There are so many places to see salmon 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 starts now and extends through October.
Chittenden Locks, Seattle
Watch salmon migrate up the fish ladder at Ballard’s Chittenden Locks from August through September, with the best viewing now. Attend a free walking tour from the visitor’s center at various times during the week and weekend. Visit the Locks website for more details.
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. 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 email@example.com.
Sammamish River Trail, Redmond
Spot adult Coho, Sockeye and Chinook salmon returning in September and October as they migrate up the Sammamish River to their spawning grounds in Bear Creek. Contact Peter Holte at 425-556-2762 or firstname.lastname@example.org for current information on where salmon have been seen, and when and where expert city staff will be available to answer questions.
Lake Sammamish State Park, Issaquah
Lake Sammamish State Park has a boardwalk trail near where the lake feeds into Issaquah Creek. This is 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 or a guided tour of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery from September through November, dawn to dusk. Visit www.issaquahfish.org for more information and to make a reservation. The hatchery is located at 125 W. Sunset Way in Issaquah.
Kelsey Creek, Bellevue
Kelsey Creek is one of many places to see salmon 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 of 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. Naturalists from the Seattle Aquarium will be available for talks all through October. See the website for more details.
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. 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 that had hosted a webcam in one of the creeks now shows five-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.
Find more things to do and places to go visit Seattle’s Child.
Learn more about the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery here.