April 10, 2007


Yes, those fish caught in Jonathan’s Pond (we called it Johnson’s Pond) and pictured on Audrey’s “Out and About” column. They certainly sparked a lot of emails back and forth. Thans to Ron Mosher (Class of ’59 for sharing) Here is some of the emails that these photos triggered…


“So what were these fish feeding on to get so big and fat? I did not expect to see speckled trout, thought brown trout would be more likely!

Bob Pelley,-  Class of 1962


Responding to Frank Stirling’s (class of 1960) question about possible sewage in Gander Lake, Ron had this to say.

“I wasn't aware of the extensive sewage run-off. I can't imagine it happening considering the lake was a water supply area. I know they were very strict about conditions even when we were kids because the pump house for the water supply was down near where we used to call the American wharf - where the concrete pier and the covered boat house was.  There was nothing allowed east of that area .

“I can remember my father telling me about the restrictions because he knew about them through working on the pumps in the machine shop". 

“The lake water was some cold, wasn't it?  Ever go swimming there?  Remember the time we found a case of beer cooling off in the water, Jim and Morley?  We grabbed it up and rushed up the beach dropping and breaking a couple of bottles in the haste. Then we broke the heads off a couple of more trying to flip the caps off the bottles. That was a great laugh.

-          Ron Mosher, Class of 1959

 “Yes, I remember that beer, I can't remember if it was a case or half a case, but I do recall finding it and breaking a couple of bottles in the rush to get it into the woods! I can't remember what we did with it after that! It must have had some affect on our young brains!

Thanks for the memory, Ron!

- Jim Butler, Class of 1959


Campbell Pritchett emailed: “I recall the lake very well. and spent many a day (and sometime nights) there. I spent some time on the lake in boat as well, as in 1959 and 60 I had a boat with a 40 HP motor, and used to go toward the Gander river end and sometimes  Soulies Brook, (I think that's how you spell it).

“The thing I found though, was that there we very few fish in the lake that you could catch from that concrete wharf or the one where the large overseas seaplanes used to use.

“The boat house you refer to was where Jack James used to keep his boat, or it could have been owned by the DOT I'm not sure. I also remember when Jack James built a boat out of a modified hull of a PBY Canso. He also kept that in the covered boathouse. That boat turned out to be very unstable to use as a regular means of boating, and I don't know whatever happened to it.

“You are right Ron, the water was very cold and I did swim in it, but not too frequently. I remember going down over the hill to the pump house one winter on the hood of a car, that we used for a sled, and we couldn't stop in time, and didn't think to jump off, and ended up out in the water. But then the water was warmer than the air. It was mighty cold walking back up the hill and then home in soaking wet clothes.

 “You probably remember Deadman's Pond, where we used to go swimming. Also there was a few good spots for fishing. I recall how busy it used to get  with EPA and Bill Bennett's company flying in and out of the pond both summer and winter. Fishing in many of the ponds was usually a good pass time and a good source of fresh fish, and I don't recall any of the ponds or lakes having any sewage running into them.

 “Like you and many others I'm sure, I have many fond memories about all the fun we had with what we had available to us. I also agree that there is too little control or restrictions placed on harvesting of wood, fish, and other natural resources. Who would have thought in the 1950's that fish would be scarce in Newfoundland waters? “

- Campbell Pritchett, Class of 1959


“Yessir Campbell,  I can remember the boat you had in '59-'60.  I think it was built out of plywood, wasn't it?  You took Bob Warren and me out for a spin across the lake one evening and when you were stopped at the wharf it was leaking like a basket where you almost had the bottom beat out of her hitting the lops so fast and hard. We had to jump in the boat so you could pull away fast and keep her going at top speed so that the automatic bailer would keep the water out while she was moving. 

Crazy times weren't they?  But, fun.

Jack James used to also run the search and rescue boat on the Lake, didn't he?  I'm not sure whether it belonged to him and was accessable for rescue on the Lake or if it belonged to DOT and he was responsible for it because he was Airport Manager.  I was aboard of it once.  It was a big boat with inboard gas engines.  Used to drink the gas, but, I think he could get his gas from DOT because of the arrangement with the boat.  DOT had a nice VIP cabin on the Lake, too, didn't they?  It was down by the wooden wharf, wasn't it?  The James' had responsibility for that, too, I think.  Wasn't there also a Shell Oil cabin there, as well?

 - Ron Mosher, Class of 1959

 Cam; I remember your boat! One afternoon when you were our boating I happened to be there with some friends who were visiting Gander and you gave me a fast ride in it!

I have seen seals, probably harbour seals, in the lake on at least one occasion in the early 1960s.

I remember spending many hours around the lake and the fires we could build with all the pit props that were scattered along shore.

In 1954 the scouts had a large camp at Gleneagles with two  troops from St. John's, one from Lewisporte, two from Gander and probably others attending. I have quite a few pictures of that one. Also in 1957 we had another camp there in early summer. I have photographs of Bob Warren and Morley Smith riding a horse that came by camp! Great memories!

- Jim Butler, Class of 1959


“Yes, I had a fiberglass boat at first ,and then bought a plywood boat off Bill Bennett. That one he sold me came with a trailer and I used it on other lakes. (That was the one that eventually leaked because it was not well put together). I bought it fairly cheap as I had an outboard motor from my fiberglass boat, that got damaged from hitting the wave tops too hard.

“I remember George Baker and I went across Gander lake and down to the end near Gander river, where we used to walk in over the hill to a pond and fish. We came across a camp site that appeared to be just vacated because the fire spot was still hot, but we couldn't find anyone. From what we could figure, it appeared to be some of the Indian people who lived around Glenwood area and did guide work.

“I remember taking Jim Davis and a friend of his to the same pond and we caught quite a few trout. So many we had  trouble carrying them back to the boat with all the other gear.

“I don't know if you remember but Jim drowned while fishing off the pontoon of a seaplane, I think in the late 1960's.

“I remember camping down on the shore of Gander lake quite a few times, as a matter of fact Jim Garland was with me a few times. We used to roast potatoes in the camp fire and had quite a few cups of tea over the fire as well.

“One note about an event not related to Gander lake though, was one time I went moose hunting with my father and Alex Abbott, (who used to work with dad at Imperial Oil). We drove out on the Trans Canada Highway near Square pond and  walked what seemed like miles from Alex's pickup truck on an old logging trail. There was a very light coating of snow and the temperature was very cold. I walked ahead of them about 300 or 500 feet and kept very quiet carrying my 22 caliber rifle. I was not going to use it to shoot a moose, but mainly if I saw another animal or bird. (I would not do it today).

“Anyway, I heard this loud rumble and the ground shook right next to me, and when I looked, wide eyed, there was this LARGE bull moose that had been resting and had jumped up when I got close to him. He was about 100 feet on my right.

“I took my rifle off my shoulder and aimed it at him in case he charged me, then thought better of it and took off running back toward dad and Alex.

“They laughed till they almost rolled on the ground. They didn't pursue him because he was a big fellow. So we walked about another 2 miles or so, and then dad shot and killed one a lot smaller.

“Now this trip began about 7 in the morning, but by the time we cleaned the moose and quartered it and got it out to the truck, it was early evening, and getting dark. I never forgave dad for killing the moose so far from the truck. We made quite a few trips hauling the moose meat back to the TCH.

“It was much better rabbit hunting, because they were not as heavy to carry. I guess it's a lot easier these days with an ATV to transport the moose meat.

 Well I guess that's it for now. More short stories next time.

Thanks for your tidbits about the lake.

  - Campbell Pritchett, Class of 1959


Remember this all started with a mess of fish caught by somebody that wasn’t even born when these guys were plying the woods and water around Gander.!!!!  Thanks for the fun memories guys. Remember more are always welcome here, you can contact these guys, our flight webster Jack Pinsent or me, faye@villagereporter.com