We operate a fish culture station (hatchery), located in Point Edward, Ontario. Throughout the hatchery cycle we give tours of our facility to any organization requesting one. The tours are attended by groups throughout Lambton and Kent Counties, such as public school children, cubs scouts and guides, seniors homes and service groups. Early each spring we also run a two day open house, which includes tours of the facility. The open house is attended by anyone in the area that weekend, we have had visitors from as far as Japan and Russia. Our tours and open house programs provide the opportunity to visit and see first hand, nature at work for about 3000 people annually. We maintain a public viewing and feeding area at our hatchery pond, this pond is stocked with Rainbow trout. Each spring we hold a kids day at the pond and allow every kid to catch a large sports fish. The fish are then released to the local waters.
In April or early May we run a 10 day fishing derby known as the Bluewater Salmon Derby. The derby attracts from one to two thousand entrants from all areas of lower Lake Huron and the United States. This Derby is our major fund raising project in support of the operation of the hatchery.
The Bluewater Salmon Derby permits an opportunity for a significant angling opportunity for all anglers in lower Lake Huron. For our annual Derby we have included several different categories for shore fishermen which allows anyone, including youth, to participate and does not necessitate the ownership of a boat.
One of our greatest achievements has been the operation of a successful fish hatchery, releasing 150,000 Chinook Salmon per year since 1985 and 50,000 Rainbow Trout each year for the last five years. The continued operation of the hatchery ensures a vital cold water sports fishery for southern Lake Huron and the St. Clair River. Without the annual stocking program from the hatchery the Salmon and Rainbow fishing in this area would be significantly reduced.
The hatchery functions are carried out by members of the Bluewater Anglers and all work is done with volunteers. A crew of four people with a team leader are responsible for the daily operating functions, there is a different crew each day. A larger crew of volunteers works one day a week to handle any outstanding maintenance and to test operate the emergency backup systems. The volunteer staff is managed by one member who is designated as the hatchery manager and he has an operating committee who are members in training to eventually take over as hatchery managers. The hatchery manager is responsible for all operations and maintenance of the hatchery and building. The hatchery manager reports directly to the board of directors of the Bluewater Anglers. Any maintenance items that cannot be handled by the member volunteers are contracted to local businesses.
At present the club has membership of approximately 300 and the club is governed by a board of 15 directors. All events are co-ordinated by a committee. Depending on the event the committees vary from 1 to 12 members for organization and more member involvement on the days of the actual event.