‘Amazing feat of nature’ takes place in the Credit River in Mississauga

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Published September 22, 2023 at 10:10 am

Mississauga salmon run
The annual salmon run in Mississauga takes place each fall. (Photo: City of Mississauga)

The changing colours of fall can be captivating, but there’s also something interesting taking place in the water in Mississauga this time of year.

Specifically, the Credit River, site of one of nature’s “most amazing feats” that takes place each autumn in Canada’s seventh-largest city.

And City of Mississauga officials are urging people to get a close-up look.

The annual salmon run is underway in the Credit River, and Mississauga officials say there are several great locations to check out “this annual phenomenon.”

They’re offering tips on how best to take in the salmon run, which peaks in early October, noting it’ll be well worth the effort to grab a front row seat to witness the migration.

“This time of year, these massive fish will push their way against the current of the Credit River to spawn and lay their eggs, and it all happens right here in Mississauga,” officials said in a news release. “As water temperatures start to cool and water levels deepen thanks to fall rains, freshwater salmon begin their yearly trek from the mouth of Lake Ontario up the Credit River to spawn.”

Mississauga officials familiar with the annual event say the following locations are the best places to catch a glimpse of the salmon run:

  • Erindale Park: the city’s largest park offers extensive trails through ravines and open spaces providing many opportunities to get up close to the Credit River
  • Meadowvale Conservation Area: located in the north end of the city, this “natural oasis” gives a good opportunity to watch the salmon migration from a pedestrian bridge overlooking the Credit River
  • Riverwood: The 150-acre park and “urban oasis” offers accessible trails and great views, officials say. “The Credit River flows through the park’s western border, offering excellent spots to watch the salmon run.”

The City also encourages people to do some research into the three types of salmon that make their way up the Credit River each fall.

“Each year, salmon in Lake Ontario return to the streams where they were born (or stocked) to reproduce,” officials say.

In the spring, offspring from all three species — Chinook, Atlantic and Coho salmon — hatch and swim downstream, making their home in Lake Ontario until it’s their time to migrate north.

Each type of salmon has its own distinct characteristics:

  • Chinook salmon: this species migrate once they reach maturity (between three and seven years) and typically die after spawning is complete. They can grow up to 100 centimetres in length
  • Atlantic salmon: unlike Chinook salmon, this smaller salmon species make their way back to Lake Ontario after their migration upstream. Atlantic salmon are native to Lake Ontario
  • Coho salmon: while smaller than the Chinook, both species are native to the north Pacific Ocean and were introduced to the Great Lakes in the 1960s. Coho can grow up to 75 centimetres in length

City officials also remind people that while viewing the salmon run can be a terrific experience, they should keep some distance from the migrating fish.

“When you’re out and about, give salmon the best chance of survival by respecting their space. That includes steering clear of areas where salmon are swimming and along the riverbed where they lay and fertilize their eggs,” officials say.

“While the salmon run can be incredible to watch, it can be perilous for the fish. Many of the salmon won’t survive the swim and the ones that do still have much work left to do to safely spawn or lay their eggs. Their journey can also be made more difficult by spectators trying to get a closer look.”

Here’s how you can witness the salmon run while respecting the fish:

  • watch from a safe distance: If you aren’t an angler, standing in the river or disrupting the water of the Credit River can stress the fish out on their journey, officials say, adding that the banks of the Credit have many spots to take photos
  • keep the river clean: Watching the salmon work can work up an appetite, officials say, so if you’re snacking while tracking the fish, keep your trash for the trash bin
  • enjoy the silence: Watch the salmon quietly, officials say
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