Fish in the East Don River

By Ashlee McMillan

On a walk through Charles Sauriol Conservation Area, I stumbled on this:Image

I’m glad I took a moment to stop and read this because it explained about Ontario’s Fish Stocking Program operated by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. This program is responsible for producing 8 million fish for stocking each year!

I was also intrigued to find out about those unusually large salmon I’ve seen in the Don River every fall.  These ‘large and in charge’ fish are called Chinook salmon and they grow about a metre in length. They are less sensitive to pollution than the native salmon so they are able to survive the murky waters of the Don and Lake Ontario. Each year the young Chinook salmon, known as fry, are released into the East Don River.

There have been many sightings of adult Chinook salmon migrating back up the East Don River in an attempt to spawn. Unfortunately, the high levels of pollution and sedimentation in the Don don’t allow the Chinooks to spawn successfully. This is why fish stocking programs are so vital and are maintained on an ongoing basis.

Fish population has steadily declined due to over fishing, pollution, and introduction of foreign species like the Sea Lamprey. This creepy looking thing is responsible for feeding on and killing a large number of lake trout.

Sea Lamprey, often mistaken for an eel.

It is clear that our waterways are a delicate ecosystem that we need to protect and restore. Every Torontonian should try to clean up the Don River. We are blessed to have so much access to nature in this city. Lets treat it like a treasure!


One thought on “Fish in the East Don River

  1. How? What can I do to help? Ive been watching the salmon migrate up the don for years, its amazing. Most ppl dont believe me when I tell them there is salmon in dem der waters.

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