Column: What’s in a lake’s name?

Shuswap Outdoors by Hank Shelley

The other day, while thumbing through a Reader’s Digest, I found an article about how Manitoba names its lakes.

There is one person responsible for such things, and his job is to look into past military/historical records, or possibly an outstanding guide or trapper that a family wishes to have a lake named after. After all, Manitoba has roughly 100,000 lakes. Recently another named water body came up in the news. The lake was Peter Pond Lake, in Saskatchewan.

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The name sounds peaceful, but has a tragic tale to tell. It was Aug. 20, 1959, when pilot Ray Gran with game warden Harold Thompson lifted off from from Buffalo Narrows to fly to La Loche on a poaching situation. The Cessna 180 never made it but crashed into Peter Pond Lake. Gran’s daughter and son-in-law, using sonar equipment, found the plane. Recovered were a camera,knife and wallet. Interestingly enough, a ring was found on the edge of one of the wings. The plane can be viewed on Google.

But what about names for the multitude of lakes in B.C.? GPV and Helen Akrigg did much research on name places, lakes and rivers in the Province. The book BB Place Names is a culmination of digging through archives and many other sources. Locally, we have White Lake named after the RCAF pilots who found their bearings at night by the glow of the white sand along shore during training exercises around the Second World War. Kidney and Liver lakes north of Mabel Lake and Wap Lake. Rickey and Johnny’s Lake above Aspen grove. There’s Wapoose Lake, four Young lakes, two Duffy lakes, three Wolverine lakes and three Dale lakes. Many lakes in B.C. go back to early survey crews and Aboriginal names for places to fish gather or hunt. For example, Upper Arrow Lake derives its name from Kootenay natives in canoes shooting arrows into a cliff crevasse to see who was best. The cutest name I could find going through place names was not of a lake but a creek. How about Weeping Willie Creek near Skidegate Channel, named after a local logger. There are hundreds more names of lakes with a unique history, found on the index of B.C. Fishing fresh water fishing directory.

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Fishing report: Most local lakes are open for angling and reports are pretty good. Chironomid anglers are having good success. For those wanting to get into chironimid fishing, go to Google. Experts like Brian Chan will show you how.


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