For decades volunteers have given Mother Nature a helping hand when it comes to fish populations in Bruce and Grey Counties.
The Lake Huron Fishing Club, with hatcheries in Saugeen Shores and Kincardine, along with the Bruce Peninsula Club have joined forces to stock local rivers and to raise young fingerlings of Salmon, Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout.
The sports fishing industry attracts tourists and the region of Bruce-Grey has one of the healthiest sports fisheries in Canada thanks to the work of many volunteers. Their conservation efforts have helped pump millions of dollars into the regional economy as US and Canadian anglers are attracted to a fishery that boasts “you can eat what you catch”.
The Lake Huron Fishing club stocks fish in Lake Huron as far north as Pike Bay while the Bruce Peninsula Club stocks Colpoy`s Bay and water as far North as Barrow Bay in South West Georgian Bay.
Spring is a busy time for the volunteers at Denny’s Dam on the Saugeen River where they catch Rainbow trout that are returning up-river to spawn.
The volunteers carefully catch the females and gently strip some of the eggs that will be sent to hatcheries in Kincardine, Owen Sound and the Bruce Peninsula.
The fish are then carefully revived in a tank of oxygenated water and released to continue their journey up the Saugeen.
The fertilization rate in the hatcheries is generally 70 to 80 per cent, while in nature it is only approximately three or four per cent. “We’ve had as high as 90 per cent success rate,” says volunteer and record keeper Grant McAlpine.
Millions of fish have been re-stocked under the process that is licensed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and is operated for the Province by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters under the Community Hatchery Program.