Places to go see salmon as they return to Puget Sound-area rivers
Fall is (finally!) here, and salmon are returning to streams and rivers around the Puget Sound. Watch for these natural beauties at the viewing sites listed below (check out the Salmon SEEson map, too) as they make their seasonal journey. Some of the best viewing is in September.
Chittenden Locks, Seattle
Watch salmon migrate up the fish ladder at Ballard's Chittenden Locks mid-June through October, with the best viewing in September. Professional naturalists provide daily salmon talks at the fish ladder following free one-hour tours. Call 206-783-7059 for current information.
Duwamish River, Tukwila and Seattle
Visit three sites - Codiga Park, Tukwila Gardens Park and North Wind's Weir - on the Duwamish River to see Chinook, Coho, Chum and Steelhead migrate to upstream spawning beds. Learn more about the salmon at Longfellow Creek Salmon Community Day, Saturday, October 6, 10a.m. at Greg Davis Park, 2600 SW Brandon St, Seattle. Visit www.DuwamishAlive.org for the latest information about fish sightings, restoration work, tides and tours. You can also visit the Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sammamish River Trail, Redmond
Spot adult Coho, Sockeye and Chinook salmon in September and October as they migrate up the Sammamish River to their spawning grounds in Bear Creek. Contact Peter Holte at 425-556-2822 or email@example.com for current information on where salmon have been seen, and when and where expert city staff will be available to answer questions. Here's some information about salmon in Redmond.
Lake Sammamish State Park, Issaquah
Lake Sammamish State Park has a boardwalk trail near where the lake feeds into Issaquah Creek. This where several salmon species make their final journey from the lake up the creek to the salmon hatchery and beyond. The best viewing occurs mid-September through mid-October, with volumes usually highest in early October. Here is a map of the park. You will need a Discover Pass to park at the state park. There is an automated pay station in the parking lot where you can buy one.
Issaquah Salmon Hatchery
Watch from the bridge and viewing windows as salmon make their way up Issaquah creek. You can take a self-guided tour of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery from September through November, dawn to dusk. In addition, trained docents from Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery will lead guided tours at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from September through early November. Visit www.issaquahfish.org for more information. The hatchery is located at 125 W. Sunset Way in Issaquah.
Bear Creek, Woodinville
Meet the salmon with help from Water Tenders volunteers on several dates in October. Head to the Tolt Pipeline where it crosses Mink Road Northeast (between Northeast 148th Street and Northeast 150th Place) in Woodinville. Park on either side of the road and walk east on the pipeline trail about one-half mile to the kiosk at Bear Creek. More information is available from www.watertenders.org.
Bear Creek, Redmond
View Sockeye and Chinook salmon in Bear Creek from late September to mid-November by visiting a short trail located behind Redmond's Keep It Simple Farm, located at 12526 Avondale Road N.E. This is a self-guided tour, although you may also call to schedule a docent-led group tour (suggested donation of $5 per person). To schedule a tour email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelsey Creek, Bellevue
You may see salmon returning to Kelsey Creek in October at the Mercer Slough fish ladder south of Southeast 8th Street in Bellevue and at the west tributary at Kelsey Creek Farm Park. There is a webcam providing views on what is going on in the creek. Call or email for updates before you go: 425-452-5200 or email@example.com.
Cedar River, Renton
Join the Cedar River Salmon Journey and see spawning salmon at four sites along the Cedar River near Renton. Experienced volunteer naturalists will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on several October dates at Jones Park, Cedar River Park, Cavanaugh Pond and Landsburg Park and Dam.
Piper's Creek, North Seattle
See hundreds of returning Chum and Coho make their way into Piper's Creek at Carkeek Park throughout November and December. On weekends during the return, salmon stewards greet guests by the creek to explain the salmon's life cycle, habitat and human influence on both. On Sunday, Nov. 18, there will be special all-ages activities to welcome the salmon home. For information, visit the Carkeek Park Salmon Stewards Facebook page.
Ebright and Lewis Creeks, near Lake Sammamish
If you are patient and lucky, you might see little red Kokanee. They are the same species as Sockeye but spend their whole lives in freshwater streams and lakes. From early November through late January these native fish run at creeks feeding into Lake Sammamish. The runs have been quite small, and scientists are worried the Sammamish Kokanee are near extinction. A site which had hosted a webcam in one of the creeks now shows three-year-old video. Here's a map showing where to look for them.
For more information about these viewing opportunities, visit www.kingcounty.gov/salmon and click on "Salmon SEEson." Also on the website, you can learn how to protect salmon and their habitat this fall and year-round. Feel free to drop us a line in the comments field about your favorite place to view salmon!