See the Sultan River flush with pink salmon today

SULTAN — Thousands of salmon migrate up rivers in Snohomish County to spawn every year. But most pink salmon come back only every two years.

“No one knows exactly why. It’s just the way it is,” said Suzi Wong Swint of Snohomish County Surface Water Management.

This fall, more than 20,000 pink salmon are expected to run up the Sultan River to spawn, Swint said. People are invited today to Osprey Park in Sultan to watch the salmon, which get the nickname “humpbacks,” or “humpies,” because of the enormous hump that males develop during spawning season.

Pink salmon live for two years and return from salt water to rivers in the Puget Sound area in odd-numbered calendar years. (A small number do return in even-numbered years). If people want to see this number next year, they will have to travel to Alaska or British Columbia, she said.

The Sultan River gets a big run of pink salmon partly because it has a hydroelectric dam upstream, Swint said. That keeps the water level high downstream in summer.

The county has held an event to let people watch pink salmon return in Sultan in 2003 and 2005, she said. County officials try to use the event to educate people about salmon in the county.

While local rivers get a strong return of pink salmon, fish biologists are concerned about the sliding population of the coho and chinook salmon, Swint said. After hatching, the coho and chinook spend about a year in rivers before heading to salt water. As development has taken out trees and shrubs along rivers and creeks, the number of the coho and chinook has declined, Swint said.

Each salmon is unique, Swint said. Some are shy; others are outgoing. If people come out to the Sultan River today, they can get close to pink salmon.

“They are fun to watch in spawning season because they are not afraid of people,” she said.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Suspected impaired driver crashed with Edmonds police officer

Both the driver and officer were injured Friday night and taken to Harborview Medical Center.

Everett killer sentenced to 43 years for fatal home invasion

Edmond Overton, 26, broke into a home and shot two men in October 2017. One of them died at the scene.

Why does a left-turn signal go green when no cars are there?

A commuter noticed the anomaly at an intersection on Everett Mall Way.

Please stop killing bumble bees: They’re not ‘murder hornets’

Beekeepers say residents are mistaking bees and wasps for Asian giant hornets.

Seniors from Marysville schools mark accomplishment with parade

In an attempt to make up for losing the usual graduation, parents planned a city-wide parade Friday.

Burglary suspect identified after fatal Everett break-in

A homeowner shot the man Thursday morning. The slain man had served much of his adulthood in prison.

Edmonds mayor removes finance director with no cause given

Scott James joined the city in 2014. He’s the third department director to leave in the past year.

Neighbors oppose Everett’s possible sale of 92.5 wooded acres

The city has owned the land around Wood Creek, which was once its water supply, for decades.

Watch Gov. Jay Inslee’s Monday news conference here

He is to talk about statewide demonstrations over the weekend.

Most Read