By Carl Glatt
Created April 2, 2018
In late 1970 or early 1971, probably during a Christmas get together, Barry and Ed Murphy discussed a new adventure to get involved in. In their youth and early manhood, both of them had been involved in fishing. From Lake Couchiching to Cook’s (Farlan’s) Lake, they enjoyed fishing and the associated socializing immensely. In fact, as a young man Ed and his father John ventured into Northern Ontario and fished in the French and Pickerel Rivers. However, neither had done much fishing in the past several years although Ed occasionally headed out with his brother in law Tommy on Lake Simcoe. Barry had also done a bit of fishing in Ottawa and possibly in Winnipeg but certainly not much as family took precedence.
In any case, they decided that getting away for a few days fishing would be a great idea. Ed had a friend who owned a fishing lodge (actually 2 or 3 cottages) on the Pickerel River who could accommodate them. They also decided to invite Gerry Murphy, Ed’s son and Carl Glatt, Ed’s sister Jean’s son. Both were almost 25 years old…and had been working for 2 - 3 years. Neither had done much if any fishing since their time at summer vacations on Cook’s Lake. Barry invited Carl and Ed invited Gerry and after a bit of handwringing from both about the cost and the other details such as who would cook, etc., they both agreed to plan a 4 day trip to the Pickerel River. Ed volunteered to purchase the groceries and to be the chief cook and bottle washer.
The trip was planned for late May, 1971 and they headed up to the Pickerel and the cottage. The cottage itself was very small with 2 bedrooms and one bathroom (which was directly off the kitchen and a little too close to the stove for anyone’s liking). They were outfitted with 2 wood boats and had Ed’s 5.5 HP Evinrude and a rented 5.5 Johnson as the outboard “power”. The Pickerel is a beautiful, wide, and very scenic river…much like its nearby more famous counterpart, the French River. Carl had previously expressed his concern for “fishing in a river” versus a lake but was amazed at how large and inviting it was. Overall fishing wasn’t great but the second day, Carl caught a good sized 22 or 23 inch Pickerel which stood as the big fish leader for the next 2 days until Barry caught and landed a 12 pound channel catfish to win the plaque as the biggest fish for the first time.
One of the many highlights of the trip was the shore lunches cooked on an old charcoal Hibachi grill and which included gourmet delights like beans and chili. Another was the famous boating accident at about 9 PM when a drunk boater veered off the main channel and down a dead end bay. The resulting crash when he hit the rocks at the end of the bay sounded life threatening. When he was initially nowhere to be found, we assumed he had flown out of the boat and was lying somewhere on the shore. When we arrived at his boat, we were surprised to find him wedged up into the bow with a few nicks and cuts but nothing serious. He insisted he was fine and was quite capable of continuing…so off he went at full speed…hopefully not jeopardizing anyone else along the way.
This was a great start to a wonderful tradition of fishing and comraderie that has endured for 47 years and counting....