5.1.4 FISH HATCHERY

        In 1938, The Ontario Department of Game and Fisheries purchased 18 acres from Joe
and Sadie Danson for a fish hatchery, the parcel including the dam site where the lake empties
into the Skeleton River, where the small falls would feed the rearing ponds by gravity. The sale
was under threat of expropriation as the area of interest was a good part of the area used by
the Dansons for their Camp Winnebagoe operation, so the sale was under duress.

        The first phase of the hatchery was built in 1938, consisting of five rearing ponds and a
jar hatchery. For 15 years, annual production was 300,000 speckles trout, 350,000 pickerel,
100,000 small mouth bass, and miscellaneous species such as muskinonge. In the late 1950’s,
pickerel production was discontinued.

        Production during 1970-1980 was:

Year Brook Trout Lake Trout Rainbow Trout SM Bass              Splake       Total

1970        183,950    65,250             5000      28,500                 282,700

1975        219,050    80,220           30,000      36,350      98,500      464,120

1980        108,000    62,400           44,280                182,170      396,850

         For the first two decades, the manager was Douglas McNee assisted by Myron Bethune.
In 1950 Robert G. Creasor was appointed as manager. Myron was his assistant. When Robert
retired in 1971, Myron became the manager. On Myron’s retirement in 1982, Mike Bohn was
manager and when he was transferred in 1984, Charlie Core became manager. Numerous local
people were hired seasonally to assist in the production.

         The hatchery was closed in 1992 due to provincial budget cutbacks and in 1993, with
local pressure, the property was purchased by The Township of Muskoka Lakes as a park


- History of Skeleton Lake, by Bert Danson, circa 2000.

- A History of Parry Sound Forest District, Department of Lands and Forests. 1964.

- Annual Reports, Dept. Lands and Forests, Ministry of Natural Resources.

- Newspaper clippings from Edith Smith, Ullswater.)

          - Office building exists, can we use it as a lake community centre - cost, protection?

          - Improvements to foot path to the falls to prevent further deterioration to site due to
          heavy foot traffic. May be owned by Camp Rama, not the Township
Skeleton Fish Hatchery, 1958. Fish Pond.
Skeleton Fish Hatchery, 1958. Bottle Hatchery Building for hatching fish eggs.
Skeleton Fish Hatchery, 1958. Main dam at Lake.
Skeleton Fish Hatchery, 1958. River below lake showing dams.
Skeleton Fish Hatchery, 2006. New flow-over dam.
Skeleton River. Falls down river from Hatchery.

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