Salmon SEEson returns: spot fish coming home to King County rivers and streams

Sockeye, chinook, coho, pink, and chum begin journey from ocean to birthplaces

  • Wednesday, September 11, 2019 12:58pm
  • News

Native salmon – including sockeye, chinook, coho, pink, and chum – have begun the journey from the open ocean to their birthplaces in streams and rivers that feed into Puget Sound.

Kokanee, landlocked sockeye salmon that spend their entire lives in the freshwater of Lake Sammamish, can also be seen spawning in streams feeding into the Lake. The Salmon SEEson program helps people witness this amazing migration at locations around King County.

The Salmon SEEson website provides information on salmon-spotting locations throughout King County – from small streams and large rivers, to the Ballard Locks and hatcheries.

Some salmon-viewing opportunities are self-guided, while volunteer naturalists are available at other locations on select dates to help visitors spot the fish and learn about the salmon’s life cycle and habitat needs.

There are dozens of salmon-viewing events scheduled from September into December that likely offer the best chances of seeing salmon – particularly during a year when many stocks are returning in below-average numbers.

The 2019 sockeye run returning through the fish ladder at the Ballard Locks is the lowest return on record. Sockeye are affected by the changing climate, with variable ocean conditions and warming of streams and lakes. Warmer water increases predator metabolism and consumption of juvenile salmon and makes salmon more susceptible to disease. Numbers of returning chinook salmon also continue to trend below historic levels. Lake Sammamish’s native kokanee population has also declined in recent years, and King County and partners have taken emergency actions to prevent possible extinction.

Local governments and community groups around King County and Puget Sound are working to recover salmon populations by protecting and restoring habitat, managing stormwater runoff from streets and hard surfaces, and educating the public about what they can do to help.

Practicing water conservation and pollution prevention year-round helps salmon thrive, which means more fish can survive and continue their journey to the ocean and back to local streams and rivers.

For more information on the salmon-viewing sites listed below, visit the Salmon SEEson website, or call 206-477-7574. The website also includes tips for keeping water clean for salmon, orcas, and people.

Salmon SEEson is sponsored by the WRIA 8 Salmon Recovery Council as part of its effort to recover salmon in the Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed. Additional sponsors include the Green/Duwamish and Central Puget Sound Watershed, the Snoqualmie Watershed Forum, King County, Duwamish Alive Coalition, and the Saving Water Partnership.

For more information, visit and click on Salmon SEEson, or call 206-477-7574.

Look for salmon on these dates at these locations:

• Chittenden Locks in Seattle (Ballard)

Best viewing through September (free tours/talks daily)

More info: 206-783-7059, visit

Sponsored by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

• Duwamish River in Tukwila

Best viewing through November (self-guided)

North Wind’s Weir, 2914 S. 112th St.; Codiga Park, 12585 50th Pl. S.; Tukwila Gardens, 11269 E. Marginal Way S.; and Tukwila Urban Center Pedestrian Bridge, 6800 Green River Trail, Tukwila.

More info: or

Sponsored by Duwamish Alive Coalition

• Locations along the Sammamish River Trail in Redmond

Best viewing through October (self-guided)

More info: 425-556-2822 or

Sponsored by City of Redmond

• Issaquah Salmon Hatchery in Issaquah

Best viewing through November (self-guided and drop-in tours 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on weekends, Sept. 14-Nov. 3)

125 W. Sunset Way, Issaquah

More info: 425-392-1118 or

Sponsored by Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

• Issaquah Creek in Issaquah

Best viewing through November (self-guided)

• Confluence Park, 595 Rainier Blvd. N and Salmon Run Nature Park, 930 5th Ave. NW

More info:

Sponsored by City of Issaquah

North Creek Trail in Bothell

Best viewing through November (self-guided)

Start at trail behind Country Inn and Suites at 19333 North Creek Pkwy., Bothell

More info: 425-806-6790 or or

Sponsored by City of Bothell

• Whitney Bridge Park on the Green River near Auburn

Best viewing through December (self-guided)

212th Way SE and SE Green Valley Road, near Auburn

More info: 206-529-9467

Sponsored by Mid-Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group

• Issaquah Creek boardwalk in Lake Sammamish State Park

Best viewing through mid-October (self-guided)

2000 NW Sammamish Rd, Issaquah (park free with Discover Pass)

More info: or

Sponsored by Friends of Lake Sammamish State Park

• Bear Creek at Keep It Simple Farm in Redmond

Best viewing through mid-November (self-guided daily during KIS Farm hours)

12526 Avondale Rd. NE, Redmond

More info: 425-558-0990 or

Sponsored by ROSE (Redmond Organization of Shared Environments)

• Longfellow Creek in West Seattle

Best viewing October through December (self-guided)

Start at Dragonfly Garden, at the corner of 28th Avenue SW and SW Dakota Street

More info: 206-297-7002 or

Sponsored by Puget Soundkeeper Alliance and City of Seattle

• Bear Creek in Woodinville

Best viewing through October (Meet the Salmon events from 1-4pm on Oct. 5&6, 12&13, and from 3-6pm Oct 2&9)

Tolt Pipeline Trail where it crosses Mink Road NE (between NE 148th St and NE 150th Pl) in Woodinville

More info: 206-437-8754 or

Sponsored by Water Tenders

• Cedar River Salmon Journey near Renton

Best viewing through October (learn from volunteer naturalists from 11am-4pm on Oct 5&6, 12&13, 19&20, and 26&27)

Renton Library, Cedar River Park, Riverview Park, Cavanaugh Pond, and Landsburg Park and Dam

More info: 206-792-5851 or

Sponsored by the Seattle Aquarium

• Piper’s Creek in Seattle’s Carkeek Park

Best viewing through early December (learn from Salmon Stewards from 11am-2pm on weekends from Nov. 2 to Dec. 1)

More info: 206-733-9697, or

Sponsored by City of Seattle

• Ebright, Lewis, and Laughing Jacobs creeks, near Lake Sammamish

Best viewing early November through late January (self-guided)

Ebright Creek at the East Lake Sammamish Trail, Sammamish, and Lewis Creek at 185th Place SE, Issaquah, and Laughing Jacobs Creek by Lake Sammamish State Park

Call first to learn if fish are present: 206-477-4746

Sponsored by City of Sammamish, City of Issaquah and King County

• Miller Creek in Normandy Park

Best viewing October through early December (self-guided)

Where Miller Creek intersects 13th Ave SW

Call first for recent salmon activity: 206-263-6826 or

Sponsored by WRIA 9 Watershed Ecosystem Forum

• Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers near Carnation

Best viewing through October (self-guided)

Chinook Bend Natural Area, foot bridge over the Snoqualmie River at Tolt-MacDonald Park, and Snoqualmie Valley Trail foot bridge over the Tolt River

More info: view the King County Parks’ websites for each site

Sponsored by the Snoqualmie Watershed Forum

• Flaming Geyser State Park near Auburn

Best viewing through November (self-guided)

• Bridge over the Green River on SE Flaming Geyser Road at the entrance of Flaming Geyser State Park

Find out recent fish activity:

Sponsored by WRIA 9 Watershed Ecosystem Forum

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