Monday, October 30, 2017

Salmon run in Lowville Park

Autumn's cold temperatures sends spawning salmon upstream from Lake Ontario into the rivers that flow throughout the GTA. In Lowville, which is part of north Burlington, the Bronte Creek flows through the area and crosses Guelph Line. Hard work by various parties like Trout Unlimited have helped to restock the river with fish and to remake the river bed to make it easier for the fish to battle their way upstream.
The fall run of Pacific Salmon (Chinook and Coho) typically happens between mid-August and November, peaking in mid-October, when the water flow increases and the temperatures start dropping to 14 degrees Celsius or less. The change in temperatures from the warm summer waters to cold waters foretelling the coming of winter. The fish swim against the current where they plan to lay their eggs in the gravel beds known as redd, resting in deeper pool areas during the hard run against the current and hiding from predators.
Salmon in the shallow rivers are no small creatures, Chinook can be more that three feet and get to be 25 lbs or more. The normal silver colouring of the salmon turns almost black during spawning season. Apparently most of the chinook salmon are 3 - 4 years old when they begin their journey to lay eggs at the same place they were born and only make the trip once, dying during the run or soon afterwards.
To make an adequate habitat for fish the river needs to have a combination of riffles, pools and runs. Riffles are areas of fast flow around rocks which cause a wavy and disturbed surface. Pools and deeper areas like those found at the outside of a bend while runs are smooth, slower moving parts of the creek. Salmon can make the difficult climb against the rushing water and even jump over large waterfalls, swimming thousands of kilometres as necessary to reach their spawning grounds.
Plus it was a good excuse to look for some more fall colours. See more foliage after the jump.

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