Fly fishing

Local fly-fishing enthusiast seeks heritage recognition for Saugeen River

DURHAM – Jack Serre is a man on a mission – to elevate the status of the Saugeen River system to heritage river status.

This would give the Saugeen the same status as the Grand River, the Credit River and the Humber River.

The process is long and complex. The first step would be to form a committee, and Serre has a list of people he would like to see on it.

He noted that before the water tragedy 22 years ago, the Saugeen was in the running for exceptional waters status. Everything changed with the water tragedy, and Serre would like to reverse this trend.

One thing he has in mind is an annual fly fishing competition on the Saugeen. He noted that the Lake Huron Fishing Club just stocked 60,000 rainbow trout (which he described as rainbow trout on steroids) in Walkerton.

It wouldn’t take much to restore the Saugeen, he said, noting that similar efforts have worked well elsewhere.

“Bronte Creek now has trout in it,” he said.

Removing the Truax Dam on the Saugeen at Walkerton was a giant step in the right direction, he said, but there are two other dams that need to be removed, including one at Maple Hill. Removing dams that are not needed for flood control positively impacts fish habitat, creating a colder, faster flowing river.

Serre also mentioned the work that Bruce Power has done to improve the quality of the river.

The removal of the Truax dam meant the removal of an obstacle to the migration of trout and salmon species.

“It’s a world-class river,” Serre said.

“And Walkerton understands!” he said, referring to the fish icons popping up all over Brockton. What is missing is a campaign to entice people to come and fish.

“Let’s connect the dots,” he said, “and put some money in the river… let’s catch some fish!”

Serre resides in Durham but spends a lot of time in Walkerton.