KTTPS students release
their Chinook salmon
into Penetangore River
By Liz Dadson
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Al Wilkins (R) of the Lake Huron Fishing Club, assists the Grade 2 students from Kincardine Township-Tiverton Public School, in releasing their Chinook salmon into the Penetangore River, Wednesday morning
Al Wilkins (centre, back) answers questions from the Grade 2 students about the various mounted fish hanging on the wall
The Grade 2 class from KTTPS gathers around a pond of brown trout at the fish hatchery
Grade 2 students at KTTPS with their school hatchery project which began last fall with Chinook salmon eggs
photo by Al Wilkins
After seven months of caring for their baby Chinook salmon, it was time for the Grade 2 class at Kincardine Township-Tiverton Public School to set their babies free.
Wednesday morning, they gathered at the Lake Huron Fishing Club's trout hatchery in Kincardine, and released their fish into the Penetangore River behind the hatchery building.
Al Wilkins of the fishing club, said about 40 fish were released.
The school project began with Chinook salmon eggs which the class received in October, 2013. The students cared for the fish through the winter and set them free in the spring.
Wilkins said 17 schools are involved in this program. Half of the group releases fish in Port Elgin at the club's salmon hatchery, while the other half releases fish in Kincardine.
"Our school program is in Teeswater, Goderich, Walkerton, Ripley, KTTPS, and Huron Heights Public School (Kincardine)," said Wilkins.
In the spring, 70,000 Rainbow trout are released into the rivers and streams, he said, along with about 110,000 salmon from the Port Elgin hatchery. About 60,000 brown trout are released from the Kincardine hatchery in October.
Wilkins said the KTTPS students did a good job raising the fish. "These are healthy salmon and in four years, they'll be huge."
During a tour of the hatchery, Wilkins showed the students the 120,000 Rainbow trout eggs currently in bins waiting to hatch.
"We do exactly the same thing here as you did with the hatchery in your school," he said, "only on a much larger scale."
Once the eggs hatch and grow into small fish, they are transferred into large tanks where they eat and continue to grow, and then they're released into the nearby river and streams.
Wilkins said the fish hatchery works with the Ontario Steelheaders to harvest eggs and sperm, fertilizing the eggs at the hatchery.
The club has about 40 volunteers at the brown trout hatchery in Kincardine which was built in 1992. Water is pumped in from an artesian well located at an old salt mine at Kincardine Harbour.
Currently, 1.8-million litres of water are pumped into the hatchery each day. That's 285 gallons per minute or 410,400 gallons per day.
To date, the fishing club has stocked the rivers and streams with 1.9-million fish - 1.4-million brown trout and 507,000 Rainbow trout.
For more information about the club and its work, log on to www.lakehuronfishingclub.com
To volunteer with the club, contact Wilkins at 519-396-9764.
Jude Hodgins (L) and Thomas Wall, Grade 2 at KTTPS, hold their buckets with their baby fish in, ready to be released
Al Wilkins of the Lake Huron Fishing Club holds up some brown trout eggs for the students to see
Students check out the bins full of thousands of Rainbow trout eggs
The students observe 10-month-old Rainbow trout which were to be released after the tour by KTTPS
Thomas Wall, Grade 2, at KTTPS, leans over to release his baby Chinook salmon into the Penetangore River, Wednesday morning ...
... and the fish is going, going ...
Al Wilkins (R) receives a great thank you card from the Grade 2 class, outlining what the students' fish would be thinking when they're released
Fish in the aquarium at KTTPS
photo by Al Wilkins
Students keep track of their Chinook salmon eggs in the classroom at KTTPS
photo by Al Wilkins
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Monday, May 12, 2014