Port Stanley Villager March 2020

Like cowboys after the cattle drive, Brown, Ron Casier – a retired science teacher, also of St. Thomas – and other LESTC members tend to the ranch, managing the forest and stream, trimming, digging and sweating. LESTC maintains its property as a nature preserve, featuring 120 species of native Carolinian trees and shurbs, including the Paw Paw, with its native fruit, as well as Tulip, Coffee and Cucumber Trees. Many varieties of birds, including the Green Heron and King Fishers, inhabit the area. The property is open to visitors 365 days a year. Tours may be arranged by contacting members. The park-like setting has come to be known as a community learning centre, frequented by many local schools. Bird and wildlife watchers bring their binoculars and cameras. Folks enjoy feeding the trout in the hatchery pond. The club is now also committed to wetland management and tree planting. Brown is chairperson of the ESC and Casier a director. Alongside Gary Brown, Gord Longhurst, Jason Gillard and Kevin Helkaa, the ESC directors manage Fingal Wildlife Management Area, Aylmer Wildlife Management Area, and the Calton Swamp Wetland Complex. Their ESC duties include restoring habitat through prescribed burns, wetland restoration, invasive species control, managing pollinator habitat, planting and trail maintenance. “All the conservation things that are popular these days, I’m into. It’s all for the better,” added Brown. “I’m into all this stuff. It keeps me busy.”

South Mill Creek winds through the club’s land, draining through a culvert underUnionRoad intoKettleCreek, just northof town. There’s also a garage on the lot, with a cement tank to raise minnows. From the hatchery to Kettle Creek, it’s actually a 36-foot drop and club members built some steps and pools up the creek, to accommodate spawning fish. Limestone was hauled in from Ingersoll.

These lucky anglers followed Trent to his favorite Lake Erie fishing hole.

To advertise here, please contact Joe@villagerpublications.com LESTC herds about 100,000 Rainbow Trout a year into the club’s fish trailer and hauls them to fill fishing and game club orders for stocking at Erieau, Rondeau and Wheatley. “We’re feeding the recreational fishing industry,” said Brown. In the spring, the fish swim up the creek to spawn, jumping and splashing. The Rainbow Trout run from mid-March to the second week of May, depending on water temperatures, but preferably about 52 degrees Fahrenheit. Hatchery volunteer workers collect eggs from the stream. The MNRF also supplies “eyed eggs.” Between March to October, the young Rainbows grow to four or five inches in length. They remain in the pond until the following May, when they reach 10 to 11 inches in length. In two years, the Trout grow to 20 inches, when they’re ready for stocking.

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Port Stanley Villager • March 2020 • Page 9

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