Fishing For Our History

Fishing For Our History

The story of Lac La Biche is familiar to some, but our rich history would prove worthy of a PBS mini-series for many young people and new faces to the community. In the coming months, the Pelican will offer a small glimpse from our past and hopefully encourage a few of our readers to find out more.

It may not be news to anyone that the Lac La Biche region is often referred to as a hub for sportfishing, but you might be surprised to learn how critical commercial fishing was in developing our community. In the early 1900s, with two commercial fishing plants on the lake, hundreds of fishermen set forth each morning for their daily harvest. 

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Guests of the Lac La Biche Inn in 1916 display their catch. (Maccagno, Tom. “The Lac La Biche Inn: just the place for Jaded Edmontonians.” Alberta History, vol. 61, no. 1, winter 2013, pp. 22+. Gale Academic).

By 1916, whitefish from Lac La Biche became a staple on the most refined menus in many larger cities across North America.  By the 1950s, more than 2 million pounds of fish were harvested each year. The industry was instrumental in the growth and proliferation of other sectors in the area like ice-making, transportation, mink ranching and tourism.

Today, the 150 lakes in the Lac La Biche region continue to be famous for recreational fishing and boating opportunities. All anglers are encouraged to review the 2021 Alberta Guide to Sportfishing Regulations.

To learn more about the history of Lac La Biche, visit The Lac La Biche Chronicles at: https://www.portagecollege.ca/LLB-Chronicles.

image courtesy of photo contestant Matt Thiel

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