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A Trout Lake fish story

Around 1924, a Medicine Hat firefighter lost his keys while fishing at Trout Lake. Jimmie Mowat’s name was inscribed on the key chain but he probably held out little hope of ever seeing them again. 


Ten years later, then living at Port Alberni, Mowat was stunned to receive a letter forwarded to him with the keys enclosed. They came from someone in the Uplands neighbourhood of Victoria who used the pseudonym “A.C. Angler” and explained the keys were inside a big fish he’d caught.

Trout Lake: where a fish was liable to eat your keys in the 1930s.


This brief story appeared in the Ottawa Journal, Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Province, Windsor Star, Calgary Albertan, Calgary Herald, Winnipeg Tribune, and Toronto Star on July 13, 1934. It was in The Vancouver Sun and Edmonton Bulletin the next day and the Boston Globe the following week. The wording was identical in each. But it’s not clear which paper the story originated from. It wasn’t in the Nelson Daily News that I can see. 


I can’t swear the “Trout Lake, BC” mentioned is the West Kootenay Trout Lake, for there’s a Trout Lake in Vancouver. But let’s assume it is. 


While we’ll never know who A.C. Angler was, we do know something about Jimmie Mowat, who amazingly enough has his own Wikipedia page. Mowat was born in 1889 on the Orkney Islands in Scotland and came to Canada in 1910. He moved from Medicine Hat to Port Alberni in 1925 and ran a shoe repair. In 1941, he was elected Liberal MLA for the riding of Alberni and re-elected in 1945. 


But his real claim to fame was that in 1949 he narrowly failed to secure his party’s nomination and ran instead as an independent. He won, doubling the vote total of the man who replaced him as Liberal/Coalition candidate. He was the last person elected to the BC legislature as an independent until Vicki Huntington did so in 2009. However, he soon rejoined the Liberal fold. 


Mowat was defeated in the 1952 election. He died in 1962 (the mugshot seen here ran with his obituary). I wonder what happened to his old keys.

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Bob Herring
Bob Herring
06 Ιουλ

Always room for one more fish story. I am inclined to think it is the Vancouver based Trout Lake, just because of their relative sizes. But, I don't know who might have caught a large fish in that lake! But that's another fish story.


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