The history of the Gouin Reservoir

The history of the Gouin Reservoir2018-09-27T04:33:38+00:00

A paradise for walleye and pike fishing, the Gouin Reservoir is well known to fans of this sport.

But what exactly is it? How did this gigantic body of water come about and why?

Its history.

As its name suggests, this body of water is a reservoir. It was created by the erection of the La Loutre dam in 1916-1917 and was named after the prime minister of the time, Mr. Lomer Gouin.

Contrary to popular belief, the dam was not built to produce electricity, but to regulate the flow of the Saint-Maurice.

It was the era of gigantic clearcuttings along the Saint-Maurice River. The wood was transported by the river all the way to Shawinigan and Trois-Rivières.

Although a small power station provides electricity to operate the dam gates, it is rather meant to optimize the production of electricity of the Saint-Maurice power stations.

Another important fact is that in 1948, the Shawinigan Water and Power Company decided to raise the level of the reservoir to facilitate the transport of logwood, among other things. The transport of timber on this river ended in 1996.

Thus, two rivers were deviated from their original course towards James Bay to flow to the St. Lawrence River via the St. Maurice.
The village of Atikamekw Native Americans located 130 km from the work was completely engulfed and destroyed without their permission. Almost no compensation was provided, except for the quick replacement of homes … 5 years later.

The flooding of huge forest areas created water polluted by mercury amongst others. The Amerindians were not informed until 25 years later …

Some numbers :

  • For many years the largest reservoir in the world
  • Area of 1,789 km²
  • 100 km long by 48 km wide
  • Average depth of 5 meters
  • A shoreline of 5,600 km
  • Annual variation of the water level from 2 to 3 meters

Its economic significance

The Gouin Reservoir is one of the most beautiful water body in Quebec and the Mauricie.

The community stakeholders :

  • Outfitters
  •  Vacationers
  • Aboriginal
  • Forest companies
  • Mining companies

Outfitters

The following figures are taken from a study by the Quebec Outfitters Federation in 1989 : Impacts économiques des pourvoiries du Réservoir Gouin (Economic Impacts of the Gouin Reservoir’s Outfitters)
25 outfitters in operation

  • 1,625 spots available
  • 9,500 clients
  • 39,500 activity days
  • $ 4.6 million in revenue
  • 510 jobs

Mining companies

There is little mining activity in this region. Some companies are still active, but the region does not offer great mining potential

Sport fishing

A real paradise for walleye and pike fishing. The Mecca for sport fishermen, especially since the end of commercial fishing in 1970.

The figures below were taken from the website www.environnementmauricie.com.

Catches:

  • 25% increase in walleye caught between 1984 and 1998
  • Number of walleyes kept in 1998: 115,197
  • Number of walleyes preserved in 1984: 92,158
  • 9% increase in pike caught between 1984 and 1998
  • Number of pikes kept in 1998: 30 878
  • Number of pikes kept in 1984: 28,329

The size of walleye catches:

1984-1985 : 40.1 cm
1998 : 36.3 cm

The number of small walleye increases more and more compared to big walleye.