The Nipigon Bay Remedial Action Plan is about water quality, fish populations and fish habitat. These factors are especially important when it comes to the Nipigon River, the largest river entering the Great Lakes on either the Canadian or American side. On Saturday, June 7th, the Nipigon River was celebrated with presentation of an apple wood carving of the world record brook trout caught in the river in 1915 by Dr. J.W. Cook. The original fish weighed in at 14.5 pounds, a record that stands to this day. Although the original fish had been mounted for display, it was damaged in a fire at the Nipigon Museum.
The very moving presentation to the museum was made by expert wood carver Dennis Sinclair accompanied by residents of nearby Lake Helen, including Norma Fawcett, grand daughter of the guide who accompanied Dr. Cook when the fish was caught. The event was celebrated by residents of Nipigon, including members of the Public Advisory Committee to the Nipigon Bay Remedial Action Plan. The ceremony was held at the Nipigon Museum where the carving will remain on permanent display.
The Nipigon Bay Remedial Action Plan and Public Advisory Committee have worked for many years to address environmental issues in Nipigon Bay and the Nipigon River but times have changed since 1915, when this world record fish was caught. The Nipigon River has been utilized for hydro-electric generation for several decades. A central success story of the the Remedial Action Plan was implementation of the Nipigon River Water Management Plan. This agreement with Ontario Power Generation limits water level fluctuations, benefiting fish like brook trout which had previously been severely impacted by water level swings.
Likely, anyone who fishes on the Nipigon River would like to thank Dennis Sinclair for this wonderful piece of art. They might also like to thank all the residents of Lake Helen who attended. Their attendance gave this presentation special meaning. PAC member and museum curator Betty Brill deserves special thanks for organizing this event and for her work and the work of the entire Public Advisory Committee in improving conditions for fish in the Nipigon River.