Abstract In terms of the spawning migration of adult salmon, Salmo salar L., water flow is often considered the primary factor controlling river entry and fluctuations in flow controlling when the fish subsequently migrate upstream. However, water temperature has also been suggested to modify the spawning migration of salmon, particularly their movements within estuaries and the timing of freshwater entry. Freshwater temperature is more likely to impact salmonid biology than flow, particularly in relation to temperature dependant metabolic costs, time of spawning and fecundity. Therefore, temperature may be more of a factor regulating salmonid populations in fresh water than flow itself. This study focuses on two aspects of the impact of temperature on salmonids in fresh water: first, how salmon may modify their behaviour to adapt to changes in temperature and second the potential relationship between temperature, environmental conditions (e.g. water quality) and physiology (e.g. maturation and olfaction) in regulating adult migration.