Lake Washington salmon counts

Lake Washington salmon have been counted each year since 1972 as they enter freshwater at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks -- also known as the Ballard Locks -- on Seattle's Lake Washington Ship Canal. Currently, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Muckleshoot Indian Tribe staff conduct the counts cooperatively to determine if there are sufficient sockeye to open fishing seasons.

Sockeye counts begin on June 12 each year and go through July in order to provide consistent data from year to year. The sockeye are counted daily during set time periods as they pass through both the locks and the fishway, and the counts are converted into a daily total number of fish passing upstream. In early July, state and tribal managers begin to make weekly projections of the expected total run size based on the current counts. When the co-managers expect the total run size includes sufficient surplus fish above the escapement goal of 350,000 sockeye, sport and tribal fishing seasons will be opened.

Preliminary daily Chinook counts will be available from late July through September and daily coho counts will be available from Sept. 1 until early October.  The preliminary counts are subject to revision.

Daily coho counts

Date Daily Count Running Total
6/12-8/31 0 0
9/1 456 456
9/2 378 833
9/3 238 1,072
9/4 579 1,651
9/5 344 1,995
9/6 565 2,560
9/7 253 2,812
9/8 451 3,263
9/9 393 3,657
9/10 170 3,827
9/11 1,985 5,812
9/12 559 6,371
9/13 937 7,308
9/14 2,597 9,905
9/15 2,964 12,869
9/16 2,944 15,813
9/17 1,657 17,470
9/18 1,388 18,858
9/19 1,612 20,469
9/20 1,122 21,592

Daily Chinook counts

 

Date Daily Count Running Total
6/18 - 7/8 26 26
7/9 5 31
7/10 0 31
7/11 8 39
7/12 18 57
7/13 5 62
7/14 24 86
7/15 27 113
7/16 38 151
7/17 18 170
7/18 18 188
7/19 17 204
7/20 47 251
7/21 15 267
7/22 75 342
7/23 84 426
7/24 28 454
7/25 81 535
7/26 47 582
7/27 80 662
7/28 285 947
7/29 62 1,009
7/30 255 1,264
7/31 84 1,348
8/1 106 1,454
8/2 218 1,672
8/3 65 1,737
8/4 153 1,890
8/5 270 2,160
8/6 445 2,605
8/7 245 2,850
8/8 300 3,150
8/9 111 3,262
8/10 252 3,513
8/11 160 3,673
8/12 758 4,431
8/13 490 4,922
8/14 321 5,243
8/15 427 5,670
8/16 730 6,400
8/17 668 7,069
8/18 483 7,551
8/19 688 8,239
8/20 838 9,078
8/21 343 9,421
8/22 152 9,572
8/23 228 9,800
8/24 472 10,272
8/25 476 10,748
8/26 524 11,272
8/27 334 11,606
8/28 290 11,896
8/29 491 12,387
8/30 506 12,893
8/31 65 12,958
9/1 262 13,220
9/2 215 13,435
9/3 129 13,564
9/4 132 13,697
9/5 89 13,785
9/6 89 13,875
9/7 35 13,910
9/8 36 13,945
9/9 2 13,948
9/10 33 13,981
9/11 26 14,007
9/12 35 14,042
9/13 35 14,077
9/14 46 14,123
9/15 39 14,162
9/16 20 14,182
9/17 7 14,189
9/18 0 14,189
9/19 7 14,195
9/20 0 14,195

Daily sockeye counts

Date Daily Count Running Total
6/12/21 20 20
6/13/21 15 35
6/14/21 0 35
6/15/21 22 57
6/16/21 48 104
6/17/21 0 104
6/18/21 209 314
6/19/21 77 391
6/20/21 219 610
6/21/21 218 827
6/22/21 245 1,073
6/23/21 128 1,200
6/24/21 631 1,831
6/25/21 1,131 2,962
6/26/21 151 3,114
6/27/21 590 3,703
6/28/21 400 4,103
6/29/21 889 4,993
6/30/21 920 5,913
7/1/21 1,345 7,258
7/2/21 1,850 9,108
7/3/21 1,422 10,530
7/4/21 1,012 11,542
7/5/21 862 12,404
7/6/21 594 12,998
7/7/21 944 13,942
7/8/21 928 14,870
7/9/21 1,053 15,923
7/10/21 2,284 18,207
7/11/21 764 18,971
7/12/21 1,297 20,268
7/13/21 919 21,188
7/14/21 1,285 22,473
7/15/21 2,812 25,285
7/16/21 1,447 26,732
7/17/21 874 27,606
7/18/21 621 28,227
7/19/21 377 28,604
7/20/21 749 29,353
7/21/21 538 29,891
7/22/21 1,269 31,160
7/23/21 835 31,995
7/24/21 408 32,403
7/25/21 484 32,887
7/26/21 183 33,070
7/27/21 532 33,602
7/28/21 410 34,011
7/29/21 271 34,283
7/30/21 542 34,824
7/31/21 358 35,183
8/1/21 317 35,499
8/2/21 228 35,728
8/3/21 256 35,984
8/4/21 183 36,167
8/5/21 280 36,446
8/6/21 259 36,706
8/7/21 297 37,003
8/8/21 211 37,214
8/9/21 116 37,329
8/10/21 48 37,378
8/11/21 154 37,532
8/12/21 151 37,683
8/13/21 170 37,853
8/14/21 178 38,031
8/15/21 116 38,147
8/16/21 63 38,210
8/17/21 92 38,301
8/18/21 20 38,321
8/19/21 59 38,380
8/20/21 87 38,468
8/21/21 33 38,500
8/22/21 20 38,520
8/23/21 7 38,527
8/24/21 0 38,527
8/25/21 7 38,533
8/26/21 39 38,572
8/27/21 7 38,579
8/28/21 0 38,579
8/29/21 7 38,586
8/30/21 26 38,612
8/31/21 0 38,612
9/1/21 0 38,612
9/2/21 0 38,612
9/3/21 0 38,612
9/4/21 0 38,612
9/5/21 0 38,612
9/6/21 0 38,612
9/7/21 7 38,619
9/8/21 0 38,619
9/9/21 0 38,619

Ballard Locks sockeye counts

On desktop/laptop, move the cursor over a data point to see the exact date and count. To zoom in or out on the chart, use the mouse scroll wheel. Click and drag the graph to pan the data left or right.

On touch devices, tap the data point to see the exact date and count. To zoom in or out on the chart, spread or pinch the chart area. Tap and drag the graph to pan the data left or right.

To view and compare counts from previous years, click/tap the year in the legend below the chart to toggle it on or off.

Annual sockeye counts

Year Total Count
2020 22,728
2019 17,411
2018 32,193
2017 133,006
2016 59,404
2015 33,923
2014 64,760
2013 179,203
2012 145,815
2011 43,724
2010 161,417
2009 22,166
2008 33,702
2007 69,271
2006 453,543
2005 87,023
2004 403,672
2003 215,353
2002 381,160
2001 268,051
2000 434,974
1999 51,941
1998 89,020
1997 127,797
1996 508,336
1995 34,280
1994 166,267
1993 131,457
1992 241,329
1991 86,594
1990 122,964
1989 195,454
1988 531,063
1987 192,058
1986 246,913
1985 282,821
1984 442,752
1983 391,101
1982 370,195
1981 198,798
1980 491,587
1979 233,278
1978 269,090
1977 417,783
1976 215,462
1975 169,302
1974 184,050
1973 384,550
1972 242,359

Collecting biological samples from adult sockeye

A comprehensive biological sampling program will continue gathering critical information for the management of Lake Washington sockeye salmon, including changes in populations, survival rates, genetic identification, changes in size, etc.

The goal is to collect approximately 200 adult sockeye each week as they move from seawater into the Lake Washington Basin. Biologists from the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe will lead the sampling effort, with the collaboration of WDFW staff who will assist in the collection and processing of samples from the adult sockeye. Seattle Public Utilities provides funding for processing and analysis of these biological samples.

Types of information collected

  • Scales
  • Lengths
  • Genetic Samples (DNA)
  • Mark Samples (Otoliths and tags)
  • Sex

Examples of three important biological data sets:

  • Age Composition - Sockeye salmon age compositions are a necessary step in measuring survival rates. Insufficient age data have been collected in recent years because of budget constraints and due to the difficulty of collecting a representative sample. Scales from the adult fish will be used to determine ages.
  • Wild/hatchery proportions - Artificially produced sockeye salmon will be an important component of the return in 2017 and coming years. The hatchery fish are 100% otolith (small bones inside the head) marked for differentiation from wild-origin sockeye. The accurate estimation of the numbers of returning hatchery fish is important to evaluate hatchery performance, and can be used to inform in-season fishery management decisions.
  • Genetic Diversity - Because genetic (DNA) analysis has only recently become available as an assessment tool, consistent genetic sampling programs have not been a part of the management process. Tissue samples collected from Lake Washington sockeye stocks will be used to make future comparisons between populations based on DNA profiles. This may allow the in-season monitoring of the returns of various wild and hatchery stocks, the crafting of protective measures in fisheries, and may allow the measurement of the influence of hatchery fish on wild sockeye.