As the salmon return home to spawn, the first place you'll find them congregating is at the southern-most end of Olympia's West Bay at the 5th Avenue Dam. From here they traverse up a fish ladder into Capitol Lake, where they'll continue on up the Deschutes River. Venture out onto the metal walkway over the water and cheer them on as they fight to keep away from the jaws of hungry seals.
When to Watch: Plan to show up at the walkway about three hours before high tide at the end of August and early September. You'll see the salmon begin to congregate around the entrance to the dam.
Where to Watch: The 5th Avenue dam walkway can be accessed from 5th Avenue right as it converges into Olympic St W (headed west). Look for the "The Salmon Are Back!" sign. Paid parking is available at Capitol Lake on the corner of 5th Avenue and Simmons St NW. Remember - parking is free after 5 p.m. and on the weekends in downtown Olympia!