You haven’t heard much lately about the Wiarton based Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen’s Association (BPSA).
Here’s why. Most of our conservation club programs have been on hold since the Pandemic declaration. Those include youth and adult archery and firearms training, women’s target shooting events, our annual Kids and Community Living Fishing Derbies at our pond, our tree planting and boot scrubber invasive species awareness programs, our open houses, and our annual Fund Raising Beef and Pork Barbecue..
Our 300 member club is best known for our fish stocking. In fact we have stocked more than 4-million salmon and trout since we began operations in the sixties.
While most of our activities have been put on hold, a small group of our volunteers have been busy daily at our hatchery. They have been feeding our fish and doing hatchery maintenance and cleaning during the pandemic. Extra sterilization procedures have been in use, as were social distancing and strict masking procedures.
Recently, masked volunteers completed two rounds of brown trout stocking at the Wiarton Marina. This stocking crew included club members, Ray Marklevitz, Al Sutter, Kevin Harders, Gord Smith, Mike Smith, Chris Thompson, Murray Garniss, Tom McKee and Stan McNeil.
In two trips these BPSA members loaded our portable tanker trailer with 13 month old browns and introduced them to the big wide world where they are expected to grow and thrive. On this stocking session we released 14,000, 6-inch long fish weighing on average 30 grams. The 25,000 brown trout still in our hatchery are part of our 2021 stock of fish which will be released next year. BPSA does everything possible to ensure the best possible survival rate of the fish we stock.
Before Covid our Wiarton based club stocked on average 130-150 thousand rainbow and brown trout every year. However in 2020, due to
Covid restrictions we were unable to obtain rainbow trout eggs. So we had extra hatchery space and permission to keep our brown trout longer than usual before planting them in Colpoy’s Bay.
According the BPSA Hatchery Manager Al Sutter “the browns stocked recently were believed to have been the largest fish BPSA has stocked in recent years.” Our club boasts the longest operating volunteer run community hatchery in Ontario. We belong to the 40 member Ontario Community Hatchery Program (CHP) which is funded by the Province and operated by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. Half of the operating costs of our hatchery are covered by the CHP.