If you like fishing and want to improve your chances of getting a good catch, your best bet is to head to one of the 2,000 Ontario lakes and rivers stocked by Ontario Parks or the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
The ministry has been stocking popular locations since the early 1950s with fish that are well suited to the area. We currently operate nine fish farming stations, or hatcheries, across the province, where 12 popular sport fish (including walleye, salmon, trout and musky) are raised.
Every year we release around 8 million fish In Ontario waters!
Why do we supply our lakes and rivers?
There are two reasons. The first is improve recreational fishingIn what we call our “put, grow, take” program: we put the fish, usually one year old, they grow and the fishermen catch them.
The second reason we store is to protect and rebuild fish populations, including species at risk. For example, the program is helping to return Atlantic salmon to Lake Ontario and find a way to farm at-risk mussel species.
When does averaging occur?
Most of the planting is done in the spring (right now!) as soon as the lakes and rivers are free of ice. This is because Cold water retains more oxygen, which creates less stress for the fish.. We take great care to ensure that the fish we release are healthy and as stress-free as possible.
How do we store?
It is often done by helicopter. A hatchery truck full of live fish and water pulls up to the helicopter pad. The fish are loaded into a tank at the back of the helicopter and released as the pilot flies over the lake.
Helicopter storage in Algonquin Provincial Park
We also do roadside storage., which involves driving a hatchery truck as close to the water’s edge as possible and releasing the fish through a pipe. Sometimes stocking is done using a canoe loaded with bags of fish in the water, which are dropped into the deep end of a lake.
This video shows 4 different types of stockings:
How do I know if my favorite lake is stocked?
ontario digital fish online The tool is the perfect way to find out what’s at your favorite fishing spots. Find out if a lake has been stocked, since when, and with what species of fish.
Want to learn more about fish populations?
Take a guided tour of one of our hatcheries. Be sure to call at least two weeks in advance so you don’t get disappointed!
You also can learn more about the entire fish farming program here.