Salmon-watching should be our Northwest sportOctober 26th, 2010 by cdunagan
Take me out to the salmon stream,
Take me away from the crowd.
Buy me nothing, not even a snack;
I don’t care if I never get back.
Forgive me for twisting around baseball’s sacred song, but it just popped into my head as I prepared to write about salmon. Specifically, I was thinking about how much I enjoy taking my kids — and now my grandkids — out to watch salmon spawning in our local streams.
Of course, fishing with a fly or even bait brings a different level of excitement. But there’s something special about standing quietly at the edge of a stream to avoid spooking the migrating salmon. If you are able to get the kids to calm down, you might even see a female chum salmon scooping out a depression in the gravel while one or more males circle around and try to get close.
Year after year, I write a story about the annual chum migration, encouraging people to go out to their local streams to watch the magnificent fish unique to our part of the world. This year’s story was published in Sunday’s Kitsap Sun.
In Kitsap County, Chico Creek is always a pretty good bet to see fish. This year, Kitsap County officials opened access to a new fish-viewing park just south of Golf Club Road. A couple of new trails provide both a high- and low-viewpoint to the creek.
If you wait until late in the year, you may still see chum salmon in Gorst Creek at Otto Jarstad Park just outside of Belfair. I like to remind people that if visitors come into town at Christmas, it’s a good time to expose them to the wild side of Washington state.
The interactive salmon map on the Kitsap Sun’s website also includes a few streams in Mason County, but I’d like to compile a list of good salmon-viewing streams throughout Puget Sound.
For one, there’s Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail south of Shelton, which will open to the public on Saturday, Nov. 6. The trail will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends in November, as well as Veterans Day and the day after Thanksgiving. Trained docents will be on hand to answer questions. Check out the website by the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group.
In Thurston County, there’s McLane Creek Nature Trail.
For King County streams, check out locations listed on the county’s Spawning Salmon Viewing website.
Likewise for Pierce County salmon viewing (PDF 1.0 mb).
If you know of other good salmon-viewing streams in the region or would like to talk about your favorite spot, feel free to add comments in the section below.