Pennask Lake Lodge circa 1958. (Contributed)

Column: Pineapple connection to popular B.C. fishing lake

Shuswap Outdoors by Hank Shelley

The Dole name brand stands out across most retail food stores in the Shuswap, and for that matter all of B.C., for pineapples and products containing the tropical fruit.

Reasonably priced and good for you, pineapples take two years to mature and to have them in our stores at such a reasonable price.

Founder James Dole, who started his pineapple kingdom in Hawaii back in 1927, had a B.C. connection.

It was a love of fishing. Born in Massachusetts in Sept. 1877, he earned a B. of agriculture and Harvard in 1927 and moved to Hawaii where he purchased land and started growing pineapples. It was a great success. He then expanded into a cannery and packing plant.

Buying land on the island of Lanai, the company planted 20,000 acres of pineapple.

On his fishing trips to B.C. around 1928, he went up the Deadman Valley past Savona, to great trout fishing at HiHium lake. He encouraged the owners to pack in rowboats on horseback, with locals cutting trails.

This they did to an untapped wilderness adventure.

Read more: Column: Tracking the monarch butterfly and the illegal trade of wildlife

Read more: Column: Predators to be on the watch for in the Shuswap

Next trip to B.C. was in September 1927, with wife Belle, two employees and three friends, who managed the lodge at Fish Lake (Lac Le Jeune) near Kamloops. Dole camped for a week at Pennask. His dream was to have a lake of perfect fishing, teeming with attractions he and friends could call their own. To control the foreshore, and fly fishing only, he established the Pennask Lake Club in June 1930. Limited to 50 members at $1,000 per member, several prominent U.S. citizens joined. A lodge was built but underutilized over time.

It was not until the late 1940s that the Pennask Lake Fishing and Game Club, with new financing, gained prominence, but under Canadian control. Dole made many fishing trips to his beloved two angling lakes, until May of 1958 when he passed of a heart attack.

The Queen stayed at Pennask on a visit about that time. Ray Redstone also had a lodge there.

While working at the S&K plywood plant in Kelowna as a very young guy, a buddy and I used to Jeep through bog holes and cut out fallen trees for some wonderful fly fishing at Pennask Lake, and shook hands with Mr. Dole.

Get your tickets for the Salmon Arm Fish and Game Club dinner and dance on Saturday, February 15. Tickets are available at Westside Stores.

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