Living Green Olympia: Salmon Are Splashing at Tumwater Falls Park!

Salmon Are Splashing at Tumwater Falls Park!

Even if I didn't look at the calendar, I would know it was now fall in the Olympia area - the salmon are back!  It is so fascinating to me to see the journey these salmon make, in from Puget Sound through Budd Inlet, across Capitol Lake, and then up the Deschutes River to spawn. 


Salmon and their Spawning Migration

The end of last week, I got to head to Tumwater Falls Park one sunny afternoon so my little granddaughter and I could watch those salmon in action.  Lots of other people were lining the large tanks of water that were absolutely full of swimming, leaping, splashing salmon. 



Salmon at Tumwater Falls Park

There are lots of informational signs posted, showing the whole life cycle of the salmon as they migrate and spawn.  I loved one sign I don't remember from past years that showed five varieties of the fish, with the five fingers of a hand indicating some easy ways to remember each of the five names.  (And of course my granddaughter loved it that her hand was a perfect fit!)



Salmon Varieties at Tumwater Falls Park

The big pens full of splashing salmon are where the fish ladders end up, and these returning fish are counted by species and gender, as well as a count of eggs harvested.  A LOT of fish somehow make their way successfully all the way back up the Deschutes River on their journey "home" to spawn!

Along the river, more people were watching the fish make their way up fish ladders - and an occasional salmon that thought perhaps they could bypass the fish ladders and actually jump up the waterfall!  We didn't see any succeed in jumping the falls, but just seeing them make their way up the fish ladders is amazing enough to me.

So yes, today is the start of October - and it's time to go see the salmon!!


Salmon at Tumwater Falls Park



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Nancy Conner, City Realty Inc,    360-701-1086      

Comment balloon 5 commentsNancy Conner • October 01 2012 02:30PM


Mairlyn and I saw a report on this on cable just a short while ago, Nancy ... and we so agree!  This is just so fascinating.  Mother Nature comes up with far more advanced and fascinating stories than any Hollywood writer could by far.  Thanks for the pics ... and the education too ...


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) almost 8 years ago
Thanks Gene! When I first moved to western WA and saw the salmon leap their way up the fish ladder, I was just mesmerized! And going to watch them in the river is still one of my very favorite fall activities.
Posted by Nancy Conner, Olympia/Thurston County WA almost 8 years ago

Hi Nancy,

We went to a state run salmon hatchery outside of Ketchikan, AK and it is an amazing place as well. Mother Nature does a great job of getting the salmon where they need to go. Looks like your granddaugher was having a good time with you.

Posted by Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor, (909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning (Sun Lakes Realty) almost 8 years ago
Hi Kristin - yes, Mother Nature always manages to amaze me! And going to see the salmon has already become a tradition for my granddaughter and me. It's fun to see her curiosity and eagerness to learn about the world around us.
Posted by Nancy Conner, Olympia/Thurston County WA almost 8 years ago

Got to see the salmon myself this last year. I don't know if it's the design of that fish ladder or what, but this seems to be the best place by far to see them within 100 miles of the Seattle Area. Most places the fish just seem to swim upwards underwater so you don't get to really see their magesty. 


Much better (and cheaper) then the Zoo or Aquarium (although they're fun too!) But the best part is that park in general is great for kids. The trail isn't too long for little ones, and there is plenty to see year round. 

Posted by Anita Black over 5 years ago