As the weather cools and the leaves change into their colored finery, fall also is the prime time to see salmon moving upstream to spawn. Area streams and rivers are full of fish such as chinoook, coho, chum and pink salmon and steelhead making their way up waters such as the Puyallup River, Cedar River, Kennedy Creek and McClane Creek.
This seasonal arrival also makes for a good opportunity to see salmon and learn about their freshwater-saltwater-freshwater life cycle. There are a numner of locations throughout the region where you can see salmon moving upstream and learn about the process from volunteers.
Here are some of the locations:
Cedar River Salmon Journey: Trained guides will be at five locations along the Cedar River every weekend in October from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. You can learn about the natural and human history of the Cedar River, and the life cycle and habitat needs of returning salmon. The locations are Renton Library, Cedar River Park, Riverview Park, Cavanaugh Pond Natural Area and Landsburg Park and Dam.
At Cavanaugh Pond and Landsburg Park visitors can take 30-minute tours.
Chambers Creek hatchery: Right now is a good time to see chinook make their way upstream. The best place to see them is at the dam, not far upstream from the mouth. A trail follows the stream as well. Later in October, coho will move into the creek, and then, from December to February, the winter chum will go up to Flett Creek. The hatchery is at 8315 Phillips Road SW, Tacoma.
Information: Call 253-589-7234.
Chittenden Locks: Located in Ballard, you can see salmon making their way up the 21-step fish ladder through October. Sockeye, chinook and coho, as well as steelhead, make their way through the locks.
Issaquah Salmon Hatchery: Chinook are the first to return, with the first fish showing up in late August. The bulk of the return arrives now through mid-October. Coho generally arrive late in September and continue through late November. The hatchery also sees a few sockeye salmon, which usually arrive late September through October.
Check out the webcams at the hatchery at wdfw.wa.gov/wildwatch/salmoncam.
The Issaquah Salmon Days will be held Oct. 5-6 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail: Located between Olympia and Shelton, will be open weekends Nov. 2-Dec. 1, allowing visitors to see 20,000-40,000 chum salmon spawn in a natural environment. There are 11 viewing stations with interpretive signs along the 1/2-mile trail.
The second Chowder & Chili Open House will be Nov. 16 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Visitors can enjoy a cup of chowder, shellfish, chili and warm drinks while viewing the spawning chum.
Cost: Free. But donations are accepted. A $7 donation will support two student visits.
Information: Go to spsseg.org/kennedy-creek-salmon-trail or 360-412-0808, Ext. 101.
Minter Creek hatchery: Fish will be coming upstream and up the fish ladder at this Key Peninsula hatchery through Christmas. The chinook run is tailing off, but the coho should start picking up. In mid-November, chum salmon will begin returning to the hatchery. That’s usually done Mondays and Wednesdays. The hatchery has a good viewing platform. The hatchery is at 12710 124th Ave. Court KPN.
Information: Call 253-857-5077 to find out when the staff are taking eggs from fish.
Olympic National Park: There are multiple locations to see salmon making their way to their natal streams. Among the best locations to see coho are the Salmon Cascades in the Sol Duc River in October, and in the small tributary of the Hoh River, accessed by the Hoh Visitor Center nature trail, in November and December. The Elwha River has a run of chinook salmon. In mid-September, more than 1,000 adult chinook were seen upstream of the former Elwha Dam site.
Tumwater Falls Park: Located in Olympia, you can see the fish in holding ponds and along the Deschutes River trail walk through mid-October. You also can watch the fish spawning operation on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays mornings through early October. Stream Team Salmon Stewards are stationed at park on weeknights and weekends, and during the morning spawning operation. You might still see some fish at the Fifth Avenue Dam fish ladder.
Salmon and Cider Sunday will be held Oct. 6 from noon to 4 p.m.
Information: streamteam.infoJeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640 jeff.mayor @thenewstribune.com thenewstribune.com/outdoors