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The Who, What, Where of Various Ontario Fish

Made this list for determining which fish were available in various parts of Ontario and what their habits / habitats are.

Organized Alphabetically

Average sizes: 1.5 to 4 lbs (.68 to 1.8 kg)
Habitat and temperature: Inhabit shallow, warm waterbodies with aquatic vegetation, submerged wood, man-made cover, and rocks. They prefer 79 to 81°F (26 to 27°C) water.
Biology: Spawn in late May and June in fanned-out bottom depressions. Largemouth prefer vegetated, quiet bays.
Ranges: Species range from Manitoba eastward along the north shore of Lake Superior, continuing as far north as Temiskaming.

Average sizes: 1 to 3.5 lbs (.45 to 1.58 kg)
Habitat and temperature: Live in deeper water, often around rocks, sand, or gravel areas. They prefer water temperatures under 70°F (21°C).
Biology: Spawn in late May and June in fanned-out bottom depressions. They deposit their eggs in shallow, gravelly areas. Males guard eggs and fry.
Ranges: Species range from Manitoba eastward along the north shore of Lake Superior, continuing as far north as Temiskaming, and then south.

Average sizes: 8 to 15 lbs (3.6 to 6.8 kg).
Temperature and habitat: Shallow, weedy, warm water over a mud bottom.
Biology: Spawn near shore in frantic groups in early summer as water temperatures hit 63°F (17.2°C).
Range: Most of southern Ontario.

Average sizes: 2 to 4 lbs (.9 to 1.8 kg).
Temperature and habitat: Relatively cool, clear, deeper water with sand, gravel, or rubble bottoms in mid- to large river systems and lakes.
Biology: Spawns in late spring-early summer when water temperatures reach between 75 and 85°F (23.9 to 29.5°C).
Range: Mainly inhabits lower Great Lakes through Lake Huron and east into Ottawa River drainage. Some in lower northwest.

Temperature and habitat: Spawn in shallow, weedy areas when water temperatures reach 68°F (20°C), usually May through June.
Biology: Males guard eggs and fry. For much of the year, they suspend offshore, but move to the edge of weedlines, points, or shoals, or rise to the surface to feed in low-light conditions.
Range: Lower Northwestern Ontario, the Great Lakes and connecting waterbodies to Georgian Bay and the North Channel. Spreading inland north to Parry Sound through connecting systems such as the Rideau and Trent-Severn waterways.

Average sizes: 10 to 20 lbs (4.5 to 9 kg).
Temperature and habitat: Often found in water up to 78°F (25.5°C), but big muskie, like big northern pike, prefer cooler water. Optimum spawning temperature is 55°F (12.8°C). Lives in a range of habitats, from small lakes to the Great Lakes, usually near cover or structure, but will suspend over deeper water.
Biology: Spawns in spring later than northern pike in many of the same vegetated flooded areas. Can hybridize with northern pike to produce sterile, fast-growing "tiger" muskie.
Range: Extreme northwestern Ontario and roughly south from Sault Ste. Marie, including parts of the Great Lakes (except Superior) and Lake St. Clair.

Average size: To .75 lb (.34 kg).
Temperature and habitat: Summer habitat ranges from weedy areas to rock/sand/rubble shoals to mossy mud flats, but perch occasionally suspend to follow forage. Preferred water temperature is 68°F (20°C).
Biology: Spawn in early spring, scattering eggs in shallow water around vegetation and submerged wood.
Range: All of Ontario roughly south of James Bay and the Upper Albany River.

Average size: Between 4 and 10 lbs (1.8 to 4.5 kg). Northern pike more than 20 lbs (9 kg) are considered trophies.
Temperature and habitat: Prefers water around 60°F (15.5°C) on rocky reefs and the edges of weedbeds.
Biology: Spawns in flooded areas and back bays in spring. Fertilized eggs are scattered randomly.
Range: Throughout Ontario in lakes and rivers of all sizes.

Average sizes: Chinooks 10 to 30 lbs (4.5 to 13.6 kg)
Temperature and habitat: Chinook and coho 50 to 55°F (10 to 12.7°C)
Biology: Spawning runs in the Great Lakes from early September to November.
Range: All of Ontario's Great Lakes.

Average size: Eight to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) in small streams, 1 to 3 lbs (0.45 to 1.36 kg) in inland lakes.
Temperature and habitat: Prefers temperatures below 68°F (20°C) in clean, well-oxygenated lakes and rivers.
Biology: Spawns in fall over upwelling areas of gravel in lakes and streams. Grows quickly and lives about five years.
Range: From southern Ontario to Hudson Bay tributaries.

Average size: Two to 10 lbs (0.9 to 4.5 kg).
Temperature and habitat: Around 50°F (10°C) in clear, deep lakes.
Biology: Spawns in fall over boulders or rubble shoals in lakes. Can live 20 years or longer, hence can reach a great size.
Range: Much of Ontario, except James Bay and Hudson Bay Lowlands.

Average size: Between 1.5 and 3 lbs (.68 to 1.36 kg). It is, though, common to catch walleye topping 10 lbs (4.54 kg) in Ontario.
Temperature and habitat: Prefers stained waters in the 60 to 70°F (15.5 to 21°C) range, usually on hard, rocky bottoms, but also frequents weedbeds in shallow, fertile lakes.
Biology: Spawns after ice-out in rocky rivers and over wind-swept, rubble-strewn shoals and shorelines. Walleye are prolific and scatter eggs randomly.
Range: Throughout Ontario.

Average sizes: 4 lbs (1.8 kg).
Temperature and habitat: Can be found in big cold-water rivers and lakes. They generally feed on or near bottom.
Biology: Spawns during the fall.
Range: Mainly in cold northern lakes. Thrives in many of the Great Lakes as well.

Weekend Archery Lessons in Toronto

For over 8 years now I have been offering archery lessons in Toronto on weekdays and weekends, but last year following the birth of my son I decided to retire from teaching archery lessons at the end of August 2017.

Well, semi-retire.

I finished teaching any outstanding lessons in September and October on the weekends, taking care of my son on weekdays while my wife worked on finishing her degree.

Leaving teaching behind for me has been sad because it means I don't get to shoot as much as I used to. One of the things I loved about my job for 8 years was that I got to do archery 5 days a week and my skill with the bow and knowledge of archery, archery lore and history expanded from my constant interactions with other archers.

This year, as of April, will mark my 29th year of doing archery - ever since I was 10 years old.

However there is a big difference. This year I am only teaching on weekends, as I will again be spending my weekdays with my infant son.

Below: My son sleeping on the floor. I had fun taking this photo.

So to anyone in Toronto looking for archery lessons on weekends, if you want someone who is experienced at teaching for 8 years (soon to be 9 years) and has been doing archery for 29 years - and will be teaching my son how to shoot as soon as he is old enough to behave responsibly with it - then look no further.

Email cardiotrek@gmail.com to learn more.

Archery equipment is provided by the instructor.
Archery students must be at least 16 years old. (Rare exceptions.)
Weekend lessons start at $90. Lessons are 90 minutes long.

Discounts for 3 or more lessons.

Discounts for Seniors - I really enjoy teaching seniors.

Rates for couples or 3 friends at http://www.cardiotrek.ca/p/archery-lessons.html

Have a nice day!

How to Build an Earthen Oven

You will need:
  • Clay
  • Dirt
  • Straw
  • Water
  • Plastic Tarp (not a necessity, but helpful)
  • Bricks (not a necessity, but helpful)
The video below breaks down all the steps you need to do in order to make your own earthen oven for baking bread and other goodies in.

Mmm... pie... mmm... cookies... mmm... more pie...

How to Build a Primitive Shelter with Wood

Below are several videos on this subject of "How to Build a Primitive Shelter".

If possible you will want to have:

  • An axe or similar tool for cutting wood. eg. A saw or bow saw.
  • A knife or similar cutting tool.
  • Cordage, such as twine or something similar which makes a strong cord - eg. Cutting a plastic bottom into a long length of plastic cord is possible if you have a knife handy.
  • Other tools would be potentially be handy, like a hand drill.
There are literally hundreds of ways to build a primitive shelter, but today we will focus on several methods using wood. (In the future I may add other posts about making shelters using clay, sod, stones, snow/ice and other materials.)

Method #1. Branches, Bark and an Air Vent

Older Version, similar video.

Method #2. The Log Hut

Method #3. A Winter Shelter with a Heat Reflecting Wall

Method #4. A Root Cordage Primitive Shelter

Compounds Bows Vs Recurve Bows, which is Better?

And it depends.

It depends on what your goals and your criteria are for what you consider to be "better":

  • Ease of Use
  • Learning Curve
  • Short Term Accuracy for a Beginner
  • Long Term Accuracy for an Expert Archer
  • Easy to Carry / Transport
  • Faster draw and aiming cycle
  • Faster arrows / more kinetic energy
  • Durability
  • Easy to Repair
  • Hunting or Fishing

And other criteria that I didn't manage to think of just now.

So for example compound bow are technically easier to use - after you figure out how to tune the sights. So there is a learning curve there, and it is a bit of a bell curve wherein the archer starts off clueless and has to learn how to adjust the sights in order to get the arrow on target - and once they learn that skill they basically plateau for a good while unless they also learn form aspects that improve their accuracy - which means they will still require hundreds of hours of shooting to get really good with it.

Takedown recurves are definitely easier to transport than a compound bow is. Transporting a non takedown recurve or a longbow is roughly about equally hard as transporting a compound, with pros and cons for both. Yes, the longbow is longer - but it is also lightweight and easier to carry. The compound bow meanwhile comes with a bulky case and is heavy. Like I said, pros and cons.

Recurve Bows are faster to draw, aim and shoot. It can be done so fast in a speed shooting competition they are the clear winner.

Compound bows you need to pull back, adjust the peep sight, line up the sight, check the level, relax, possibly go through several other steps such as controlling your breathing, and then shoot. Hopefully in less than 10 seconds, because after 10 seconds compound archers tend to start shaking.

Meanwhile the recurve archer has already shot 3 or more times in 10 seconds.

Compound bows do have an advantage in that they transfer more kinetic energy to the arrow, more efficiently. This results in the arrows flying at a faster feet-per-second (fps) speed, which does increase accuracy (depending on the archer's skill), and is handy for hunting.

Compound bows break easily. Surprisingly so in some cases and then require repairs from someone skilled at repairing compound bows. (Cough cough. Someone like me, who does compound bow repairs.)

In contrast if a recurve bow gets damaged it is easier to repair it, or replace the broken part. As someone who buys old compound bows just for their parts, I can tell you it is really difficult to find replacement parts for broken compound bows.

People have been hunting with bows (all types) for tens of thousands of years. Probably fishing with them for the same time too. (Perhaps they were originally for fishing, for all we know.) So when it comes to hunting and fishing, I don't think there is a clear "this one is better". Yes, the compound bow provides more kinetic energy and works well in the hands of a beginner, but recurves are faster on the draw and an experienced archer doesn't need sights to be super accurate.

Note - I do not agree with everything in the video below. 'Survival Lilly' is a decent shot, but you will notice in her archery videos that she makes a number of form mistakes that hurt her accuracy.

Vertical Solar Power Vs Trees

Rooftop Solar Panel Solution
So you've gone off grid and you want to add solar power to your property.

Only one problem, you live in Ontario and there are lots of trees which block the sun regularly. You could:
  1. Place your solar array in an open field, where no trees block the angle of sunlight.
  2. Place the solar array on top of a building, so that the extra height provides a better angle.
  3. If there are trees blocking the angle of the sun, you build it vertical.

So how does building your solar array vertical work?

Well it is simple. You need to build a tall steel pole with a method of attaching your solar panels, cement that tall pole into the ground, and voila! Attach all the necessary wiring, it is done!

Some people even go a step further and make their solar array a specific shape or make it tree-like in shape. This is unnecessary but some people prefer the shape of a tree and the added shade.

Tree-like Solar Array

Solar Panel Picnic Table, not solving the problem of too much shade...
In some cases they might even utilize that shade to put a picnic table underneath, but then they are forgetting why they were building vertical in the first place - to avoid shade from trees. So if you really need to avoid the shade trees, then you need to go further vertical to get the best possible angles to get more sunlight.

The YouTube Channel "Ontario Off Grid" refers to this as the "Tower of Power" solution. Not a new idea, people have been building solar panels vertical for decades now to get better angles for the sunlight.

The Toronto Tool Library

Nobody paid me to post this. I just happen to like the idea.

The Toronto Tool Library is just like what it sounds like. See https://torontotoollibrary.com/ to learn more about it.

You go to one of the locations, pick up any tools you need just like you would library books, and then return the tools after using them.

Using "tool libraries" saves people money.

An example shown on their website is as follows:

"One of our most popular tools – cordless nail gun – has been borrowed a remarkable 108 times. By sharing this single tool, which retails at $299.00, our members have saved over $32,000!"

The premise is so simple it is amazing it hasn't been done until now.

Years ago I came up with an idea for a Tool Workshop which worked like a gym membership. People pay a monthly membership fee and then can use the tools in the workshop. Instructors in the workshop are available (sort of like personal trainers) to help people to safely use the tools. There is a problem however, my idea called for people transporting whatever project they were working on to the workshop and storing it in a locker and taking it home with them eventually. Transportation could be an issue, depending on the size of the project.

The Toronto Tool Library takes it a step further, allowing people to borrow the tools and take them home for working on whatever project they need the tools for. That solves the problem of project storage, and also providing the space for people to work in.

They also have a number of other services.


The Toronto Tool Library also hosts events, listed on their website at http://torontotoollibrary.com/workshops/ which includes training programs, free community nights, and community projects.

3D Printing and 2D Laser Cutting

Youth Programs

And more...a

Now there is of course a membership fee, just like my workshop gym membership fee idea. The basic membership starts at $55.

Archery Craft Toronto Recurve Bow - How much is it worth?

"Hello sir,

My father owns this bow and would like to sell it, we would like to know its value approximately.

Its a 32/19 and 59 longer, Archery Craft Toronto.

Thank you very much
Carole L."

Hello Carole!

Okay so when trying to sell a bow you need to supply at lot of photos showing the following parts of the bow:

  • Front and back of the top tips.
  • Front and back of the bottom tips.
  • Left and right profile of the top limb.
  • Left and right profile of the bottom limb.
  • Front, back, left and right profiles of the riser.
  • 4 photos of the full bow shot from different angles.

So at least 16 photos and they should all be high resolution photographs.

Send me those and I will give you a more accurate estimate.

The reason potential buyers need that is because we need to know if the tips, limbs or riser are damaged, cracked or twisted. It is strongly recommended that collectors don't buy any bow that doesn't have all the necessary photos showing its condition - and a person looking to sell needs to please the collectors, because they are the people who are willing to bid more on them in an auction.

Also helps to know the poundage, model and year of the bow.

Judging by that photo it could be worth $50 or it could be worth $200. Or more depending on its age / model rarity. Impossible to tell without seeing all of it in more detail.

Charles Moffat

"Ok I understand, thank you very much for your response :)

Carole L."

Interviews with Cherokee and Lakota Bowmakers

In the videos below two bowyers talk about their bow making methods, one from the Cherokee perspective of making flatbows and the other from the Lakota perspective of making short horsebows.

Cherokee Bowmaker Richard Fields

Lakota Bowmaker Richard Giago


So I decided to add a 3rd video to this page, which shows a replica made by a bowyer of an Iroquois Shortbow from a museum, which ends up having some similarities to the Lakota horsebows. The bowyer is Donald Porta, who makes a variety of different bows and other items such as drums, war clubs, kayaks, various gardening projects and so forth.

Solar Power Vs Ontario's Electrical Grid: The Duck Curve

Ontario's electrical grid - indeed, all of North America's electrical grid - has a problem.

As we add more and more solar power to the grid, we are creating a surplus of available electricity during the middle of the day. While that energy is useful to the grid and does get used, it is actually the evening hours of the day where the electricity is most needed.

The evening hours are the time of day when most people come home and do a variety of activities, such as watching TV, using computers, making food in the stove/oven/microwave, and turn on their air conditioners.

When the sun sets energy demand peaks as more people turn on their lights just to see.

Then later in the evening their power consumption drops as they turn off the TV, the lights, and various other ways of using electricity and go to bed. So there is a sudden drop in the amount of electricity being consumed after 9 PM.

If you look at a chart of the day that shows the various hours with a comparison of power consumption and energy availability, the availability of solar energy has caused the chart to end up taking the shape of a duck. Hence why it is called a Duck Curve. See the video below to see what I mean.

For someone who wants to be off grid, this duck curve isn't so much a problem because the whole point of being off the grid is that you are no longer connected to the electricity grid at all.

The typical off gridder will store their electricity in a high capacity battery system so that they can use their electricity whenever they need to. They don't need to worry so much about what hour of the day it is, their primary worry is keeping their battery system full and balancing the amount of electricity going into the batteries with the amount of electricity being used.

For someone who wants to be attached to the electricity grid and sell their electricity to the Province of Ontario, this does become a problem however. It means that during the middle of the day when they are producing the most electricity that there is potentially a surplus of electricity, which means a drop in the value of that electricity.

In other words, too much electricity makes the electricity cheaper.

Meanwhile at the same time, the demand for electricity in the evening is actually getting worse. More people with tablets, phones and other electrical devices is putting an ever greater demand on the electrical grid in the evening. So the "head of the duck" is getting bigger, while the belly of the duck (the surplus of solar energy) is dipping way lower.

This means the electricity grid is completely reliant on nuclear, coal, hydro and wind power during the evening hours and overnight, but the system is becoming more and more stressed during evening hours as demand grows.

So what is the solution?

Ontario needs a way to store electricity.

Effectively what we need is a giant battery, or a series of batteries.

In the past Ontario Hydro has speculated about making a series giant water reservoirs that they fill up with water during times of the day when they have excess electricity to pump water into the reservoirs, and whenever they need that electricity during peak hours of the day they can just turn on the tap, let the water flow through the hydro turbines and then it creates electricity again.

Only problem with this system? The ratio of the amount electricity produced isn't economical. You pump water into the system but the amount of electricity produced by the turbines is only a fraction of what was put in.

But there is actually a better solution, a way to make a giant battery that stores energy, but in this case also provides a way to produce electricity.


Okay, so what happens with geothermal is that you still store water in giant tanks, but when you want to create electricity you then allow the water to flow down and it gets pumped into the earth's warm crust through pipes. The water then becomes superheated steam which rises up through different pipes and turns steam turbines super-fast.

The steam is then collected, turned back into water and stored once more. Sometimes the steam is released into the atmosphere, resulting in the need to pump more water into the tanks.

There are plenty of existing geothermal plants around the world which produce electricity, with the added cost that they have to pump water from a nearby lake or river to fill up their tanks. All the above solution does is allow the geothermal to do its normal routine of creating electricity, but with the added benefit of using excess solar energy from the grid to run the pumps.

It thus creates a more energy efficient electrical grid which can store and use electricity whenever needed. Because geothermal can be easily turned off and on, it can then be used during peak hours of the day, or even just let it run all day long to create a surplus of electricity which Ontario can then sell to other provinces or to the USA, while only pumping new water into the system during times when there is excess solar power.

Having that surplus of electricity also makes electricity cheaper for everyone in Ontario, and once successful geothermal plants could effectively replace coal plants.

Indeed, old coal plants (which also run on steam turbines) could be retrofitted and turned into geothermal plants.

So why is Ontario not doing this already?

Because the politicians lack vision or an understanding of how this creates a more flexible and economical grid.

Meanwhile, those of us who want to escape expensive electricity bills (in common parlance "hydro bills") are going off grid so we are only paying for the startup costs of our own private solar, wind and battery system.

To which you should also ask yourself when voting in the upcoming Ontario election, which party is most likely to build a geothermal plant?

The current answer?


None of the political parties want to commit to building a geothermal plant (or retrofitting an old coal plant).

They all lack vision.

So if they all lack vision, the only true escape is go off grid yourself.

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