Skeleton Lake Fish Hatchery (1953)photo courtesy of :Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario
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 Danson's for their Camp Winnabagoe activities.
The first phase of the hatchery was built in 1938, consisting of five rearing ponds and a jar hatchery. The dam used by Briese's was probably replaced. 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.
For the first two decades, the manager was Douglas McNee assisted by Myron Bethune. In 1950 Robert G. Creasor was appointed manager The old cement bridge over the Skeleton River was replace by a large culvert 2013.with Myron as 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 led by Aubrey Goltz while he was a Director of the Twp. of Muskoka Lakes Rate Payers’ Association, the property was purchased by The Township of Muskoka Lakes as a park.
The old cement bridge over the Skeleton River was replaced by a large culvert 2013.
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