As students return to their classrooms this fall, the Pacific Salmon return to our region’s rivers and streams—embarking on an arduous journey to spawn and complete their lifestyle. And you can catch a glimpse of these majestic water warriors and their extraordinary voyage home at locations all around the Seattle area. Click through the gallery for a roundup of the best places to take your small fries to view the spectacular salmon, plus special events that celebrate their fall homecoming.

Puyallup Hatchery, Puyallup

One mile west of the Washington State Fairgrounds you’ll find a trout fish hatchery and a trail access for Clark’s Creek, a tributary that feeds into the Puyallup River. Check out the hatchery’s pools filled with trout raised to stock local lakes, then continue walking behind the hatchery to the left to find the trail and viewing bridge. Chinook and coho swim earlier in the fall and chum will be making their way upriver starting in late September with peak runs coming in late November through January. If your small fries need more adventure, hike the short path to Clark’s Creek Park where you’ll find a small playground with picnic benches.

Bonus: Visit the Puyallup Fish Hatchery for the 4th annual Salmon Homecoming event on Sat., Oct. 7 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. They’ll have tours, food, music and tons of activities for the kids.

Puyallup Fish Hatchery
1416 14th St. S.W.
Puyallup, Wa 98371
Online: wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/salmon/chum/viewing/clarks_crk.html

photo: Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation Facebook page

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Salmon Watching Tips:
1. Spawning marks the end of the line for the Pacific salmon and there’s a chance you and your brood might come across fish carcasses while visiting the rivers. Be sure to keep curious kiddos from disturbing their bodies, as they serve a valuable purpose for our environment.

2. Everyone knows that kids attract mud, water and dirt, so plan ahead and bring extra clothes. Make sure the minis also wear boots or shoes that can be easily cleaned.

3. Get up close and personal! Bring binoculars if you have them.

Have you taken your crew salmon spotting before? Where is your favorite place? Tell us in the comments below!

— Abbey McGee & Rachael Brandon