Fraser River, BC - Aaron Squire
My Watermark is the Fraser River.
I grew up there. You go out on the river in the morning and you see the mist going down. You might catch the odd bear floating down the river or a moose crossing the river just to catch the next shore line and then he'll go off, doing his fishing in the morning. You look up and you've got the mountains all around you so you feel so small but it’s just beautiful, it's nice and green. And when it comes to fishing time it's very packed. You’ll usually get two or three runs a year.
The biggest fish I ever caught was a 27 pound salmon out of the river. I was about 17 years old and it took me 45 minutes to do it but it was well worth the fight. Well, I had three very excited adults down there with nets waiting and going, “Don't lose the fish!”. So I was fighting it hard with the fast water so you have to let it go, bring it back, let it go, and I'd do this for 45 minutes. Very tiring. Finally I got it into shore. It was tired out, and I was tired out, so they brought it out of the water for me. It ended up being almost three quarters of my height when they got it out of the water. They're big. They don't look like that when they're in the water, but they’re BIG.
My uncle had a smoker, so you would cut it up and then smoke it. My grandfather actually took an old fridge, one of those old ones with the handle that opened it up, and he cleaned that out, put a stack in it, and put different types of grills in there. You put your chips in there and lay all your meat. Every Christmas we had at least a full one or two salmon fully smoked and that was part of the appetizers. You go to stores now and you just get a little sliver of that for about 30 bucks! So it was amazing to always have that. I mean, I grew up with a lot of moose meat, deer meat, stews, and stuff like that, so very lucky that way.
It's been a long time since I've been on the river. I've been in Ontario for so many years now and haven't been down to see family in so long. I work away and I do a lot; I have to say it's been at least 15 years now. It's very expensive and it's hard to live there unless you've got a good job. So I found my work up here and so I've kind of been stuck, but I definitely have to make a trip back home.