St-Lawrence Flows to the Sea – Acrylic on Canvas
|30 × 40 in
Being a diehard river fisher I have a romantic vision of Canadian creeks and rivers. When i first moved to Vancouver Island I was amazed how even small creeks could produce large salmon runs especially Coho. We were hunting for Grouse, pheasants an introduced species are rare on the Island, a guy was fishing with a spin and glow lure and suddenly hooked a large salmon in a small innocent creek. There was huge battle as the fish attempted to escape.
In Southern Ontario we fished for Brown Trout, which are also an introduced species. Trout fishing was a big deal and the local radio station reported the catches of fish on the opening day of the season. This was in the Spring when the land would be at last free of ice and snow. We were tired of winter although we loved ice hockey. We would get on out bicycles and ride into the Murray Hills, North West of Trenton Ontario where my father was stationed RCAF Trenton, Ontario. The water was clear and cold you could see the big smileys swimming at the bottom of the pool. Fortunately they were hungry and would rise to a dangling worm. Older brother had the fishing gene which was strong in our gene pool going back our ancestors who ran a thriving fishing business on Lake Ontario. Sadly they also had the negative gene which was gambling and got taken to the cleaners in the local illegal gambling hall, loosing the family fortune. However they never gambled the family farm which kept the kids fed and there were many of them. It was a treat as a young boy to visit the various farms and we got a sense of our heritage and were happy to be city kids, world travellers with our military father and mother rather than in the dirt.
The river depicted in the painting is Lake Superior. In 1963 Warrant Officer Ralph Scott and Dorothy Shepherd Scott, the Sergeant Major who ran the show Ralph was the head of the family but Dorothy was the neck, as the Baptists Saying Goes she was the real boss and ran a tight ship. We were transferred to Comox on Vancouver Island. Initially it was Goose Bay Labrador but some bureaucrat in Ottawa changed with a stroke of a pen changed it to BC. When you think about it I could have ended up at Memorial University instead of UBC such is the Fickle of Finger of Fate.
That is how we ended up on the new Trans Canada Highway with our aluminum boat, camping gear and my Dads antique, Johnson out board motor. It gave us nothing but trouble although I remember older brother pulling beautiful lake trout from the cold deep waters. That was probably why I am prefer river fishing, no stinky motors, where you have to mix oil with your gas. Finally the Old Man jetsoned that piece of junk for the new version which lasted for at least 30 years. That is when I bought my waders and fly rod and took up the noble art of fly fishing as the Lords back in Scotland did on their estates. That old aluminum boat which was indestructable sat in my back yard in Cumberland for years. My neighbour, who ran the local saw mill wanted to buy it. I stated succinctly use it whenever you want but it is a family heir loom stays in the yard. He never used it either we both went fishing in our imaginations, preferring the fantasy that way the fish were bigger and better in the minds eye. However the family diet was subsidized by our sporting ventures. We would have grouse one night, picking out the lead shot from the shot gun blast, salmon another night, trout and venison all provided by the weekend warriours. up at 4 am to get into the duck blind, boat or rambling along a river in search of the alusive trout or salmon depending on the season. Steelhead or sea run Rainbow trout could get very large like a salmon. They put up a huge battle when the hook sank into their jaw. You lost many of them to the battle before actually landing one on the beach. You would gaze with delight, marvelling at the their rainbow colours as the early morning light turned their sleek fish torso into the crown jewels. I had seen the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London, a pile of rock compared to an early morning Steelhead trout.