Historic Sites of Manitoba: Good Harbour Fish Station (Good Harbour, Northern Manitoba)
In 1962, a state-of-the-art fish-processing plant was built at Good Harbour on the west shore of Lake Winnipegosis, about 35 miles as the crow flies northwest of Winnipegosis, ten miles north of Camperville and three miles south of Duck Bay. It developed as a result of the amalgamation of two commercial fishing groups, involving 17 fishers in total, from South Spruce Island and Camperville, as Winnipegosis Co-operative Fisheries Limited.
A natural west-facing harbour was augmented by dredging a channel. Wooden docks where fishing boats could moor were installed around this channel, with an electric conveyor to move 50-pound fish boxes into a 5,000-square-foot metal building with a concrete floor where fish dressing was done. Next to this building stood a small ice house (ice was made by machine or cut from the lake in winter) and a hopper for dumping fish entrails. Nearby were reels where wet nets could be draped to dry. Along a road leading away from the fish plant was a row of small bunkhouses where workers lived, and larger bungalows for the fishers and their families. There were two large tanks for storing fuel for boats and trucks, a grocery store, a small building for conservation officers from the government, and, farther away, a pile for discarding the fish remains.
Perhaps as many as 40-50 people lived at Good Harbour during active commercial fishing. Each day during the open-water fishing seasons, at least eight boats (each with the licensed fisher and two or three hired men) would leave harbour before dawn. They returned with the catch at mid-morning and spent the rest of the day dressing and packing fish, drying and mending nets, and preparing for the next day’s work. In the fish-processing plant was a manager and at least four workers who readied the fish for shipment. Daily, a semi-truck would pick up the boxes of iced fish for delivery to Winnipeg.
Photos & Coordinates
“New fisheries co-op opens near Duck Bay,” Dauphin Herald, 25 July 1962, page 1.
“5 years ago, 1962,” Dauphin Herald, 4 August 1967, page 6.
“Remembers good, bad of Winnipegosis fishery,” Dauphin Herald, 15 March 1978, page 3.
This page was prepared by Shelley Matkowski and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 29 July 2019