Viewing a salmon run in the Pacific Northwest is a powerful experience. We’ve put together this list of salmon watching locations from organizations around Washington State, so you can see this epic migration in your own community. Don’t see your favorite public viewing spot here? Let us know so we can add it!
Statewide Salmon Watching
Salmon in Whatcom County
Salmon in Skagit County
Salmon in Kitsap County
Salmon in King County
Salmon in South Puget Sound
Tips for Salmon Viewing
- Respect the salmon, the lands and waters, and the people who steward them, especially Indigenous peoples whose cultures have been deeply connected with salmon since time immemorial. The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission are good resources to learn about the relationship between tribal people and salmon in the area you’re visiting. The Snoqualmie Tribe Ancestral Lands Movement shares ways to practice respectful recreation on ancestral Snoqualmie territory.
- Give salmon space, and stay out of the stream. They are working hard, and if you’re near the spawning grounds, the streambed may already contain redds (nests of salmon eggs). Walking in the water disturbs the fish and can kill the eggs. Learn how to spot a redd.
- Polarized sunglasses can make it easier to see fish in the water.
- Learn about the different species and their behavior. The local organizations below have great resources. You can also find an identification guide from Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife here.
- Observe the whole environment. Is the streambed rocks, sand, gravel, or a combination? Are there trees shading the water? What’s the weather like? What other animals do you see using this habitat? How much human influence can you see?
- Bring the experience home by taking action. We have 10 ways you can help save salmon, from building a healthier environment, to contributing to science, to sharing your salmon love with your friends, family, and leaders. Many of the links below also have ways you can volunteer for salmon recovery!
P.S. Salmon viewing can be an at-home experience too! Watch salmon returning to the Issaquah Hatchery on their live feed here. And you can join our Hood Canal steelhead underwater any time at LLTK’s livestreaming Fish Camera!