Killer whales were back in Puget Sound today, spotted early this
morning near Vashon Island, in the afternoon near Seattle and after
dark near Point No Point in North Kitsap. Reports can be seen on
Network’s Facebook page.
It’s a reminder that chum salmon are now running in Puget Sound,
and the whales are close behind. The chum also are entering our
local streams. So this is the time to visit your nearest salmon
stream to see if the fish have arrived. Tristan Baurick wrote about
recent conditions for the
As always, if you wish to see chum swimming upstream and
possibly spawning, one of the best places to go is Chico Salmon
Park next to Kitsap Golf and Country Club. For the latest
information about the park, read the story in the
Kitsap Sun by Terri Gleich.
With a couple of updates, my Salmon Viewing
Map and videos still offer a guide to the best public spots to
watch salmon on the Kitsap Peninsula. Click on the map at right to
access the videos and other information, including viewing
If you would like to learn about salmon from the experts, make a
note of these events:
Saturday, Nov. 7, Poulsbo Fish Park, 288
Lindvig Way. Children’s activities included, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. No
Salmon Viewing Saturday
Saturday, Nov. 14, Chico Salmon Park, Chico
Way at Golf Club Road, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. No charge. Kitsap
Saturday, Nov. 14, Mountaineers Rhododendron
Preserve, 3153 Seabeck Highway. Tours, involving a hike of about
1.5 miles, begin at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Nov. 14.
Kitsap Salmon Tours.
This year’s return of chum salmon to Hood Canal remains on track
to break the record, coming in with four times as many fish as
predicted earlier this year.
Last week, I reported that the total run size for Hood Canal
fall chum appeared to be about 1.4 million fish, according to
computer models. See
Kitsap Sun, Oct. 30 (subscription). The modern-day record is
1.18 million, set in 2003. If conditions hold, this year’s run will
easily exceed that.
The large Hood Canal run also is expected to provide an economic
boost of some $5 million to $6 million for commercial fishers, not
including fish processors and stores that sell the fish.
The forecast models are based largely on commercial harvests.
Data collected since I wrote the story only tend to confirm the
record-breaking run, according to salmon managers. Final estimates
won’t be compiled until the end of the season.
The chum run in Central and South Puget Sound also are looking
very good. The latest data suggest that the run could reach
700,000, or nearly twice the preseason estimate and well above
Meanwhile, the large chum runs are attracting Puget Sound’s
orcas to the waters off Bainbridge Island and Seattle, as chinook
runs decline in the San Juan Islands and elsewhere. As I described
in a story on Sunday, it has been an odd year for the whales, which
may have spent most of the summer chasing chinook off the coast of
Kitsap Sun, Nov. 2 (subscription).
The large chum run also promises to provide some great viewing
opportunities for people to watch the salmon migration in their
local streams. I would direct you to the interactive salmon-viewing
map that Amy Phan and I completely revamped last year for the
Kitsap Sun’s website. The map includes videos describing salmon
streams across the Kitsap Peninsula.
Speaking of salmon-watching, everyone is invited to Saturday’s
Kitsap Salmon Tours, an annual event in which biologists talk about
the amazing salmon and their spawning rituals. One can choose to
visit one or both of the locations in Central Kitsap. For details,
check out the Kitsap
Public Utility District’s Website.
One of the locations, now named Chico Salmon Park, is undergoing
a major facelift, thanks to more than 100 hours of volunteer labor
over the past two weekends — not to mention earlier work going back
to the beginning of the year. See the Kitsap County
news release issued today.
Volunteers working on the park deserve a lot of credit for
removing blackberry vines, Scotchbroom and weeds from this
overgrown area. This property, which has Chico Creek running
through it, is going to be a wonderful park someday after native
trees and plants become established. (See
Kitsap Sun, Feb. 2, 2013)
Well, we got it done, at least for now. I’m talking about a
project that included a total of 27 new videos and an interactive
map, all to help people observe the annual migration of chum salmon
on the Kitsap Peninsula.
This project is one reason I have not written as many stories or
blog entries as I normally would have over the past few weeks.
This is the fourth remake of the salmon map, going back to the
first map published in the newspaper in 1995. This year, reporter
Amy Phan produced the videos, adding many more location shots.
We’ve also added an overview video describing the project and how
to use the map (below).
Because most of the filming was done before the rains arrived,
streamflows in the videos are lower than what you will see if you
go out now. If I had it to do again, I would have shot more video
of salmon last fall. We’ll probably substitute some new shots of
salmon in the streams.
I’ve been away from “Water Ways” quite a lot lately while
covering a trial in Tacoma involving safety and environmental
concerns at Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club. Kitsap County is suing
the club over operations at its gun range near Bremerton. (Watch
for my “live blogging” or read the stories on the Kitsap Sun website.)
Meanwhile, I’d like to call your attention to a story by Kitsap
Sun reporter Brynn Grimley, who took a “salmon tour” via kayak last
weekend. Her close-up story and some great photos by Meeghan Reid
can be seen in
Sunday’s Kitsap Sun.
As chum salmon begin to arrive in small streams throughout the
Kitsap Peninsula, you may wish to carefully observe their migration
and spawning. Several years ago, a couple of us at the Sun created
a map with videos depicting the best viewing spots. Check out
Kitsap Sun Salmon
Map. I hope to update the videos with new information when I
Another map that may be of interest is the “Whale Trails” map that purports to
show the best places in Puget Sound to view marine mammals.
Unfortunately, there are no places shown on the Kitsap Peninsula. I
might recommend Point No Point County Park in North Kitsap,
locations on the Kingston waterfront, and Bachmann Park in the city
of Bremerton, as well as several places on Bainbridge Island.
The Whale Trail organization sent me a poster for the Washington
State Ferries that will help riders know what kinds of marine
mammals they may be seeing. This is a great idea, and I hope people
will take the opportunity to learn about the kinds of animals
common in the waters of Puget Sound. Click on the image (PDF 2.5
mb), above right, to download the poster.
The Puget Sound killer whales are a little late this year in
making excursions into South Puget Sound. They typically come south
hunting for chum salmon after the runs of chinook decline up north.
I’ll have more to say about this when we begin to see them more
frequently, assuming they are just late this year.