Late summer and fall in the Pacific Northwest means that salmon runs are active in streams throughout the region. Viewing locations include
- Chittenden Locks, Ballard
- Sammamish River Trail south of the 85th Street Bridge, Redmond
- Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, 125 W. Sunset Way, Issaquah
- Longfellow Creek, 28th Avenue SW and SW Dakota St., West Seattle
- Piper’s Creek in Carkeek Park, 950 NW Carkeek Park Rd., Seattle
Many locations have naturalists and self-guided tours available.
Learn to identify some key characteristics of our regional salmon species before you go on a salmon-spotting adventure. It will make your experience even more fun!
Here’s a fun way to remember the most common species in the Pacific Northwest using your five fingers as a guide:
Chum – Rhymes with thumb. Chum are also known as dog salmon, because they are the least desirable type and they were historically fed to dogs.
Sockeye – You can sock an eye with your pointer finger. That’s Sockeye, also known as Red.
King – Your largest finger is your middle finger, so that stands for King Salmon, also known as Chinook.
Silver – Your ring finger stands for the Silver Salmon, also known as Coho.
Pink – Pinkie, clearly! Pink salmon are also known as humpback or humpies.
Many of these salmon species are either threatened or endangered, so we all need to play a part in protecting their habitat. Saving water helps keep more water in rivers and streams for salmon. Some ways to save water in your daily life include washing only full loads of laundry, fixing leaks around your home, and choosing plants for your yard that are a good fit for the climate. Another way to protect salmon habitat is to volunteer at a work party that restores land around waterways. Building good soil can be a fun, team effort. Check out these volunteer opportunities around King County!
Where’s your favorite place to see the salmon?
We always welcome your viewing tips and photos!