Chum salmon are arriving, and you can watch them

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.

You’ll find my story about the beginning of salmon season in today’s Kitsap Sun. The web address for the salmon map is easy to remember:

I’ve dropped a few salmon-viewing sites shown on previous maps, mainly because of access problems. Boyce Creek, for example, was never one of my top salmon-viewing sites, but the location on Hood Canal has magnificent views of mountains and water. It also has access from a wonderful trail where all kinds of birds and wildlife can be seen.

This year, when Amy and I got to Boyce Creek inside Guillemot Cove Nature Reserve, we found the trail to be flooded by an expanding marsh, the result of beaver dams in the lower part of the stream. We could not justify directing people to this watery location to see salmon until the trail is relocated to help people get around the marsh.

That does not mean, of course, that you shouldn’t visit the park. The potential to see wildlife is better than ever, but it’s a bit of a hike and you’ll need boots to get through the standing water.

I’ve also dropped some secondary locations on streams where accessible locations are now obscured by the growth of vegetation. Dogfish Creek on Little Valley Road is one example. The primary locations at Valley Nursery and Poulsbo Fish Park are still very good, however.

I keep making the pitch that it is good for people to experience nature, and perhaps there’s no easier way than to go out and watch salmon moving up local streams. Considering access and the likelihood of seeing salmon, Chico and Gorst creeks probably top the list for salmon viewing.

While our map covers the Kitsap Peninsula, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has highlighted three other salmon-viewing streams worth mentioning:

If you know of other locations worth mentioning, please add them in the comments section below. Easy access to public sites (where trespass is not an issue) is a primary consideration.

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