Interest in effective management of Great Lakes natural resources and restoration of native populations has stimulated interest in the conditions and ecological role of tributaries in the Great Lakes ecosystem. Rivers of Lake Ontario's eastern basin provide an excellent opportunity to examine important tributaries and their relationship to Lake Ontario. This paper reports on the results of an investigation of fish assemblage structure in lower reaches of the Salmon and Oswego Rivers and at their interfaces with Lake Ontario. These two systems represent conditions near the end points on a continuum from highly disturbed to pristine. They are also of great interest to resource managers for their important fisheries and other economic values. The objective was to identify distinct fish assemblages within these systems and relate their characteristics to biotic and abiotic conditions in an attempt to determine factors responsible for structuring and maintaining those species assemblages. This information is intended to provide baseline information for monitoring the status of these rivers and coastal systems and to aid in the development of models of ecological health.