Fish culture and stocking have a long history in Ontario. The earliest fish culture efforts in Ontario started with Samuel Wilmot who began rearing Atlantic salmon at a small facility near Newcastle, in 1865.
Today, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources operates nine provincial fish culture stations which produce approximately 8 million fish for stocking in public waters each year.
About 50% of these fish are intended to provide additional fishing opportunities through put-grow-and-take stocking. The remaining 50% are used rehabilitate degraded fisheries. For example, the majority of lake trout stocked in the Great Lakes are intended to restore populations which were destroyed by sea lamprey predation and overfishing in the 1950s.
What Species Are Raised?
The mix of species stocked varies according to different District and Great Lakes fisheries management programs. MNR fish culture stations provide a variety of species including walleye, lake trout, brook (speckled) trout, rainbow trout, splake, Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, brown trout, Atlantic salmon, lake whitefish and Aurora trout.
Where Do They Go?
More than 1,200 lakes, rivers and streams across Ontario are stocked every year, including the Great Lakes. Species which are stocked in inland lakes include lake trout, brook trout, splake and walleye. Lake trout and Chinook salmon are the most common species stocked in the Great Lakes.
Provincial fish stocking summaries are available online for: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Stocking information for brook trout, lake trout, splake and other species is available in the Fish ON-Line tool. For other stocking information, contact your nearest MNR office.
Can I Visit a Ministry of Natural Resources Hatchery?
Most of MNR's fish culture stations offer some level of access to the public. You are encouraged to call ahead to confirm the facility will be open on the day you intend to visit. To find out where our ten fish hatcheries are located and what visitor services are available at each, refer to our MNR Fish Culture Stations Map.