Fish raised by two Island elementary schools planted in local waters

Ian Anderson, a member of the Gore Bay Fish and Game Club plants some of the fish raised by Central Manitoulin Public School over the past few months. PHOTO BY RICHARD PANTON

GORE BAY – Due to the prolonged school closures in the Rainbow District School Board (RDSB), the Gore Bay Fish and Game Club (GBFGC) decided last week to plant the salmon fry raised over the past fall and winter by students at Central Manitoulin Public School (Mindemoya) and Charles C. McLean Public School (Gore Bay).

“Bryan Barker and I (members of the GBFGC) planted 88 exceptionally large and healthy Chinook salmon in the stream that enters West Bay within the M’Chigeeng First Nation,” explained Ian Anderson. He pointed out, “while normally students would be involved and in light of social distancing, coupled with the March Break, it was not possible or advisable.”

“A very special thank you to the students of CMPS, Mr. (Andre) Leblanc’s class, principal David Wiwchar, the chief custodian and many others that took the time and interest to make this micro-hatchery rearing of salmon from egg to fingerling such a  great success,” said Mr. Anderson.

“C.C. McLean did very well with this year’s program,” stated Ches Witty of the GBFGC. “We had about the same number of fish as CMPS had to plant and the fish were very healthy and in very good shape.”

“Richard Panton did a bang-up job as overseer of the micro-hatchery project (at C.C. McLean), as he always does, and the students and staff also did very well. It was a very successful project,” said Mr. Witty. “They all did tremendous work.” 

“The fish were in very good shape and they were planted in Bickell’s Creek (in Gore Bay),” continued Mr. Witty. “When they were released there was no resistance by the fish at all, they hit the water and were out of sight right away looking for a meal, which is a good sign.” He pointed out that Mr. Panton had brought the temperatures down to three degrees recently in the fish tank the fish were raised in to help them acclimate so quickly to being planted in Bickell’s Creek.”

“This is a great thing the schools are doing and we really look forward to helping them with the project each year,” added Mr. Witty.

“Everyone is committed to repeating this venture again this fall,” added Mr. Anderson.