Swimming with Adult Salmon

When I started Swim Duwamish, I thought I would be lucky to see some adult salmon swimming upstream in the fall. Have I ever been lucky!

As I write this, the Duwamish and Green river are swarming with salmon. My father would have said the salmon are “thicker than fleas on a dog.” I’ve seen many thousands of salmon, and even touched a few. This year’s pink salmon run in the Duwamish/Green is predicted to be more than 600,000 fish. I can believe that prediction based on what I’ve seen.

Adult Salmon
A photo from my swim that shows just a few of the salmon in the river this year.

As I move downstream, the salmon seem to move downstream to get away from me. But since they’re swimming upstream now, they will only go so far downstream. Then they get bold and start streaming upstream past me in large groups. That’s what it looks like to me, and two men scavenging in the river confirmed that. They thought I was a seal when they first saw me, but they were even more surprised to find out I was a person swimming the river.

email updatesI saw these salmon in Kent, just downstream from Van Doren’s Landing park. The access to the river is not great in this area, the banks tend to be steep with thick blackberries and without developed trails. That doesn’t stop everyone, I’ve seen a few people fishing and I expect to see more as I move downstream.

Swim Duwamish and the city of Kent did a media event at Van Doren’s Landing, but that’s another story for the next blogpost. For now, take a look at this short, ten second video clip of salmon “thicker than fleas on a dog.”