The Port Hope fish migrations are among Mother Nature's most impressive wonders. Thousands of salmon and trout swim upstream and jump the fish ladder to migrate to their spawning grounds.

Fish identification chart of Port Hope - Chinook Salmon, Coho Salmon, Steelhead Trout, Rainbow Trout

Thousands of fish swim against the current to head home

People come every weekend from mid-August to early October to watch the 5,000 to 10,000 chinook and silvery coho salmon swim from Lake Ontario up the Ganaraska River that runs through Port Hope on their way to their home spawning grounds. And as many as 18,000 trout a year make the same journey from late March until early May, or through October until mid-December. Fish fact: The Ganaraska River is one of the healthiest rivers in Ontario, populated almost entirely with wild naturally-reproducing fish.

See the action at Corbett's Dam fish ladder

You can see the pooling stations for fish in the shallow water at various points along the river in town. The best viewing spots are along the river trails downtown and the Ganaraska Fishway, managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). It's more commonly known as the Fish Ladder at Corbett's Dam (the dam is managed by the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority where an underwater monitoring system lets you watch the fish! It records the number of fish that pass through to travel to their spawning grounds, as well as the species, size and health.

Watching the fish jump at Corbett's Dam in Port Hope
The Fish Ladder at Corbett's Dam

The Ganaraska Fishway has the best vantage point for seeing these fish in action.

Watching the fish jump in downtown Port Hope
Pooling Locations in Downtown Port Hope

You'll see the pooling locations in the shallow water at various points in town. 

Fish pooling in the water
Riverside Trails will take you up the river

Take in the beauty of the Ganaraska River while following the fish upstream.

Interested in fishing? Ganaraska River is a popular destination

Here’s the info you need to get your line in the water. Please note that there’s zero tolerance for illegal fishing, so be sure to carry a current fishing licence at all times. If you're looking for a fishing experience for the family, Linwood Acre Trout Farm has pond fishing in a beautiful country setting – and pros on hand to filet your catch!

  • Atlantic salmon - catch and release only
  • Bass - open from the third Saturday in June to December 15 of each year
  • Trout and salmon - open from the fourth Saturday in April to September 30 of each year
  • No fishing in the Fish Sanctuary from Highway 401 downstream to the south side of the Jocelyn

The conservation licence has lower limits, but these are the general licence limits:

  • 5 trout and salmon combined, but only 2 can be rainbow trout and no Atlantic salmon are permitted
  • 6 largemouth and/or smallmouth bass
  • 6 pike

Fish illustrations courtesy of Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources. Illustrations by Virgil Beck.