The Sockeye run was very low in 2018, around 28,000. The Chinook run was below average at around 6,700 and the Coho run was also below average as well at 11,500. The total for the year was around 46,000 which is significanly below average. Global warming and disruption of the food supply in the ocean seems a likely culprit.
Here is a quick recap of the three species that came through the Locks in 2017: Sockeye, June-July, over 133,000 counted Silver or Coho, September over 14,500 counted King or Chinook, July-September , over 7,200 counted Total 2017 Salmon Official Count 154,700 Note that many more Salmon pass through the Lock Chambers that are not counted.
The outdated signage in the Fish Ladder Viewing room shows Steelhead during the winter months, none have been spotted for years, so don't bother looking. Millions of Smolt (baby salmon) head back to the ocean in the spring and early summer. Watch for them in the smolt slides.
You can check out the new Salmon information kiosks to see what it is like when the salmon are running.
Most of the Chinook and Coho Salmon migrate up Issaquah Creek. We suggest a visit to the Issaquah Hatchery to learn more about Chinook and Coho conservation efforts.
Nearly all of the Sockeye Salmon migrate up the Cedar River Watershed, Seattle's water supply. We suggest a trip to the Cedar River Watershed Education Center to learn more about Sockeye conservation efforts.
2015 and 2016 were especially poor years for salmon species that pass through the Locks. The 2015 total count was less than 50,000 and around 85,000 in 2016.
In a really good year the count could be over 500,000