A Walk Around Town – Walk Q – Big Fish Story…or shall we say BIG Mosquito?

Excerpt from “Walk Q” in “St. Catharines A-Z” by Junius, originally published in the St. Catharines Journal on September 4th, 1856.

Can you imagine a time when the city was so small that when you opened the daily or weekly newspaper you would get updates about what your neighbours were doing? Writers of St. Catharines newspapers used to let you know who was having a birthday, who was going on vacation and who was expecting guests to arrive from out of town. I guess there wasn’t a lot to report on back then?

This week Junius decided to share with his readers various stories about what some of his neighbours were up to. Since summer is has ended and fishing season will soon turn to ice fishing season, I thought I’d share his story of a fishing expedition by some local gentlemen:

“A fishing party of five St. Catharines gentlemen, viz: Rolland McDonald, Henry John Mittleberger, John B. Damon, James Lepper and Thomas Shaw, Esqs., started on Monday the 25th Aug., for Collingwood and the head of Bear River. The party were absent during the entire week; and old Isaac Walton, the father of fishermen, never enjoyed a better week’s sport, than did they; for they caught barrels of fine speckled Trout, and other well-flavored fish.  The party were well supplied with fishing tackle, bait, 7 c., and had two horses to carry their traps. Henry says “the mosquitos out in that country are a caution to old folks; for they bit, not only through his breeches, but straight through his hide and hair, so as to draw the red.”  The black flies too, Pharaoh-like locusts of Egypt, of old, were.  The party came home fully satisfied with their trip, and doubly delighted with old St. Kitts.”

165lb sturgeon caught in Jordon Harbour 1939. St. Catharines Standard Collection, StC Museum, S1939.43.4.2

Big fish stories continued to run in St. Catharines newspapers for many years. Reports on individuals having a good day on the lake may not be commonplace any longer, but we still get those few stories covering local fishing derbies or tournaments. Perhaps if another 165lb Sturgeon was caught, like the one reported in the St. Catharines Standard in 1939, there would be more articles written about them!


Well St. Catharines, summer is gone for this year, but I suppose the good thing is that so has mosquito season.


Alicia Floyd


The St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre, located next to Lock 3 of the historic Welland Canal, is a leading local history museum and community gathering place, engaging visitors and building relationships with partners, while demonstrating curatorial leadership and innovative programming and exhibits. The St. Catharines Museum is dedicated to engaging visitors in the celebration of our local stories and the cultural identity and history of the City. We are a community resource that interprets, exhibits, researches, acquires, and preserves material culture and stories of St. Catharines.

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