LAKE ONTARIO FISHERY
This year's graduating school of 10,000 Chinook salmon is now swimming in Lake Ontario. Their first year will be a dangerous adventure in a dynamic ecosystem. But they will grow quickly. Those that survive the first year will turn the tables and start to feed on much of what's chasing them today. By year two they will be about 10 pounds; sleek, fast and silver. By year three they will be 20 pounds or more, crossing the lake with ease and settling in as the 'kings' of the lake. In the final weeks of their fourth year, they will return home to Port Credit to spawn and then die. Big and powerful, they will invest everything they have into running our river and then supporting a future generation of fish that they will bear but never meet.
Chinook (king) salmon
Other names: king, tyee, blackmouth, (immature)
Average size: 10-15 lbs up to as large as 135 lbs.
Chinook are the largest of the pacific salmon, with some individuals growing more then 100 pounds. these huge fish are rare, as most mature chinook are under 50 pounds.
Chinook/kings are the most popular in lake Ontario, once hooked they tend to go straight to the bottom and pull out alot of line with hard head shakes trying to release the hook. In some cases they will take many runs before being netted.
Most chinook spawn in large rivers, although they will use smaller streams with sufficient water flow.They tend to spawn in the mainstream of streams, where the water flow is high. Because of their size they are able to spawn in larger gravel than most other salmon.
chinook spawn on both sides of the Cascade Range and some fish travel hundreds of miles upstream before they reach spawning grounds. Because of the distance these fish enter early and comprise the spring and summer runs. Fall runs spawn closer to the ocean and more often use small coastal streams. All chinook reach spawning grounds by fall, in time to spawn.
Coho (silver) salmon
Other names: silver
Average size: 6-12 lbs, up to as large as 31 lbs.
Coho/silver, This species uses coastal streams and tributaries, and is often present in small neighborhood streams. Coho can even be
found in urban settings if their needs of cold, clean year-round water are met.
Coho/silver are also a very popular fish in lake Ontario, once hooked they pull out a moderate amount of line but swim from side to side, and breaching the water surface, sometimes jumping 3-10 feet in the air.
Coho spawn in small coastal streams and the tributaries of larger rivers. They prefer areas of mid-volocity water with small to medium gravels. Because they use small streams with limited space, they must use many such streams to successfully reproduce, which is why coho can be found in virtually every small coastal stream with year-round flow.
Returning coho often gather at the mouths of streams and wait for the water flow to rise, such as after a rain storm, before heading upstream. The higher flows and deeper water enable the fish to pass obstacles, such as low water conditions, logs across the stream or beaver dams, that would otherwise be impassable.
Rainbow trout (steelhead)
Other names: steelhead trout, sea-run rainbow trout.
Average size: 8-11 lbs, up to as large as 40 lbs.
Steelhead and rainbow trout are the same speices, but rainbow are freashwater only, and steelhead are anadromous, or go to sea.
Unlike most salmon, steelhead can survive spawning, and can spawn in multiple years.
Rainbow trout/steelhead, another popular fish in lake Ontario, like the coho salmon, when hooked they will breach the water surface jumping 3-10 feet in the air, running out line and swimming side to side will sometimes result in tangeled lines.
Steelhead spawn in the spring. They generally prefer fast water in small to large mainstream rivers, and medium-to-large tributaries. In streams with steep gradient and large substrate, they spawn between these steep areas,where the water is flatter and the substrate is small enough to dig into. The steeper areas then make excellent rearing habitat for the juveniles.
Like chinook, steelhead have two runs, a summer run and a winter run. Most summer are east of the cascades, and enter streams in summer to reach the spawning grounds by the following spring.