Free family fun at HHOA fish hatchery
By Sue Tiffin
May 2, 2017
This year marks the 25th year of the Haliburton Highlands Outdoor Association (HHOA), the 20th year of the HHOA Fish Hatchery and the 150th anniversary of Confederation in Canada.
So on May 13, the Fish Hatchery is hosting a party big enough to celebrate all three milestones.
The hatchery’s family celebration will be free to all attendees this year, and organizers are expecting up to 1,000 people, based on high turnouts to similar events in years past.
Visitors will have the chance to see the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) helicopter that helps stock local lakes with fish, and a raptor and retriever dog show. A large obstacle course, minnow races, face painting, games and a bouncy castle will keep the kids entertained, while awareness of the hatchery will be raised through tours of the operation. A time capsule featuring photos of the history of the hatchery will be commemorated that day, to be opened in 25 years.
“The whole idea of the family day is to get the kids out, showcase the hatchery and what we do around there, and teach about the fish stocking program,” said Larry Hewitt, HHOA president.
More than 66,000 fish were stocked in local lakes across Minden and Haliburton last year, and the HHOA raised and stocked 39 per cent of those fish, according to a Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry 2016 report.
Bass Pro Shops will have a fishing pond on site for guests to try their hand at fishing, and the Ontario Fur Managers Federation plan to have a display teaching about trapping.
“If a kid hunts or fishes in his or her early childhood, 80 per cent of the kids that do that, they’ll do that as a hobby later in life,” said Hewitt. “If they can catch a fish at the hatchery that day, they might talk their parents into taking them fishing another time.”
The HHOA was awarded a federal grant of $7,500 to help organize the event.
Because large crowds of people parking on Gelert Road cause the area to be difficult to navigate, this year the HHOA is offering free shuttles to those who park at the high school in Haliburton. Some parking will still be available onsite.
The HHOA Fish Hatchery is located at 6712 Gelert Rd. in Haliburton. The HHOA Family Celebration takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and barbecue lunch is available for purchase provided by the HHOA Fryer Tuck Team. Tents will be set up in case of rain.