Welcome to the Ask The Biologist FAQ.

Please note that the comments posted here are an opinion based on the Biologist's interpretation of the question posed. Under varying circumstances outcomes may be different, and the contents of this page should not be seen as definitive.

 


Question 101:

I have read many of the questions posed on this forum, and the relevent responses. I am interested in learning how I can obtain the proper licenses to transport live fish, as well as any other licenses required to remain within the law. I have in the past collected freshwater fish for aquariums to establish biotopes. Only specimans from a specific body were collected, and were eventually released at the exact spot they were caught. My question is can this be done within the law? The information that has been collected on the various species has been of great education value to myself and others.

Asked February 19, 2005

Answer from the MNR

Fish collectors need to keep in mind the following:

  • Collecting species of fish within the harvest seasons, harvest limits, and daily possession limits of your fishing license allows you to keep them either live or dead
  • You are allowed to keep 120 baitfish with a fishing license
  • Collecting fish using another method of gear other than a fishing rod, dip net or minnow trap will require a special “license for collecting for scientific purposes”
  • Transporting the fish does not require a license provided you have the appropriate collection license (angling license or scientific collectors license)
  • Rare, threatened or endangered species should not be collected by the general public (see http://www.rom.on.ca/ontario/risk.php)
  • Releasing the fish back into a public waterbody (any waterbody connected to a creek, stream, lake or river) does require a “fish stocking license”

See http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/pubs/fishing/fishRegs/2005/Info_fr2005.pdf for the details regarding the above.

In this case, and primarily because the fish have been held for a period of time in an aquarium, the best solution would be to euthanize the fish rather than release it back into the original collection site. Releasing fish back into public waters does require a fish stocking permit from MNR.


Question 100:

What is the spawning rate of salmon in the Credit/ Bronte? I have heard that there are no fish that return and without the efforts of the stocking programms the fishery would stop altogether. Is this true or are these rivers producing wild fish and if so in what kind of numbers?

Asked January 16, 2005

Answer from the MNR

The Credit River Chinook salmon run is predominately based on stocking. There are likely a few naturally produced fish as some Chinook have been known to get past the barrier at Streetsville. The estimated fall run ranges from 8,000 to 12,000.

Some fish would continue to run the river without continued stocking – these would be strays from other rivers or from young produced in the Credit.

More information about Chinook salmon can be viewed at: http://www.glfc.org/lakecom/loc/mgmt_unit/Index_page0006.htm


Question 99:

I am curious to know the estimated population of deer in Toronto and Mississauga and and which areas in Toronto and Mississauga sustain deer population or where they have been sighted.

Asked January 16, 2005

Answer from the MNR

There are no accurate estimates of white tailed deer within the Toronto or Mississauga areas. Within the rural areas – like Caledon, King and Whitchurch Stouffville, we estimate that there maybe 4 to 8 deer per square kilometer.

The valleys of the major rivers, like the Rouge, Humber and Credit have resident deer. The rural areas are more productive especially where crops are grown. You can view deer in the Rouge Park (use the trails of Old Finch), the Humber (Humber Valley Trail) and the Credit in Erindale. The UofT Erindale Campus has good viewing opportunities.


Question 98:

There are differing opinions on the effect of dredging on fish migrations up a river. One group holds that fish will not move through an area which is being dredged due to the turbidity of the water. So there can be no dredging while fish (trout) are spawning through the area. The other opinion is that migrating fish will pool and wait for the water to clear then move upstream to their spawning grounds. Therefore dredging which was not carried on around the clock (during daylight hours only) would not have significant effect on spawning activities.

I have searched the web for information with little success.

Asked April 3, 2002

Answer from the MNR

There are differing opinions on most aspects of fish and wildlife management. A biologist considers a number of facts before developing a professional opinion. If facts are different between areas, you may see a difference in opinion.

When a proposal involves dredging, typically a biologist reviewing the project would apply timing restrictions to allow dredging in a period where spawning fish, migrating fish or sensitive larval fish are not present. The biologist considers the fish habitat values on-site, downstream and upstream, the potential for sediment loading on the river or lake, the noise and vibration created by machinery in water and the sensitivities of the fish community. In southern Ontario, dredging of channels is usually restricted to July or August where trout exist. In some cases a dredging proposal may be turned down because the fisheries impacts are unacceptable - for example, dredging a brook trout stream or a river containing a provincially threatened species.

For more information on dredging, consult: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/regions/central/pub/fact-fait/03dfo_e.html


Question 97:

Do Niagara River steelhead successfully reproduce there?

Asked April 3, 2003

Answer from the MNR

No.


Question 96:

Sir we are having an ongoing discussion regards the pro and cons of the Carp Sportfishery over on the grumblings board. My question to you is what is the official biological and management position on the Common and Mirrored Carp in Ontario waters. I assume there is an official position. Also is there a position yet on the Chinese carp that we hear is coming our way.

Asked December 13, 2002

Answer from the MNR

No official provincial position from MNR on carp. Depends on the local interests. You'll find that the science says they are bad news in terms of destroying wetlands and water quality. However, there are people that do enjoy fishing for them - socially accepted in areas where there is nothing else of any comparable size.

In terms of the new carp species moving into the Great Lakes - MNR does not have an official position at this time. Again, science says they're bad news for the ecology of our waters.


Question 95:

I request any info re the effects of corn and other vegtable chum on trout and other predatory sport fish. I know I've seen negative reports in In Fisherman Magazine and most recently on the tv show Gone Fishin. This is supported by conversations I have had with superior Steelheaders I have had conversations with. I would like to also ask what info you have re the relative volume of carp once they are present in a watershed. Again In Fisherman claims that carp quickly dominate the body of water to the extent that they would in fact outnumber all the other fish(of any viable angling size) in that watershed and my observation of Big Creek, The Grand River, Bronte Creek and the Niagara River would reinforce that statement

Asked December 3, 2002

Answer from the MNR

There is no evidence between use of vegetable chum for fish and adverse effects that I am aware of. True, carp do tend to dominate in warmwater areas where water quality is poor. Fisheries monitoring reports from Hamilton Harbour RAP and Cootes Paradise is a good indication of carp dominance over time. Refer to the following website:
http://www.rbg.ca/fwhrp/cootes/cootes_pg1.htm


Question 94:

I have seen on the web-site Grey-Bruce Outdoors reference to the fact that brown sugar cured row is damaging to rainbows and fatal to rainbow smolts. Is there any ministry info to confirm this as I know many Steelheaders cure row this way particularly old row that is going or has gone bad. If this is in fact dangerous I will make it known in my circle as we are all interested in protecting our Steelies.

Asked December 3, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Sounds like a tall tale.


Question 93:

I have a list of questions on largemouth bass, and hope that you can clarify for me:

Feeding Pattern

Just wondering what the feeding pattern will be like for largemouth bass during fall/winter. Will their food choices be different from those during spring/summer? Will they still move to shallower bodies of water for food during dask/dawn as in summer?

Weather(Cold Front)/Water Temperature

How does weather (cold front for instance) and water temperature impact their feeding pattern during fall/winter?

Size

Providing there are ample of food and resources (as in the Kawarthas for instance), how long does it take on average to get a largemouth bass to grow to 2 pounds in southern ontario? Will the growth rate be the same for male/female bass? Is there a formula to estimate the size which bases on length and girth of the fish?

Asked October 22, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Feeding Pattern

Feeding during the fall will more than likely be far different than the winter. In fall, the bass' instinct makes them realize they are under the gun to eat as much as they possibly can to ensure they have enough fat reserves to see them thru a long cold winter. During the hardwater period, it is believed that bass eat very infrequently. Some would say that bass become almost dormant and do not eat whatsoever, however there are days when conditions are right that bass (both largemouth and smallmouth) do appear to go on the feed for a few hours. As for the forage that bass eat, this will naturally vary according to what's available in that lake at that time of the year. Bass are opportunistic feeders. In many waters, bass go deep in late fall ... eating fish like smelt, shiners perch, etc, until feeding slows right down. These late fall areas also seem to be their over-wintering holes.

I suppose that some northern bass still go into the shallows in late fall to feed on shiners etc, however deep water seems to be preferred. Remember deep is relative - a 12- 14 foot hole in Lake Scugog can be considered quite deep, whereas in Lake Simcoe you can practically double that for largemouth bass and triple it for smallies.

Weather(Cold Front)/Water Temperature

Normally, cold fronts lower the activity level of bass, however during the fall cold fronts are so frequent and the urge to binge so intense, that bass don't seem to be as affected by them as they would in summer. Having said that, I still prefer fishing for fall bass during stable weather conditions. Several times this past fall the best bass action came when the waters were calm and the weather stable or even during a warming trend.

Size

The Kawarthas and other southern Ontario lakes seem to have much faster growth rates than bass in the northern part of our province. In Tri Lakes of the Kawarthas for instance I have the following stats for you: These are from a 3year study(1999-2002) conducted by MNR, the Kawartha Fisheries Association and several tournament associations.
- 4 year old bass seems to be between 324-355 mm,
- 5 year old bass will be 329-342 mm
- 6 year old is 365-393mm
- 7 year old is 398-718*mm,(either a very fast growing individual or error)
- 8 year old is 405-423mm
-9 year old is 400-447mm
-10 year old is 415-456mm
-11 year old is 457-470mm
One bass was 17 years of age and was 485mm

A couple 14 year olds were 528 cm generally, females are larger and will have accelerated growth compared to males.

Finally as for estimating size - try Length X Girth X Girth, Divided by 800.


Question 92:

Every summer I enjoy trolling for salmon on Lake Ontario. Most of the fish I catch, which isn't many, I release but I do keep the odd small one for eating.

This past year I caught one from deep water, about 100' down, and tried releasing it, but I guess the shock of coming from such a depth put too much stress on the fish.

From what depth would I have success in releasing salmon?

Asked October 15, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Fish caught in less than forty feet would survive release better. Any deeper and likely the fish will suffer from some degree of decompression (the bends)


Question 91:

What kind of test would you use to detect lyme diease in ticks and in field mice?

Asked October 15, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Best to search the internet - try http://www.lymenet.org/ for starters.


Question 90:

More of a medical question perhaps, but after eating a large rainbow trout caught in lake Huron, I noticed a "humming" (not high pitched, more or a low pitch) that I attributed to blood vessels near my ears. Is there a contaminent that could have caused this??

Asked October 15, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Best to ask your doctor. Probably nothing to do with the fish flesh or contaminants.


Question 89:

While landing many perch, eventually I caught one COVERED on black dots...they are slightly raised, like someone sprinkled coursely ground pepper on the fish. What is that??

Asked October 15, 2002

Answer from the MNR

It is a parasitic infection. Refer to http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10364_10950-27376--,00.html for more information.


Question 88:

I live in the woods and feed some of the wildlife in the winter and spring, just enough to keep them going. I have had some unusual visitors in the last year or two. Our area has both red and gray foxes and these visitors look something like foxes, but have very short wiry hair and their tails look like closely-cropped bottle brushes. The parents (?) have black stripes down their tails and the tip of their tails are black. The child (?) (I've only seen it this spring) has a white stripe down its tail with a white tip (!) Each of them has a black stripe running down its nose. The adults bob and weave constantly. They are tall-ish, like a medium-sized dog, with legs about 2 feet long and they are very, very thin. They do not look emaciated, however: no ribs showing, etc. Their back legs are longer than the front, or, at least from my vantage point, they appear to be. Their coat is a mixture of red and gray. And their little faces are not at all attractive, un! like the fox. Any ideas? Is it possible a fox and a coyote could mate?

Asked June 17, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Here's what we know about foxes in Ontario:

  • we only have the red fox
  • there are three colour phases to the red fox
    • red phase (common)
    • black phase (uncommon)
    • cross phase (two colours mixed
  • all red foxes have a white tip on their tails and black feet
  • coyotes can have a black tip on the tail and a range of white, red and gray in the body

So...my best guess is coyotes! If it runs with its tail down...that would be good evidence for a coyote.


Question 87:

Did the OMNR release fishers anywhere in the province to control porcupine or raccon numbers?

Asked March 7, 2002

Answer from the MNR

MNR has not released fishers to control other wildlife.

Introductions of wildlife are usually associated with a Species at Risk Recovery Plan. Through the recovery planning process, extirpated species are re-introduced to suitable habitat in an effort to restore a population.


Question 86:

Being an avid fisherman, I happen to have a few lakes that I tend to fish year after year. One of them is a chain of ponds/lakes on crown land (no road only bushwacking to get to them) in the Haliburton area. I would like to build and maintain a database of info regarding the lake and the fishery.

What sort of things should I be looking for?
What sort of stats should I be recording?
What sort of equipment would I require? (Remember, I'm bushwacking with a canoe on my back)

Would anyone be interested in my stats or am I doing this for my own fun and curiosity?

Asked June 28, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Great idea and I'm sure the Extension Biologist out of the Minden Area Office of MNR would be more than willing to help you out with the lake information that currently exists. His name is Dave Flowers - he is a wealth of information and easy to talk to.

In monitoring and assessment, the types of questions you should ask are:

  1. does the lake have any recent water chemistry data? (pH, oxygen/temperature profile, clarity)
  2. is there a comprehensive species list for the lake? (baitifish and game fish)
  3. is it a stocked lake? (compile a stocking database for the lake)
  4. what is the water source for the lake? (groundwater or surface water)
  5. what are the sizes of the gamefish in the lake? (differentiate year classes by length)
  6. where are the spawning areas and nursery areas? (identify essential habitat)
You'll find the MNR biologist will be interested in the data you collect. Best to consult with them first to make sure your efforts are worthwhile.


Question 85:

Skamania. Why isn't the government investing in stocking this strain of rainbow trout?

Asked March 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

MNR looked into raising Skamania (summer steelhead) from 1987 to 1989 at the Normandale Fish Culture Station. Because the parent fish were from outside of Ontario, the eggs and fry went through an extensive quarantine procedure. If the parents or fry were found to be carriers of bacteria or viral pathogens during the six month quarantine, they were euthanized. Skamania that survived the quarantine were grown out to yearlings and stocked in the Owen Sound area.

In later years, adult Skamania were collected by Sydenham Sportsmen's Club from the Sydenham River. This was done over the summer and the steelhead were held in earthen ponds over the fall and winter. The fish were found to be difficult to hold over until spawning.

Though an honest effort, it became apparent that propagating Skamania in Ontario was expensive, fruitless and provided little benefit to the public.


Question 84:

In Northern Ontario, when do Lake trout actually spawn and on average how deep is the water where they spawn?

Asked February 19, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Early to mid October. The farther north, the earlier, with some spawning in September.

Usually observed over wave-swept shoals of "fist-sized" stones/rubble in 2 to 5 metres.

Here are a few web sites to check out:
http://biology.usgs.gov/s+t/noframe/m2130.htm
http://www.rook.org/earl/bwca/nature/fish/salvelinusnam.html


Question 83:

What are the little shrimp in lake simcoe called?

Asked February 19, 2001

Answer from the MNR

They are called scuds. The full taxonomy:
Amphipoda, Gammaroidea, Gammaridae, Gammarus, and
Amphipoda, Gammaroidea, Talitridae, Hyalella


Question 82:

What is the other latin name of Pomoxis nigromaculatus, older than this probably?

Asked February 19, 2001

Answer from the MNR

I'm not sure what you are asking here. Pomoxis nigromaculatus is the latin name for Black Crappie. http://www.fingerlakesaquaculture.com/crappie.htm.

Earlier latin names include:
Pomoxis nigro-maculatus
Pomoxis sparoides
Pomoxys sparoides
Cantharus nigro-maculatus


Question 81:

I would like to ask: if black spot desease is still remaining on pike in St. John Lake. When I was fihing there winter 1998 all pike caught were infected. Several days ago I have heard that now fish of these Lake are clean? It is true?

Asked February 19, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Black spot is a common parasitic infection of the fish. A quick search on the internet using the keywords black+spot+disease+fish will provide more details: http://www.aqualink.com/disease/sdisease.html.

You'll find that black spot is more obvious during the summer months and early fall and less likely seen in the winter.


Question 80:

I was wondering if you could tell me why a Northern Pike's teeth "gum over" in the winter time? Do they lose there teeth or do the gums cover the teeth up?

Asked February 19, 2001

Answer from the MNR

I'm not familiar with this in pike, however, in salmon and trout the teeth become more pronounced during the reproductive period. This occurs more prominantly in males than females. My best guess is that the teeth do not fall out but rather become covered by the "gums".


Question 79:

Is there a creek in the Niagara Region that could support a vaiable population of Skamania strain of Rainbow Trout. If so could private organizations raise the money needed to stock them.

Asked January 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

There are very few creeks in the Niagara Region that support coldwater habitat for juvenile trout during summer months. If rainbow trout had access to suitable habitat, you would see reproduction and fry emergence. Stocking Skamania is not a viable option to consider when there is little juvenile habitat. You also have to consider why you want Skamania as compared to the more successful Great Lakes rainbow trout - they are considered by most fish biologists as a "fad" fish.


Question 78:

What is the return percentage of trout that are stocked in creeks in Lake Ontario? Does it differ when fish are stocked in the lower or upper regions of a creek? Which creeks have the best return rates in the Golden Horseshoe?

Asked January 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

The estimated survival of yearling trout to adult is estimated at 10%. Rainbow Trout are stocked as fry, fingerlings and yearlings. Stocking of fry and fingerlings in the headwaters is better because these areas typically have lots of groundwater and this is important for over-summer and over-winter habitat. It is not a adviseable to stock rainbow trout where native brook trout exist because of negative competition effects. Once yearlings are stocked, they head out to the lake in a matter of 4 to 6 weeks. Best returns of stocked rainbow trout occurs in Bronte Creek, Credit River and Rouge River.


Question 77:

Where are brown trout stocked in Lake Ontario within an hour of Toronto? How many at each location and have the locations received plants for last 5 to 10 years?

Asked November 22, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Brown trout are stocked at Bluffer's Park, Scarborough, Ashbridges Bay boat ramp and Humber Bay Park on the Toronto waterfront. These areas have been stocked consistently for over ten years. Each site receives between 10 to 15,000 yearlings.

The Rouge River is stocked with brown trout fry in Bruce Creek, Berczy Creek and the Little Rouge by Metro East Anglers. They stock about 50,000 per year into these tributaries and also the East Don River. This has been on-going for the past four years.

The Humber River is stocked with 7,500 yearlings into the East Humber every year for the past five years. This was the first year for stocking 20,000 brown trout yearlings in the main Humber upstream of Bolton. We plan to continue this stocking for the next five years.


Question 76:

Where did the salmon currently in the Nottawasaga come from? Were they introduced for recreational purposes? Or are they coming from the Georgian Bay? Where can I find more information about them?

Asked October 11, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The chinook salmon observed in the Nottawasaga River watershed are most likely a product of natural reproduction that has been occurring over the past twenty years.

They most likely came from stocking within the Georgian Bay tributaries and have strayed into this watershed. The purpose of the original stocking was to create a recreational fishery for boat anglers. Contact the Lake Huron Fisheries Assessment Unit of MNR for further information. Fred Dobbs of the Nottawasaga Conservation Authority is a wealth of information on the fisheries of this watershed. He can be reached at fdbdobbs@yahoo.ca


Question 75:

I recently caught a Speckled Trout that had a bright orange spot in the middle of its belly. I have caught Speck's before but have never seen a mark like this. The lake the fish were caught is stocked anually by the Ministry but none of the fish caught were fin clipped. Is this mark a natural kind of thing, or could it be a way to identify from which hatchery or year the fish was planted?

Asked October 4, 2000

Answer from the MNR

I've seen this before in rainbow trout and lake trout. Ontario based fish hatcheries typically do not tattoo fish - my best guess is a localized colour variation in the melanocytes (pigment producing cells) of the epidermal layer (skin) of the fish. Much like a "birth mark" in people.


Question 74:

From what I understand when Salmon Start there way into the rivers to spawn they no longer are feeding, two questions why when rainbows enter to spawn they seem to strike more than the salmon,why is that? and is there a time at all that the salmon will go into a feeding frenzy when they are in the rivers?

Asked September 15, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Typically, salmon are near the end of their life cycle and do not feed aggresively like they do when in the lake environment. However, they may still feed to a small extent, but will not exhibit the "feeding frenzy" as you described. Rainbows wil spawn each year and are not ending their life cycle. Therefore, they are still quite active and feeding while they go through the spawning event


Question 73:

Not having heard much in the last few months about the rehab work that's being done on the Humber River, I was wondering if any further barrier mitigation projects have taken place since the Raymore and Fundale fishways were constructed. I've noticed stakes planted on the upstream side of all of the wiers between the Old Mill and Dundas and am consequently wondering whether any further notching is to take place on them anytime soon. If the answer is yes, is it likely that any work will be completed before this autumn's salmon run is over? On a similar note, the streamside plantings done by Credit River Anglers has gotten me to wonder if any similar project is part of the long term restoration plans for the Humber, as its clear from my walks through the valley that there's some awfully long stretches of exposed shoreline along much of the river in the Toronto area alone.

I heard a number of months ago that a small run of rainbows made it up to the East Branch this spring and left a few redds in the river. Has there since been any evidence of rainbow fry in the river as a result of that spawning?

Asked September 15, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Notching of the remaining weirs in the lower Humber River is currently underway and should be completed by the end of September. Migratory salmon and trout from Lake Ontario now have access to the headwaters of the East Humber River in King Township. This was first confirmed this spring with adult rainbow trout being observed in the East Humber as far north as Rutherford Road in the Kortright Conservation Area.

Most fall planting projects in the Humber will be taking place adjacent to headwater streams - this is the priority area for rehabilitating coldwater habitat. The lower Humber is not considered coldwater and therefore, tree planting projects are not a high priority as this time.


Question 72:

We went fishing in northern Quebec on June 1 2000 and we caught a few specks. We had to keep on of them because it swallowed the hook. While cleaning the fish we discovered that she was full of loose eggs. All of them looked healthy. I thought that specks spawn in the fall. Would you have an explanation as to why this fish was full of eggs?

Asked August 29, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The eggs you found were from last year's spawning attempt. The fish will gradually re-absorb the eggs that remain in the body cavity. These eggs are usually hard, clear and have a yellow/red oil droplet inside. I have seen these eggs last until the next spawning a year later!


Question 71:

Lots of rumours of pike in Balsam Lak. I've heard nothing reliable. Any truth or confirmation?

Asked August 29, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Best to contact the provincial park at Balsam Lake for an update - they can put you in touch with the right person.


Question 70:

I have noticed over the last several years that the minnows in the lake my cottage is on have declined almost to nothing. The Lake Trout fishing has slowed down considerably (in numbers and size), as well as smallmouth bass while rock bass seem to be on the increase. My question is: Can baitfish somehow be re-introduced into the lake without upsetting the biological balance? Also, the Ministry of Natural Resources has declared Kennisis Lake (Minden District) to be a natural reproducing Lake Trout fishery. Does this mean that no stocking of hatchery Trout (even if taken from native Trout in the lake)can be done?

Asked August 22, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Fish population fluctuations area a natural occurrence in nature. Environmental conditions change on a yearly basis and these fluctuations will manifest themselves in the degree of spawning success (i.e. recruitment) of each fish species. Therefore, some years will support a strong "year class" of fish while others may be less. In addition, the predator-prey dynamics within the aquatic food web will also cause other populations of fish to fluctuate accordingly (e.g. a year of poor recruitment in a particular species of baitfish may have implications on predator fish species).

Typically, the stocking of any fish species requires a permit through the MNR. Introducing exotic fish species to an ecosystem can drastically alter the food web and fish community that are native to the waterbody/watercourse. Inquiries specific to the Kenisis lake issue should be forwarded directly to the Minden MNR office as they have detailed knowledge with regard to their management of the lake trout population in this waterbody.


Question 69:

Have there been proven catching of pike or hybrids in Balsam lake? I figured it was misidentification of species, but have read it stated as fact by Muskie club that hybrids have been caught. In fact a large genetic scale sample study is now being undertaken by such club along with the MNR. Can the ministry confirm pike have been caught in Balsam lake???

Asked August 22, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Any questions that refer to site specific information (e.g. Balsam Lake) should be handled by local MNR offices in the area. The staff in these office are best suited to handling detailed inquires such as the fish community that may be found in a particular lake or watercourse. A complete listing of MNR offices can be found in the Year 2000 Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary.


Question 68:

Is it legal to remove weeds from in front of your lakeside property (in the water) or are you allowed just to cut them down?

Asked July 26, 2000

Answer from the MNR

To remove aquatic vegetation, you may require a work permit under the Public Lands Act. These permits are administered through your local MNR office. Removal of any amount of aquatic vegetation north of Hwy 7 and more than 100 sq. meters south of Hwy. 7 will require a permit. In addition, permits through the department of fisheries and oceans and the local conservation authority may also be required as there could be a harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat.


Question 67:

I want to write moose articles for national publication. How can I obtain such information as the MNR's moose counts, vegetations etc... This is to provide information to moose hunters in Ontario. Could you refer me to someone or a web site where this type of information is available?

Asked July 26, 2000

Answer from the MNR

You can access the information that you desire by contacting any local MNR office in the province. A complete listing of district offices and phone numbers can be found in the 2000 Hunting Regulations Summary. Contact with the district offices will provide the detailed information that you are looking for.


Question 66:

I got some babies of frogs from the minnows bag. They are the one with just 1 tail and no legs. They are quite cute. I kept them in water with air pump. However, I don't know what to feed them. Also, how long it will be before they can turn into a real frog? Do I have to do something for them? My friend once had some and he told me that they died as soon as the legs came out. Why's that?

Asked July 26, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Not knowing where you found your frogs I am going to assume that they are native to Ontario. If they are native frogs (e.g. leopard frog) it would be best to release them into their natural environment. Studies of tadpole development in breeding ponds have found that most tad poles will develop into froglets after 10-13 weeks of incubation. The frogs will feed on various insect and invertebrate species. Again, these frogs should remain in their natural environment and place in an aquarium


Question 65:

I would appreciate very much if you could tell me how to distinguish a male large mouth bass from a female large mouth bass.

Asked July 26, 2000

Answer from the MNR

It would be difficult to distinguish between male and female fish based on appearance alone. To accurately differentiate between the sexes a biologist would need to conduct an internal analysis of the sex organs. However, there are some 'cues' that an angler can use that won't require killing the fish. For example, female large mouth bass often have significant scars, redness, and wear from creating the nest for spawning purposes. In addition, larger bass are often females. These characteristics can be used by an angler to make a broad field determination about the sex of the fish species. Using these techniques, catch and release can still be used.


Question 64:

I am looking for a fish weight calculation formula that incorporates length as well as girth. I am familiar with (Length)cubed divided by 1600 (for bass)

Asked June 28, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Most formulas used by biologists are empirically derived equations. Some formulas that can be applied on Lake Simcoe are as follows. Y is weight measured in grams and X is fork length measured in mm.

lake trout that are greater than 580 mm in fork length
Y=17.8X - 8536.4

lake whitefish that are greater than 500 mm in fork length
Y=12.4X - 4933.4

black crappie that are greater than 150 mm and less than 300 mm in fork length
Y=2.4X - 327.1


Question 63:

1. My father-in-law works with a local fish hatchery in Port Stanley. Recently they had a huge fish kill of Brown Trout fry. The fry had been reared from eggs to approximately 1 1/2" in length. Half of the fry were placed in tanks inside the hatchery building, the rest were placed in cages in a pond on the property. All fish seemed to be doing well. For some reason, the caged fish were moved from the pond into the hatchery building where they were placed in the holding tanks with the other fry. Within a few days, most of the fish had died. I thought that the pond fry may have picked up a disease from the pond that resulted in this die off but they seemed to be doing well before being moved into the hatchery tanks. The fry in the hatchery tanks also seemed healthy before the pond fish were relocated to the tanks. Any ideas on what may have caused this?

2. Are MNR biologists available to inspect private hatcheries and/or consult with the operators?

Asked June 28, 2000

Answer from the MNR

1. It is quite possible that the fish that were reared in the pond may have contracted a disease. This problem could arise from nutritional deficiencies, epizootics of viruses and bacteria, and parasitic protozoans, nematodes, trimatoads, cestoads, and crustaceans. If a disease is diagnosed within its early stages, there are treatments available. In addition, it is possible that the fish that were reared in the pond were accustomed to a certain temperature that drastically differs from the temperature regime in the 'new' environment that they were placed in. Other water quality characteristics such as dissolved oxygen, nitrogen, salinity, and acidity could cause fish deaths if the 'change' from one environment to another is drastic.

2. Yes, in some cases MNR staff can be made available to work with local hatcheries.


Question 62:

I believe I have walleye spawning in my pond. Currently about 1 1/2 inches. Any suggestions how I can confirm at this small a size.

Asked June 28, 2000

Answer from the MNR

It is unlikely that walleye would be found spawning in a pond. Traditionally, walleye are found in larger waterbodies (e.g. lakes and rivers) and will spawn on either large rocky shoals within the lake or will migrate up/within a river to deposit and fertilize their eggs over a rocky substrate. As well, spawning in southern Ontario usually occurs in the month of April and involves large adult fish that would range between 2 and 16 pounds.


Question 61:

I was wondering what happens when a fish breaks your line and still has the hook/lure stuck in it's mouth. Is there a chance it will die? This has happened to me a few times and afterwards, once or twice, I noticed a fish coming to the surface in the same area. Could this be the same fish trying to get the hook out of it's mouth? I'm especially wondering about Musky, Pike and Bass. I think I'm going to start using Fireline to try to make sure this dosen't happen again. I don't want to harm any fish.

Asked June 12, 2000

Answer from the MNR

I suspect one of several things will happen to a fish that has broke off: it will die as a result of the hook or lure blocking the ability to feed; the fish will eventually dislodge the hook; the flesh of the fish will grow around the hook.


Question 60:

I'd like to know about the biology of the clairville resevior, what test are run to it? Is it fairly free of pollutants, what temp can it reach, what fish species are available to catch? Is it monitored by the ministry? what is the water clarity like?

Asked June 12, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Clairville Reservoir is an on-line lake on the West Humber River. It is a warmwater lake that supports largemouth bass as the top predator amongst other warmwater species. It is usually turbid and contains pollutnats that are typical of a rural agricultural landscape. It is not monitored by the MNR.


Question 59:

I have asked this question a few times during the years I have been fishing for salmonids and I haven't got a good answer yet. Why are we (Ontario taxpayers) spending lots of money stocking Chinook Salmon when we could be stocking Atlantics which are a native species in realistic numbers. Not 25,000 here, 10,000 there. Shouldn't we be just be introducing larger numbers in order to get established? It seems to be that we are wasting time putting minimal numbers in when we should be getting serious about whether or not we are committed.

In addition, we should be opening up prime water to these fish; i.e. upper Credit so that all the work is not in vain. I am very sure that the TU and other anglers would be very supportive. Fishing is a big industry to our province and the way things are looking these days (for trout fishermen anyway), more and more of us will be looking to bring our dollars to the U.S. - there are too many fisherman here and too few fish now. I respect what the MNR is doing and their aims of natural reproduction, but I believe that some groups are getting their way over others. For example, if we don't want native species why do we still stock Browns, Chinook and Coho? I want these species BTW but why not cut back and spend the bucks where it would create a world class fishery?

Asked June 12, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The Atlantic Salmon re-introduction into Lake Ontario is currently in a research phase looking at the survival of juveniles in the river systems. This phase is expected to come to a close this summer and provide science-based conclusions on the feasibility of re-introduction.

Your thoughts on focusing on native species only is shared by Great Lakes United in their resolutions presented at their last annual general meeting. As you are aware, the fisheries of the Great Lakes are managed not just on science but also the politics of fishing - hence you will continue to see the stocking of exotics species in the Great Lakes because the majority of the voices want to catch many big fish.


Question 58:

Our group fishes stoney lake for a week ,every year ,for panfish . we allways catch perch . we don`t keep them because they seem to be infested with some sort of bacteria(worm the locals claim) there are these bumps on their lower jaw area . it looks like rice under their skin . when we clean them there is a white like mole in the meat about the size of a pencil eraser . my question is , are these spots worms , and are these fish save to eat ? thank you

Asked June 12, 2000

Answer from the MNR

I suspect that you have encountered fish that are infested with a parasite - it is difficult to determine exactly what the parasite is without seeing it. Is the fish flesh safe to eat - as long as you cook it well.


Question 57:

I just came back from fishing Lake Ontario (by Lewiston, NY) and was shocked to see what appeared to be hundreds of thousands of dead or dying ailwaits (or however it is spelled- the 4 - 8" white fish) floating in the river and many, many more times than that in huge clusters in the lake. In deed, in parts of the lake as far as three miles from shore there were massive clumps of the dead & floating fish as large as .3 miles by .1 miles! I asked local natives who speculated from everything of a checmical discharge to a normal course of breeding cycle. Can you please let me know what caused this massive death of fish?

Asked June 12, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Assuming that all of the dead fish you observed were of the same species - ALEWIFE - then they probably died of natural causes. There are two common causes of death for alewife - temperature shock from cold upwellings of Lake Ontario or spawning induced stress. Alewife move into nearshore areas and rivers through April to June to spawn. Rapid temperature changes in the nearshore area can cause massive die offs. Some speculate that die-offs are a result of exhausted thyroid glands.


Question 56:

For 2 years now I have been watching the spawning activity of a fish species and can't find out what fish it is; hoping you can help. I am watching them at Rattray Marsh in Mississauga in the stream and they are currently spawning now. They look to be bottom feeders with the males being smaller than the females, light to medium brown with a few darker brown stripes that run along the length of their bodies. The females do not seem to have the stripes or at least they are not as definative. In some ways they look like a catfish without whiskers and in other ways I thought them to be a type of carp but they are far too small, the males probably being about a foot long and they are elongated. They look to be a somewhat muscular fish similar to a catfish. Any ideas?

Asked June 12, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The fish you describe are white suckers. The males have the stripes and the females are about 1.5 times larger than the males. They spawn in the spring in local streams and can be observed from late April to early June. You can usually see them in large numbers below the first dam or obstacle closest to Lake Ontario.


Question 55:

Has any work been done on the presence of these nasty carriers of Lyme desease in Ontario? What is their Range?

Asked June 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Yes, there has been some research on Lyme Disease in Ontario. The carrier - a tick, and if my memory serves me correctly - the tick is usually associated with deer mice. The range is generally restricted to the Long Point area but there have been cases of Lyme disease reported in other areas of southern Ontario.

The local Health Unit is a good source of information on this disease.


Question 54:

Could you please tell me a way that I could tell a female walleye from a male when I'm on the water fishing?

Asked June 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Sexes are not easily distinguished outside of the spawning season. You basically have to feel and squeeze the fish to determine the sex.


Question 53:

I was wondering if I could get the address of the Ringwood hatchery.

Asked June 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Call them at (905) 640-6204.


Question 52:

Is it ecologically feasible to stock warmwater species such as bass, Northern Pike, etc. in heavily fished Lake Ontario Estuaries and bays such as the Rouge, Frenchman's Bay, Second Marsh in Whitby, Toronto Islands, High Park, lower Humber etc.? There are thousands of people who do not have the means to go to cottage country to enjoy fishing, yet there seems to be little attention paid to the potential of these areas other than trout/salmon, which are only accessible a couple of times a year for the average angler. Is there a water quality/ forage base issue that prevents an expansion of such a fishery?

Asked June 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

No need to stock these waters, many of them already have heathly warm water fisheries. Not too many people know about what these areas have to offer. The need is to improve the visibility of the summer fisheries.


Question 51:

a. How did this (Spiny Water Flea) infestation occur?
b.Has the guilty offender been brought to justice?

Asked June 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

a. Ships from abroad (Europe, Asia etc.) come into the Great Lakes carrying ballast water from their native harbours and discharge into our harbours when being loaded with grain etc. The ballast water carries exotic species such as spiny water flea, zebra mussels, river ruffe and others. These creature then spread throughout the Great Lakes.

b. Difficult to catch the offenders.


Question 50:

Has the MNR or other similar Great Lake entity come up with a solution to rid us of this plague (Spiny Water Fleas) or, at least control it?

Asked June 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

No, we have to live and learn with it .


Question 49:

Is the flea infestation in Lake Ontario directly related to the very poor water quality we have experienced in Toronto for the past two summers? Tap water is brown with a decidely unpleasant smell.

Asked June 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

No - the spiny water flea is a product of the discharge of ship ballast into the Great Lakes.



Question 48:

It is with interest and fear that I ask you whether we here in Ontario are to be concerned for our native Trout species. Is Whirling disease prominent in waters related to the Rocky Mountain Watershed (as I have noticed in Western Canada / U.S.)? Or is it a reality that could spread throughout North America?

Asked April 5, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Whirling disease is definately a dark cloud looming on the horizon for Ontario's trout fishery. Much like zebra mussels, river ruffe and all of the other exotic species introduced into the Great Lakes, it will only take one careless action to make it a reality. If people can ship European mussels into the Great Lakes via ship ballast, we are certainly capable of transporting whirling disease across the continent.


Question 47:

For the past 30 years, our family has been going every spring to the Lower Buckhorn area for Walleyes. Over the past 3-5 years we have noticed that there are fewer and fewer Walleyes being caught. In fact the past two years have been disastrous. Along with poor catches, we have noticed an increase in Zebra mussels, low water. In fact the past two years you didn't even need an anchor fishing below the dam.

Please let me know what has happened to the Kawartha Lakes Walleye?

Asked April 5, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Best to contact the MNR's Kawartha Lakes Fisheries Assessment Unit.


Question 46:

I noticed when reading about the Humber River in this year's fishing regulations that a year round closed season has been set for Atlantic salmon. Have any been stocked in the Humber and if so, how many? What year are we likely to see the first returns of this fish? I already enjoy watching trout jump at the Raymore park fishway and above Lawrence Avenue and would love to see an Atlantic! While I'm at it, have there ever been sightings of Atlantics in the Rouge as a result of the stocking by MEA or in any of the rivers close to Toronto?

Asked April 5, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Only a few thousand atlantic salmon fry have been stocked in the Humber in the last two years. If we are lucky, we might see two or three adult fish return. Should the Atlantic Salmon research demonstrate that it is feasible to this fish to Lake Ontario, we hipe to increase the stocking efforts in the Humber. No atlantic have been seen in the Rouge so far - again due to low numbers of only recent fry stocking. The Credit River in Mississauaga has had adult Atlantic Salmon turn up each year but only a few fish are reported. The most I ever saw were 13 in one day - August 23, 1993.


Question 45:

I was recently told that Blue Hawk lake, a favourite lake near Haliburton, is contaminated with murcury. While I always release my catch and never eat the fish, I'm still interested in knowing the state of the lake I fish in.

Do you know of "Blue Hawk Lake near Haliburton, and is it contaminated?

Asked April 5, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Best to contact the local MNR District Office in Minden.


Question 44:

Today, march 28 I spotted a dead "fish"in the St. Catharines marina. I got it out of the water and was surprised to see that it wasn't a fish. The creature was approx 12" long. It's head resembled that one of a snake. It's tongue was white and rounder. It did not have significant teeth. The eyes were very primitive; white with a slight blue tint. They looked more like dots. It had legs and it's tail was as wide as it's body and looked a bit like an eel's tail. It seemed to have external breathing organs. It's skin was fairly smooth, no scales and greyish in colour with darker dots. I have not seen or heard about an animal like this before and I am very curious to find out what this could be. Tomorrow, if it's still there I will take a picture.

Asked April 5, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Sounds like you found yourself a mudpuppy. It is an amphibian (salamander) that is found in rivers and lakes - totally aquatic creature.


Question 43:

What can be done by waterfront homeowners wanting to improve fish spawning and habitate areas. Specifically for bass and perch, on slow moving, low oxegenated rivers, such as the East Holland River? Where can information be obtained regarding plantings, shoreline improvements etc. to encourage non-coarse fish habitate in these type of rivers.

Asked April 5, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Keep an eye on the Ontario Streams web site for the upcoming Ontario's Stream Rehabilitation Manual - it should help you with understanding rivers and rehabilitation opportunities (www.ontariostreams.on.ca)


Question 42:

In our lake (Chandos) Walleye quickly disappeared after Pike were introduced about 15 years ago. The Pike population has prospered. In a friend's lake the reverse has happened. Walleye were stocked about in Silver Lake five years ago and since then the Pike have almost totally disappeared while the Walleye have flourished. Is there a cause and effect relationship here and if so how do you explain it?

Asked April 5, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Difficult to answer without knowing the character of each lake. Best to an develop understanding of the differences in the lakes - depth profiles, forage, vegetation communities, amount of shoreline development etc. Pike and walleye will typically co-exist in lakes if their is sufficient habitat for each species.


Question 41:

Where are the seasonal movements for walleye in lake St Clair. What area's do they relate to during there seasonal pattern's in the lake. I know in spawning for example the move up the Thame's and the Sydenham but after that is what I want to know . And how to find the number's not the single's

Asked April 5, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Best to contact the local MNR District Office in Aylmer.


Question 40:

Last summer i caught a salamander and i have looked in a cuople of books trying to identifie it with no luck, maybe you can help . it was a orange colour with either blue or black spots about 3 inches long

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

More likely a newt rather than a salamander - it is called a "red eft".


Question 39:

Could you please clear up the mystery as to where the walleye go during the summer months in Lake Simcoe? They are easily located in the Spring near their spawning rivers such as the Talbot, but they seem to disapear once they return to the lake. Do they suspend over deep water or head to more sheltered areas such as Cooks Bay?

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Contact the Lake Simcoe Fisheries Assessment Unit for answers to these questions.


Question 38:

Are Lake Simcoe's herring actually another word for cisco, or are they a separate species? I've heard answers both ways.

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Same - cisco or lake herring - Coregonus artedii

There is many other varieties of cisco and of the herring family too. Scott and Crossman (1973) Freshwater Fishes of Canada is a good book on fish that will answer most of your questions.


Question 37:

Do you have any information on any negative effects of spraying for mosquitos over water. Does it harm the food chain and/or the smallmouth or other fishes themselves? Mosquito spray may possibly be harming largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill sunfish, and black crappie production in a water body near here. Walleye, yellow perch, and bullhead catfish seem to be okay. Thanks for any data or info. of any kind.

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

See answer to Question 35. Suggest you research the topic at a local library.


Question 36:

I have been reading about the trout stocking activity in the Rouge River, Little Rouge, Robinson's Creek and other tributaries. My question is with respect to the brown trout stocking. Are these browns always the type that swim down to the lake and return to the rivers only to spawn or eat the spawn of Steelhead? Or are any of them stream-resident browns, as per the stocking in the Grand River tailwater fishery?

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

They are predominantly stream resident brown trout of the same origin as the Grand River stock. The lake run browns are also of the same stock - it just depends on whether you stock them in the watershed or in the lake.


Question 35:

Would spraying for mosquitoes over water adversely affect the fish population, particularily smallmouth bass?

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Indirectly - yes. Any use of insecticide around water will effect the food chain and eventually the top predator.


Question 34:

I have been regularly fishing the Grand and Conestoga Rivers for about 5 years now and was wondering about pike and more specifically walleye stocking in thise rivers. Who can I contact about recent stocking efforts and the history of stocking as I have been catching walleye of varying sizes from 1.5 to 9.6 pounds, mostly on rapalas or similar lures, few on jigs. With the obvious success of the stocking efforts in the past, I am dumbfounded as to the main feeding habits of the resident walleye. Minnows are obviously present in both river systems, but the crayfish population is substantially exponential to the small fish population in these river systems. Would walleye be consistenly feeding on crayfish as a main staple? Have there been any significant reports about the stocking efforts failing in these systems or any efforts planned for the future? The Grand River Conservation Authority can not or will not help me with my questions and I would also request any! info on the closest fisheries assessment unit to the Kitchener/Waterloo area and a phone number if possible.

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Contact the Guelph District Office of MNR at 519-826-4955


Question 33:

Do fish have nerve endings? I have often wondered that when a fish is hooked, do they feel pain? I know that a fish will squirm, but that is due to the fact that they are out of water and cannot breathe. Many times I have hooked a fish and actually ripped their skin with the hook, but they seem to swim away normally when released. I would be very interested in the reply to this question.

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Fish do have a nervous system with "nerve endings" that sensor pressure, touch, temperature, smell etc. Do they feel pain - probably. How do you measure or compare the pain - not possible.


Question 32:

I would like to know where to get information on what is required and how to go about stocking a speckle trout pond in a spring feed pond on my own property.

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Contact the District office of MNR that is closest to the proposed stocking location.


Question 31:

Can anyone tell me when the OMNR fisheries personnel will be opening and conducting daily fish counting and lifting operations on the Corbett Dam fishway above Jocelyn Street on the Ganaraska River in Port Hope, Ontario.

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Contact the MNR District Office in Peterbrough - they will be able to tell you.


Question 30:

Over the last 8 years we have noticed a drastic reduction in the number of fish caught out front of cottage. We cottage on Lake Huron in Amberly, just south of Kincardine. Prior to this decline evening catches of Jumbo Perch commonly exceeded 50 fish between 3 of us in boat and catching them from shore was never out of the question, now we are lucky to get 10 during the summer. Does the perch population fluctuate and run in cycles and we are just currently reaching a low point? Does the Zebra Muscle population have any effect on the perch as we have noticed a radical change in the water clarity? Most of the old time cottagers that fish for the perch only blame the commercial fishing boats out front of the cottage but I'm guessing its more, do you have any idea what happened to our perch. We are also noticing a decrease in the number of Drum and Channel Cats as well. For the first time last summer I noticed a number of Gobys living in the rock line out front of t! he cottage, any idea what kind of an impact these will have on our fishery.

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Best to contact the Lake Huron Fisheries Assessment Unit to find out the answers to these questions.


Question 29:

First, in 1993 or 1994 while fishing the Nine Mile River in Huron County I came across a pool of salmon. This was the first week of October and I was surprised to see the fish as far up the river as I did. This was a school of about 10 Chinooks ranging in size from 15-20lbs, however there were 2 much smaller fish mixed in with the bigger fish. I was fortunate enough to catch one of these fish, it was about 3-4lbs. There was next to no fight in this fish and floated upon an attempted release, so I kept it. A couple of hours later the other one of these little guys floated up and downstream gasping for breath. They seemed to be exhausted and dying like a fish done spawning though the colouring of them seemed to indicate very fresh run fish. They had the same colouring as a Chinook but had developed quite a hump, much like that of a Pink salmon. Both fish were males and the one I kept made an excellent meal. I caught a couple of the bigger Chinooks out of the same pool a! nd each had virtually identical colouring, a nice silvery-gray colour, these were fresh fish, none had yet changed to the bronze-yellow colour and each fish I caught struck my flies aggressively. My question is, I hope there is enough description here, is it possible for immature Chinooks to develop a hump similar to that of a spawning Pink Salmon. I have caught a couple of Pinks and the colouring is way off from what I have caught to that of these two fish in question. Again, the humps were identical to that of a spawning Pink and didn't look like a spinal deformity. I now know in hind site getting these fish identified at the time would have been a lot easier, but do you have any suggestions as to what that was I caught.

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Probably pink salmon - they are the only salmonid in Ontario waters that develops a hump. The fish's colour will change dramatically from lake phase to spawning phase. If the water was low and it was warm, they may have been stressed by the water temperature and subsequently died.


Question 28:

I Captiain one of Don Forsters charter boats (Rhombeus Charters) and have noticed that a large number of lakers have had full stomaches of juvenile zebra mussels, along with this we have observed lake trout nosing in to the bottom to scare up sculpins. Now normally that wouldn't concern me, the fact that they are starting to feed on juvenile zebra mussels does. In all instances thier have been large bait balls around of alewife and smelt. Are you aware that lakers have started eating the zebra mussels?

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

No - never heard of this before either - take some photographs of the stomachs next time you see it and send with a note to the Lake Ontario Managment Unit


Question 27:

This question is going to sound very odd, do steelhead and Rainbow Trout molt/lose thier teeth after the spawn or are they like most fish and gradually replace thier teeth over the course of a season? The reason I ask is that most of the bows and steelies I caught this summer on Lake Ontario had beleeding/raw gums (not from the hook) and the fact that right after the spawn they seem to be off feeding for a while.

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Never heard of this before - I suspect that rainbow trout do not grow a new set of teeth each year. Not sure whether lost teeth are replaced by new growth or not.


Question 26:

Can you tell me how early prespawn Northerns migrate into the shallows and approximately what water temperature they prefer this time of year? When do they start moving deep again?

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Depends on the waterbody and the location withn the Province. Southern areas - like Lake Erie wetlands may see pike move in as early as mid March - like this year. In northern Ontario - the pike spawn much later - late April. Look for water temperatures in the range of 4.4 to 11.0 C They will move out with 3-4 weeks of spawning.


Question 25:

I am interested in having the lake on which I own a cottage netted and the fish tested. The reason for this is that it hasn't been tested in several years, yet this year's Guide to Fish Eating shows different restrictions than previous years. The lake is in Parry Sound District. Do you have info on who to contact? Is it too late to have it done this spring?

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Contact the Ministry of Environment - a contact should be listed in the 1999 guide.


Question 24:

My question is about raising sucker minnows. I'm looking everywhere on the net but have yet to come up with anything. Is it similar to walleye in regards to their incubation? Or can you use an up-welling like trout? Are there any restrictions on the number one can produce?

I require these sucker minnows as forage for this year's walleye but haven't spent much time on culturing suckers, strictly walleye. Currently, I have a quarter million emeralds, with at least a hundred thousand fatheads due in next week sometime.

This will hopefully provide me with a good start when trying to feed all these walleye but I need the sucker minnows to provide me even more.

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Bell jar incubation of white sucker would be the best route to take. Gary Chapman, who used to work at the Cold Creek fish hatchery tried raising white suckers - with some success. I recall that he had troubles getting them onto feed - ended up using an extruded formula like Biodiet.

You need a licence to collect and propagate white suckers. Check with your local MNR district office for advice.


Question 23:

Can you tell me if there is any natural reproduction of trout or salmon in the lower Niagara river with the hydro dropping the water levels every night. I believe there is a self sustaining population of rainbows in the upper Niagara. Would these fish stay in the river all year or head to Erie. These fish range from 1 to 18 lbs.

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Not likely self sustaining rainbow trout in the Niagara River. These fish are more likely attracted to the river's flow and forage.


Question 22:

Can I get some help from your department in a stream assessment,rehabilitation plan,or just some good old guidance in how to keep my south western ontario trout stream from warming up and changing species. In need of Help.

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Refer to the Ontario Streams web site at www.ontariostreams.on.ca. Ontario's Stream Rehabilitation Manual is posted there in draft form.


Question 21:

What would the prime forage be for pike and walleye in the river systems of the James Bay water shed?

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Best guess is white sucker and dominant minnow species for the watershed.


Question 20:

How long does it take for yellow perch to reach 8 inches and how long after that does it take to grow addition size,say 10 inches?

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Best to contact one of the Fisheries Assessement Units for an answer to your question. Size is dependent of forage base and water temperatures. Lake Erie perch reach 8" after three years and approach 10" by the end of their 5th year


Question 19:

I've heard rumours of a spring run of steelhead in the Don River, Toronto, Is this true? And if so, what size of a run are we looking at, and how far up the river can these fish migrate?

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Yes, there is a spring run of rainbow trout in the Don River. They make it up to the Donalda Golf Club. Probably a couple of hundred fish.

No plans for Don River regulation changes in the near future. Check 2000 fishing regulation changes for the Humber River for better year round fishing opportunities


Question 18:

Can you tell me when was the last time walleye were stocked in White Lake, near Arnprior Ontario? What was the quantity? Is further stocking planned?

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Best to contact the local MNR office for answers to your questions.


Question 17:

No one here seems to know how to catch whites in a local reservior. { blackstrap }40km. south of saskatoon, sask.the res. is large but shallow, max depth 30-40 ft. it is extremely fertile with a very healthy bait fish pop.This res. also experiences a dense alae bloom, but does not winter kill.Healthy #'s of perch,walleye, lesser #'s of pike. What would be my best tackle, bait, etc. to catch these whites ? Any and all seasons, thank you

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Never heard of the fish referred to as a "white". Asuuming you are taking about whitefish - suggest you post your question on the University of Toronto's Fishing page http://www.zoo.utoronto.ca/FUN/Fish.html


Question 16:

Is the Herring population down this year in Simcoe? Any ideas why? What fish populations are on the increase and decrease.

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Best to contact the Lake Simcoe Fisheries Assessment Unit for answers to these questions.


Question 15:

Are turtle eggs edible and are they legal to take in Ontario?

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Are turtle eggs edible and are they legal to take in Ontario? Interesting question. Turtle eggs are a delicacy in some countries and I would expect our variety of turtles would produce eggs that are edible - although rather small. Snapping turtles lay the most and largest eggs (50 to 90 per batch) and they are about the size of a ping-pong ball. A Fishing Licence is required to collect snapping turtle. Although it is not clear in the Fishing Regulations - I would recommend that snapping turtle eggs only be taken from the carcass of the animals you collect under your Fishing Licence. Do not dig up nests for personal consumption. It is illegal to sell snapping turtles and their eggs.

It is also illegal to collect any of the other species of turtle or their eggs for the purposes of consumption (refer to the Fishing and Hunting regulations or the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act).


Question 14:

When fishing for pike in the spring or winter wich bait is better live minows/dead minows

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Live minnows are better assuming you are still fishing through ice. If you are spin fishing on open water - a lure with a dead minnow on it will work good too.


Question 13:

Does pH have A big affect on brown trout when they are swim up fry? If so what is the optimal range when they are swim up fry.

Asked March 1, 2000

Answer from the MNR

All fish are sensitive to pH whether they are fry or adults. Most natural waterbodies fall in the range of 6.7 to 8.2. The optimum range for culturing fish is 6.5 to 9. Trout have high mortality outside of this range. Best to have a pH within the range of 6.7 to 8.2


Question 12:

There appears to be a healthy population of walleye in Lake Rosseau. What is the status of waaeye in Lake Joesph.

Asked January 8, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Best to contact the local Fisheries Assessment Unit or District Office of MNR for information relating to specific lakes.


Question 11:

Can you please tell me whether the common clams you find in "clean" lakes are edible? I have heard from people that they are and are quite tasty when cooked properly.

Asked January 8, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Yes - they are edible if cooked properly.


Question 10:

I was wondering if you knew of the sampling program for L.Ont. and wether or not you knew the results of the fall sampling program?

Any record of mature Atlantics returning this past fall?

Asked January 8, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Lake Ontario Managment Unit produces an annual report of their activities each year. Best to contact them directly for a copy of the report.

Editors Note: Lake Ontario Management reports are available from the MEA website (on the Gizmo Page) in HTML format.

I haven't heard of any (mature Atlantics retuning this past fall).


Question 9:

I occasionally fish the mouth of Duffins Cr. in Ajax, this past fall, I noticed a boat that seemed to be setting and hauling (gill?)nets.

Asked January 8, 2000

Answer from the MNR

There may have been some fisheries research work underway. Best to describe the boat to get a better answer.


Question 8:

The 2000 Regulations say that pink salmon are still being caught in Lake Ontario. I thought that the last stocking done by the MNR for Pinks in Lake Ontario ended in the early eighties, I haven't heard of anyone catching a pink in years. The second is in regards to Atlantic Salmon, what does the MNR plan for restocking, which estuaries and a forcast when we might see a viable harvest?

Asked January 8, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Pink salmon have never been officially stocked by MNR in any of the Great Lakes. There was an accidental release into Lake Superior near Thunder Bay in the 1950's. This release was the start of the expansion of pink salmon into the Great Lakes. They still occur in small numbers in Lake Ontario.

The Atlantic Salmon Reintroduction Program focuses on reserach relating to adult and fry stages of fish in Wilmot, Credit and Ganaraska watersheds. The stocking is done in the headwater areas of the watersheds - not the estuaries. In order to see a viable harvest, the research program would have to first prove that reintroduction is feasible and, secondly, stocking numbers would have to go up considerably in order to produce runs of adults.


Question 7:

WHY THE NEW REGULATION ON NON-RESIDENTS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO CATCH LIVE BAIT..WERE NON-RESIDENTS TAKING TOO MUCH LIVE BAIT OR IS THIS ANOTHER WAY TO GOUGE THE NON-RESIDENT ANGLER

Asked January 8, 2000

IAnswer from the MNR

Bait restrictions are in place to prevent over harvest and to help prevent the introduction of non-native species.


Question 6:

Asked January 2, 2000

I'm wondering about the staus of Peregrine Falcons in Southern Ontario. I know of a couple of projects involving nesting boxes on some buildings downtown, are there any other such initiatives?

Does the MNR ever solicit assistance from the business sector with regard to placing hatching boxes? I would like to appraoch my employer about getting a box on the roof of our building, what would be involved in this (from the MNR's perspective)

Answer from the MNR

The peregrine falcon was downlisted in 1999 from endangered to threatened, however, in Ontario it is still considered as endangered "provincially". The nesting boxes in Toronto are a small part of the larger Toronto Peregrine Project. We have two wild nest sites - one in downtown Toronto and one at Bloor and Islington. There are also several estblished territories in the Toronto area where the pairs are not nesting - one at Yonge and Bloor and the other in Scarborough near the Town Centre.

MNR does not solicit private business for nesting boxes - these boxes do not guarantee peregrines with them - putting them up is a shot in the dark. Our best peregrine related project involving potential for corporate profile involves satellite telemetry monitoring of young peregrines. You can find out more about this exciting project at www.peregrine-foundation.ca

 


Question 5:

After the fall and a awesome catch of huge quinte walleyes after dark.I was wondering why all the fish I caught after dark in Picton Bay were females? females? The smallest in 5 trips was 7.1 pounds. Do the populations seperate in the fall?

Asked January 2, 2000

Answer from the MNR

I have never heard of a population of fish separating by gender in the fall. I suggest that the reason for catching only females is related to their more aggressive feeding activities in the fall - females require a lot more food for egg production than males for milt production - over the course of the fall and winter.


Question 4:

How do you become a biologist. What courses do you take at what schools. what do you actually do. Approximately how much money do biologists make and are there opportunities to move up.?

Asked January 2, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Most biologists have a minimum of a four year honours degree from a recognized university. Ontario's best universities for biology programs are Guelph, Trent and Western (my bias). First and second years are general courses like organic chemistry, physics, statisical analysis, population ecology. Third year is more specific - vertebrate biology, zoology etc. Fourth year you get into research paper writing, and more specialty courses - fisheries biology, limnology etc. Biologists generally make between $35-55,000 per year depending on experience, training and initiative. Opportunities for moving up in the pay scale exist, but usually involves moving your residence.


Question 3:

Every summer while fishing on Lake Erie I come across many Sheephead with hard round parasites attached to thier gills. They remind me a lot of leechs the way they are attached. Whenever possible I take them off because sometimes there are so many ubder the gill plates that the fish can't even close its gills. I have some samples in my freezer if you want them but, otherwise i was wondering if you could tell me what they are and how dangerous they are for the fish.

Asked January 2, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Never heard of this one before - best to contact the University of Guelph - fish pathology lab


Question 2:

The last few years I notice little round black specks(1/16-1/32"in dia.)started showing up in the flesh of perch caught in cooks bay.What is it?Whats it from?Is it edible?

Asked January 2, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Sounds like "blackspot" disease. This is a small parasite usually found on the skin of the fish. As long as you cook the fish well before eating - it will not harm you.


Question 1:

What is the current status of the Atlantic Salmon reintroduction program for Lake Ontario? What rivers have been targeted? What are the primary negative factors to date that have been hindering reintroduction?

Asked January 2, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program is a cooperative research project between MNR and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. For the past several years, a small number of fry and fingerlings are stocked into high quality tributaries of Lake Ontario - Credit River, Ganaraska River, Wilmot Creek with the intention of monitoring the survival of these fish in different types of habitat and mixed with different types of resident fish species (rainbow trout, brown trout etc.) Adult salmon are also released into the Credit River in the fall to monitor their movements with radio telemetry equipment - this is done to determine what type of habitat is best for spawning and also determine whether "natural" spawning is successful or not.

So far, it has been learned than young atlantic salmon do very well in terms of growth, in coldwater streams where there is lots of rock or wood debris. They do not compete well with rainbow trout. Adult atlantic salmon can spawn successfully in the Credit River although fine sediment limits natural reproduction (success requires less than 20% fines under 2 mm diameter in the spawning area).

The primary factors limiting reintroduction have been - suitable genetic source of atlantic salmon eggs (only one strain is currently used), dams on rivers, poor water quality (high fine sediment laod)