Salmon coming home to spawn in local rivers, streams

It’s that time of the year where you can see for yourself the end of a remarkable journey.

At the Cedar River in Renton, if you look closely, you can see the salmon that have returned to their birthplaces to spawn a new generation.

“They’ve come from the ocean, came through Puget sound, up the fish ladder at the Ballard Locks and the through the southern part of Lake Washington and now they’re in the Cedar River so they’re almost home,” said Laura West, Salmon SEEson Coordinator.

Pacific salmon, which includes sockeye and chinook, are icons of the Pacific Northwest and the public is encouraged to witness their amazing migration.

Kokanee, which are 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.

Because of the pandemic, West said King County’s 14th annual Salmon SEEson program is being done differently.

“Normally there would be volunteers naturalists to help people spot the salmon, to tell people about the salmon. This year we’re focusing more on self-guided viewing,” explained West.

There are 28 locations around the county that offer the best chances of seeing salmon. It’s important especially since many of the salmon runs are returning in below average numbers.

West said the prime time to spot salmon is just around the corner.

“October is the best, it’s good thru November. There are a few locations where you can also see salmon thru late January,” West added.

Find a link to locations to see salmon here.