Coalition for the West Credit River

WHY ARE BROOK TROUT (Salvelinus fontinalis) IMPORTANT?

Credit River Brook Trout caught over a dark bottom. Brook Trout adjust their colours to camouflage in their unique environment
  • Brook Trout (also known as speckled trout) are native to eastern North America.
  • Brook Trout are a sensitive species that require healthy cold-water ecosystems to survive.  Their on-going presence is a strong biological indicator of a healthy aquatic environment.
  • Brook Trout survival relies on stream temperatures no greater than 19oC – 20oC for any sustained period of time.
  • Brook Trout are in serious decline in Southern Ontario due to urbanization, over harvest, water pollution, climate change, invasive species, groundwater extraction, dam construction, habitat fragmentation and degradation. 
  • The West Credit River has a thriving population of Brook Trout that will be placed at risk of drastic demise as a result of waste water discharged from the Town of Erin’s proposed Wastewater Treatment Plant. 

The section of West Credit River between Erin and Belfountain is very rare and unique.

“The most productive brook trout spawning reaches and the best brook trout populations in the West Credit River are located downstream of Erin Village and the longest contiguous brook trout habitat in the Credit River watershed is the West Credit River between Erin and Belfountain.”   

CVC Aquafor Beech Inc. Blackport Hydrogrology Inc.  2011 Erin Servicing and Settlement Master Plan.  Phase 1 – Environmental Component – Existing Conditions Report

This is a self-sustaining native Brook Trout population thriving in a pristine coldwater habitat within a short drive of downtown Toronto. 


The West Credit River habitat allows Brook Trout to grow large, and in fact the river temperature decreases as you go downstream from Erin to Belfountain due to the numerous coldwater springs flowing into the river.  Many of the few remaining Brook Trout populations in Southern Ontario are limited to habitats of only 20 to 200 meters in length. This results in small, stunted fish clinging to survival around a coldwater spring.


The section of the West Credit River from Erin to Belfountain is a reasonably sized coldwater stream, full of large healthy Brook Trout.  It is known as the Crown Jewel of the Brook Trout fishery in southern Ontario.  

Brook Trout fry in a small first order tributary of the West Credit River. Deforestation and damage to these first order tributaries deprive Brook Trout of nursery habitat. Photo Credit: Steve Noakes - Trout Unlimited Canada