Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Thornbury Fishermen

Catching up on the distant past, even longer ago than my last harbour visit, we headed for Thornbury one day at the very beginning of October.  There are a lot of very dedicated fishermen in the fall on the lower Beaver River.  Mrs. F.G. went off to her dentist (yuck!), but I was turned loose to take in the Georgian Trail bridge over the river, and look down on the fishing action. 

You may remember that this is an old railway bridge, repurposed for the Georgian Trail which goes straight through Thornbury.  It's easily wheelchair accessible, though the trails down below aren't.  As you can see, it was built to hold trains, not just a few lightweight people, or even 300 lb. wheelchairs!

Below the mill pond dam the river flows very quickly for a few hundred yards before reaching the level of Georgian Bay.  Those waters would be fun to run in a canoe!

Through the trees you can see two of the gates in the dam, one open and one closed, just below the traffic on the bridge.  And of course the fishermen.

Can you imagine swimming against that current?  Yet the migrating fish do every year.  There is a splendid fish ladder built into the dam, designed to look natural, and it's amazing to see how salmon can fight their way up there through a current much stronger than this.

Looking the other direction from the bridge, you can see downstream toward the bay, an apartment building on the right hand side.

There's a pedestrian bridge down there, and a very narrow island with steps down to it - and of course more fishermen.  Throughout the fall the Salmon, Rainbow and Steelhead all migrate up this river and through the millpond before spawning in the shallows upstream.  Fishermen wait in line, all hoping to capture the big one!

Here's a picture of that pedestrian bridge from earlier in the season - unfortunately not in the least bit wheelchair accessible.

Rest assured there will still be fishermen down by the harbour, fishing their time away, both here in Meaford and east of here in Thornbury all winter long - though not perhaps as many as there were during the spawning run that these pictures reflect.



20 comments:

  1. Those men will be there for a long time, patience much needed.Guess they all have their own place in the pecking order , when the salmon run is down south, probably on the Rakaia River, each fisherman has the same spot he has had for years, any newcomer has to fit in, and woe betide him if he tries to push in!! I wonder in years gone by, was there a warning siren when the gates were opened, like they do below hydro dams here in NZ.

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  2. Lovely bridges! Glad that pedestrian bridge is accessible now for you.

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  3. Are there any possibilities for you to try canoeing these days?I know from BBC breakfast that there are an increasing number of exciting activities for disabled people these days. There’s a guy who lost both his legs and an arm in Afghanistan who runs marathons and does goodness knows what. (Obviously I don’t know your medical details. I hope I haven’t upset/annoyed you. Please forgive me if I’m being irritating).

    How did salmon evolve to struggle up rivers like that? It looks impossible! I mean really! Luckily I’m not a salmon because I’m sure I would never make it.

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    1. The level and nature of my spinal injury, as well as my age limit me from most physical activities like that. But I love my 'walks'.

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    2. I am sorry about that. I have had very serious health issues myself this year and struggle to get even halfway down the road to the post box which would have been an easy walk on my way to work a year ago. Still, 9 visits to hospital and still no Covid has to be a bit of a triumph.

      I hope we can get to Switzerland sometime this winter (omicron permitting) as my husband longs to ski. He loves it so much. I just enjoy sitting in the sun and enjoying the wonderful scenery. I see from Instagram that they have already had lots of snow. It’s very tantalising looking at all the sunny snowy pictures when we can’t get there at the moment. London is misty and dark this week, although not that cold.

      I hope you and Mrs FG have a very happy Christmas and I wish you all the best for next year x

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  4. Die-hard fishermen (and women) never give up. There's a fish ladder on a dam near here, built for shad, but there are no shad in the river since they can pass a number of large dams downstream nearer the ocean.

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  5. Lovely photographs.
    Hope the fishermen/women caught some fish :)

    All the best Jan

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  6. That was nice you were able to get around as well as you did to get all those fisherpeople photos.

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  7. Looking at nature in the photos, early October could be light years ago. Love the photos, FG.

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  8. So glad to see that first bridge, so accessible and giving you a chance to take some great shots! Hope all went well at the dentist. :-)

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  9. Terrific shots. I admit, I'll never get the appeal of fishing.

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  10. Great photos as usual. You certainly have some lovely areas - it's a shame that more of them are not accessible. I have to assume the water from the dam keeps the river from freezing over in the winter so the fishermen can continue their pursuit.

    The curling I was watching last weekend was actually being played in Sault Ste. Marie, the week before in Ottawa. There may some available this weekend from the Manitoba Scotties but that's about it until the end of the month. So this week I had to do housework. :p

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  11. I have only seen salmon spawning once — in BC.

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  12. It's a beautiful spot to visit. Glad it's accessible to you on an amazingly nice day. Gord.

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  13. I enjoyed your roll! When I think of all the trains that used to run, the forests chopped down for that, and the train tracks lifted, it astounds me.

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  14. Lovely photos and had you walked they couldn't have turned out any better, I think.

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  15. ooooh such a pretty area, i really like that long bridge!! i am not a fisherwoman but that must be a hot spot!! i posted more christmas lights on my blog today, if you want to stop by!!

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  17. It is so fascinating to see the salmon swimming through. I can see why there were so many fishermen. Lots of bridges needed with a very fast running river.

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