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A Wintry Scene

From The Church Missionary Juvenile Instructor, London, 1866, pages 6-7

A MISSIONARY thus describes what our artist has endeavoured to depict in the frontispiece. It is a scene in Rupert's Land, at the English River.

"Paid a visit," writes the Missionary, "to Lac la Ronge fishery. It was a fine day, and the track good, and so we were soon bounding along, drawn by our dogs, to the sound of merry bells. Soon we descried figures moving far out on the lake. They were the fishermen overhauling their nets. Eight nets had been placed in the water two days ago, and now the number of fish taken out is 500 odd. Each net is forty fathoms long." The method of setting is as follows--

"A large hole is chiselled out in the ice about a couple of yards in diameter, and another at the distance of the length of the net; intermediate holes are then made of small size about the distance of the length of a pole which is cut from a neighbouring wood; a cord is fastened to the end of this pole, and it is passed under the ice from the large hole at the end by the intermediate holes to the other large one; then the cord is taken up by a boy, and the men, having the net prepared at the other hole with floats and stones attached, tie the end of the cord to it, and, as the boy hauls, drop stone and float regularly into the water until the net is stretched to its fullest extent under the ice. To overhaul the net of course the process is reversed. The men go out early in the morning, and, making a shelter with poles stuck into the snow and a part of a leather tent hung over them to windward, break the ice which has formed during the night, and haul back the net with its line, [6/7] throwing out the fish as they come to hand. The number taken in this way may astonish our friends; but when it is remembered that at times it takes as many as 150 fish per day to supply the station, and about 6000 have to be put in ice for the spring supply, these numbers are not so large, for at times only about 100 to 150 are caught in one night."

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