North Lake Washington SalmonWatchers 2021

Salmon Identification Data Sheet and Entry Instructions Streams/Maps/Teams
Waiver, Acknowledgment link Orientation Videos New?  Sign up here
SalmonWatchers 2020 Archive


September 11, 2021

This week in Salmon Watching

Hi folks!  Now that we are underway I will be posting updates and news roughly every week (more often if something momentous happens, less often if I get too far behind in other stuff).  Before I get to reports, a few logistics:


I’m doing my best to clean up my e-mail list.  Please let me know if …

  • You receive multiple copies of this e-mail and want me to delete a duplicated or second address (and tell me which one to drop)
  • You no longer want to receive SalmonWatcher e-mails
  • You should be getting e-mails but are not, or you know of someone else in this position (a few might have been lost between surveys 1 and 2)

If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an e-mail or a text!  Things might be a little confusing at first so I want to make sure you have the information you need.  A couple people have asked about getting more data sheets – they are available at the “Data Sheet and Entry Instructions” link above.  I’m looking in to ways to get you additional hard copies and SalmonWatchers buttons if you need them.

  • Be sure to complete the waiver – we need that!  It is available on the “Waiver Acknowledgement” link above, and also on the Stream Teams link.
  • It’s not generally feasible for me to manage scheduling for each stream, but I’m hoping you will use the Teams link to indicate your planned days for observation and to communicate with each other.
  • My planned in-person orientations are done, and I’ve posted on-line versions under “Orientation Videos.”  I’ve decided not to try scheduling a large Zoom session (it’s always hard for find a time that works for very many people), but if you’d like to meet in person I’d be happy to or, if you have a few people interested, we could meet as a group or via zoom if we can find a time.  An article was recently published in the Northshore News … check it out here:

OK, now for the fun part

Your reports are coming in – thanks, and keep them coming!  So far the only direct salmon observation (other thanSalmonEggSwampjpg my own) is the chinook reported below in McAleer.  We did get an indirect observation from John S. on Swamp Creek upstream of 522.  The grisly scene at right is what’s left over from a salmon egg meal after it’s been through an otter.  I see this fairly often (dang otters!), and I’m always surprised at how many egg pass through without being ruptured.  Given the timing they are likely chinook eggs (yay – chinook in Swamp!), but sadly they won’t be contributing to the next generation (boo otters!).  I wasn’t able to get a sample of these, but I’m game to give DNA extraction and sequencing a try to verify species – particularly in the small streams were observations are sparse.  Let me know if you find some (and, of course, if you find sockeye/kokanee carcasses).

I’ve been seeing chinook in the Sammamish river at the mouth of Little Bear.  They’re not easy to see from shore because of their color (brown, like the water) and their tendency to hang out in the deeper water of the pool upstream.  I can see them with my drone, though – you can get a look at a chinook swimming there this morning by watching this video.  I video this site via drone every weekend (usually in the morning when the angle of the light is best).  Feel free to come by for a visit!  Depending on which day looks like it will be sunnier, I’ll be there either Saturday or Sunday around 9:30 – 10:30 am.  Cloudy days have the combined problem of less light coming down and too much light reflecting from the clouds off the water.  I have not seen any sockeye or “kokanee” yet, but they should show up in a week or two.

September 7, 2021

Mind yer boots!  New Zealand mud snails!

Invasive New Zealand mudsnails have been an issue in our area since at least 2002, and they are small enough to be easily transported in the folds of wading shoes, on the soles of boots, etc.  Take care to minimize the risk of moving them into unaffected streams by carefully washing and drying your boots after wading.  This is especially important if you are visiting multiple streams!  Although it can be hard to verify absence, it appears that at least some streams in our area do not have New Zealand mud snails.  We don’t want to contribute to their spread.  More info here.

September 6, 2021

Be sure to complete the Waiver and Update your Stream Watching information

Both can be done via the Streams/Maps/Teams link above.

The Three Rivers Chapter of Trout Unlimited will be meeting Tuesday, 9/8/21 at McMenamins in Bothell.  All are welcome (member or not)

I will be talking about SalmonWatchers, and you will get a chance to hear about the great things the chapter is up to.  Contact to sign up or get more information, or go to

September 5, 2021ChinookMcAleerSept4_2021

And we’re off!  Our first official salmon sighting for the season!

Salmon Watcher Barbara Sharkey reported a chinook salmon in McAleer Creek yesterday!  Chinook are rarely observed in McAleer, so this is great.  Less great is that the fish, a female full of eggs, died within a day of being seen.  Neighbor and SalmonWatcher Ken Weinberg kindly provided stats on this fish – 36″ fork length, 19.7 pounds.


August 15, 2021

New to SalmonWatchers?  Here’s a brief overview of what we do:  

The original Salmon Watchers Program ran from 1995 to 2015, and engaged citizens in monitoring salmon presence in selected streams in King and Snohomish County (more detail here).  Funding for the program ended in 2015, but the salmon watching has continued locally in Bellevue and, starting in 2020, North Lake Washington and lower Sammamish River tributaries. Last year’s effort resulted in a lot of new and useful information, and helped us identify a native population of kokanee salmon that was thought to have been eliminated (see article here)!  Very cool!  Being a salmon watcher involves spending at least 30 minutes/week observing a local stream for salmon, recording data, and submitting your information.  I have some specific streams and sites in mind, but you can also choose your own.  In late August I will host an orientation meeting with salmon ID tips and more information.  If you are interested in possibly becoming a salmon watcher and want more information, please complete the survey at the bottom of the page.  I will be in touch!

Are you a SalmonWatchers veteran?  Welcome back!

SalmonWatchers 2021 will run similarly to 2020.  Some differences include some changes in data entry (including, perhaps, a beta version of a phone app), a more organized site selection process (if you watched a site last year, you will have priority for that site this year), an improved website, and more information on the sites and streams.  I will detail these changes at our orientation.  


  • Please complete this short survey, even if you are not sure you’ll be a salmon watcher.  This will give me a sense of who is interested, a way to contact you, and information that will help me schedule the orientation.
  • Tell your friends!  There are plenty of opportunities to participate!