For Immediate Release
Monday, Oct. 4, 2010 –The Credit River south of Streetsville resembles Canada’s west coast as Chinook salmon up to three feet long thrash and struggle up river from Lake Ontario to spawn. As the days cool and the fall colours emerge, take a trip this autumn to the banks of the Credit River at Riverwood or Erindale Park in Mississauga and watch this fall ritual unfold.
Chinook salmon were first successfully imported to Lake Ontario, along with Coho salmon, from the Pacific beginning in the late 1960s. Chinook and Coho salmon will nest, spawn, and die before winter. Their offspring will hatch and swim downstream to Lake Ontario in spring, returning to the Credit River four years later, as adults, to continue the cycle.
To learn more about these aquatic giants and wildlife of the Credit River and how you can get involved in conservation, join Credit Valley Conservation and its community partners at the annual “Friends of the Credit” Stewardship Forum on Saturday, Oct.16 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the University of Toronto Mississauga. This year’s forum has a special focus on biodiversity. Online registration is open to all interested members of the public at www.creditvalleyca.ca.
While the hulking Chinooks are definitely a fall spectacle, look closely and in amongst them are members of another similar, almost indistinguishable, species with a much longer history in the Credit River: the Atlantic salmon. Early settlers along the Credit River claimed that Atlantic salmon were once so plentiful that – “two persons in a canoe with a spear and a torch will sometimes kill … ten barrels (of 200 lbs. each) of salmon in one night.” Other settlers reported streams with so many Atlantic salmon that people could cross from bank to bank by walking on their backs (this was reported near Georgetown, 1843). Farms were bought and houses built from the sale of salmon. The village of Terra Cotta was even once known as Salmonville.
By the end of the 1800s the Credit River’s Atlantic Salmon were gone. A combination of overfishing, damming, and water pollution caused the population to collapse across Lake Ontario. They didn’t return for over 100 years. Today, along with the impressive spawning salmon, the Credit River is home to another seventy-nine species of fish and is one of the most popular rivers in Ontario for fishing, generating millions for the local economy. Native Atlantic salmon are once again running up the Credit River to spawn, alongside their imported west coast neighbours, and eggs from Credit River salmon are collected and raised in fish hatcheries for stocking in other rivers across all of Lake Ontario.
But this tale of two salmon isn’t the only story. The waters of the Credit River and the lands that surround it are home to more than 1,500 unique species of plants, trees, fish and wildlife – an incredible diversity of life. The remarkable fall salmon run, and the continued protection of all the diversity of life in and around the Credit River, is thanks to the ongoing efforts of many different organizations and volunteers. You can help too. For more information please visit: www.creditvalleyca.ca.
Quick Salmon Facts
- Brook trout, Atlantic salmon and lake trout are native to southern Ontario.
- Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, Pink salmon (together considered Pacific salmon) and rainbow trout have been introduced from the west coast of North America; Brown trout are introduced from Europe.
- Brook trout, Atlantic salmon and lake trout are fall spawners and do not die after spawning.
- Chinook salmon, Coho salmon and Pink salmon are fall spawners and all die after spawning.
- Chinook salmon regularly attain weights of 25 lbs and the largest one recorded in Lake Ontario weighed 46 lbs.
- Chinook salmon eggs hatch in the spring and the majority of fry enter Lake Ontario by May or June.
Conservation Authorities are a provincial/municipal partnership. CVC was established by an act of the province in 1954 with a mandate to protect all natural resources other than minerals in the area drained by the Credit River. We have been working for over 50 years with our partner municipalities and stakeholders to protect and enhance the natural environment of the Credit River Watershed for present and future generations.
Community Relations Specialist
Credit Valley Conservation
Credit Valley Conservation