The bluewater Anglers are a group of fisherpersons who are dedicated to preserving fish stocks in lower Lake Huron. We are a not-for-profit organization that hosts a number of funding raising events every year to raise money to operate our fish hatchery located in Point Edward, Ontario, which we use to restock lower Lake Huron with Salmon, Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout. we also have scheduled tours of our facilities to help educate the up and coming fisherpersons about what is involved in the maintenance of our local aquatic ecology.
History of the Bluewater Anglers
did it all start? For the part not
a lot of people know. Back in 1978 or early 1979 three fishermen, Pete Bothwell,
Rick Parent and Don Cox were at a sportsman show in
After a few meetings they said to each other “Why wouldn’t this work on the other side of the river”. Lets see what
three of them posted signs around town, at the plants and the old
The initial response was about 100 people who showed up for a meeting at the Sarnia Library in the fall of 1979. From
this first meeting 30 people signed up and things started to roll.
The directive of the first 30 members was to generate interest. Early in 1980 their was more than enough desire and the formation of the BLUEWATER ANGLERS was off and running. The early years saw membership of 600 to 700
interested fishermen and people who seen the value of what was happening.
Meetings were held at one of the local schools. With a broad range of representation, teachers, engineers, lawyers, construction workers, chemical plant maintenance and operators and retirees the emphasis accelerated.
April 10th. 1981 a charter was granted and immediately the club lobbied
the MNR for stocking of rainbow Trout into
quality, to deliver educational programs, to co-operate fully with government ministries and education establishments in
conserving our ecology and fisheries and to operate a fish culture station.
The late Honarable James Auld was approached & through his ministry 40,000 rainbow trout fingerlings were received
the Normandale Hatchery for stocking into
program continued and was extended with the support of the Honarable Allen Pope.
MNR raised & or purchased R.T. fingerlings were delivered to our waters
where the Bluewater Anglers Club members took over tagging of these fish for
the MNR and also provided creel census data to the MNR.
1981 the club formalized a request to the MNR for an experimental hatchery to
be built & operated by the Bluewater Anglers with the MNR providing financial
funding and technical support. The idea took hold and resulted in The Bluewater
anglers receiving grant of $30,000 in 1982 from
The community Fishing & Involvement Program for
experimental, or pilot, Hatchery
was constructed by members of the
BWA in 1982 on property of the MOE in Point Edward, The water pumping station.
2 wells, 2” sand points were drilled during the summer of 1982. the facility was ready in late January of 83 and stocked
10,000 Rainbow trout in February.
These initial Rainbow trout, approx. 25 gr. fish were the guinea pigs, from this first batch of fish it was learned first hand
to successfully raise Rainbow Trout.
The first stocking of Rainbows, from the pilot Hatchery took place in May of 1983 at an average wt. of 50 grams. In Aug.
83 another 8,000 rainbows were received.
were only 1.5 to 2.5 grams and were stocked into lower
7” to 8”.
In August of 1984 the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources sanctioned the Stocking of Salmon into the Canadian waters
the final year of the 3 yr. Pilot Hatchery Mandate.
the direct personal support of Allen Pope, the Minister of the MNR. The club
was authorized to raise Salmon.
A Small incubation trough was installed in the Pilot hatchery and in Sept. of 84 35,000 salmon eggs, collected by club members, from the streams of Rock Glen and Bright's grove were fertilized and set. These eggs Hatched in November
as swim up fry were on starter food by mid Dec. These original Salmon smolts
stocked out into the Cull drain in May of 85.
inclusion of salmon in the pilot Hatchery reduced the number of rainbows to
only 3,000 for 85.
the 3 years of the pilot hatchery operation 21,000 rainbows and 12,000 Chinook
Salmon were stocked to
It was understood and included in an agreement with the M.N.R. that success with the Pilot Hatchery program would be
one of the requirements needed to lobby for a full scale permanent hatchery . Formal support for the permanent hatchery
in Oct. 85.
By late fall of 1985 agreement was reached with the MNR. They committed to support the Permanent Hatchery
construction with a total financial support of $106,000 on a 2 for one basis. The Bluewater Anglers needed to raise
fund raising goal was met by the hard and dedicated work of Club members. Through
the support of citizens, other Clubs and groups, small business and particularly
the Industries of the
Our Club members built the Permanent Hatchery during the winter of 1985 with the drilling of 2 wells and the construction
of a 50ft. by 100 ft. pole barn. The facility was completed in September of 1986 with all equipment in place to raise
One came on line in Oct. of 86 with the release of 180,000 Chinook in May of
Chinook were released in 88
eggs were in incubation in the fall of 88 for 89 release.
The agreement with the Ministry was they would continue stocking Rainbows until 1988 at this point the BWA would
take over. To complete the hatchery as designed, for both Salmon and rainbows additional tanks, pumps piping and
were required. Another fund raising drive was initiated raising $50,000 for
operation and construction of the facility.
The rainbow portion of the Hatchery was completed in 1992 giving us an operational capacity for 50,000 rainbow trout
hatchery as it stands today is the same as constructed in 1986 with a few modifications
for efficiency it still produces some of the largest Salmon smolts of any private
the years the Bluewater Anglers have been involved with:
Fishing and education projects
of Sports fishing
of our activities over the years have been in support of the hatchery and our
goal of putting something back into the sport we all love and enjoy.
What do the Bluewater Anglers do in our community and for whom?
We operate a fish culture station [fish 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.
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.
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.
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.
The Bluewater Salmon Derby permits an opportunity for a significant angling opportunity for all anglers in lower
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.
What other groups do we work with?
Ministry of Natural Resources
St. Clair Parkway Commission
Sarnia Bay Marina Tournament of Champions Salmon Derby
Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Sarnia
Bluewater Bridge Authority
Lambton Kent Public Schools