The Life of a Fisherman

by Thor and Lena Halgren

Thor: In 1927, when I was nineteen, I immigrated to Canada from Sweden. We landed in Halifax and come west on the train to Saskatchewan. I tried farming for a year, but it was no way for me to make a living. The next year I come to Winnipeg and took a job in a bush camp near Fort Frances. We cut outside lathwood and the pay was $3.50 a double cord. Then we had to pay back $ 1.00 a day for food. I stayed one winter and broke eighteen saw blades and lost four axes, so my profit was all gone. It was 1929 and hard times.

That was when everybody got into fishing. It was big business in Manitoba. A fisherman could be sure of food on the table. I went to work for the Northern Fish Company out of Selkirk, Manitoba. The Company owned the steam ships Wolverine, Keenora, and the Grand Rapids. Every spring the big steamers towed the fishing fleet— twelve or fifteen sail boats in two long strings—down the Red River and up Lake Winnipeg to Warren’s Landing at the north end where the Whitefish was. It was three hundred miles travel; took three days and three nights in good weather.

Lake Winnipeg was a highway for commerce and the Com- pany steamers carried passengers and hauled freight besides towing the fishing fleet. They brought supplies for the traders up at Norway House on the Nelson River, goods for the Hudson’s Bay Company, and goods bound for England too, making trips back and forth twice a week. The fish companies kept tugs at Warren’s Landing, and they