Middle Camp on the Grand Cascapedia – a brief history
(From The Grand Cascapedia River – a History by Hoagy Carmichael.)
||Bay of Chaleur netted and spear fished for Salmon for export.
||Grand Cascapedia River first fished by Charles Lanman
||Grand Cascapedia River fished and chronicled by Harry Venning
Suffered from over fishing/netting stocks very reduced.
||Netting and spearing banned but still practiced by indigenous population.
||River closed to all types of fishing due to poor stocks
||Limited licences granted by government but lightly fished mainly by John Shedden
||Divided up into Home, Middle and Upper beats. Camp site was identified at ‘middle camp’ as place to pitch tents as journey from the lower river took one or two days by canoe.
||Lord and Lady Lorne (Governor General of Canada) granted exclusive rights to fish the river from lower camps to forks pool as 'perk of the job'.
Lord Lorne was son of 8th Duke of Argyll and Lady Lorne was Princess Louise 6th child of Queen Victoria.
They built Lorne Cottage at Rocky Gully in the lower river but regularly travelled up river by canoe camping at ‘Middle Camp’ to fish and on the way to upper river.
||Lady Lorne has serious sleigh accident with lasting effects.
||Two modest cabins built on middle camp site to provide relief from ‘the elements and the flies’ for Lady Lorne. One had a single bedroom and sitting room and the other was for cooking. These were probably on the site overlooking The Bar pool where the newer 'Ford House' is today (see below). The term ‘Middle Camp’ was coined.
||The fishing was removed from the Governor General’s Office and leased to an American businessman Henry W De Forest.
||The Cascapedia Club or ‘Old Club’ was formed of a group of eight wealthy American businessmen led by Henry De Forest and they leased the waters and camps including Middle Camp which had not been upgraded since being built 17 years previously. They decided to ‘spruce up’ the camp extending it to create an extra bedroom as well as adding a porch, a house for travelling service personnel, a guide’s house and an icehouse where ice from the river in spring was stored for summer use. The old club had exclusive fishing rights to most of the middle and upper river but rarely fished above the forks pool.
||Middle Camp ownership transferred to Emory L (Pat) Ford and Joseph B (Jack) Schlotman who takes over presidency of The Cascapedia (Old) Club. Middle camp was still rudimentary with no running water or internal plumbing. It was lit by kerosene lamps.
||Ford refurbished and extended the old Middle Camp buildings and Schlotman (who visited with his wife and three daughters and needed larger quarters) built a new larger cabin overlooking 4-24 pool on the site of the current main lodging house. The buildings were finished in time for the 1934 season and a dining room was built between the camps where it still stands today.
The Ford Camp, other than reinforced foundations very much as it was when it was first built
||Emory (Pat) Ford dies – his share passes to his wife Emily and their son Emory jr who continue to fish there each spring.
||Jack Schlotman dies (he was still president of The Cascapedia Club).
||Middle Camp lies empty as family in mourning.
||Camp sold to Izaac Walton Killan a business man from Nova Scotia (and yes he was named after the original Izaac Walton as his father was a keen trout fisherman and an admirer of the original Izaac and clearly had a sense of humour!). Both camps joined into one facility again.
||June 26th Schlotman camp burned to the ground. Ford camp still used.
||August 6th – Izaac Killan dies in bedroom of Ford house overlooking the river. Camp ownership passes to his wife Dorothy Killan. She is a socialite, and has a love of fine jewellery and baseball and hosts a number of sporting VIP’s and influential businessmen at the camp over the subsequent years.
||Middle Camp is refurbished. The Ford house (Schlotman’s house is still in ruins) is extended to its current shape and size with addition of extra bedroom and new entrance to the rod room.
The dining room centrally positioned between the two lodge building and adorned by many great salmon caught by a host of distinguished guests
||Camp almost washed away by massive flood by just survives although foundations upset and building sags at one end.
||Dorothy Killan dies and the camp is willed to two regular visitors and executives of Royal Securities Co., John R Hughes and Alan S Gordon. They both run the camp over the years for themselves, their friends and business contacts.
||Hughes suffers ill health and passes his share to Roger Baikie, a Montreal businessman. (There is very little detail about him in the book which I think may be a reflection of what happened during his part ownership (see 1982 and 2009 below). A number of famous people are invited including Bobby Orr (Hockey player) who caught two 40lbers (41 and 45) and many other large fish.
||Gordon and Baikie struggle to agree, fall out, and Gordon sells his share to Dudley Hughes an American oil man who fished and helped manage the camp with his wife Robbie - both of them caught 40 lb salmon during their tenure.
||New Schlotman house is built overlooking 4-24 pool to allow extra guests to be accommodated.
Middle Camp as it looks today from the tail of 4-24 Pool
||Entire Ford Camp temporarily lifted almost 8ft into the air to allow new cement footing to be inserted and new plumbing fitted. For the first time in many years this part of camp was 'level and firm'.
||US President Jimmy Carter fishes the river but does not stay a middle camp.
||June 11th almost 50 years to the day after the original fire, fire again destroys the Schlotman house with little remaining. Trees have to be cut down (by David Bishop and friends) to prevent fire spreading to other houses.
||Dudley Hughes passes his share of the camp to his daughter Cynthia Meehl. Despite having fished the waters for many years, and landing a 41lb salmon from Little Jonathan in 1993 she also found it hard to get along with ‘the dyspeptic’ as he is described in the book, Roger Baikie and soon looked to sell her share to the disquiet of camp staff.
||Two Montreal businessmen Yvan Dupont CEO of Axor (an engineering company) and Laurent Beaudoin CEO of Bombadier Inc. buy Cynthia Meehl’s share of the camp.
||September – an intrepid international team of ‘crack’ anglers fish the river with WhereWiseMenFish and impress the locals, but sadly not the fish, with their casting skills and varied angling techniques.
Sept 2014 - Part of the crack team of international WhereWiseMenFish anglers do their best to enter the Middle Camp catch record book!
For general info on fishing in Canada full details can be found on the WWMF East Canada Index Page.
If you would like to join WhereWiseMenFish at Middle Camp in 2015 please do not hesitate to get in touch. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: +44 (0)7711 519857
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT GRAND CASCAPEDIA
Success!! Martin Heitman from Norway with a 30lb Salmon and a worthy entry to close the 2014 season
A taste of what the fishing at Middle Camp can be like - June 2014 (a bad year!)
Click on a photo to see full size picture gallery
publication date: September 2014 by WhereWiseMenFish.com
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