the fate of the minnows and speculated on how much greater the catch would have been had they used proper bait. Knowing he had not succeeded in breaking the fishing record of the season—-which is probably held by Louis Peterson, W. M. Pimlott cr some other fish-conscious citizen of Almonte—the question of Mr. Nolan’s dreadful resolve arose before his tortured mind like a spectre at the feast.

Tugging thoughtfully at the ends of his moustache, Mr. Nolan paced up and down the beach and resolved that rash bets were the curse of creation He thought of all the expedients fishermen usually think of under such circumstances—buying a bag of fish from some unfortunate but mercenary minded “sportsmen, for instance. At last he reached the manly conclusion that fish stories were out of bounds and that it never pays to deceive anyone.

“We will go back to town and tell the truth,” said he. “By doing that we will shame the devil which is always worth while.” “But how about your bet?” expostulated his companion in misfortune “I am going to disregard that hasty wager,” said Mr. Nolan. “It took me a long time to train up this moustache in the way it should go and I am not going to destroy it because of the hoggish appetite of a snake in Clayton Lake.”

And that is the true story of an eventful fishing expedition that was marred by an unfortunate incident which might never happen again in a hundred years. The lesson for other anglers is this: “If you most punch holes in the top of your minnow can don’t make them large enough for a black snake to crawl through,”

1934 Almonte Gazette page 1

In looking for photos of the lads I came across this page about Fred Blacke from Rose Mary Sarsfield’s book. She also had an account of the fishing trip— “Whispers from the Past, History and Tales of Clayton” — If you want to purchase a book please email at rose@sarsfield.ca or call me at 613-621-9300, or go to the Clayton Store, or Mill Street Books in Almonte

Where Is Clayton Lake?

Clayton Lake is located in Zone 18 (Eastern Ontario) Region, Ontario, Canada. The size of Clayton Lake is 471.2ha (which is equivalent to 1164ac or 4.7sqkm) and the coordinates are 45.1769, -76.3436.

Which Fish Can I Catch At Clayton Lake?

The most popular species caught here are Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass, and Smallmouth Bass. Please use your best judgement when determining where you can fish, and make sure you follow local rules and regulations.

What Does Clayton Lake Have?

Our members have marked 5 Hotspots and 1 Boat Launch at Clayton Lake. You can view these markers on the map.

Welcome to Clayton click here..

Muskrats on Clayton Lake 1928

Remembering John Drummond Sr. of Clayton

The Bear in the Middle of Clayton November 1944

Charles McNeil Tanner in Clayton

George Sadler — Clayton Doctor

Do You Remember Yoshiba’s Retreat? Clayton

Clifford Stanley May 4 1933 — Rescued Photos from Clayton Hall

Silas Shane Shoemaker Lanark, Clayton, Almonte

J. Paul’s Store in Clayton –Putting Together a Story — Joseph Paul and Margaret Rath Paul

The Suckers of Carp — Johnston Family

The Suckers of Carp — Johnston Family

Mr. Johnston had been a resident of Ottawa for over 35 years, but was born on the 3rd line of Huntley, about three miles from Carp, and has not forgotten the scenes of his boy and young manhood.

In the early days there were many of Mr. Johnston’s forbears in Huntley. Grandfather Robert Johnston went to Huntley from Ireland some time in the twenties. There was one thing about Robert Johnston, the pioneer no one could accuse him of not trying to make a living, for, according to his descendant, Mr. Johnston not only farmed but ran a blacksmith shop, made harness and conducted a barrel factory. Robert Johnston was known far and wide in Huntley and lived till 1863. The pioneer had four sons and five daughters.

Mr. Robert Johnston’s first recollections of Carp and Huntley date to 1864, when he was 10 years of age. Carp at that time was quite a small place. He remembers that it had three general stores, a tin shop, two blacksmith shops, three churches (Presbyterian, Anglican and Methodist), and two hotels. The hotels were kept by Wm. Dorley and John Brown. One of the storekeepers whom he recalls was W. J. Feather-ston. The Presbyterian minister was Rev. Mr. Sinclair, the Anglican minister was Rev. Mr. Godfrey. The Methodist minister’s name he does not remember. Carp Today Carp today boasts a grist mill, a small saw mill, and the factory where “Mello Creme” was made.

Associated more closely perhaps than anything else in Mr. Johnston’s memory is the Carp river. Just as the people ot Richmond love the little Jock, and the people of Renfrew love the Bonnechere and the people of Arnprior love the Madawaska, so Mr. Johnston loved, and still loves, the Carp. Why the Carp river was called the Carp he cannot understand as, so far as he could ever ascertain, there was never a carp fish in the river. There were, however, thousands upon thousands of suckers, sunfish and mud-pouts.

For the people who in the 1860s who lived along the banks of the Carp (and even back from it), the suckers were literally “meat on the table.” However few returned in the spring when the water of the Carp overran its flat banks, as ascended up the hundreds of small creeks that fed it, the suckers followed. By the thousands they fell victims to the traps and nets of the farmers. The farmers who worked hard all day at their farm chores spent half the night with torches in hand beating the creeks and forcing the suckers into waiting nets or into cunningly devised traps.

When the creeks were full, these farmers would build dams with one outlet through a sluiceway or flume, at the end of which was a big and strong net. Each morning the net would be almost choked with suckers, which would be divided between the beaters. The Carp River, according to Mr. Johnston is one of the most, crooked streams to be found anywhere in Canada, and it has the peculiarity of running in a different direction to that ot all its little sister streams.

The Carp has its rise in drowned lands near Richmond and flows in a tortuous fashion till it finds itself near Ottawa, near Chats Falls. Prior to the 1890s the Carp River used to overflow its low banks badly. For example, 35 acres or more of Mr. Johnston’s own farm used to be yearly flooded prior to 1891, when the river was dredged by the provincial government on a sort of local provement scheme. The work was done by the Barrett Bros of Ottawa, who shipped their dredging machinery and boat into parts to the Carp and put them together. The little river was dredged to a width of about 65 feet from the 12th line of Goulbourne to two miles west of Carp– a distance of 12 miles. This work stopped the Spring menace in its tracks.

Friends of the Carp River
The Watershed | Friends of the Carp River

Charlie Menzies — Talkin About Pickerel — Mary Cook Archives

Memories of the Pickerel Run Innisville

More Pictures of the Innisville Pickerel Run


The Carp River Floating Bridge

The Cheshire Cat — Native Encampment and Mulligan’s School

We went as far afield as Constance Bay, Rideau Ferry, a variety of Fall Fairs, upstairs at the Richmond arena and all of the aforementioned towns, but the favourite for me was Mulligan’s barn; located on the Carp road (long gone). read-

Cruisin Through the Dance Halls- From Carleton Place and Beyond!! Larry Clark

Musky Memories 1931 Fish Tales

Musky Memories 1931 Fish Tales

C. S. Morris of Ottawa caught maskinonge ( musky) measuring 49 inches from tip to tip while fishing in the Rideau River near Burritt’s Rapids. Ronald Gilmour, of the Royal Flying Corps, a former Almonte man happens to be a neighbor of Mr. Morris and brought the head of the big fish to Almonte, where is has been mounted by Mr. Shipman.

The maskinonge was caught under circumstances that make most fish stories look like pikers. It appears Morris had landed a small pickerel weighing about a-pound-and-a-half. Wishing to keep it fresh while he continued his sport the angler tied a rope through its gills, put it back in the water and secured it to a pier. Soon afterward he noticed the rope jerking as if under heavy strain and on pulling it in found the big “muskie” had swallowed the pickerel hollus-bollus.

There was a battle royal to land the big fish. After a tug-of-war lasting 15 minutes one of Mr. Morris’ companions fashioned a rude gaff with which the big fellow was hoisted onto dry land. The head, only partly prepared for mounting, was shown to a’ number of friends by Mr. Shipman today. When finished it will be a fine trophy.

Sept 25 1931

AL B Backi’ve fished there and one time i was bringing in about a ten pound pike and a muskie grabbed it,around the manotick area the muskie eat the ducks all the time,they’re still there,another time my friend and i pulled out two 4 footers about an hour part,it was fun watching people screaming and getting out of the water when they seen these toothy creatures breaking water…

The Fish That Tried to Swallow a Boy’s Leg?

Shane Wm. Edwards Findlay Fish Tale

Tales from Hudson’s Bay

Tales From Rocky Narrows

Little Kenny Morphy Went Pike Fishing

How to Really Catch Fish With Dynamite at the Glen Isle Bridge

The Water Dragon of White Lake? 1936

The Water Dragon of White Lake? 1936

OBVIOUSLY something will have to be done about these tales of a sea serpent. For a decade or more this area has been hearing of the monsters of the deep raising their monstrous heads in most unexpected places, looping their long bodies like some gigantesque gila monster of the African rivers, yet no person ever appears to spike, spear or spot these spectral things.

Gila Monster | San Diego Zoo Animals & Plants

In 1936 Almonte fishermen say they saw something that resembled a dragon off Pickerel Point in White Lake up in Renfrew county recently. The hour was after dark, it may possibly have been a chubby fisherman splashing about. However Almonters say it was a “terrible apparition.”

William Kruger, who hails from around Eganvllle, where people put even Washington to shame in the quality of their veracity and the measure of their temperance, revives the age-old story of a serpent “or something” In the crystal-like waters of Lake Clear.

With a head like a sheep and a body that plopped up and down like a few links of animated stovepipe, it came up for air, viewed the scenery and Mr. Kruger momentarily and promptly retired to its apartments amid those aquatic depths. ‘ Anyway, that Mr. Kruger s story and obviously he’s going to stick to it.

Maps - Discover Incredible White Lake Ontario Canada

More Lake Monsters–Moose or Monster?

Did You Ever See the Monster of Otty Lake?

Could the Giant Pike of Carleton Place Have Turned Into the Lake Memphremagog Monster?

Linda’s Dreadful Dark Tales – Minecraft Story of the Lake Memphremagog Monster

The Story of Caroline La Rose– Charleston Lake

Sea Serpent Captured in Chats Lake

The Ghost Ship of Brown’s Hill

The Sea Serpents of Lake Ontario

Shane Wm. Edwards Findlay Fish Tale…

Shane Wm. Edwards Findlay Fish Tale…


A picture of one of the elusive Findlay fish.

Shane Wm Edwards sent me this photo and it has to do with Findlays and a fish story as he said. Anyone know what this is?

Bill Russell I’d like to hear Shane’s version of the story. I have one of these which we hand moulded from the original in the late seventies. The original belonged to my late uncle Terry Russell. There were a few that made the trip to the Perth scissors factory for a nickel finish. Glenda Mahoney may remember her father having one of these.

Glenda Mahoney I certainly do remember. We have Dad’s collection between the four of us. Thanks Bill Russell.


Photo Glenda Mahoney

So what was Shane’s story?

Shane was told that when men were being trained to work the “molds” that they had to make a metal fish.  Before they were hired on the fish had to be up to standard and they were also bottle openers. I came across a small heavy fish Saturday and that was the story I was told. I wondered if anyone can verify it.

Greg Nephin– Not sure if this is a Findlay but looks familiar, was my grandfather’s who worked there

No photo description available.



Findlay Favorite Stove and Range logo

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte


Confederation Life Bulletin 1961 Findlay

Comments and Memories About the Carleton Place Findlay Company


Notes About J.K. Findlay

Memories of Findlays 1972 – “They’re Proud, Independent, and Resigned to the Loss of their Jobs”

Looking for Names- Findlay Foundry

The Inner Remains of the Findlay Foundry

From the Belly of the Findlay Plant….

Someday my Prince Will Buy Me a Cinderella Stove

Findlay’s 101 and a Personal Confession

Where Did you Learn to Swear in Carleton Place?

Funky Soul Stew was Once Cooking in Carleton Place


Cooking with Findlay’s — Christine Armstrong’s Inheritance and Maple Syrup Recipe

Commercial Centre Planned for Findlay Site

Walter and John Armour and A Findlay Stove

The Findlay Foundry Ltd. Closes—- The Video









Karen Dorman
Karen Dorman
Image may contain: indoor
In memory of Mary Henry who died in 2018–Henry, Mary (nee McEwen)

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4e – Innisville — ‘Neighbours Furnished one Another with Fire’

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4e – Innisville —  ‘Neighbours Furnished one Another with Fire’




There are about 6 huge pages about Innisville written by Thomas Alfred Code so I will do this in parts. This is the last instalment about the village–4d– Tomorrow the family stories begin.


There are a great many fish stories going, and lest my veracity might be questioned I will not say much. But, I have seen the net in our local waters so heavily loaded with catfish or bull pouts that one man alone could not lift it out of the water, and likewise with suckers in the Spring run. The spear was much in evidence. In the shallows, or under a fence at the head of the rapids, the wader– with a man to hold the bag– would lift them out and put them in the bag.

It was quite an art to pick one out gently so as not to cause a stampede. The people came from all over– say ten miles out– loaded up with a few bags and took them home. After dressing they were put in brine, then dried, and when cured provided the finnan haddie for the Winter; as I remember them they tasted quite as good. Eels were frequently speared, or caught with the hook, but mostly in the mill sluice box– with the mill sluice gate open slightly during the night– you were sure to secure a good catch; but they were not highly prized for food purposes. Pickerel had not been introduced to the Mississippi Lake at that time. Later Bennett’s Lake was stocked and this fish found its way down the Fall River by way of Fallbrook. They seem to have secured the ascendancy over the pike and black bass which were plentiful at one time, but latterly the waters have been very much depleted. I remember being chided frequently by my mother for bringing home so many fish.


We had little such as we have it today; but wild strawberries in the new land were different to what we obtain nowadays. Beds were to be found with berries as plentiful as you find them in some gardens today, and I think they were superior in quality.  Like wise with raspberries and thimble berries. Wild grapes and cherries were to be had in abundance, and in many cases were turned into refreshment.

Cranberry and blueberry supplies were ample, and obtained within two miles of the village (Innisville) on the shores of Mud Lake.

Some very good apple orchards were to be found in the district; and where apples would not keep over the winter they were peeled, sliced, cored and strung, then hung over the kitchen stove to dry. We called them “Fly Roosts”.


Of agriculture in the vicinity I need not say much, but the product of the virgin soil– thought the acreage was limited– was much greater per acre than today. The potatoes from the new soil were very prolific and of good quality. Crops were not subject to the pests we have.

Maple sugar was another product that assisted in furnishing the necessities for living, so with all those native luxuries the people were not badly off notwithstanding the primitive tools with which they had to work.

It is said that neighbours furnished one another with fire– taken from house to house. An old method was to strike fire with steel on flint or the back of a jackknife against a piece of dry spunk wood. It is told that some split matches to make it go farther. My experience dates from the tallow candle, and I have witnessed the coming of all modern conveniences as they came on stage since the early days of my time. Had the pioneers been told that those things would come they would have been skeptical. We may think we are near the limit, but are we?

And so..

The Ennis family and the Codes were factors in the prosperity of the village of Innisville. On the north side of the river were the Cramptons, Rathwells, Ruttles and Stuarts were leading settlers, mostly Irish. On the south side most of the settlers were Scotch: the McEwens, McLeans, Robertsons and Rathwells. (the latter Irish)

But few remain– I can only name four living that belong to the early generation, viz., Thomas Carswell, Daniel McEwen, Hugh Robertson and Benjamin Crampton; all men that have lived good clean lives– men of unimpeachable character.


Next– The Code Family-Family Stories





Photo- Perth Remembered


The first industrial process on the site was operated by the Kilpatrick family beginning in 1842 and established as a tannery shortly thereafter.  In 1882 a new owner, Thomas Alfred Code, established Codes Custom Wool Mill with a range of processes, including: carding, spinning, fulling, shearing, pressing, and coloring of yarns. In 1896, its name was changed to the Tay Knitting Mill, and it produced yarn, hosiery, socks, gloves, sporting-goods, sweaters, and mitts. Another change came in 1899, when a felt-making process was introduced and the mill was renamed Code Felt. The company continued to operate until the closing of the factory in 1998.


51 Herriott – The Code Mill is actually a collage of five different buildings dating from 1842. T.A. Code moved to Perth in 1876, and bought this property by 1883. Code spent 60 years in business in Perth. The business started with a contract to supply the North West Mounted Police with socks, and continued for many years manufacturing felt for both industrial and commercial uses.

Code Felt Co today– Click here..


Screenshot 2018-03-08 at 14.jpg

In the 1883, Mr. T. A. Code established Codes Custom Wool Mill with a range of processes, including:  carding, spinning, fulling, shearing, pressing, and coloring of yarns. In 1896, its name was changed to the  Tay Knitting Mill, and it produced yarn, hosiery, socks, gloves, sporting-goods, sweaters, and mitts.  Another change came in 1899, when a felt-making process was introduced and the mill was renamed  Code Felt. The company continued to operate until the closing of the factory in 1998. The following year, John Stewart began a major restoration and introduced new uses for this landmark. This impressive limestone complex with its central atrium now has an interesting mix of commercial tenants.-Perth Remembered


How did I get this?

I purchased this journal online from a dealer in California. I made every attempt to make sure the journal came back to its rightful location. Every day I will be  putting up a new page so its contents are available to anyone. It is a well worn journal full of glued letters and newspaper clippings which I think belonged to Code’s son Allan at one point. Yes there is lots of genealogy in this journal. I am going to document it page by page. This journal was all handwritten and hand typed.

How did it get into the United States?  The book definitely belonged to Allan Code and he died in Ohio in 1969.

Allan Leslie Code

1896–1969 — BIRTH 27 MAR 1896  Ontario—DEATH JUN 1969  Mentor, Lake, Ohio, USA


Andrew Haydon.jpgAndrew Haydon- see bio below–He was the author of Pioneer Sketches of The District of Bathurst (Lanark and Renfrew Counties, Ontario) (The Ryerson Press, 1925) and Mackenzie King and the Liberal Party (Allen, 1930).


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)




The Original Thomas Alfred Code and Andrew Haydon Letters – —Part 1

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 2– Perth Mill

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 3– Genealogy Ennis

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4a – Innisville the Beginning

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4b – Innisville — Coopers and “Whipping the Cat” 1860-1870

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4c – Innisville — Henry York and Johnny Code

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4d – Innisville — “How We did Hoe it Down”!

When Newspapers Gossiped–David Kerr Innisville

Kerr or Ennis? More about the Innisville Scoundrel

What Went Wrong with the Code Mill Fire in Innisville?

Little Kenny Morphy Went Pike Fishing

Little Kenny Morphy Went Pike Fishing


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  19 May 1956, Sat,  Page 21




Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  23 Aug 1958, Sat,  Page 12


Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.


How to Really Catch Fish With Dynamite at the Glen Isle Bridge

Memories of the Pickerel Run Innisville

More Pictures of the Innisville Pickerel Run

The Angling Adventures of John and Leonard McNeely

Feathers in the Dusk of Night-Hughes Island

The Harold Kettles Series – Blowing up Beaver Dams in Beckwith


Screenshot 2017-08-15 at 18.jpg

I have been writing about downtown Carleton Place Bridge Street for months and this is something I really want to do. Come join me in the Domino’s Parking lot- corner Lake Ave and Bridge, Carleton Place at 11 am Saturday September 16 (rain date September 17) for a free walkabout of Bridge Street. It’s history is way more than just stores. This walkabout is FREE BUT I will be carrying a pouch for donations to the Carleton Place Hospital as they have been so good to me. I don’t know if I will ever do another walking tour so come join me on something that has been on my bucket list since I began writing about Bridge Street. It’s always a good time–trust me.

Are You Ready to Visit the Open Doors?


unnamed (1)

Memories of the Pickerel Run Innisville

Memories of the Pickerel Run Innisville

innisvillexxx (1).jpg

Photos from Perth Remembered  (old bridge near the hotel)

Easter weekend in Innisville was not only visited by the Easter Bunny, but by millions of pickerel headed upstream to spawn. No finery was needed for the event, just pack your pants, jackets and some rubber boots.

The old bridge was jammed and the rapids were full with spawning pickerel swimming the seven miles to Mississippi Lake. Just after sundown the run began in the 42 degree water temperature with people from all over Lanark County and as far away as Ottawa and Toronto.  Most of them had flashlights and waited along the cold damp river bank for the ‘show to start” where the 8 inch water lapped at the shore. For as far as they eye could see, all the way to Ferguson Falls, was a seething mass of fish eyes in the murky water like lights on a pinball machine. When they complete their spawning cycle they returned to Mississippi Lake leaving the river’s rocks and vegetation with clusters of eggs.

All this was the result of stocking the river for over 20 years by the Conservation Club– The Carleton Place Fish and Game Club– that would lead to year after year of a prosperous  pickerel season that began on May 9th. The Department of Fish and Game was there to make sure people did not scoop pickerel up, as it was easy as that to get yourself handfuls of fish. Wayne Robinson and Percy Headlam were on the job in the late 1940s making sure you didn’t fill your pockets although rumour was there were many a pickerel dinner had around the area when they began to spawn. In 1949 there were plans to build more cabins around Innisville for all the folks that came up for the Pickerel season. Innisville was more than a passing few homes and general store- it was on the map during those days.

The first run began in 1910 when Herb Phillips of Smiths Falls and George Burke of Perth placed 38 adult Pickerel in the Innisville Rapids. Legend says *Mrs. W. P Kilfoyle, or “Ma” as most people knew her, had probably seen more pickerel than the whole village combined. She faithfully watched that migration every single year rain or shine. For a short time there were two bridges, the old structure and the new one, and both held thousands of people as the annual pickerel run got underway– it was the largest run in Eastern Ontario but the pickerel through the years *disappeared. In 1972 it was reported that it was a disappointing year and they blamed it on ice fishing, lights from the cottages, and the new Highway 7 $200,000 Bridge over the river for the scarcity of the fish.


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal19 Apr 1954, MonPage 3

*So why did they disappear?

Call it the case of the missing walleye. Ol’marble eyes, anglers’ No. 1 target and the ultimate shore lunch, is disappearing from some lakes in northwestern Wisconsin.

Adult walleye populations are dropping in these lakes and natural reproduction is sputtering. The stocking of small fingerling walleye, successful in the past, is netting next to nothing.

Frustration is setting-in in some communities where walleye has long been king of the creel and a top tourism draw that feed the local economy.

“The number one complaint I hear from anglers locally is, “We want our walleye back,” says Heath Benike, DNR fisheries biologist for Polk and Barron counties since 2003.

“We’ve tried increasing our walleye stocking rates and adding more walleye spawning habitat, and that did not help increase walleye survival or solve the existing problem.”

Right now, the leading suspects are:

  • Largemouth bass. Largemouths have been documented eating young walleye and populations of largemouth bass, opportunistic and voracious feeders, have soared as walleye have declined on these lakes. Cause or coincidence?
  • Climate change. Northwestern Wisconsin has gotten warmer and its growing seasons have gotten longer over the last 50 years. Have these changes favored largemouth bass at walleyes’ expense?
  • Lower lake levels. Prolonged drought has left walleye spawning grounds high and dry on some lakes. Did plunging water levels sink a species whose reproductive success depends on having clean gravel or rock cobble along wild shorelines?
  • Clearer water. Pollution control efforts and the drought have increased underwater visibility in many lakes. In clearer lakes, light-sensitive walleye must go deeper to be comfortable, reducing their overall habitat and giving largemouth bass an advantage sight-feeding in the food rich shallows.
  • Fishing regulations. Have minimum harvest length regulations on bass worked too well? Has prohibiting bass harvest until late June in the Northern Bass Zone hurt more than it has helped?
  • Catch-and-release. More anglers are releasing more bass to fight another day. Walleye are a different story. Has catch-and-release of largemouth bass become too much of a good thing?

Popular sentiment and some fish biologists finger largemouth bass as the leading suspect, but there’s no smoking gun, says Steve Avelallemant, a DNR fisheries biologist in northern Wisconsin for the last 25 years and top fisheries supervisor in the region.


Thanks to Nancy Hudson.. she has sent us two photos.. Thank you Nancy!!–Here are a couple of pictures to go along with your Innisville theme today. The aerial shot was taken in 1958-9 when the current highway 7 was being built. The other is of the village bridge which was taken down in the late 70’s. My grandfather, Walter White and later my parents lived in one of the Ennis homes in the village.




Bill Bompas game warden stocking the lake.. 1970s Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


 - - Others were using the river. Just below...

The Innisville Bridge-The Innisville bridge under construction in 1958-1959 was built by a Company owned by my Father, Willys Armour, Beckwith Construction Co., Ltd., of Carleton Place. Somewhere I have old colour movie footage of the construction and old F100 trucks etc. The company was originally located on Mill St., then moved to Flora Street.--John Armour

March 16, 1976        Elsie M. KILFOYLE

Elsie McLaren Kilfoyle, affectionately known as ”Ma” around her native Innisville, died suddenly March 16 in Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital after a short illness. She was in her 82nd year. Elsie was born Jan 22, 1895 the daughter of the late James McLaren and his late wife, the former Eliza Ann Morris. She was educated in Innisville and on May 7, 1919 she became the wife of Willard Preston Kilfoyle who predeceased her in 1958.  Mrs. Kilfoyle was an active member of St. John’s Anglican Church, Innisville and worked hard in the Women’s Auxiliary and the Women’s Institute. “Ma” Kilfoyle is probably best remembered for her weekly social columns in this newspaper and in The Perth Courier and The Smiths Falls Record News. For more than 40 years Mrs. Kilfoyle wrote about the happenings in and around Innisville, telling about the visitors, the births, the deaths and the marriages, even how the fishing and tourist seasons were as compared to other years. She is survived by three sons: Stanley of R. R. #3, Perth; Wallace of Ottawa and Murray of Carleton Place. There are also seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren as well as a niece, Joyce McFarlane.  One son, Jerry, died in a car accident in 1968.  The funeral was conducted from the Alan R. Barker Funeral Home, March 19 at 1:30 p.m. with the Reverend Allan Gallichan officiating. Burial was at Franktown. Pallbearers were David, Ricky and Wayne Kilfoyle, James Carruthers, Allan Crampton and Frank McGregor.



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal22 Apr 1960, FriPage 29

Pickerel Fish Tacos

(Makes 8 tacos)


  • 2 fresh pickerel filets
  • Season with salt, pepper & cayenne pepper
  • Grill for 4 min per side then finish off by squeezing fresh lime juice on the filets
  • Take off the grill and flake in a bowl then put aside.

Pico de gallo

  • 2 tomatoes – diced
  • 1 white Spanish onion – diced
  • 1 Handful of chopped cilantro
  • 2 jalapeno peppers diced
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil
  • Mix in a bowl all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside

Lime Crema

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 tbsp lime juice
  • Mix together in a bowl and set aside


  • 8 small tortilla
  • Top the torillas with equal parts fish then top with a tbsp or 2 of Pico de gallo and 1 tbsp of Lime crème and garnish with chopped radishes and more cilantro

Success tip:

  • You can use any mild flaky white fish for this dish but always make sure it’s fresh.  We are using Lake Erie pickerel for this recipe.

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

Related reading

More Pictures of the Innisville Pickerel Run

The Angling Adventures of John and Leonard McNeely

Tales of the Innisville Hotel

Back Where I came From — Innisville