Outdoors: The Spawn Is On

If you really consider yourself a Seattlite but haven't seen salmon spawning in local streams, now is your chance. For the next few weeks chum and coho salmon will continue to return to the gravel beds of their youth at Pipers Creek, Thornton Creek and Boeing Creek on the north side of town, as well as at Longfellow Creek and Fauntleroy Creek in West Seattle, among other riparian zones around town. The best way to see the fish making their way upstream is by bulking up for the cold weather (bring a thermos of hot chocolate, coffee or tea) and finding a nice secure spot to watch the stream flow by. A spotting scope or binoculars would help. If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a bald eagle or two feasting on already spawned out salmon carcasses riverside.

Those of you that really get into salmon watching might want to consider linking up with King County's Salmon Watchers program whereby volunteers check in on particular spots throughout the fall and winter spawning seasons to help count fish and track the status of our region's natural icon. While the Salmon Watcher training sessions for 2010 have been completed, new volunteers should make sure to get on the list for 2011 now by emailing Jennifer Vanderhoof, a Senior Ecologist with King County.