Major-General Frederick Middleton commanded the main Canadian force in the advance on Batoche, where Louis Riel had gathered the Métis rebel troops. Middleton had chosen to divide his force and move up both banks of the South Saskatchewan River. Gabriel Dumont, the Métis commander, prepared an ambush along the valley of Fish Creek where it flowed into the South Saskatchewan. His force was composed of Métis riflemen and a group of Teton Dakota led by Chief White Cap.
Dumont ordered a group of Métis horsemen to lure Middleton's mounted troops into the ambush, but Major Boulton, an experienced Canadian officer who had served in the British army, recognized the danger. He would not allow his troopers to follow Dumont's men into the trap. At the same time, a group of Métis riflemen deployed in the woods along Fish Creek opened fire upon the Canadian infantry.
The 90th Rifles made several attempts to charge the Métis positions and Dumont's men responded with accurate rifle fire. Once Middleton brought forward artillery to support the attack, Dumont ordered his men to withdraw. Dumont was also concerned that Middleton's troops on the opposite bank of the South Saskatchewan would cross the river and encircle the Métis and Dakota warriors.
Once the rebels had withdrawn, Major-General Middleton reorganized his army for the final advance on Batoche. The Canadian casualties were 55 killed and wounded.