Learn about salmon 

What makes a healthy salmon?

Salmon are sensitive to water conditions, which makes them good indicators of water pollution. Salmon need certain conditions to be healthy:

  • Streamside vegetation and stable steam flows
  • Cool, clean water with enough oxygen
  • Clean, loose gravel to protect salmon eggs from predators and allow water to flow through the eggs for oxygen

The salmon life cycle

Learn about the different stages of a Pacific Northwest salmon's life, from egg to spawning adult.

What doMayfly Opens in new window salmon eat in Bothell streams?

Benthic macroinvertebrates. You may be asking, "What are those?!" They include things like stoneflies, mayflies, damselflies, caddisflies, and various worms. These organisms begin as larvae that fall from the trees into the stream. Next, they burrow in the gravel of the streambed and hatch in the spring. And salmon find them to be mighty tasty! Benthic macroinvertebrates are good indicators of water quality issues because most are pollution intolerant.

Coho salmon hatching in Quilcene, Washington

Video credit: Florian Graner & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - July 29, 2015

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