Where to View Salmon Spawning in Kitsap County This Autumn

In 2020, the WSU Salmon Tours will be virtual -- but the salmon are still showing up. Here's more about it. You can go on your own for a socially-distant salmon-viewing event.


Every year Washington State University Kitsap County extension sponsors Kitsap Salmon Tours: a day of salmon viewing during spawning season. In 2020, however, for safety, they’re coming up with a calendar of virtual events. But the salmon are still here, and you can view them on your own around the various salmon-viewing sites in Kitsap. Just a note: the featured image here is from Julie on Flickr; a beautiful piece of art called “Spawning Salmon” under a Creative Commons 2.0 License.

Kitsap Salmon Viewing

During the fall in the Pacific Northwest, salmon return from the ocean up the rivers to spawn. Salmon are an anadromous species, which means they begin their life in freshwater, and then swim to saltwater, where they mature. Some salmon can stay in the ocean for up to seven years.

After that, the salmon will swim back to its home stream, lay eggs, and die. A useful resource for reading more about the salmon’s life cycle is here. In Autumn, you can see spawning salmon around the area at local rivers, creeks, and fish ladders.

In Kitsap County, Washington State University Kitsap Extension sponsors Kitsap Salmon Tours every fall, usually in early November. It’s a great event for kids who enjoy seeing the salmon swimming in the creeks. At the end of this post are the locations and date for this year’s salmon tour events…but you can go on other days as well to catch a glimpse of the fish.

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Below is an infographic about what types of salmon you can find in the Pacific Northwest. During November, in Kitsap streams, you’re most likely to find chum and coho salmon spawning.

Kitsap Salmon Viewing Salmon Infographic

Some Considerations When Viewing the Salmon

  • Bringing polarized sunglasses will cut the glare and give you a better view of the fish.
  • Check pet restrictions for the area you’re visiting. You may need to leave Fido at home, but at least have him on a leash and keep him quiet.
  • Kids can get excited about the fish, but remember to keep them from disturbing/trying to touch the fish.
  • Remember to prepare for the possibility of wet weather around here in November. Even if it doesn’t look like it might rain, you might be surprised. And, even if not, you may encounter some boggy, slippery ground near streams.

Kitsap Salmon Viewing Places and Salmon Tours Times

As mentioned above, the WSU events are virtual this year. Previously, we had a list of all of the event sites and times on this post. Please visit the WSU Salmon tours webpage for the list of locations to view the salmon. We may list the virtual events on this post as they come up. Or, you can visit their calendar.

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Cheryl writes Pacific Northwest and Beyond and several other blogs. Right now, she's undergoing home renovations and renovating her blogs as well. She's also the proud new owner of an e-bike. Her skinny wheel days may be over but she's seriously into rockin' those grocery shopping trips these days on her funky looking bike with her sporty mask! However, she's also planning on getting on the trail again and resuming writing posts on this blog about the PNW! She's also wrapping her head around finally writing that series about the North Coast 500 route she's been putting off. Life's been different this year of COVID-19, but I'm finally not letting it derail all plans!

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