Salmon are returning to Carkeek Park! Like old friends, park visitors are walking the trails with keen eyes and ears to find fish returning to their home waters.
Students on field trips to Carkeek Park on Monday, October 29, 2018 from St. George and Thornton Creek Elementary Schools observed a few early Coho salmon during one of their three educational activities, the Interpretive Creek Walk. These are 2 of 34 schools participating in this fall’s Salmon Search program at Carkeek Park. Other schools and organizations are also visiting every day.
Students on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 from Gatewood and West Woodland Elementary Schools observed a female Coho salmon turning on her side and digging a nest (redd) during one of their Interpretive Creek Walks. Another Coho was periodically seen beside the female in mating position during brief encounters.
Students on Thursday, November 1, 2018 from Kimball and Queen Anne Elementary Schools observed paired male and female Coho salmon in at least three different locations during their Interpretive Creek Walks.
Students on Friday, November 2, 2018 from Green Lake Elementary School observed Coho salmon in Piper’s Creek during their Interpretive Creek Walks. Schools in the Salmon Search program also participate in Salmon Dissection/Anatomy and Salmon Ecosystem Simulation activities. Coho salmon are provided each year by Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH). Friday’s fish was not only quite large, but had a fantastically developed kype (hooked jaws found in the spawning form of male salmon and female spawners to a lesser degree).
Students on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 from Concord Elementary School were able to observe Chum salmon in Piper’s Creek during their Interpretive Creek Walks. Chum salmon is the primary salmon species in the Piper’s Creek system and their numbers will increase steadily into November. On Tuesday, Concord students were able to observer nearly a dozen Chum salmon in several locations.
We’re hoping for rain to bring our expected Chum salmon into Piper’s Creek. Rain increases the flow of water from the Pipers Creek Watershed to Puget Sound and attracts fish that were reared in these waters in past years by the CWCAP stocking and education programs.
Historically, the 2nd and 3rd weeks of November have seen peaks of salmon numbers and spawning activity in the Piper’s Creek system, with increasing numbers before this and diminishing numbers after this. Thanksgiving has been within a few days of the actual peak of live activity for at least the last 5 years.
Here’s a short history of first sightings in the park over the past four years: October 27, 2018; October 19, 2017; October 27, 2016; October 26, 2015
Select here for a Salmon Return summary for the past 4 years: