photos by Giovanni Capriotti

SHEGUIANDAH—Grade 4/5 students from across the Island learned about fish and wildlife conservation during visits last month to the Little Current Fish and Game Club’s (LCFGC) Sheguiandah walleye hatchery.

“The trips went really well,” said LCFGC President Bill Strain. “We had 17 Grade 4 students from Assiginack Public School, 23 Grade 4 students from Central Manitoulin Public as well as nine Grade 5 students, 15 Grade 4 students from Lakeview School in M’Chigeeng and 27 Grade 4 students from Little Current Public School.”

Peering deep into the water, students strain to see the schools of walleye and other fish that come to lay their eggs in Bass Creek’s waters.
Peering deep into the water, students strain to see the schools of walleye and other fish that come to lay their eggs in Bass Creek’s waters.

During the students’ visit they saw first hand walleye being captured in a hoop net, eggs harvest from females and males milked for sperm with a feather used to mix the two, fertilizing the eggs.

Bill Strain of the Little Current Fish and Game Club discusses the process of preparing the eggs for the hatchery.
Bill Strain of the Little Current Fish and Game Club discusses the process of preparing the eggs for the hatchery.

The students also rotated to various stations to learn about bass nest building, fossils, fish and animals, walk Bass Creek, learn about aquatic life forms, see how the walleye hatchery works, discuss invasive species and learn about the importance of wildlife conservation.

Volunteers with the Little Current Fish and Game Club collect mature walleye from the hoop nets to be milked for eggs and sperm.
Volunteers with the Little Current Fish and Game Club collect mature walleye from the hoop nets to be milked for eggs and sperm.

“This is our eleventh year bringing the students in,” continued Mr. Strain. “We had developed the resource (the hatchery), but no one really knew about it. Ms. Stringer, the principal at Little Current Public School at the time (2005), suggested the Grade 4s visit the hatchery as it fit in well with the curriculum. It went so well that we’ve just kept expanding it over the years, eventually bringing in Lakeview students and last year, Assiginack and Central Manitoulin students.”

As part of the program, each student also receives a fishing rod and tackle from the LCFGC.

Students from M’Chigeeng’s Lakeview School and Little Current  Public School try their hand at helping Mother Nature.
Students from M’Chigeeng’s Lakeview School and Little Current Public School try their hand at helping Mother Nature.

Mr. Strain said that the hatchery was doing well this year despite a cold spell which slowed the females from swimming up river to spawn.

“We have also seen a lot of variety (fish species) in the net this year, which is great to see and neat for the kids,” concluded Mr. Strain.

Instructors from all walks of life were on hand to explain the process of conservation to students visiting the hatchery site.
Instructors from all walks of life were on hand to explain the process of conservation to students visiting the hatchery site.