For more information on habitat issues, please contact the
WDFW Habitat Program.
Phone: 360-902-2534

For more information on WDFW managed lands including wildlife areas, please contact the
WDFW Wildlife Program.
Phone: 360-902-2515


Recreational Activities May Harm Salmon & Steelhead Spawning Beds

Fishing and hunting are only two of the recreational activities that people enjoy in the state of Washington. Others include boating, riding off-road vehicles and wading and swimming in streams and lakes.

Five species of salmon (coho, king, sockeye, chum, pink) and steelhead use our streams and lakes for spawning and rearing during the same time people use them for recreational activities.

Salmon and steelhead lay their eggs in spawning nests called “redds”. For the eggs to survive and develop they need clean, loose gravel. If silt fills in the spaces between the gravel, clean water cannot circulate and the eggs may die from lack of oxygen or from accumulated waste products.

Even seemingly casual recreational activities may decrease the spawning success of the very fish that we enjoy. Many recreational activities can cause impacts that we don’t even consider.

The following information and web links will provide you with life history facts related to salmon and steelhead, a summary of the spawning habitat requirements for salmon and steelhead, and general timing information that identifies the time of the year when spawning and incubation of salmon and steelhead eggs occurs and therefore when caution should be taken when recreating in or near streams or lakes.

Please use caution when recreating in or near streams and lakes.

Thank you for your concern for the protection of salmon and steelhead spawning beds. As citizens and visitors to the state of Washington we all wish to preserve and protect the valuable natural resources that we enjoy. Salmon and steelhead are one of our most valuable aesthetic, economic, and cultural resources. It is our privilege to share the habitat that these species utilize to spawn and rear. It is also all of our responsibility to ensure that we do not impact these areas to the detriment of their successful reproduction.

It is our hope that everyone will have fun, will have a rewarding outdoor experience, and that everyone will recreate wisely.

For additional information check out these links: