lake windermere

by underswansea

ron012Isabelle.

Spent the day looking at old photos. Remembering the big ling that ran the lake channels. It is a long weekend here in British Columbia.

The snow on the lake has melted off and the ice is glare, except for tracks. And there are plenty of those, mostly vehicles.

While I was taking pictures of the night sky from the banks above Lake Windermere, I could hear the ice groaning in the cold weather. Whale music, always a good sign, but can be unnerving to folks unfamiliar, especially if you are walking on it.

When I was a youngster I could see the ling below the ice moving in schools. I use to skate to try and keep up with them. Every now and again one would get close to the surface. If the ice was thin enough I could hit the ice surface with an axe and stun the fish below, long enough to cut a hole and grab the ling. It was a welcome dinner when presented to my parents. A welcome relief from wild meat.

My brother also fished. Setting nightlines in front of our house. We had a spike on a beam in the basement we would hang the fish and skin them. They were ugly fish but the meat was pure white. They are a cod after all!

These native fish have disappeared from the lake. Along with the salmon and most of the trout. They have been replaced with introduced species that can live in any conditions, thriving along with, motorboats, treated lumber docks and sewage.

The picture above is of my mother, Isabelle. She was a city girl brought home to the valley by my father after World War II. She is pregnant in the photo. She caught a ling through the ice. I know this because I have another photo of her holding the fish. My grandfathers 30 30 is beside her. The fir boughs mark the fish hole. The picture was taken by my father, off the island in Windermere, looking north.

I love this picture because I know how they felt. Isabelle is wearing army clothes. They were young. I bet they walked home slow, rising above the lake, taking every opportunity to kiss each other. And when the sun went down, they would have picked up the pace.

The cold, the lake and the way it moves will do that.

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