C.C. McLean students stock healthy fish in Bickell’s Creek

A group of Charles C. McLean Public School students and staff members stock Chinook Salmon in Bickell’s Creek, in Gore Bay, last week. The students had raised the fish, provided by the Gore Bay Fish and Game Club in a micro-hatchery in the school, this winter.

GORE BAY—A group of Charles C. McLean elementary school students and staff completed a very successful program this year, raising fish in the school microhatchery this winter and stocking the large, healthy fish last week.

“It went really well,” said Ches Witty of the Gore Bay Fish and Game Club (GBFGC), who provided the fish and the microhatchery for the school to raise the Chinook salmon this winter. “They had a really good success rate of fish raised and stocked. We as a club are really pleased the school did such a great job. Special thanks to (school custodian) Richard Panton for his input and tremendous help in raising and taking care of the fish.”

In November 2018, Chinook salmon eggs were put in the micro-hatchery. Grade 1/2 teacher Christa Flood, along with fellow teacher Laura Hagman (Grade 2/3) and Grade 5-7 students Blaec Quinlan, Greyson Orford, Kowan Orford, Ethan Witty, Rylan Lock, Wyatt Williamson-Wright, Corbin Best, Alexis McVey and school custodian Richard Panton took care of the fish.

Members of the GBFGC and volunteers took Chinook salmon spawn from the Kgawong River for the micro-hatcheries at C.C. McLean and Central Manitoulin Public School in Mindemoya this winter. This program is a joint educational venture involving the MNRF Sudbury District, the GBFGC and the two Island schools.

Mr. Panton told the Recorder the C.C. McLean fish were planted in Bickell’s Creek in Gore Bay on Wednesday of last week, with 104 being stocked.”

“This year I was brought on board to help out (as custodian Dave Robinson does at CMPS),” said Mr. Panton. “I did a bit of research and we had a little more success this year.” He pointed out that he helped in devising an easier system to dechlorinate the water used in the microhatchery.

“The students were really involved this year; they monitored the water and fish and helped change the water in the microhatchery and would do water readings that I would put I would put in a journal,” said Mr. Panton. “They enjoyed it and I think it is nice that they get to be part of this type of program and basically see the whole life cycle process of the fish.” He pointed out the fish were put in the microhatchery tank on November 13 and spent over 160 days there until their release last week.

“The fish were in very good shape, big and healthy,” said Mr. Witty. “By the time the principal got out of her van to the edge of the water to see the fish released the fish were gone. They (fish) were ready to go and once they were released they took off. It was really nice to see.”

The students took part in a contest put on by the GBFGC, with students estimating the number of fish to be stocked and the closest winning a prize. “Ethan Witty won and we presented him with a fishing rod on behalf of the fish and game club. He was one fish off on his prediction, he estimated there were 103 fish.”

Mr. Panton added when the fish were stocked last week, “they were on average four inches long and very healthy.”