Oct 24, 2012
Royal Botanical Gardens Natural Lands staff Andrea Court and Dave Reddick retrieved this 8lb Chinook salmon from the Cootes Paradise fishway. This fish is on its way through Cootes Paradise to spawn in Spencer Creek.Chinook are not native to Lake Ontario. They are actually from the Pacific Ocean and began being stocked here when the Atlantic salmon population had diminished. They do have some spawning success in the wild, however, this fish (and the majority of them) are stocked fish. Something of interest about them that often worries people is that Chinook salmon only spawn once at about 4 years old and die after spawning. The watersheds of the North Pacific, where Chinook salmon are native, depend upon the deceased fish to cycle nutrients back into the ecosystem (to learn more, you can read this article on the David Suzuki Foundation website).
Fish that are native to Lake Ontario and Cootes Paradise include the Bowfin and the Longnose Gar. Both of these fish rely on a healthy marsh and consider Cootes Paradise home.