Anyway, here’s a little last minute update. Back in June a couple of years ago, I sat with Shawn Carey, the area supervisor for Grey/Bruce, and Dave Reid the head biologist/manager of the upper lakes. Over a couple of beers (I had the brew, they had the diet cokes), I suggested that they could complement our program by raising a few fish of their own for our cause. I asked for the use of Saugeen adults only for egg and sperm use. I suggested 8 inch sized smolts only, and requested that all yearlings be stocked at Walkerton. I also asked that these fish be marked with an adipose only clip which would coincide with our regular program.

What the hell, it was a shot in the dark, but what could it hurt, a try is a try.

Surprisingly, the two bosses got back to me with an affirmative reply but with one condition. It couldn’t start immediately, due to the fact they had to find a home in a crowded provincial hatchery. That was the reasoning for last year’s late fall fingerling release of wild rainbow that the Lake Huron Fishing Club raised for the project. We seeded those 65,000 fish up into prime water in the Beatty late last November. The fish thrived in the new surrounds. We checked it.

This past spring we collected an additional 75,000 eggs, over and above our usual egg taking program. The adults were all tested for disease and eggs and survivors have been hatched and housed at Chatsworth Fish Culture Station since then. No disease or problems have hindered this program to date. The fish (probably stocked by our two clubs) will be released in March or April. It should also be noted that I approached the Lake Huron Fishing Club to make certain that this additional stocking will in no way alter our objectives, target numbers, and set locations presently used in our own program. These fish are an added bonus.

After discussion with Karl, a suggestion was made that the MNR might want to keep a thousand or so fish for a brood stock program of their own. At the present time MNR only utilizes a Ganaraska strain in their system, and haven’t gone back to the wild for eons to update their genetics. My thinking is why not have two strains in the system? …..possibly our Saugeen/Chambers Creek strain that could again, possibly be used in the future for stocking some of the bigger systems on both the Huron and Georgian Bay sides.

saugeen-steelhead-release Right now, all is fine at Chatsworth and we should be looking forward to some great additional fish to be stocked at Walkerton come spring. Working with the Ministry of Natural Resources has really been a coup for both parties and possibly anglers across Ontario. For the first time in eons we now have a new strain of rainbow added to a government hatchery and program….CONGRATULATIONS!