Perhaps more than any other creature, salmon define the Northwest. From a legacy in Native American culture to a role in the development of the Washington Territory, salmon are a vital link to the region's history and the health of its eco-systems and natural environment. To observe salmon spawning in the wild is to watch the wondrous beginnings of life and the final stages of nature's cycle. The best time to view spawning salmon is mid October through November and a few days after a big rain. Below are maps and information about local tours.
Check out this fun video about the annual Kitsap Salmon Tour which celebrates the return of chum and coho salmon to Kitsap county streams each year. This free, family-friendly event provides opportunities to observe salmon as they make their final migration upstream, and learn more about salmon from docents and local experts. Visit kitsapsalmontours.org to learn more.
• Approach a stream slowly and stand quietly at the edge. If you move quickly salmon may assume you are a predator.
• Look for a "tail out" pool where gravel is about an inch in diameter.
• Observe females scooping out a depression in the gravel while one or more larger males fight for position.
• Wear polarized sunglasses to cut down on glare.
• Stay out of the stream to avoid damaging salmon eggs.
• Maintain control of pets, which have been known to kill spawning salmon.
• Be respectful of private property by staying next to roads or on public property.
• Stay on trails where they exist. Never trample streamside vegetation.
• Don't mourn for dead salmon or worry about carcasses in the stream. Decaying salmon release nutrients that become a critical part of the food chain.
There are many areas around the Kitsap Peninsula where you can view salmon habitat from bridges and trails. Shown below is a map of locations around the Kitsap Peninsula that offer places where you can view this remarkable annual event up close and person. Click here to view or print a larger version. Visit the Kitsap Sun's website to view their Interactive Map of Kitsap Peninsula Salmon Watching stops.
FREE Kitsap Salmon Tours - November 9, 2019 - 11 am - 3 pm*
Visit the website for more details. Click here for a map of the eight sights.
Bring your family and friends to celebrate the kickoff of salmon returning to Kitsap streams at these FREE events! We invite you to visit one or more of the event sites below to learn about our local salmon populations and search for them in the streams. Salmon may be found at these sites throughout their migration period, so feel free to visit on your own before or after this Nov. 9th event to see what you can find!
We’ll be there rain or shine so please dress for the weather, wear comfortable waterproof shoes, and exercise caution when parking and/or crossing roads. Some sites involve a hike to the stream (especially the Rhododendron Preserve which is not ADA accessible).
You’re also welcome to view salmon in Kitsap streams on your own, or join additional viewing opportunities with knowledgeable guides at the following locations/dates:
The following locations are also available for self-guided salmon migration viewing mid October through November. *All take place 11 am - 3 pm except as indicated.
Poulsbo's Fish Park - 288 NW Lindvig Way, Poulsbo, WA 98370. Wheelchair accessible.
Chico Creek Mouth - 4270 Kitty Hawk Dr. NW, Bremerton
Clear Creek Trail - Ridgetop Pavilion, 9228 Ridgetop Blvd, Silverdale. Wheelchair accessible.
Cowling Creek - 20325 Miller Bay Road, Poulsbo 98370
Otto Jarsted Park - 4230 W Belfair Valley Road, Gorst
Keta Legacy Rhododendron Preserve - 2401 Seabeck Highway, Seabeck 98312 - Tours: 11 am & 1:30 pm. (space limited)
Salmon Haven at Dickerson Creek - Northlake Way NW and Taylor Rd, Bremerton 98312
Erlands Point Preserve - East of the corner of Chico Way NW and Erlands Point Rd. NW, Bremerton
Click here for more details!
Brought to you by Chico Salmon Park Stewardship Group, City of Poulsbo, City of Bremerton, Clean Water Kitsap, Great Peninsula Conservancy, Kitsap County, Mountaineers Foundation, Suquamish Tribe, Washington Sea Grant, WSU Extension, Clear Creek Task Force, Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group, Keta Legacy Foundation, Kitsap PUD, Kitsap Poggie Club, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.