Lake Ontario’s Recreational Fishery Hamilton
Monday September 27th 2010
Salmon are heading to Hamilton Harbour once the temperature is cooler in the evening and rain comes to raise the low water levels in the rivers for the salmon to migrate upstream to spawn. The salmon usually run two days after a heavy rain. The salmon are “stacked” and have not been able to migrate due to low water conditions. In Toronto, the Humber River Dam stairs make it easier for salmon to reach their goal, without making it easier than nature intended. The MNR and partners stock 1.7 million salmon and trout into Lake Ontario annually to (a) provide fising and support native species restoration. On these, 85,000 Chinook salmon are stocked in the Credit River. The Port Credit Salmon and Trout Association (PCSTA) crucial role is caring for the fish. Plus, the CRAA – Credit River Anglers Association watershed ground enhances native species and is involved in stocking. The Credit River begins in Orangeville at the Island Lake Reservoir. If you fish west of the Credit Forks a fishing expert advise is ” you need to be one part angler and two parts billy-goat.” The Upper Credit River includes Belfountain Conservation Area.. The Steetsville Dam, and Roger’s Creek are part of the Credit watershed. The Lower Credit river ends by spilling into Lake Ontario at the Credit River Mouth, known as Port Credit which prides itself as the “Salmon Capital of Ontario“, located in the city of Mississauga, Ontario One of the best angler spots for the salmon run on the Credit River is at Erindale Park at Dundas and Mississauga Roads. Bronte Creek is in Oakville, and one of the best spots to catch salmon is where the river runs under Hwy. #5 or Dundas Street and near Appleby Line in Burlington.; and at Shell Park in Oakville. There is also the Ganaraska (Ganny) River in Port Hope. There are other rivers, buth they do not get the salmon run as these ones. In Lake Ontario Outdoors a Fishing Captain advises: ” Knowing water movement and temperature patters is the key to consistent action. Watching and learning weather and wind patterns and their effect can greatly increase the success rate of the average angler. One angler already made his catch this week in Hamilton Harbour with minnows. The sluggish egg laying (adult) salmon are too tired to eat so they rarely get caught. On Thursday, while photographing a red-tailed hawk that dove for a mouse on the railroad tracks, Doug saw a Salmon or Trout jump 3 times like a dolphin coming towards him. Doug talked to some of the fishermen and this is what they are using: (1) Boat Fishermen are using”down-riggers”:, 6 poles at once depending on people on the boat, they fish to 60 feet in lake depth, and some boats troll above the surface with “Lures.” (2) Shore-water (shorline) Fisherman are using ROE bags, and Pink Marshmallows. (3) Breakwater Fishermen are using Spoon Lures to entice the young salmon.
Coho Salmon is a major Pacific salmon sportsfish are stocked in Lake Ontario, and, historically, in 1933 they were introduced when the Ohio Division of Conservation released them into Lake Erie. It was in 1966 that Michigan and Ohio stocked Coho Salmon which established naturally reproducing populations. Currently, these low level of natural reproduction is supplemented by stocking to enhance the recreational fishery. Unlike Chinook Salmon, the Coho habitat spend half of their life cycle rearing and feeding ins streams and small freshwater tributaries. The Adults migrate from a marine environment into freshwater stream and rivers of their birth in order to mate (anadromyl). Their spawning habitat are small streams with stable gravel substrates. The remainder of the life cycle is spend foraging in estuarine and marine waters of the ocean (Great Lakes in Ontario). The three year olds return to streams of origin to spawn and die. Two year old are called “jacks.” “Jack” salmon can be half the size of an adult salmon. In the Spawing phase,the jaw and teeth of the Coho become hooked and they develop bright red sides and bluesh-green heads and backs. The females may be darker red than the males, but both showing a pronounced hook on the nose (snout). The males show a slightly arching of the back. Females prepare several Redd’s (nests) where the eggs will remain for six to seven weeks until they hatch ( 90 to 150 days after deposition, depending on water temperature). The female will guard the Redd’s for 4 to 25 days before dying. As time of migration to sea approaches the juvenile coho lose their parr marks – a pattern of vertical bars and spots useful for camouflage, and gain the dark back and light belly coloration used by fish living in open waters. Their gills and kidnesy also begin to change so that they can process salt water ( but in Ontario they are in freshwater). In the freshwater stages, they feed on plankton and insects, then switch to a diet of small fishes as adults Large Coho and Chinook salmon prey almost exclusively on alewife and rainbow smelt in Lake Ontario.
The next two days lots of rain and colder weather will entice all the stacked-up fish to start the run to spawn into Hamilton Harbour. My Prediction, by Wednesday you will be able to start catching Brown trout, Lake trout, Salmon and more.
Hope to see you there.
By J Darby