DEC and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) have agreed to a 10% increase in Chinook salmon stocking in Lake Ontario this year. We have been adaptively managing the number of salmon and trout stocked in Lake Ontario, since 2016, based on the alewife biomass and Chinook salmon growth and condition. In 2022, the age-2 and older alewife biomass increased and is predicted to remain at similar levels in 2023 and 2024 (see below for a full report prepared by USGS). The average weight of an age-3 Chinook salmon increased to 20.7 pounds in 2022 and remained above the lower threshold of 18.4 pounds.
As a result, DEC will stock 985,180 Chinook salmon in 2023 – an increase of approximately 90,000 over 2022. The additional fish are being spread evenly across the stocking sites listed in the Lake Ontario salmon and trout stocking strategy, except the Salmon River stocking numbers will remain the same as in 2022 (serving and the water for hatchery broodstock, it already receives higher numbers than the other stocking locations).
2023 Chinook salmon stocking targets (Location, Number stocked)
- Niagara River – 89,930
- Eighteenmile Creek (Olcott) – 126,330
- Oak Orchard Creek – 126,330
- Genesee River – 126,330
- Oswego River – 126,330
- Salmon River – 300,000
- Sackets Harbor (Black River) – 89,930
Adaptively managing the number of salmon and trout stocked in Lake Ontario ensures we maintain a predator prey balance and continue to provide world-class fishing opportunities for years to come.