News of the River
"all of the river news all of the time"
March 2000 to November 2000
FOGR's Annual Spawning Survey
FOGR's Annual Spawning Survey was held on November 12,2000.
We had chosen Sunday the 12th November, 2000 as the deer hunting
season had ended by then, as well as the vast majority of
spawning. No trout were seen on redds by any volunteers. Water
conditions were ideal (discharge 3.5 m3/s; good clarity) and
winds were minimal, so that even without a lot of direct sunlight
(it was cold and cloudy) redds could be spotted by volunteer
Two training sessions were held, one prior to each shift,
to familiarize volunteers with the appearance of both redds
and testing areas, and how to distinguish between them. In
addition, in all crews, at least one volunteer had prior experience
with redd counts. In this way, data quality was assured.
The crews also were instructed to note on the maps evidence
of habitat destruction by Argo-type all-terrain vehicles that
are being employed by deer hunters during the shotgun season.
We have previously asked OMNR and GRCA to ensure that the
Federal Fisheries Act is enforced to end the destruction of
redds and disturbance of spawning trout by users of these
machines. The Argo users employ the river as a highway, not
just crossing spawning riffles, but driving up and down river
to access hunting areas. This year, redd survey volunteers
noted a marked increase in Argo traffic, with tracks visible
in many riffle areas all the way from Zuber's Corners (Regional
Road 86) to the lower boundary of the Elora Gorge Conservation
Area. Again, the greatest incidence of Argo traffic is in
one of the most prolific areas for spawning: from below the
mouth of Swan Creek to the GRCA trailer park above Musselman's
farm. We ask that a plan be in place for the 2001 deer hunting
season to end these violations of the Federal Fisheries Act.
As for volunteers(36) we had a great turn-out for both the
9:30-12:00 shift and 1:00- 4:00 shift. We were pleased to
have volunteers turn out from the Hamilton Area Fly Fishers
Club. Other volunteers included students working on the FOGR
P&E grant at WLU and Niagara College. We hope that even
more groups will participate in future.
9:30 -12:00 (Shand Dam to Elora)
|| # of Redds
| 2nd line to Shand Dam
| Scotland Street to 2nd line
| Angelica Street to Fergus STP
| Trestle to Angelica
| Bissell Dam to Trestle
Total upper river 260 redds
1:00-4:00 (low level bridge to Zubers Corner)
|| # of Redds
| Musslemans to Low level bridge(GRCA)
| Swan Creek to Musslemans
| Twin bridges to Swan creek
| Closed Line bridge to Twin bridges
| Gravel Pit to Closed Line bridge
| Zubers Corner (Hwy. 86) to Gravel
Larry McGratton & Ian Martin
Total lower river 196 redds
Organizers, FOGR 2000 Redd Survey
Pilot Insurance's Charity
Balloon Ride Raises Money for FOGR
September 21, 2000
Representatives of the Elora office of the Precept Group
of insurance brokers and from Pilot Insurance Company, met
with FOGR President Larry McGratton to present a cheque for
$500 to aid our local conservation efforts.
| Representatives of the precept
group and pilot insurance present a cheque to larry mcgratton
to aid in fogr conservation work.(click on image to view
||Look Dad, we're raising money
for Friends of the Grand!(click on image to view full
FOGR also is the recipient of donations raised from Pilot
Insurance's Charity Balloon Ride -- an added attraction in
Elora's Bissel Park
during the International Plowing Match on Tuesday, Wednesday
and Thursday (19-21 Sept.). Rides in the Pilot Insurance tethered
hot-air balloon between 9-11 am and 6-8 pm raise $2/person
in suggested donation to FOGR.
Friends Spread the Conservation
Word at the International Plowing Match
Sept. 18, 2000
FOGR is represented at the "Partners in Conservation"
tent at the International Plowing Match in Elora this week.
We share a booth with the Elora Centre for Environmental Excellence,
Friends of Carroll Creek, and Ontario Streams. Here, FOGR
members Doug Ratz and Lorraine Norminton flank the new FOGR
access sign. These signs will be installed at popular public
access points along the upper Grand River this autumn by FOGR,
thanks to a $5000 grant from Ontario's Ministry of Natural
|FOGR members Doug Ratz and Lorraine Norminton flank
the new FOGR access sign. These signs will be installed
at popular public access points along the upper Grand
River (click on image for full size)
FOGR Founding Director
Doug Ratz Receives Conservation Award
June 26, 2000
Doug Ratz is a founding, and long-standing, Director of Friends
of the Grand River. Since the founding of the organization,
Doug has worked tirelessly on many projects and fostered important
partnerships between FOGR and other conservation groups. Each
year, through his affiliation with the Elora Centre for Environmental
Excellence, he has organized annual tree planting projects
that brought together FOGR members, ECEE members, the GRCA,
as well as local high school students and Cubs and Scouts
to plant thousands of trees along the upper Grand River and
its tributaries. This service to conservation, along with
Doug's many other contributions, led the board of FOGR to
nominate Doug Ratz for the Bruce Buckland Award. FOGR Secretary
John Dadds chronicled Doug's contributions and sought supporting
letters from partner organizations to support the nomination.
|FOGR Founding Director Doug Ratz Receives
Conservation Award -- 11 April, 2000. L to R: Bruce Buckland
(OMNR, ret.), Doug Ratz (FOGR), and Bill Thompson (KW
The Bruce Buckland Award is an annual award to recognize
life-long contributions to conservation. It is named after
a retired Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Conservation
Officer, and is administrated by the Kitchener-Waterloo Record
Newspaper. The award is presented in the spring, at the annual
dinner of the Ruffed Grouse Society.
Doug was very pleased, and more than a bit surprised, to
learn that he had won the award! On hand to celebrate the
occasion were Doug's wife Gwelda, and his children, as well
as several representatives from the FOGR board. Doug has stepped
down from the FOGR board, to spend more time with his family.
Thanks for your many years of service, Doug, and congratulations!
Grand Opportunities Forum
June 13, 2000
The Grand Opportunities Forum was great fun this year as
in past years. We had beautiful weather and a really good
turnout for the seminars on the river. In the auction, equipment
swap and silent auction almost 3000$ was cleared for our projects.
Thanks to all who helped and those who came to play!
|The lunch BBQ was a popular
venue as well. It was manned by Friends of the Grand River
volunteers who grilled burgers and fried onions in this
conservation fund-raiser. Thanks to all the overheated
volunteers and hungry forum attendees! In the foreground,
another $10 ticket is sold on the SAGE rod raffle.
|Al Newsome (left), winner
of the FOGR rod raffle, beams as he is congratulated by
Bob McKenzie (centre), representing SAGE, who donated
the SAGE XP pack rod, and Larry McGratton (right), President
of FOGR. Rod Raffle 2000 raised $2500 for FOGR's research
programme on Brown Trout spawning in the Grand River.
||Keen hatch matchers crowd
around to peer at insects collected for the River Entomology
workshop given by Ian Martin. This was but one of the
14 seminar/workshop events, all of which were very popular.
|FOGR President Larry McGratton (right) presents
a framed, limited-edition print of the Grand River
map by artist Al Hassall to Bob McKenzie, Canadian
Sage Representative, in thanks for his support of
Friends of the Grand River's fund-raising Rod Raffle
Flooding Finally Finished
May 29, 2000
After three weeks of rain the Grand River is finally starting
to come down to normal flows. The River peaked at 300 m3/sec
in early May but has been running at more than 10 m3/sec for
almost the whole month.This is compared to normal flow rates
of 3 to 6 m3/sec. The river has been so high that kayak races
scheduled for the Elora Gorge did not require any additional
releases from the Shand Dam. In two weeks in May more water
came into Belwood Lake than the total for 1999.
The flows were a big suprise to everyone since it was supposed
to be another low water year. Water in Belwood Lake was actively
being conserved by the GRCA to augment anticipated low summer
flow and to compensate for the failure of the dam on the Conestoga
Though thunderstorms will increase flow throughout the summer
and the Shand Dam gates will be opened occasionally for maintenance
and repair regular flows on the river of between 3 and 6 m3/sec
should be the rule for the rest of the summer. Up to the minute
water flows can be obtained by by calling the GRCA at (519)
There is a great story and pictures of the "Flood of
2000" from May. Click here to see it.
Friends Research and Stream
Remediation Projects Receive Funding
May 16, 2000
The Friends of the Grand River has received funding for two
projects under the Community Fisheries and Wildlife Incentive
Plan (CFWIP). In the first project the CFWIP grant is for
log jam removal at bottom end of Swan Creek. Funding received
was approximately $1,100. The work days and details for this
project are in the newsletter.
In summary, those interested in cleaning up a lovely little
stream will meet June 9 &10 at 8:30 a.m. at Blondie's
Lunch which is across from the FOGR access parking lot in
Inverhaugh. Please contact Terry Ryckman (519) 843-3806 for
A CFWIP grant of $2,100 for purchase of temperature dataloggers.
These small computers will be used to store data from our
ongoing water quality monitoring program. This project is
being run by Ian Martin as part of the overall strategy of
Friends to improve spawning success and survival of trout
and to monitor our own Heritage River.
Water, Water Everywhere, and Not a Drop
June 6, 2000
A band of severe thunderstorms crossed the upper Grand
River drainage during the evening of Friday, 12 May, causing
large inflows to the Belwood Reservoir. The lake was already
mostly full of water needed for summer flow augmentation downstream,
so much of the incoming water had to be passed right through
the dam. Flows reached nearly 300 m3/s on Saturday afternoon,
in comparison to normal seasonal flows of 3 to 5 m3/s seen
only a day earlier. Needless to say, no-one was fishing, but
a lot of local residents were touring the river taking in
the spectacle, and a few unfortunates were moving belongings
to higher ground as the river flooded homes and stores in
low lying areas. By Sunday afternoon, flows had dropped to
less than half the peak flow, though the river was still in
full flood. Normal flows should resume once the inflows to
the reservoir have dropped to regular amounts.
|A beleaguered willow tree weathers the
flood: Saturday, near the time of peak flow, and Sunday,
after flows had reduced by more than half and finally
normal flows. (click on images for full size). Ian Martin,
Normal fishing levels have finally returned as can be seen
in the third photo.
Fish Stocking 2000
May 12, 2000
By Ian Martin
Monday, 01 May was the first of two days for the annual
stocking of the Grand River Tailwater Fishery with Brown Trout
supplied by Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources. About
25 volunteers turned up to meet the hatchery truck in the
Zehr's parking lot in Fergus. There, the truck's load of 20,000
fish was divided amongst satellite stocking trucks equipped
with insulated tanks. FOGR purchased its own new stocking
tank last autumn so that the fish would not be stressed during
the transfer and transport to the river sites. FOGR also owes
a debt of thanks to Fergus Welding Ltd., which supplied the
oxygen tanks to bubble through the transfer tanks.
Cool, drizzly weather was ideal for the fish, if not for the
volunteers, but despite the miserable weather, the crews carefully
released the trout into pre-selected areas between the Shand
Dam and Westmontrose.
On the next day, another 10,700 fish arrived, and were again
stocked up and down the river, though with only one additional
transfer tank and vehicle and a smaller -- but much appreciated!
-- crew of about 10 volunteers. Thanks to all who showed up
for a fun and productive day, which was the biggest spring
stocking day to date on the Grand!
|Transferring Brown Trout from the hatchery
tank truck to FOGR's new blue insulated stocking tank.
Many hands make light work!
Attention anglers, boaters and cottagers!
Received from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
After the requests of many lake associations, marinas, and
angling clubs we have finally produced boat launch signs which
list the steps which water users must take to slow the spread
of invading species such as zebra mussels, round gobies and
spiny water flea.
These durable, metal signs (12"x18") are now available
from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters for a cost
of $12 each (includes tax andshipping).
You can check out the layout of these signs at
To ensure early arrival of the signs, order signs for your
lake today! To order call the Invading Species Hotline at
1-800-563-7711, the O.F.A.H. mainline at 705-748-6324, or
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Yours in Conservation,
Invading Species Biologist
Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
P.O. Box 2800
fax: (705) 748-9577
The above is provided strictly as information from the OFAH.
But we sure don't want zebra mussels in the Grand River and
we support anyone or any organization trying to keep them
out. Cheers, Bruce.
Great Lakes Invaders
(The following articles were written for The Fishing News
by John Dadds)
Round gobies are not an appealing fish. Small, pugnacious, with
a boxer's face and an aggressive nature, it was inevitable that
this Caspian Sea native would turn up in the Great Lakes.
"They were found in the Detroit River in 1993,"
said Lynda Corkum, a biologist at the University of Windsor."
Within the year, gobies were distributed around the Great
Lake, probably transported by ship.
Corkum's initial work found a disparity between the size
of the fish found here and those in Europe, but as the years
pass, the differences are evening out. "We're finding
larger round gobies now. We were getting them at seven to
10 centimetres (three to four inches)," she said. "Now
there are reports of gobies up to 30 centimetres (12 inches)
although the largest I've collected is 19 centimetres (7.5
While European gobies will mature at 27 months, the Great
Lakes relatives are reaching maturity at 14 months. This is
one reason why they have been so successful in establishing
a foothold in North America. "It's quite common for colonizing
organisms to mature at a younger age," said Corkum.
On top of earlier maturity, add an abundance of food
they thrive on zebra mussels and the fact that they
reproduce several times through the course of the year. The
male vigorously defends the nest, so reproduction rates are
Corkum's current work involves gathering information on population
densities. Timed trawls are the usual method of counting fish.
But gobies favour a rocky river or lake bottom. Trawls are
only really successful on flat substrate.
Trawls on Lake Erie conducted in 1997 by the Ontario Ministry
of Natural Resources (MNR) picked up four gobies an hour.
Two years later, in 1999, the tally stood at 144 an hour.
However, when a net is damaged, that specific operation is
not included in the totals. One 1999 trawl was not counted
because of damage caused by a rocky structure, yet the net
contained 1,500 gobies.
Scuba divers worked with Corkum and MNR researchers in the
struggle to find a way of reliably counting these fish. Local
scuba club members dive in teams of three, sit on the bottom
and count every goby they can see in their field of view.
When enough counts are done, a picture of density develops.
Not perfect, but a step forward.
Corkum said it's important to discover how this exotic species
affects the whole food web. Because their diet mainly consists
of zebra mussels, they are consuming contaminated food. Gobies
are becoming a favourite snack for game fish like bass, so
the contaminants move up the food chain. Humans eat the bass,
well, you get the picture.
Corkum stresses that volunteers play an important role in
this research. If anglers find an oddity like the goby in
a place where it has never been found before, Corkum urges
them to preserve the fish and report the find. "If they
see something that's different, then it probably is different.
Their comments or phone calls are important."
The Great Lakes is the crucible for invasional meltdown in
the coming decades and according to Dalhousie University,
Nova Scotia, researcher Anthony Ricciardi, this problem is
as serious as climate change.
Exotic invaders are being shipped around the world in large
numbers. "At any one time we have 3,000 species moving
around the world in ships' ballast tanks." Ricciardi
said. "This is causing the accelerated rate of invasion."
Coined by two University of Tennessee scientists for land
animals, the meltdown theory flies in the face of accepted
ecosystem assumptions. Current thought is that niches open
for invading species or the lack of a niche will ensure they
fail to survive. With a meltdown, the sheer number of organisms
that evolved together weighs in favour of the next new arrival.
Zebra mussels were one of the first newcomers from the Black
Sea area. A decade later, the round goby is pumped out of
a ballast tank near Detroit and finds his favourite food everywhere.
He dines almost exclusively on zebra mussels. Thus one species
sets the scene for the next. "We're selecting for them,"
says Ricciardi. "And ballast-water exchange does not
keep them out."
Examples keep showing up, despite requirements to exchange
ballast water at sea. Freighters need water ballast to keep
them stable when not fully laden. Ships heading to Canadian
ports pump out their ballast tanks in the middle of the ocean
and fill the tanks with salt water. When they filled up with
fresh or brackish water in their last port of call, they probably
picked up many native organisms. These stowaways are flushed
out, and the theory is that mid-ocean saltwater will kill
off any that remain. Unfortunately, 5 per cent of the ballast
water is left behind because of the ships' design, and there's
a thick sediment loaded with early life forms such as larvae
which survive two weeks in salt water.
The round goby is fast taking over in-shore habitat in the
lower Great Lakes They came over since the regulations were
put in place. Likewise, a tiny crustacean called the fish
hook water flea, which clogs fishing lines and downrigger
cables, was discovered in 1998.
The tally of invaders is up to a conservative 145 now. Popular
public opinion has concentrated on the zebra mussel, which
is a nuisance, or the goby, which is an inconvenience to anglers.
But the rate at which new species are colonizing the Great
Lakes is being ignored. The aquatic ecosystem of the Great
Lakes will soon mirror the Black Sea when aggressive more
invaders find conditions to their liking and the same ecosystem
and predator/prey relationships they were brought up with.
"The Black Sea is a workshop for invaders. It has a
tumultuous history of geological change," says Ricciardi.
"They've adapted to colonizing disturbed regions and
capitalize on the major [transportation routes]."
Ricciardia predicted the next intruder will be most potentially
troubling. Corophium curvispinum is an amphipod that
loves mussels beds for their protection and abundance of food.
It generates a layer of thick muck which suffocates native
bottom dwellers, even some zebra mussels.
How's Your Gonads?
Testosterone may get guys out fishing, but a female hormone,
estrogen, could be effectively neutering the fish they're
Chris Metcalfe, a professor with the Environmental and Resource
Studies Programme at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario,
is collaborating with colleagues in the U.K. to check out
the effects of estrogens getting into waterways through sewage
Estrogens are naturally secreted by women during urination,
especially if they are taking birth-control medications or
using estrogen replacement therapy to counter the effects
of menopause. Estrogen concentrations of one part per trillion
can cause hermaphrodization in fish.
Asked to explain the concept of one part in a trillion, Metcalfe
said it's 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from Peterborough to
New York city; take a single one-millimetre (one twenty-fifth
of an inch) step in that direction and you've gone one-trillionth
of the way.
Hermaphrodization blurs the distinction between the sexes.
"Males have testes and ovaries in the same gonads,"
said Metcalfe. "These fish are not naturally hermaphroditic,
and it appears to be chemically induced." Surfactants
nonylphenols used in many household cleaners,
paints and plastics have similar estrogenic effects. "That
could be part of the problem," he said.
Hermaphrodite fish have very poor milt (sperm) production,
so reproduction rates would be adversely affected. "We've
shown it in the lab," Metcalfe said. "And they've
shown it in Britain with the roach."
Most of the work has been done in the lab so far. Samples
of forage fish, such as bluegills, sunfish, white perch and
white bass, were collected from Ontario locations last fall.
Fish found near sewage-plant and textile-mill outflows will
be examined to look at gonad development.
Fish Can See UV Light
Coppertone is unlikely to solve this sunburn problem. A team
at the University of Winnipeg is examining the effects of
ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation on aquatic organisms, from
algae to invertebrates to fish.
Team member Dr. Donna Young decided to check part way up
the food chain by looking at a native Manitoba fish. She used
brook sticklebacks because they adapt to aquarium life. Fish
tanks were lit on a regular night-day cycle, and an extra
bank of lights provided UV-B radiation. "We need to mimic
something that's reasonably close to what these organisms
experience in the environment," she said.
Sticklebacks died within a couple of weeks when exposed to
a dose of UV-B that would simulate those beautifully clear
Manitoba days in July. Many fish became sunburned. Their skin
reddened, and that seemed to open the way for fungal infections.
Their actual skin pigmentation wasn't changed.
Humans can't see UV light. We lay out in the sun to get our
rays because we know they're there. It seems fish have colour-sensitive
receptors in their eyes that will detect UV light. Bright
light they didn't avoid, but when UV was turned on, they knew
to hustle up to the other end of the tank to avoid it. Although
they would move laterally, they wouldn't go deep to get away
from the light.
Daphnia microscopic zooplankton also suffered
negative effects, as did fish embryos. Daphnia is a prime
food for juvenile and small fish, and it goes deep to avoid
Global warming and changing ozone levels will alter levels
of UV light penetrating the atmosphere. Checking sticklebacks
for sunburn is one more way to help us assess the impact of
climate change, and how it will affect us. With the fish searching
for shade, and their food going deep, there could be potential
breaks in the food chain.
Thanks for the news John! If anyone within Friends of the
Grand has interesting material to post send it on. I am always
ready to post a good story.
aka "that guy who does the web stuf"
AFP Wealth Management
Increases Improves FOGR's Finances!
April 2, 2000
by Ian Martin
In September, 1999, Michael Townshend of AFP Wealth Management
of Waterloo, Ont., organized a day of fly fishing for clients
on the Grand River, with the assistance of Grand River Troutfitters
in Fergus. The day was set up as a fund raising event, and
Friends of the Grand River was chosen as the beneficiary of
the proceeds. Seven teams of anglers, set up with local anglers
and guides, enjoyed a friendly competition of catch-and-release
fly fishing. AFP clients, and the guides, shared food, fellowship,
prizes, and some memorable moments astream on the Grand River
tailwater fishery. The event resulted in the most welcome
donation of $3070 at the end of the day, and another $2500
in February, 2000 to Friends of the Grand River!
|Michael Townshend, of AFP Wealth Management (left)
is presented with a framed limited edition print of the
Grand River map by FOGR President Larry McGratton.
President Larry McGratton recently met with Michael Townshend
at his Waterloo office to present him with a framed, limited
edition print of the Grand River map by noted artist Al Hassall
in recognition of his wonderful effort in fund raising for
Friends of the Grand River.
Friends of the Grand
Hold Annual General Meeting
March 29, 2000
by Bruce Wainman
The AGM of the the Friends gave the members a great chance
to catch up with each other, plan for this coming year and
discuss the many successful projects completed this past year.
One of the highlights was the appointment of the first batch
of Fish and Wildlife Guardians. Brad Gerrie from the OMNR
was on hand to present the guardians with their hats and vests.
Brad reminded us all that the Guardian program, which is spreading
across the whole province, arose from the FOGR River Watch.
Our first batch of Guardians were presented with their uniforms
by Brad Gerrie, District Enforcement Supervisor, OMNR.
Our guardians are Larry McGratton, first available
number (002) in the Fish &Wildlife Guardian Programme,
Ken Collins, southern Ontario Master Guardian trainer,
Fraser Hale Jeff Prickett, FOGR F&W Guardian coordinator,
Derek Parks, and Doug Ratz.
Friends of the Grand Report Hatching
March 9, 2000
by Bruce Wainman
One of the abiding mysteries of the cold water sections of
the Grand River below the Shand Dam is that the fish develop
large numbers of eggs and spawn, yet there are no "baby"
trout in the population. With a couple of minor exceptions
all the trout in the river are stockies. Friends of the Grand
River has initiated a study to sort out this question and
on the first weekend in March we made a step closer to the
answer. A couple of articles on the beginnings of the experiments
are available by clicking on "Spawning
Recruitment Study: UPDATE" and an earlier article
Study on Spawning Success"
In December brown trout eggs provide by the OMNR from the
Normandale hatchery were placed in Scotty Boxes in the Grand
River just below the Shand Dam, between Elora and Fergus and
down toward highway 86. The first results of the experiments
are now coming in after a big day of work harvesting Scotty
Boxes from the river and counting the living and dead eggs
and alevin and weighing the accumulated sediments in the boxes.
We were all pretty excited about retrieving the boxes when
we met on the last Saturday morning in February. It was a
wonderful day to be out- bright and unseasonably warm. About
10 volunteers and several trucks were dispatched to gather
the boxes from the frigid but clear and low waters of the
The boxes from the upper river were jam packed with silt,
caddis larvae and a few dead eggs and fry. Beneath the boxes
two perch were found waiting, it seemed, to catch whatever
might have come out of the boxes. It was a sad sight to see-
it looked like there was no way that the eggs had a chance.
A few weeks earlier, these same boxes were full of live eggs.
We think that the recent low water has changed flows enough
to allow silt to accumulate.
|Some of the boxes were in great shape.
Notice the boxes were placed near natural spawning areas
for the trout.
||Some Scotty Boxes were exposed to low
water and the eggs died.
Click on the thumbnail images for the full size
In the boxes from the Elora to Fergus section we popped open
the boxes to find many live alevins (fry with yolks sacks)
still in the boxes and some that slipped out as the boxes
were put into pails. There were also a few eggs that had not
hatched but, much to our excitement, there were few dead eggs
or dead fry. Perhaps a third of all the eggs that we put in
the boxes were counted for as live fry or eggs. Back at our
makeshift lab we found the boxes were quite full of silt and
isopods (sowbugs) in fact there were as many sowbugs as live
fry. I was quite surprised that the fry lived in the silt
laden boxes- perhaps the sowbugs were good for the eggs and
keep the silt moving through the boxes. We had a few disappointing
results in the middle river section as well. Some of our boxes
had been exposed to the extremely low water and the eggs had
|Fresh alevin hatched in the Grand River
|There were both newly-hatched alevin and live eggs
in the boxes
Click on the thumbnail images for the
full size pictures
When the crew returned from the lower river, we were not
sure what to expect. Water levels had been up and down significantly
below Inverhaugh and large ice dams had formed and broken-
we felt sure that many of the boxes would be lost. The crews
from the lower river searched down the river a long way from
where the experiments had been put in and, much to their credit,
found some boxes. These boxes had much less silt than the
upper river experiments and we even found some fine gravel
and sand in the boxes. In a day of surprises we had another-
the eggs had just begun to hatch in the cooler, lower river.
In general, the eggs and fry were in fine shape even though
some had tumbled down the river a long way from where they
were put in.
|On the Lower Grand we went on a merry
chase to find our experiments. You can see by the ice
floes that lots of scouring had already occurred.
Much of the results are still being tabulated and analyzed.
We are carefully weighing the organic material that was deposited
into the Scotty boxes and working the exact rates of egg and
fry survival. We are also monitoring the development of all
the eggs and fry we found in the boxes. These alevin and eggs
were carefully harvested put into our tiny hatchery. The hatchery
already has our control population which hatched some months
ago in the warmer ground water.
After a lot of work we chatted about our results over pizza.
Our most important discovery was that trout eggs could hatch
in the Grand River. This suggests many exciting possibilities-
perhaps we can just put fertilized eggs in the low silt areas
of the Grand rather than stocking larger, and more expensive,
fish. It also suggests that problems with the brown trout
spawning success may be the quality of the eggs spawned in
the river by the native fish or perhaps a combination of water
quality and egg quality that leads to spawning failure. We
have also shown that an ambitious community organization can
carry out quality research.
Keep watching the web pages and we will post our results
as they become available. We will be speaking about the experiments
at our general meeting later in March. We also have data coming
from our partners in this study the GRCA. The GRCA water quality
monitoring station just below the Shand Dam will provide us
with temperature and other useful measurments. We should be
able to figure out why the conditions this year allowed for
hatching eggs and how the water quality affected egg development.
to the Friends of the Grand Homepage
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