salmon jump toronto

Salmon jumping is Toronto's newest spectator sport

Have you ever seen a fully grown, 50 pound salmon jump out of a river, dive into a waterfall and then swim towards the sky with all its might?

You can do that if you're in Toronto right now – and I really think you should.

Afternoon walk by the river. #flyingfishies #thesalmonrun2017

A post shared by Kate Amaolo (@kkkkatieama) on

If you can't, however,  make it out to Etienne Brule Park over the next few weeks, it's all good. You can still enjoy the salmon jump!

It'll just have to be vicariously, through hundreds of people who've gathered along the Humber river this fall to watch (and take photos) of fish attempting to get up and over the Old Mill dam.

It may seem hard to believe unless you've seen it yourself, but Toronto's rivers play host every autumn to one of nature's most powerful and mysterious phenomena: the salmon run.

You can find evidence of the annual migration at a number of sites around Toronto as hundreds of large fish work their way up from Lake Ontario to the spawning grounds in which they were born.

The run usually begins in September or October, when the weather (and thus water temperature) starts to cool. It lasts about a month.

Migrating Chinook, Coho and Atlantic salmon (as well as various special of trout) can usually be seen in The Don River from the Lower Don Trail, in The Rouge River from Glen Rouge Campground, and in The Credit River from Erindale Park.

Etienne Brule Park near Old Mill Inn remains one of the most popular spots for watching salmon however, likely because the fish need to take a big jump where the park runs alongside Humber River.

It's as easy to fall in love with the spectacle as it is hard to walk away from – especially when some fish can't seem to clear the dam. You want to watch them make it over. You want to cheer them on.

Many bystanders do, in fact, root and cheer for these salmon from the banks of The Humber River.

The run is starting to wind down for this year, as evidenced by the number of dead fish floating near the Old Mill (salmon die after spawning. I hope I'm not the first person to tell you that.)

There's still time to catch straggling jumpers, though – and there seem to be a lot this year thanks to a warmer-than-usual fall.

Lead photo by

Nicoli OZ Mathews


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