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Master of Bait

The Mighty Don River

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Hey guys and gals,

 

Just a post to share some insight and, hopefully, get more insight from some of you.

 

I live at Sheppard and Don Mills in Willowdale and, as some of you may know, the nearby Betty Sutherland trail leads through some absolutely primo Don River Valley landscape in my neighborhood. I grew up here returned to "settle down" here and my daily bike rides in this region are absolutely awesome. You'd never know you're in the city. So here are some of my comments and a question for you. I'll take and post some pics one of these days.

 

Observations:

 

Wildlife: I've seen all kinds of stuff in this ravine and area over the years, including foxes, rabbits/hares, racoons, skunks, beaver, muskrat, marmot/groundhog, all kinds of birds/birds of prey, bats and small rodents, giant banana slugs, large millipedes, toads , garter snakes galore and, most recently, a dead possum (my first sighting), which makes me think these guys are expanding their range northward. This is at, basically, the intersection of the 401 and 404/DVP. If you live nearby, you gotta check it out.

 

Forest: It's primarily (almost all) deciduous and very viney, reminding me of the Carolinian forests found further south. A bit of a rarity in Ontario, so this is another great reason to check out the area, and get off the paved trail a bit.

 

Question:

 

Fish: I remember a post way back of a guy who caught a salmon at Donalda Golf Course (in the Don, near my house). Any other reports of this? I've also read of baby walleye electro-shocked at the mouth of the don years back and I can see carp rising near the lakeshore any time I go down the DVP. Are there any fish in the upper Don (other than maybe chubs)? I know this river got beat up pretty bad years ago, but today, I can't see it being nearly as bad (not that I would eat Don fish). The only thing that seems to be missing, from my perspective, are large populations of benthic invertebrates to support enough biomass of fish and sustain larger predators. I've never seen mayflies/caddisflies hatching in the area in any significant numbers, but I have seen midges. The only thing that I can think of that would keep these guys away is inappropriate substrate in the bottom of the stream or some issue with water quality (which I can't imagine is the issue here). When I see massive mayfly hatches coming out of the lower Grand, which is flanked by urban development and farmland over most of its course and heavily sedimented near the mouth, I wonder why the Don can't sustain them. Any comments or insights on this are much appreciated.

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Have you seen any Crayfish in the waters or up on the shore? also observe closely there should be schools of small bait fish near the shore line "minnows and sticklebacks", I never fished the Don but i heard of resident rainbows and browns around the golf course around the DVP and i also heard that there are specks around give your ultra light a try with some small spinners.

Edited by PatrickG

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Hmm... Looks like water quality IS the big issue. Not so much from industrial effluent, as I was thinking, but rather from road run-off and sewer overflow. I'm sure some of the upper stretches are nice, but it's the Toronto segment that needs some work.

 

Have a look:

 

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/t...ent-canada.aspx

 

Cheers,

 

MoB

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The Don is the number one in terms of polluted rivers in Ontario.. The Grand is close second... I will dig up the article for you...

 

G

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I lived in Toronto in the 70's and 80's :blush: The Don, at that time was a festering sewer. Along the banks of the lower Don there used to exist heavy industry, soap factories, brick works, etc.. The lower was a dead river. In the 70's the river was so toxic that mere contact with the water would get you sick. It was years before anybody would even consider doing a shoreline cleanup. DO they still dump road snow below the Bloor Viaduct?

I used to work for the cemetaries. Pine Hills had a beautiful nature trail along the East Don. Yes we occasionaly spotted trout. The portion north of Hog's Hollow used to be absolutely beautiful. York cemetary backs onto the valley. I've fished there as well. I only remember big chubs back then. Small trout in the upper portions of Black Creek befor Vaughan was turned into a giant strip mall. People used to think I was strange fishing the Ross Lord reservoir. That was over20 years ago.

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I deliver mail up in the Bayview & Steeles area . . . several years ago in the fall some of my customers reported seeing these 'HUGE' fish splashing around in the river . . . asked me what I thought they were. The ONLY answer was SALMON!! One of my fellow carriers who delivers right near the river (s/e corner of Bayview & Steeles) told me he SAW a guy landing one, and watched as several more splashed around. I went down last year & had a look (private property, I was delivering mail though . . . heh . . heh) and I PERSONALLY watched 3 going up, under the bridge I was standing on, just south of Steeles. THEY ARE IN THERE, but it's tough to get at 'em! This particular spot has 3 big upscale apartment buildings, a gate-house & security . . . . I wouldn't reccommend sneaking in there, and although there is access at the river at Cummer & at Finch, there's 'NO PARKING' anywhere . . . but, if ya got a bike or joggin' shoes, theres a good paved trail, right from York Mills to Steeles.

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The Grand is a close 2nd for most polluted rivers... and it's full of fish. ;)

 

Give it a shot.. and wear gloves. lol

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I mountain bike through the Don Valley on a regular basis.

A few months ago when we had some torrential rain, all the bike trails were flooded to where you couldn't ride em.

When the water receded enough to start some trail rehab, this is what was found in a couple of the puddles:

POST_DON_FLOOD_FUN-_FISH_BOWL_010.jpg

POST_DON_FLOOD_FUN-_FISH_BOWL_011.jpg

Just a small example of what was removed from the puddles, and RETURNED to the river.

There are fish there...

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