Photo-news clipping from the files of Doris Blackburn/ Karen Black Chenier
If you have read-Myth #343 The Electric Eeel of Carleton Place you have read what Rob Gardiner said about eels in Carleton Place: “When I was life guarding at Riverside Park, we would tell the kids that an eel lived under the raft to keep them from swimming under there where we couldn’t see them. I worked there a long time, but I never saw a real eel, even though others will swear they saw one. The power of suggestion must be very strong”.
But, after I posted this news clipping above from the files of Doris Blackburn/ Karen Black Chenier I got all sorts of comments:
Shane Wm Edwards I seem to recall that they were doing this the year the Outward Bound Club at CPHS decided to take canoes out and canoe down the Mississippi toward Almonte. We had to carry the canoes past this point and there were still some small pools of water and in one of the deeper ones we saw a huge eel just swimming along the bottom. I had not known how big the eels in the Mississippi River could get. I think we only got as far as Appleton as some of our group seemed to enjoy capsizing their canoes as we went through some of the rapids. Then one group found golf balls in the river near the golf course and filled the bottom of their canoe with them. Unfortunately on the way back around Glen Isle the got swung around and the canoe tipped dumping out almost all of the golf balls.
There used to be some Americans, I believe from Detroit, who would come up every year to catch the eels and they would bring them to my father’s store to flash freeze them and then store them in ice for the trip home.
Llew Lloyd The eels that were caught in front of the powerhouse were referred to as ” Ling ” . Once they passed through the turbines and out into the waters below the dam they became “Electric Eels”!
Okay I thought Lloyd was pulling my leg but he wasn’t. In the Mississippi River you supposedly can pull long, eel-like creature from any dark hole — a hole that is could be an entrance to the underworld. Okay, I can maybe make a story about the underworld of the Mississippi, but I will save that for another time.
“I heard about such a serpentine creature being thrown to the ice during an ice fishing event but the long-finned tail swiftly wrapped itself around the fisherman’s arm. Face contorted with fear, he stumbles back from the hole, trying to shake the menacing fish loose. Such an angling nightmare could continue with the widemouthed creature clamping down on the jugular and sucking the life from our hapless angler but — as anyone intimate with the virtues of the ling will attest to — this is no nightmare.”
Okay, I will stop now.
Those who know the secret of the delicately flavored firm, white, flesh hidden under a rough exterior know ling are great eating. However, the first thing most notice is that they’re different looking. Some don’t hesitate to call them ugly.
To tell you the truth if they were remaking The Godfather into a Canadian version, I wouldn’t want to find one in my bed, but some say they make for a unique and exquisite fish. They say all it takes is a big mouthful of ling meat and what might be perceived as ugly and undesirable, suddenly becomes a delicacy.
The ling is the single surviving freshwater species of the codfish family and in Ontario ling are native to cold, deep lakes and during winter often share the habitat of lake trout and even walleye. Few break out in song upon catching a ling, but many, if not seduced by their beauty on the ice, are sold by their performance on the table– the dinner table that is.
I think I will never go swimming in the Mississippi River or Lake again– not that I ever did. I will just rename that watery area Electric Avenue.
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
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun Screamin’ Mamas (USA) and The Sherbrooke Record