Salmon Watcher Program

Salmon Watcher Program continues in 2022!

In 2020 we were excited to announce that Dr. Jeffrey Jensen, professor for UW Bothell's Division of Biological Sciences, resurrected a version of Salmon Watchers with a focus on our local streams! If you missed it the last few years, you have another chance to join the fun this fall. Learn more about the program on Dr. Jensen's blog.

Interested in becoming a volunteer?

It’s a great way to learn more about the biology of our local area, and to provide data relevant to policy decisions affecting our streams. When you sign up, you'll receive training materials (usually supplemented with an in-person training opportunity) to explain the program in more detail and to answer your questions.

What do Salmon Watchers do?

  • Salmon - Volunteer Icon Opens in new windowSelect a stream that you are willing to watch for a total of 30 minutes each week from mid-September into sometime in November
  • Review training materials and attend a meeting for more in-depth training and Q&A
  • Record data during your observations on a provided form 
  • Enter your salmon data into a user-friendly online form

The observation period runs from mid-September into November. The actual end date will depend on weather conditions and the number of fish seen.

Click here to sign up as a volunteer!

New for 2022: Salmon Monitors

This year, Dr. Jensen is looking for some dedicated Salmon Monitors. To assist with research efforts, specifically for sockeye and kokanee salmon, Dr. Jensen would like to have some observations and sampling done very systematically throughout the season. Salmon Monitors will commit to walking a stretch of stream regularly throughout the season and carefully recording and submitting data. Ideally, each stream section would be monitored three times per week, but the same person does not need to monitor each time. Dr. Jensen can group participants into teams that will trade off on different days of the week for coverage. You can indicate your interest in become a Salmon Monitor here.

Salmon Watcher pro tip

The most essential salmon viewing gear you need is polarized sunglasses. They often make the difference between not seeing any fish and having a clear view of many fish. Polarized glasses block as much of the reflected light as possible without blocking non-reflected light. Look for yellow or amber polarized lenses, as they are better at letting a lot of light through compared to gray or smoke lenses.  

QSalmon male and femaleuestions about the program?

City of Bothell no longer manages the Salmon Watcher Program, but we are excited to help promote it. We express our sincere gratitude to Dr. Jeffrey Jensen, with support from the Three Rivers Chapter of Trout Unlimited , for bringing back the program locally!

Please email Dr. Jensen with your questions, or look for answers on his blog.

Thank you to past volunteers

If you are a past Salmon Watcher, we sincerely thank you for your years of service. As always, please continue to let us know whenever you see an illicit discharge or spill in Bothell by calling our Spill Hotline, day or night, at 425-806-6750. You're helping keep our streams clean!

History of the original Salmon Watcher Program

The original Salmon Watcher Program was a multi-jurisdictional effort focused on protecting a Pacific Northwest treasure and educating the community in the process. This program recruited citizens to gather vital information about the presence, kinds, and number of fish spawning in our local streams. After 20 incredible years of volunteer service and fish data collection, the program ended in 2015 after King County no longer had the funding needed to operate and maintain the regional database for salmon sightings.

Are you a Salmon Watcher who wants to share your knowledge with others?

If you're a trained Salmon Watcher and would like share your knowledge with others, please contact us. We're looking for several volunteers to talk with visitors or lead a tour along North Creek, and you can pick the date and time that works best for you.

Visit King County's website for more information about the history of the Salmon Watcher Program and how you can stay involved in protecting local salmon.

Sign up for City eNews

Stay informed about community news, events, and workshops. Sign up here!