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TRAA Walleye Hatchery

The TRAA and the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA), with the blessing of the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), agreed to the operation of a walleye hatchery in Fanshawe Conservation Area, just north-east of London, Ontario.
While this was a relatively short-lived initiative, it was very popular with members and the community at large. Many would conclude it was also very successful considering the exciting fishery that developed closely thereafter.
The Lake Erie Management Unit (LEMU) forced the TRAA to shut down the walleye hatchery after only three seasons of operation. The LEMU's decision was dubiously based on an American study, that the Thames River walleye were genetically unique from the Grand River walleye (the TRAA's source for eggs).
Interestingly, walleye (from egg through adult stages) continue to be transferred throughout Ontario waterways and water bodies seemingly without regard for genetic purity.


The UTRCA offered the use of a repossessed house trailer as an enclosure for the walleye hatchery operations. The trailer was gutted and refitted with the hatchery equipment and all that was needed was a source for walleye eggs.


Hatchery Site

After a couple of initial trial hatches of walleye, the TRAA was confident enough to locate the walleye hatchery in a more permanent and secure location within Fanshawe Conservation Area.


Hatchery Compound

Here's the completed compound for the TRAA Walleye Hatchery operations with thanks to the UTRCA for the location and the use of their well water supply.


Painting Hatchery

Painting the Walleye Hatchery "TRAA green". Note the outlet from the hatchery into the outdoor circular growth tank. The awning offered much needed shade to keep the water in the tank from heating up too much (even so, dedicated members were packing it with ice during the hottest days).


Kevin and Jars

Kevin makes the final checks on the newly installed "bell jar" incubators. Each unit was separately valved to precisely control
water flow so that the eggs were constantly agitated by
fresh water from the bottom.


Eggs in JarFry in Jar

The picture on the left shows newly placed walleye eggs in the bell jar. The walleye fry, pictured on the right, begin hatching soon after
placement in the hatchery and start swimming almost immediately.


EEggs in Bell Jars

Here you can see all five bell jars loaded with walleye eggs. Once the fry hatch they naturally swim upward and are taken away by the clear tube, into the black drain to the outside circular growth tank.

The fry were kept only for a short period of time in the growth tank as they became cannibalistic. After their short growth period they were released into weedy, protected areas in Fanshawe Reservoir to begin their new lives.