The Township of Nipigon is tying their flies in preparation for the Nipigon River Brook Trout Festival, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the world record brook trout. This family-friendly weekend will take place from July 17th-19th at the Nipigon waterfront and feature food vendors, live music, day excursions, regional history, and activities for all ages.
“The Township of Nipigon is thrilled to invite everyone to come out and explore Northern Ontario this summer at the Nipigon River Brook Trout Festival,” says Suzanne Kukko, economic development officer for the Township of Nipigon. “The story of the world record brook trout is the most legendary fish tale in the region.”
Nipigon historian and retired biologist Rob Swainson will be telling “The Reel Story of the World Record” during a special presentation at the festival. Swainson explains that by the late 1890s, Nipigon was booming because of the abundance of trout. “This 100th anniversary celebration will rekindle and awaken an interest in the incredibly rich history of the river and the town,” says Swainson. “After attending the Nipigon River Brook Trout Festival, I think people will be surprised about how this fish has really shaped our community.”
On July 21st, 1915, Dr. J.W. Cook, a physician from Fort William, caught the largest brook trout ever recorded in the Nipigon River, located just 60 kilometres up river from the town. Weighing 14.5 pounds and measuring 31.5 inches long, the headlines of the Fort William Daily Times
Journal proclaimed Dr. Cook of Fort William the “Captor of Largest Speckled Trout Known.” Dr. Cook was fishing with a party of three men who were guided by a party of nine, including lead guide Andrew Lexie from the Red Rock Indian Band. As per local tradition at the time, Lexie stitched the skin onto birch bark.
Anglers have travelled from around the globe to fish the Nipigon River, and today, the brook trout continues to lure fish enthusiasts from near and far with hopes of breaking the largest standing record. “The Nipigon River was a mecca for wealthy gentlemen anglers. Attracted to the river by countless articles in guide books and magazines, the rich and famous and even royalty, including presidents, congressmen, railway barons and Hollywood celebrities, all came to be guided and pampered while enjoying the fishing and scenery on the river,” says Swainson.
The Nipigon River Brook Trout Festival will attract families, outdoor enthusiasts, and anglers with over 45 activities, including water taxi tours to the historic native rock pictographs, aerial tours, hiking and kayaking adventures, the Red Rock Indian Band Pow Wow, family games, historic displays, a shore-lunch cook off, fireworks, and of course great food and live entertainment. Pro anglers Gord Ellis and Rebekka Redd will also be on site to host all-ages angling workshops.
Weekend passes for the event are $10 for the entire weekend and children four and under are free. For further information about the Nipigon River Brook Trout Festival visit nipigon.net.