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Hook & Hunting: Sault Tribe holds open house at walleye hatchery

SAULT STE. MARIE — For the first time in its history, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians opened its walleye fish hatchery to the public in an open house Wednesday evening.

The hatchery is located between the Soo and Pickford on Shunk Road.

The Tribe invited people to learn about its walleye rearing efforts as the fishery’s staff prepare to transport and release upwards of one million walleye fingerlings into nearby lakes and streams.

The Tribe has been raising and stocking walleye to support commercial and sport fishing in the 1836-ceded territory since 1995. In that time, they have released more than 18 million walleye.

These efforts generate around $2.5 million in economic impact for the commercial fishing industry and just over $2 million in sport fishing activity each year.

“There is about a 53% chance that any adult walleye caught in the St. Marys River started at this facility. It’s just kind of a knowledge thing to get the public outreach and letting people know how we do it here,” said Matt Allard, hatchery assistant.

Allard says the hatchery is expanding to include a whitefish program.