Many hands make light work when it comes to BPSA traditional fin clipping

It took less than six hours when two teams of volunteers gathered at the Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen’s Association (BPSA) Hatchery to take care of an annual ritual. It involves clipping the adipose fin, the last fin before the tail fin, of rainbow trout preparing them for release.

This year’s afternoon and evening sessions involved 50 enthusiastic club members, young and old.

For larger view, Click on Image

Kevin Harders the BPSA Fish Committee Chair says, “Clipping does not affect the fish and is for identification purposes only.” All fish raised in an Ontario hatchery for over 12 months must be clipped. Clipping allows researchers and future anglers to identify if a fish began life in a hatchery or spent its initial years in the wild.

These rainbow trout, 25 thousand of them, all raised at the BPSA facility, are placed in trays before the scissors come into play.

Clipped yearling trout then flow back into their tanks for a few weeks with stocking expected in early April. Another 25-thousand fish brown trout, are expected to be stocked in July.


All of the work done raising and stocking fish is done by volunteers.

             (L-R) BPSA members Karen Thomas, Natalie Machalko and Alison Gibson take a turn fin clipping

Not long ago a provincial official paid tribute to our BPSA volunteers.

In 2020, Ontario’s Natural Resources and Forestry Minister described our club as: “… a Community Hatchery Program supported group with 51 hatchery volunteers who donated over 1,500 hours a year raising and stocking 74,645 Rainbow Trout fingerlings, 23,078 Rainbow Trout yearlings and 27,270 Brown Trout fingerlings in 2019.”

It is estimated that each fish stocked is worth $30 to the community where it is stocked. Since the sixties, BPSA has stocked more than four million fish in Grey-Bruce waters. The 280 member BPSA was established in the sixties to “preserve and enhance fish and wildlife.” BPSA has the longest running volunteer-run fish hatchery in Ontario.

Other BPSA activities include youth, adult and women’s firearms training, youth and adult archery, tree planting, an invasive species awareness program as well as our open houses and the annual BPSA Kids Fishing Derby. Check the BPSA site for dates of upcoming club events:

If you are curious about the conservation group and its aim of preserving and enhancing fish and wildlife, visit:

Regular club meetings are held on the last Thursday night of the month at the BPSA clubhouse on North Acres Road west of Wiarton.