The Current River is the second largest river flowing through the heart of the City of Thunder Bay. In the early 1900's the City of Thunder Bay constructed a dam on the river system and created a reservoir named Boulevard Lake. Subsequently the land surrounding the lake was deemed to be parkland and became known as Boulevard Lake Park. The system is used by thousands of residents for swimming, walking and skiing trails, fishing for resident trout and general sightseeing. However, the construction of this dam likely eliminated the existing population of "coaster" Brook Trout and prevented other naturalized species such as Rainbow Trout from developing a self-sustaining population. The NSSA is hoping to change this.
Rehabilitation of the Current River as an accessible and vibrant urban fishery is a long term goal and project of the NSSA. The most important component of this project is the Current River Dam Fishway. The fishway is designed to allow Steelhead to migrate over the dam into the headwaters, and hopefully to produce a large self sustaining stock. The construction of the Fishway was a co-operative venture venture between NSSA, Lakehead Region Conservation Authority, Lake Superior Remedial Action Plan (RAP) and the City of Thunder Bay. The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines also contributed one time capital funding for this project in an effort to enhance the recreational aspect of the system.
Despite introductions of juvenile rainbows from an upwelling box, and transfer of adults which spawned and successfully returned to Lake Superior, this project cannot yet be considered a success, as a self sustaining population has not yet been established. There have been anecdotal sightings of fish moving thru the Ladder, as well as some young of the year captured in years where no introductions took place, but the lack of substantial adults returning leads us to believe that some other obstacle in the lower river is impeding the ability of adults to return.
As with all river systems on which a hydrogeneration facility exists, a water management plan must be in place. View the Boulevard Lake Water Management Plan and Flow Rate Reports.
The dry spring of 2010 presented a challenge to the management of the fishladder due to extreme low water conditions. At one point the fishladder was dewatered which left 2 fish stranded in the 3rd step pool from the top.