Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Salmon Run at Grindstone Creek

Grindstone Creek Marsh in November

Sam and I visited Lake Ontario at the first of the month and our experiences with the Trumpeter Swans in Burlington Bay have already been shared here. A few kilometers away, Grindstone Creek empties into the lake. There are mud flats, a marsh, and thickets loaded with seeds and berries along the trail. It is a haven for birds especially during migration periods. I saw my first Hooded Mergansers a few days earlier in the marsh. On this day there were hundreds of Cedar Waxwings and White-throated sparrows about as well as many other birds.

Sam at Grindstone Creek

The air was damp and the wind biting and cold. We walked a short distance up the creek when Sam saw what he thought were giant carp in the water. He was so excited I thought he might run into the stream as he got closer to see them. There were many large salmon in the shallow creek swimming upstream to spawn.

Salmon swimming upstream

These fish were old and scarred as they struggled through the gravel bed. There are a number of types of salmon in Lake Ontario including chinook, pink and coho salmon. My husband has spent a lot of hours fishing far out in the lake during the salmon derbies held each summer. I am not an expert in fish identification and would not want to guess what kind these might have been.

Fisherman at the mouth of the creek

I might have asked one of the fishermen who were leaning over the bridge or sitting in chairs at the mouth of the creek staring at their motionless lines in murky water. The season is open year round here for rainbow and brown trout.

I asked one grizzled man,
"What are you fishing for?"

He quipped back,
"Because I don't know how to golf."

I laughed and asked no further questions. Fishermen are a breed unto themselves!


  1. Poor fisherman.Ha!Ha!Must be a punishment to do this just because the wife makes him do it.The last picture is very peaceful looking,a plce to sit and absorb all the nature around you.

  2. I think it was a Chinook Salmon, didn't he say because I DONT KNOW HOW TO golf. Anyway it was funny. P. S. I hope your leg recovers so you can visit your daughter's wedding.

  3. Amazing to see the salmon struggling in such shallow water. Glad you and Sam had a good day.

  4. Ruth- I didn't believe a word that fisherman said! ;-) This is a most interesting spot to visit.

    Birdman- You are right. I knew I had forgotten exactly what he had said. I have corrected the post. It was hard to get a picture of the fish in the water to really get a positive identification. Thanks for the good wishes. I really miss being out walking!

    NCMW- I have read about salmon runs, but this was the first time I had seen one. It seemed like an impossible journey.

  5. Love that reason for fishing. :)

  6. LOL.... that's funny Ruth! It's always amazing to see how strong that drive is to spawn. Over rocks and such...ouch.

  7. Anonymous7:35 am GMT-5

    I see you also saw a grumpy bear at Grindstone Creek-the fisherman.

    Looks like a peaceful and relaxing place to visit. How wonderful that Sam was able to join you. He certainly is lucky to have you to show him places. Take it all in Sam - life is short!

  8. Although you mention the biting cold your photos have that magical quality of a warmth of colour that yellowing leaves and grasses manage to portray. I love the fisherman's avoidance reply of not really giving away any of a fishing secret which many of them seem to cherish unto themselves. Wonderful pictures, it sounds like a fascinating outing with the salmon encounters.

  9. Ruth,

    I have never seen salmon run and it must be a marvelous experience. I really must look up some of the beautiful places you visit. Grindstone Creek looks like a lovely place to spend a few tranquil hours.

    Have a great day, my friend and thanks once again for sharing.


  10. That's funny: and an original response ... although that may be his standard line. That just goes to show the importance of reaching out to others, and what blogs are really terrific at: someone's standard line, heard for the first time, can be the freshest thing you've heard. As a hydrologist I approve of this post!

  11. AC- So did I!

    Jayne- They were interested in nothing else but moving upstream.

    Cheryl- He was gruff, but not really all bad. There was a twinkle in the eye, but no forthcoming information.

    Ann- We left home with light coats because it really wasn't a cold day. But the lake changes things and if the wind is blowing there, it is cold. There were still leaves and colour in the area, about 40 km south of us. Even though the lake is cold it does moderate the climate in the Hamilton-Niagara region.

    Robert- Thanks- I thought it was a good one-liner too.

  12. It is amazing what those fish have to endure to spawn and then die...


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