BACKSTAGE

BACKSTAGE OUTDOORS

Now Ontario’s raising BC salmon, but will the fish raise families there?

FRANKLIN RUSSELL August 3 1957
BACKSTAGE

BACKSTAGE OUTDOORS

Now Ontario’s raising BC salmon, but will the fish raise families there?

FRANKLIN RUSSELL August 3 1957

BACKSTAGE OUTDOORS

Now Ontario’s raising BC salmon, but will the fish raise families there?

IF EXPERIMENTS IN THE streams and rivers of northern Ontario work out Ontario’s anglers may soon be able to catch B. C. salmon without going all the way to the west coast.

Since 1955 biologists of the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests have been planting salmon eggs and fingerlings in waters draining into James Bay and Hudson Bay—mainly in the Attawapiskat which pours into the western depths of James Bay. Now they’re waiting to see if the salmon, which go out to sea for two to five years before returning to spawn, actually come back.

The biologists know' from reports furnished by Indians that the eggs, planted from low-flying planes, did hatch, and the fingerlings survived and left the streams for their sojourn in the ocean. The theory is that they swim through the Arctic to either Atlantic or Pacific—the scientists don’t try to guess which. But if the fish follow the schedule of their west-coast ancestors the first should be back late this month or next.

The stakes resting on their return are sizeable. They were planted to improve living for northern Indians, who now

earn a meagre living trapping. But if the experiment succeeds it could open up commercial and sports-fishing industries. The streams are only a few hours by air from major Ontario cities, though planes would be the only convenient means of access at present.

Even if the tests work out, however, anglers may have to wait awhile. The planted salmon is Pacific pink, not the most desirable for sports fishing. But Ontario Lands and Forests Minister Clare Mapledoram says other varieties may be introduced. Meanwhile the areas are closed to non-resident angling.

What’s the betting on the salmon setting up new swimming grounds? “We’re not betting." says H. H. MacKay, supervisor of Ontario game fish and hatcheries, “just hoping."—

FRANKLIN RUSSELL