BPSA hosts annual Community Living fishing derby

Stu Paterson emcees the 2019 BPSA Community Living Fishing Derby

There were smiles and there was laughter around the Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen’s Association (BPSA) fish pond.

This outbreak of joy took place on a recent Sunday afternoon at the Community Living Fishing Derby hosted by the outdoors club.


The weather co-operated, but the fishing? There was a lot of fishing going on and not too much catching. It may have been too sunny as the estimated 50 rainbow trout in our pond appeared to be hiding in the deep section. But the participants had a ball.

Kayla Hiscock got the first of several fish caught. It was a small pumpkinseed also known as a sunfish. We figure a cormorant picked up the small fish in a nearby lake, then dropped it off here hoping to catch a rainbow trout instead.



Jeff Thornton landed two rainbows

Jeff Thornton caught the first rainbow trout, one of two he landed. The heaviest weighed about three pounds.

Just seeing the pure joy in the faces of our guests makes this event very worthwhile for BPSA members.

All of our Community Living anglers were winners.  All went home with great memories of this day and a BPSA prize pack.

                                Bruce hands out prize paks

For more than thirty years our conservation group has hosted folks with the Bruce Peninsula Association for Community Living. Why do we do this? We love being part of our community. We love doing things for our community. This is just one of several public events BPSA stages every year as part of our community outreach.

Many years ago the community came together to help our club kick off our fish stocking program. Since the sixties BPSA members have stocked more than 4-million fish to boost the sports fishery. Today we boast a state of the art fish hatchery as well as archery, firearms safety training and shooting programs, tree planting and an invasive species awareness “boot-scrubber” program.

Mike Smith and Stan McNeil revived caught fish before they were returned to the pond as this was a “catch and release” event

It took 20 BPSA volunteers to mount this event. We had no trouble encouraging our members to help.

The Bruce Peninsula Association for Community Living (BPACL) was so thankful for the efforts of BPSA in a statement it said “we have made so many great memories around the pond and we look forward to being back with you next year.”

Community Living Board member Dave Waddington passed on BPACL’s appreciation saying that all who took part thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon.

The groups Communications Manager Christi Ronholm said about this special day at the pond “thank you for everything. A great time was had by all!”

The association offers a variety of services for over 80 people with developmental disabilities. Community Living promotes the idea of people participating and contributing fully in their community. Over 70 Support workers are employed through the agency, and part of their role is to help people to be independent, to be included in their community and to contribute to their community. The Community Living office is in down-town Wiarton. The organization owns three group homes, and two apartment buildings.

A spokesperson for the group says “our clients are simply …people. People who are striving to live full and fulfilled lives and be as independent as possible, to be included in community activities, and treated as equal community members.”

Sponsors for this BPSA youth event and all 2019 BPSA events include Giant Tiger Owen Sound, MacDonald’s Owen Sound, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Zone H, Lures N Lines, Cedar Crest Fish Farms, Coca Cola Bottling, Fretzes Value Mart, Wiarton Marina, Country Bait, Paterson Media, Charlie Robertson, Gary Fisher, J & S Tackle, and MPM Property Maintenance.

The BRUCE PENINSULA SPORTSMEN’S ASSOCIATION was established in 1962 to preserve and protect fish and wildlife. BPSA boasts Ontario’s longest operating volunteer run fish hatchery. Tourism officials credit the club’s fish stocking efforts with pumping $18-million into our regional economy.

BPSA is now celebrating 57 years of conservation. We felt this year’s Community Living event was a perfect way to celebrate our 57 years of service.