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Salmon Viewing at the Ballard Locks

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Salmon have always been vital to the Pacific Northwest’s ecosystem. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District Engineer Maj. Hiram M. Chittenden, for whom the locks are now named, understood this and planned on incorporating a fish ladder in the designs when he proposed building them in the early 1900s.

The best times for viewing salmon migrating upstream in the ladder are:

  • Chinook, or King Salmon, July through November (best viewing last two weeks of August)
  • Coho, or Silver Salmon, August through November (best viewing last two weeks of September)
  • Sockeye, or Red Salmon, June through October (best viewing July)

Plan a whole day at the Locks with our handy guide.

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