Geography Lesson, The Sea of Red & White


Conceived in the Fall of 1953 in a 22' trailer being pulled by a 1949 Dodge 4 door sedan, my life as an Albertan was started.  My father, who was born in Edmonton, Alberta, left home at the age of 14 and went to work at many different jobs, seemed people had to work for a living at an early age back then.  His father had immigrated from England and worked for Eaton's in Edmonton, Alberta.  My mom, her folks immigrated from Poland just after the 1st World War and were some of the true pioneers of Alberta, carving out the land by hand in a little dirt water town known as Vega, just outside of Barrhead.  I remember my Granpa Witzke had to use a pencil to dial the rotary phone (once they moved to Kelowna) as most of his digits had been whacked off from farm life.  My mom was born in Barrhead, Alberta.  It was in 1952 that my brother was born in Calgary and I followed in 1954, also born in Calgary, Alberta.  My folks travelled all over Alberta in that trailer, working with the seismic crews, and probably hit every little nook and cranny the Province had to offer, not an easy life raising two babies in a little trailer!

Why the history lesson?  Simple, I'm about to rag on Albertan's, well, not rag on them, maybe explain a little bit about them, and a interesting email I got a short time back from a resident of Alberta.  For those that keep up with my fishing reports, my rants and articles, you may have noticed that I bring up the term "Albertan" quite a bit, and its usually to rag on them.  Well, from the short history lesson at the top of the page, I have been blessed with the God Given Right to do so, because I am an Albertan and proud of it!

I will try and keep this short, as the email that will be attached at the end here truly explains it all, but I do need my two cents worth regardless, and this is not a rant but just another article.  We here in B.C. do love Albertan's, they keep our little town and many other town's in B.C. going.  We need, wait, the town needs, the money.  Come summer time and in this small town of Sicamous all we see is a "Sea of Red & White" licence plates, they seem to infest (OK, the wife just hit me on the head and said "infest" is to ugly, so lets make it "invade" instead, does that make them aliens???) the place.  I'd swear that half the homes in town are owned by Albertan's, absentee owners as many of us call them, and it does tick us off.  They contribute little to the lifestyle in a small town such as Sicamous, other than to be a proverbial PITA both on the highway, around town and on our lakes.  I've received many emails concerning "them" from other anglers, with the same beef's as I have.  They drive to slow in the corners, they drive to fast on the straight stretches (need a Lamborghini to get by them!), they park on sidewalks (actually park pretty much where ever they want!!), they buy vehicles that apparently don't come with signal lights and, there are no consequences for their actions.  On the water, lord jesus, did you leave your brain in a bag at home, wait, you weren't born with one??  OK, I'm done.

Like I said, we love Albertan's, at least most of them.  I had one come up to me in the back parking lot at the boat launch the other day and ask why I parked the way I did, taking up two spots with my truck and trailer.  This particular area is divided into "two" separate stalls, with a small cement curb separating the stalls, I parked right in the middle of it.  After I told him the story about how an Albertan backed his camper into my truck when it was parked all by its lonesome at the boat launch, having a good half mile of space to park his vehicle, he seemed to understand my reasoning.  I must also say that the Albertan that hit me did leave a note and he did look after the damages, good on 'em!  Why the heck would I trust someone to back their truck/trailer into this area where you have maybe a foot of leeway between the vehicles, NOT!  On another positive note, I also had an Albertan come up to me just yesterday (its in my fishing report) and talk to me about fishing.  He was from Drumheller and you couldn't meet a nicer person, I almost even took him out fishing!

In short, we love Albertan's, did I mention that?  In the email from Mark Climan of Calgary, he points out several important facts, and definitely ones that must be mentioned.  Yes, it is not all Albertan's that are causing the grief.  There is the occasional plate from the other Province's or even from the States, but they are very blurry in comparison to the Red & White's. It also has to be mentioned that it is only a small percentage of those that do come to visit our little town that in fact cause the problems, I guess it just seems that myself and other anglers bear the brunt of their stupidity, where ever they may be from.  I can say that when I was guiding on the lake at least 80% of my clients were from Alberta, with about 15% from the other Provinces and the remaining 5% from the States.   Is it unfair to tag Albertan's as the troublemakers?  To single them out as the only perpetrators  it most definitely is wrong, but from the encounter's I've had............................not so much.  We've become very callous to the behaviors around town of tourists in general and, because most of the bad encounters I've had have been with Albertan's, be it on the highways or waterways, we are sometimes to quick to accuse them of always being the bad guy.  Yesterday this (photo) guy backed his boat down the ramp and appeared to be "undressing" it for launch.  Yes, it had Alberta plates on it!  My first thought was "what a moron, undress the damn thing up off of the ramp!" but in fact, all he was doing was making sure the boat was straight on the bunks by taking the tie downs off, backing it into the water and then driving it out of the water, obviously getting ready for his trip home.  This was all at 0615 in the morning, at least it wasn't at prime launching time.  My bad.

Thank you Mark for the email, it is much appreciated and does hit the nail on the head.  Your suggestions will be taken into consideration although I'm thinking a laser guided deck gun of some sort may work better, especially for those cigarette boats that are doing 120 mph on the lake, which by the way, should be banned IMHO.  All the best to you and the family and maybe we can get together next year and compare notes! 

If anyone would like to add their email to this, I'll post it, no matter what your opinion is, short of profanities of course. I do request that you put a name and town your from on it though, it's only fair to those that wish to express their opinions....Sherm   ***(Scroll down for all emails that are related to this subject)***

Hi Sherm.
> As a long time reader of your experiences, I would like to apologize on
> behalf of all Albertans who were born with a brain. For those born
> brainless, we can only wish them a fine Darwinian experience, and hope
> that they don’t take anyone with them.
> I own both a wakeboard boat (fish from it too, Blind Bay) and a
> motorcycle, that I quite enjoy. Both are always operated in an
> intelligent, safe and courteous manner. Please don’t lump us in with the
> “morons”, and please note that ALL provinces have their fair share of
> these exuberant people.
> I rarely manage to get to your end of the lake, but was there 2 weeks ago,
> for a fine lunch at Moose Mulligans. We tied up at the local dock and had
> a brief chat with some younger people preparing for a day on the lake in
> their $130,000 wakeboard boat (proud to say). The boat was as well stocked
> with booze as most bars that I have seen. It seems to me that if you
> could, it might be beneficial to all, if you had a chat with your local
> friendly boys in blue. Maybe suggest setting up a boat spot check near the
> bridges in Sicamous. If they could seize and dump the booze into the lake,
> it might make the fish easier to catch, and put fewer “out of control”
> people on the lake.
> Another suggestion, although I don’t know if it would be legal or not. Can
> you shoot a boat with a paintball gun? I figure that if you can hit him,
> he’s too close.
> Please keep fishing and writing. Don’t let these morons deter you from
> enjoying your passion. I look forward to following your blog.
> Regards
> Mark Climan
> Calgary / Blind Bay

October 5 2013

I got my first email with regards to this article I did, always happy to get other's opinions:

You know.... I have read your so called reports many times..... I am so sick and tired of you bashing the Albertans on "your" lake.........
If it was not for the Alberta cash that was spent in "your" area..... it would be a ghost town.
I too fish the lake.... and although I will agree it is annoying when a wake surf comes close to me while fishing.... it is what the lake is for and no one person owns it.... move on and stop bashing the Albertans on the road and on the lake. I just drove from there last night and was cut off by a BC plate and almost had to hit the ditch.... I dont go around making BC drivers look like they suck.
I will also guess that you have received your fair amount of charters all paid to you by Alberta money.

If you think it is only an Alberta resident that makes waves on "your" lake.... think again...!

I am certain I have been fishing and taken a wave or two from a BC boat.

Get Real !

Stop bashing !

If you dont like Alberta residents... maybe dont charter to them... then you can pick a side.

Thanks for the mail Ron and your opinions, the following email was sent back to Ron:

Thank you for your mail Ron, always glad to get another point of view on
things, I do like to keep things fair on my site. I'm not sure what your
referring to when you say "I have read your so called reports many times",
as that is what they are, honest to goodness reports, not sure what a "so
called " report is other than someone who blows things out of proportion and
basically lies about stuff, definitely not my reports. Your comment about
Alberta money in Sicamous is partially true although your "ghost town"
comment is far fetched, Albertan's aren't the only ones that grace our town
in summer and winter so I wouldn't be giving Albertan's all the credit for
keeping the revenues coming in.

If you read my article thoroughly you would
have noticed that I did not condemn just Albertan's when out on the lake, I
honestly have no idea where most if not all of the boats are from as I can't
see their registration number. As well, it is not anyone's right to be an
idiot and pilot a fast moving vessel that creates a huge wake near a fishing
vessel that is doing barely 2mph, that's just sheer stupidity. The lake is
for everyone to use in a common sense manner and unfortunately, be it a
house boat operator or pleasure boat operator, that lack of common sense on
Shuswap Lake is left at home, where ever the operator's are from. Alberta
drivers do suck, at least 98% of the ones that I have encountered and the
reason why is simple, to many years of driving on flat and straight roads is
what it boils down to, hence the turtle like speeds in corners and
Lamborghini speeds on the straights, its a no brainer to figure that one

As a retired Member and on Highway Patrol I also know that driver's
from everywhere suck at some point, judging by all the moving violation
tickets I wrote, its not just Albertans. Also, just for the record, if you
did read my site quite a bit you'd also know that I do not guide, so I don't
have to "pick a side", I am totally neutral on my observations and opinions.
Thank you again for your comments and opinions, I'm glad you frequent the
site! Sherm