In Bronte local children release 15,000 Salmon fingerlings

In Bronte local children release 15,000 Salmon fingerlings

In spite of the unseasonably cold weather on Saturday an estimated 200 people gathered to help carry 15,000 salmon fingerlings to their new home in Bronte’s outer harbour. Most of the fingerlings were carried to the harbour in buckets by dozens of enthusiastic children who raced back and forth (about 60 meters) between a Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) truck and temporary holding pens at the edge of the harbour.

“This is a great event and we look forward to it every year” commented Ward One Town and Regional Councillor Sean O’meara, who has attended the event for the past few years with his children. He went on to say “The kids love participating and it helps them to build an understanding of Lake Ontario’s ecosystem.”


Levon with a bucket of Salmon fingerlings; Photo Credit: John Sawyer

The fingerlings, each measuring about 5 centimetres were delivered by the MNR from a hatchery in Normandale, (southwest of Port Dover) on Saturday morning. They will spend the next 28 to 35 days in specially constructed holding pens in Bronte’s outer harbour. The pens will be towed out to Lake Ontario and the fish will be released in about 4 to 5 weeks.

The annual salmon penning event is a partnership between the MNR and Halton Region Salmon and Trout Association HRSTA. Volunteers from HRSTA will monitor and feed the fingerlings while they are in the holding pens. Ben Gottfried, a member of HRSTA’s Board of Directors explained that, “the fingerlings will double in size while they are in the holding pens and their chance of survival will also double. Another very important result of the time the young fish spend in the pens is that Bronte Creek will be imprinted on the fish so they believe it is their home stream. This is where they will return in 4 years to spawn.”

The Fingerlings that now weigh just a few grams, can grow to weigh in excess of 15 kilograms (30 pounds) when they mature.

The local sport fishery has been growing steadily over the past decade. Bronte is becoming a destination for sport fishing and that of course makes a positive contribution to our local economy. Many Oakville residents however are still not aware of the exciting opportunity that exists to catch trophy fish right in their own back yard.

Ann Sargent, Executive Director of the Bronte Business Improvement Area added, “It is fantastic to see so many children participating.” She added, “You don’t have to be a fisherman to participate in this wonderful event. The entire community benefits. It contributes to the vibrancy of the harbour and carries on the tradition of Bronte as a fishing port.”

For more information you can visit the Halton Region Salmon and Trout Association at:


In 4 years the salmon will return to Bronte Creek to spawn. James Sayer holds a 4 year old, 28 pound chinook salmon caught by his friend Alyssa Tharby in August of 2017. It took Alysa about 20 minutes to land the fish. Photo Credit: John Sawyer


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