Autumn Beauty And Spawning Salmon At Lowville Park

Lowville Park in Burlington is a great place to visit at any time of the year. With a playground, picnic areas, trails, and Bronte Creek flowing right through it, the park is popular destination.

Our introduction to Lowville Park was through volunteer workdays with Trout Unlimited Canada as part of their Bronte Creek Watershed Renewal Program. From tree plantings to spring cleanups, stream restoration to wildlife observation, we’ve had a lot of great times within the park, and it’s always fun to return and check out the restoration efforts.

Of course, we are attracted to anywhere with water. Give us water and we’ll look for fish. We have fished this stretch of river a couple of times, but we now visit it more often just to watch.

“Watch what?” you might ask.

Watch the trout and salmon spawn.

As much as I enjoy fishing for them, I get just as much joy by standing on the bank and observing fish. It’s fascinating to watch them clearing redds, males fighting for females, and moving up and down the river. Each spring before trout opener, Darrell and I spend an afternoon in Lowville watching rainbow trout during the spawn. In one pool we’ve counted as many as 30 fish.

This past weekend we stopped at the park and proceeded to watch the fall salmon run. Watching the chinooks is an entirely different experience than the spring trout. They get so beat up during the spawn, and you can easily distinguish fish that have already spawned from those that have recently arrived.

While people walked by, oblivious to the commotion in the water (or just not caring), Darrell and I stood on bridges and banks and watched the show.

spawning salmon

A spawning chinook salmon. This fish was paired up with another one and they were frequently interrupted by a much bigger fish that would pass through. This fish had not been in the river as long as some others who were now black and white and very close to the end of their lives.

lowville park

This log was a popular place for some fresher salmon. We were surprised to see them in this spot, as it was a very different location than other areas we found them in.

lowville park

One of the more recent restoration projects in the park is this sediment mat. This structures will help to narrow the stream channel by trapping sediment when water flows through it, which will then fill in and create the bank. It’s a simple structure, but when done properly, it is extremely effective.

lowville park

The downstream end of the sediment mat, looking upstream at it.

lowville park

This basswood had fallen across the creek and would cause problems down the line by creating a log jam. With Trout Unlimited Canada, a group of volunteers moved this basswood up against the bank. Here it will provide habitat and help the creek, instead of harming it.

lowville park

I’ve posted pictures of these dogwoods before. Darrell and I were part of the group that put them in as live stakes in the spring of 2013. They have nicely taken root and flourished. Live stakes are cuttings from trees and shrubs such as willows and dogwoods. They are cut while dormant, then 2/3 of the cutting is put in the ground. It is a simple and cost-effective way to quickly increase riparian vegetation.

lowville park

Of course, a visit to the park in autumn would not be complete without enjoying the colours. Most people seemed far more interested in the colours than the fish.

As we wandered downstream, along woodchip trails through the forest, I was distracted by the variety of plants producing seeds, and stopped to check them out. Birds were singing in the trees and I again marveled at what a beautiful place the park really is.

If you are in the Burlington area and want to witness the salmon run, I have seen them in the area as late as the first week of November. However, the sooner you get there, the better.

Ontario is an amazing place to be in the fall. Get outside and enjoy it at places like Lowville Park.

For more information on the Bronte Creek Watershed Renewal Program, check out the project’s website.

The last Trout Unlimited Canada workday in Lowville Park for 2014 will be this Saturday, October 4th. It’s a great opportunity to learn about stream restoration.

The following two tabs change content below.


Blogger, Aquatic Ecologist, Volunteer, and obsessed with all things fish. When she isn't trying to out-fish Darrell, Rebecca can be found working in her gardens or spending time with her horses.

Latest posts by argosgirl (see all)

About argosgirl

Blogger, Aquatic Ecologist, Volunteer, and obsessed with all things fish. When she isn't trying to out-fish Darrell, Rebecca can be found working in her gardens or spending time with her horses.

What do you think? We'd love to know.