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Thousands of trout released locally

Trout released - Abby Sinichko of Ancaster, a first time volunteer with the fish restocking program, throws a pail filled with brown trout into the Conestogo River near Glen Allan. Officials say throwing, rather than pouring, fish from a pail helps the fish adapt to the river environment.  Photos by Caroline Sealey


Thousands of trout released locally

WELLINGTON CTY. - The Friends of the Grand River and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) released 23,000 brown trout into the Grand River on May 12 and 15.

The fish were released at about 30 sites between the Shand Dam at Lake Belwood through the communities of Fergus and Elora, to the Highway 86 bridge at West Montrose, a distance of approximately 28 km.

On May 10 and 11, the groups released 14,750 brown trout into the Conestogo River at about 30 sites along a 19km stretch below the Conestogo Dam in the communities of Glen Allan, Macton, Wallenstein and Hawkesville.

The fish have been stocked annually in the Grand since 1989 and in the Conestogo since 2003. The stocking program has resulted in “a great brown trout tailwater fishery,” officials state.

The dams help protect against downstream flooding and are used to augment flows in the river during dry periods.

Brown trout cannot tolerate temperatures above 24 degrees Celcius, so the dams are operated to release the reservoir’s deep, cool water during the summer, providing the cool water brown trout require.

The “tailwater” is the water downstream of a dam and this project has taken advantage of the opportunity to create a brown trout ‘tailwater fishery.”

The real benefit of the program is how it has raised the profile of the rivers within the community, resulting in improvements to water quality and the protection of the river and its ecosystem.

“People are more interested in protecting the river when they have an interest in it,” said Brad Knarr from the Friends of the Grand River.

Friends of the Grand River has been very active, undertaking projects such as tree planting, developing access points, educational programs, clean-up days and River Watch.

The brown trout are stocked from the MNRF Chatsworth and Harwood fish culture stations and the genetic strain originates from wild fish taken from the Ganaraska River.

The fish average approximately 75 grams each, but there are many larger fish in the river from previous stocking events.

Anglers are asked to refer to the 2017 Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary for the regulations and other information covering fishing in Fisheries Management Zone 16 (check online and at fishing licence issuers).

This year the brown trout season runs from April 22 to Sept. 30 unless the waterbody is an exception to the regulations.


May 19, 2017


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