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Thursday, June 24, 2010

LINDSAY SELBY: The Cold Lake Mystery

Cold lake is northeast of Edmonton Alberta. There is a town there which was set up in the 1950s and the rest of the local area is mainly farm land. There is the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, located to the north of the city and there is a thriving tourist industry based around the lake .The lake is around 400 square kilometres and is said to be up to 310 feet (100 metres deep) in places. It was originally named Big Fish Lake by Chipewyan people who hunted in the area. Early fur traders and the Cree people called it Coldwater Lake, because the water remains cool all year.(Sounds like many other lakes that have monster stories)There is an abundant supply of fish such as rainbow trout, yellow perch, walleye, lake whitefish and northern pike. In all it is thought 23 species of fish that inhabit the lake. The lake is said to be the home of a large fish type creature .

A Cree legend tells the story of a young man who disappeared on the lake one night.:

Many years ago, before the first white settlers invaded the wildernesss around Cold Lake, when only mossy footpaths marked the passage of humans and rings of blackened stones protecting cold ashes told of recent teepee camps , a young brave lived and hunted in the area. One night, as he had often done before, he set out to cross the lake to visit his betrothed, paddling his canoe swiftly and strongly. Near the mouth of what is now French Bay , a huge fish rose from the water took the canoe into its cavernous mouth, and snapped it in two. The young maiden never saw her brave warrior again, but the pieces of canoe were found floating in the lake the following day.For many years after, no Cree dared to cross the lake.

It is claimed that the huge fish, named the kinosoo, made a habit of attacking canoes. A great story you might think and one that has little place in the modern world. However the local fishermen think differently:

"I would never believed it unless I saw it for myself. There I was, minding my own business, fishing for Lake Trout actually, when a huge wave crashed violently into the side of my boat. It was a calm day, I couldn't figure out where the wave came from or why it was so big.. Then I remembered Kinosoo. Since that day I have always been a little bit nervous when I go fishing in Cold Lake", said a local fisherman.

There are some big fish caught in the lake and who knows there may be a descendant of a very big fish down in the depths.


Dale Drinnon said...

I have references that infer that Kinosoo refers to a giant pike. I do not have that from official Cree language dictionaries so I don't know how accurate that information might be.

Syd said...

It could be that the Kinosoo objects to humans trespassing on its ancestral territory and stealing its food.

Christian said...

I have fished there before, and was unaware of the legend. I will be visiting and fishing there again later this year (A good friend of mine has been posted to the military base near the lake)...I shall keep an eye out for lake beasties.

Dale Drinnon said...

After checking several online Native American dictionaries, I can make a stab that Kinosoo means Big Fish Like A Snake. But I get no direct translation for the term anywhere and I do not claim that my guess is anything definitive.