While the salmon have climbed three previous fish ladders, you can finish the hatchery Chinook salmon journey as you walk right over the length of the last ladder all the way to the viewing windows. Around the middle of September, you should be able to see salmon before they reach the holding tanks. Tumwater Falls Hatchery workers will then sort them for egg collection and fertilization of new salmon eggs to start the cycle over again. Catch a glimpse of this process mid-September on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings through early October.
“It’s great for the public to understand how the salmon cycle works, how their life cycle works, where they’ve been, what they come back to, to understand the species and how they function,” says Lee Pilon, hatchery specialist at Tumwater Falls Hatchery.
Having made part of the salmon run and collected great photos, the return journey to downtown Olympia can be made by either backtracking or via public transportation from Capitol Boulevard adjacent to Brewery Park. Take advantage of the easy-access locations to see the salmon return this fall.