Salmon Migration is Something to See

Two salmon in water

The salmon migration, or run, up the Credit River is a sign that summer is ending and autumn is around the corner. The determination of these fish is quite a sight.

Salmon in river with trees in background.
Photo credit: Jon Clayton

Every fall Chinook, coho and Atlantic salmon leave the social waters of Lake Ontario and head up the Credit River to spawn. Lake Ontario salmon return to the streams where they were born to reproduce. Migration begins when water temperatures cool and water levels rise from post summer rains. This is usually in early September, but salmon can be seen in the Credit River as early as mid-August.

Chinook salmon are typically four years old when they make their one and only spawning run. Females have amazing memories. They travel upriver to lay their eggs, returning to the spawning beds that they once hatched from.

Female salmon lay their eggs in a redd. They make a shallow pit in the riverbed by thrashing their tails back and forth. As females lay up to 5,000 eggs, male salmon visit the redd to fertilize them.

The fall migration usually peaks around early October. By the end of the month, most fish have spawned. Migration and spawning is an exhausting job. It’s the end of the life cycle for Pacific salmon like Chinook. However, Atlantic salmon have a different biology and are more likely to return to the same river to spawn again the following year.

Here are our top four viewing locations for the Credit River salmon run:

  1. Erindale Park is a popular spot located east of Mississauga Road between Dundas Street and Burnhamthorpe Road.
  2. The Culham Trail provides access to much of the river from Dundas Street upstream to just north of Eglinton Avenue.
  3. Barbertown is just south of Streetsville at the north end of Hewick Meadows Park. A parking lot is accessible from eastbound Eglinton Avenue east of Mississauga Road.
  4. Meadowvale Conservation Area: located in Mississauga is an opportunity to experience the migration from the pedestrian bridge. A parking lot is accessible to the conservation area from Second Line West.
Salmon swimming up river over rocks.
Photo Credit: Giovanni Senisi

When visiting these viewing locations, please remember to stay on paths and trails, and to respect private property.

Polarized glasses help to reduce reflection off the water and improve the chances of seeing fish. The best times to go are a few days after a rain when the river is low and clear.

Learn more about fish in the Credit River Watershed.

Plan on viewing the salmon run? Share your photos and videos with us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Article by CVC’s Kimberley Holt, Associate, Marketing and Communications

Comments (2)

  1. Oh dear Riverwood team, we wish the Ministry of Ed could partner with you to develop in person hiking learning programs for our children and youth during this COVID crisis… may God bless you and will go to see the salmon jumping all over! =)

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