Photo: The Frozen Catch

A coho out there somewhere...

The highlight of my summers growing up was spending time at my family's cabin on Savary Island. For anyone who hasn't been there, Savary is a stunning place. It is one of the few islands in B.C. with sandy beaches and very warm waters. When the tide goes out, tidal flats stretch for kilometers and host an incredibly productive habitat for all kinds of animals including star fish, Dungeness crab, seals, clams and mussels. Savary is also a fantastic habitat for coho salmon, who feed off the sand banks as they pass south to their spawning grounds.

One summer a friend and I decided to go fishing for these coho. After a long day fishing and nothing to show for our efforts, we returned home empty-handed. This was all the more disappointing since I desperately wanted to impress my family who were all up at Savary at the time. As we pulled into shore, my friend mentioned that he had a whole rainbow trout from Costco in his freezer and suggested we thaw it and pretend we caught it. I just couldn't resist. I put the fish in a bucket to thaw and presented it to glowing praise from my parents and grandmother. We had it for dinner that night, and it was the best salmon any one had ever had.

Fast forward many years and the story of the salmon I caught as a young boy is still a favourite family story. A picture of me proudly holding the fish sits in the family living room. Although I feel a tinge of guilt every time I hear the story, I don't have the heart to tell anyone my little secret.

It's their fault, after all, for not knowing the difference between a rainbow trout and a salmon.

By Jeffrey Lightburn


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