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 (Sources: - 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.) ISSUES: - 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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