This large creek crosses the Blanche River Road in Mulgrave. Starting in the eastern part of Derry, it flows into Mulgrave and drains into the Blanche River. The culvert/bridge is on land that was part of a farm owned by Raymond and Bernice Miller. Raymond grew up on this farm.
From the bridge, the bottom of the creek looks sandy and the water is clear. Like all the other creeks and rivers, the clean water provided ideal fishing for brook (speckled or red) trout. These trout known by various names provided delicious meals for the locals.
Originally, all the lakes, rivers and creeks in Mulgrave contained red trout, with the lakes also having grays and whitefish. Early in the 1900s, smallmouth bass was introduced into several of the larger lakes and they migrated up and down the rivers that connected the larger lakes. However, many of the small lakes in Mulgrave and the Papineau Labelle Park still contain only red trout. This is mainly due to the many fishing clubs that operated in this area. The club caretakers and members controlled the pollution of the lakes from garbage, beavers and unscrupulous fishermen. In 1971, the Quebec Government cancelled all the local leases and created the Papineau Labelle Park, where anyone could rent a boat and fish for a day. The Park also rents out clubhouses, many of which were owned by the former fishing clubs. Of course, the clubs were never thanked for their contribution to the Papineau Labelle Park.
The source and initial part of Ackert’s creek, like all rivers in Mulgrave, is pristine and pure. However, the further a river flows, the more it loses its clarity and purity. The impact of people, both directly and indirectly, cause the water to become contaminated with silt and e-coli etc. Many of our roads run parallel to the rivers and/or cross them. Melting snow and rain water running off the roads carry silt and ice/dust control salts into the rivers. People also pollute the lakes and rivers when they use them for recreational purposes.
My parents lived on the Blanche River and always drew their drinking water from the river and drank it without any purification until 1990. A few years later, when we had the water tested, it contained e-coli and was considered unfit for human consumption. My wife and I still use the Blanche River water in our house, but we filter and purify it using an ultraviolet light.
Beavers and their dams on the rivers and creeks also pollute by stagnating the water and causing e-coli and silt. When the Campeau Club was active, one of the small trout lakes was dammed by beavers, raising the water level by six feet. This backed up the water onto the shoreline of maple and birch trees making the water become acidic and changed the water from crystal clear to a murky brown. The trout all died. After a couple of years, the beaver dam was removed and twenty five years later a biologist visited the lake and said that it would take an additional 25 years before trout would be able to live in the lake. That's why some locals still trap and sometimes shoot the beavers.
Before the European immigrants arrived, the indigenous people trapped and shot beavers and other animals for food and the hides were tanned for clothing and other uses. The natives realized that beaver leather did not stretch easily, so they used it for the webbing on snowshoes. These people were making snowshoes long before the Europeans arrived in North America.
Trapping beavers and other small animals created extra income for the new immigrants and generations to follow. In the1930s and 1940s, a good beaver pelt would bring the trapper as much as $60.00. Today that same hide might be sold for $20.00.
Today, catching a trout in Ackert’s Creek is hard work. The fish population has decreased and the fishermen need permission to cross private property on both sides of the creek.