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Lake Winnipeg's Paradise Beaches

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Page 7

FISHING LAKE WINNIPEG
NAR: Fishing became the first occupation of the Icelanders and today fishing continues to be Gimli's largest industry:

FRANCES RUSSELL: It's the largest inland fishery in Canada worth about $ 20M per year

VAL WERIER: Lake Winnipeg is extremely productive Lake. It's because it's shallow. It gets the beneficent rays of the sun. And the production is unusual. Last year 8 M pounds of pickerel alone from this lake. And the pickerel, I think its one of the greatest delicacies around.

NAR: Fishing is a hard life. Lena Halgren's family have fished the lake since the early 1940s:

LENA HALGREN: I came to Victoria Beach in '42. We got married that year, August. My husband was fishing and we built here in 45. We were looking for land to build a cottage. At that time we got land for $1 a lot and we bought 4 lots. Just imagine. But there was nothing but bush.

When I first come, I was the loneliest person on earth no people around. Sometimes cattle come in the yard I was glad to see them.

NAR: Glen is Lena's youngest son. For 20 years he worked with his dad Thor in the fishing trade:

GLEN HALGREN: I think my earliest memory was when I was probably 8 years old. I'd go out with my dad fishing and he'd set a few nets. I remember being out in really bad storms. There were times when I first started fishing with my dad. And we had a smaller boat. There were times the waves would washing right over the boat.

Fishing was such an enjoyable thing. You'd bring in the fish. You sell it to the marketing board. Every week you'd get a cheque.

Then I fished for about 15 years. Then I started to get rheumatoid arthritis which wasn't the greatest thing for fishing. So I got into the publishing of the Cottager magazine. It's our tenth anniversary. Now we are very proud of it. It's something we really enjoy doing.

We sold our house in November Kathy and I moved into my mum and dad's house. It's just a different type of feeling. Coming home and just I don't know. I think opening up the windows and you'd wake up in the morning. And you'd hear the waves splashing up against the rocks.

LAKE WINNIPEG
NAR: This is a very special lake. 4th largest freshwater lake in Canada. 11th largest in the world. The lake literally throbs with energy and abundance. A source of fish hydro electricity, and recreation. As the reservoir for the Manitoba Hydro electric system it generates $200 M annually.

It's a lake of immense proportions. It's 425 km long and 40 km wide at the south basin, covering 24,500 sq km. Its shape, an inverted teardrop. It's 4 1/2 times the size of Prince Edward Island. It looks like an ocean.

The lake is ever changing. Sometimes angry. But mostly placid. In 5 minutes the lake can go from calm to a terrifying storm. Explorers called the lake The Old Woman for how quickly and violently a storm could blow up.

FRANCES RUSSELL: It's the intrinsic danger of it too because of the shallowness and its propensity for violent summer storms. There hasn't been a year since 1900 when they started keeping records that there haven't been multiple deaths on the lake.

NAR: The lake is thousands of years old. Thousand of years in the making. It seems it will be here forever. Four or five generations have enjoyed its pleasures. But how many more? Will the lake as we know it be there for future generations? Can we continue to enjoy its gifts endlessly? There are increasing concerns about its future.

VAL WERIER: Its significance is this. It's a microcosm of what happens to the environment and how we treat it. Lake Winnipeg drains a huge watershed starting at the foothills of the Rockies to within 80 km of Lake Superior. How people use their pesticide or how they use the land manifests itself on Lake Winnipeg.













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