Fish, game clubs pitch hatchery case to Ministry of Natural Resources, Forestry

TEHKUMMAH—The United Fish and Games Clubs of Manitoulin (UFGCM) took their pitch for the establishment of a new walleye fish hatchery located at the Lake Mindemoya pavilion to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry on February 24.

The meeting, held at the MNRF’s Blue Jay Creek Hatchery, saw discussion focus around increasing the population of walleye in the inland lakes and North Chanel waters of Manitoulin.

Lake Mindemoya was the main inland lake of discussion, noted a release from the UFGCM. The release said that “the MNRF could not commit itself to any decisions until they finish the 2013 assessment and review the results,” but added that the ministry committed to having the assessment finished by August 1 and that the UFGCM would be part of discussion on the results.

The Gore Bay Club raised the question as to whether there would be any  objection to raising walleye for the North Channel, noted the release, relaying that the MNRF could not see any objections, but that the club would need to make a formal application for approval from the Upper Great Lakes Commission.

“I think it was a very good meeting,” said UFGCM president Jim Sloss of Gore Bay. “I believe that we made good progress. It looks like there is a very good chance that we may have some this year.”

Mr. Sloss noted that the clubs have had very good success in the past with raising walleye, although the last two years’ results have not been as good.

He noted that a fish and game club is being resurrected in M’Chigeeng and that the club members there have also expressed interest in the process that the clubs in Kagawong use with an old water plant intake.

“They are quite interested in what we are doing,” he said. Mr. Sloss said that recirculating pumps systems have lowered the entry costs of small hatchery operations. “For $20,000 to $25,000 and a leased site you can be up and in business fairly quickly,” he said.

Meanwhile the UFGCM will continue to work towards establishing a hatchery in Central Manitoulin anticipating that the results of the assessment will show no sustainable reproduction of walleye in Lake Mindemoya.