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 7 7
9/2 7 13
9/3 55 68
9/4 131 199
9/5 206 405
9/6 233 638
9/7 375 1,012
9/8 815 1,827
9/9 1,257 3,084
9/10 543 3,627
9/11 960 4,587
9/12 1,520 6,106
9/13 1,334 7,440
9/14 1,720 9,160
9/15 1,080 10,240
9/16 2,119 12,359
9/17 1,689 14,048
9/18 1,551 15,599
9/19 1,714 17,314
9/20 1,476 18,789
9/21 825 19,614
9/22 1,459 21,073
9/23 1,020 22,093
9/24 773 22,866
9/25 635 23,501
9/26 345 23,846
9/27 272 24,118
9/28 371 24,489
9/29 392 24,880
9/30 211 25,092
10/1 245 25,337
10/2 262 25,599
10/3    

Daily Chinook counts

 

Date Daily Count Running Total
6/18 - 7/8 22 22
7/9 8 30
7/10 20 49
7/11 8 57
7/12 0 57
7/13 7 64
7/14 16 80
7/15 0 80
7/16 13 93
7/17 6 99
7/18 26 125
7/19 16 141
7/20 75 216
7/21 19 235
7/22 15 250
7/23 37 287
7/24 10 297
7/25 12 309
7/26 3 312
7/27 83 395
7/28 55 450
7/29

26

476
7/30 12 488
7/31 15 503
8/1

23

526
8/2 125 651
8/3 75 726
8/4 179 905
8/5 99 1,004
8/6 154 1,058
8/7 218 1,376
8/8 118 1,494
8/9 99 1,593
8/10 525 2,119
8/11 114 2,233
8/12 288 2,722
8/13 506 3,227
8/14 270 3,497
8/15 615 4,113
8/16 231 4,343
8/17 352 4,695
8/18 413 5,108
8/19 308 5,416
8/20 304 5,720
8/21 353 6,073
8/22 466 6,539
8/23 324 6,863
8/24 461 7,323
8/25 305 7,629
8/26 1,307 8,935
8/27 1,214 10,150
8/28 351 10,501
8/29 1,528 12,028
8/30 388 12,416
8/31 544 12,961
9/1 598 13,559
9/2 392 13,952
9/3 730 14,682
9/4 789 15,470
9/5 472 15,942
9/6 174 16,117
9/7 138 16,254
9/8 215 16,469
9/9 194 16,663
9/10 95 16,757
9/11 119 16,876
9/12 262 17,138
9/13 92 17,230
9/14 66 17,296
9/15 39 17,335
9/16 13 17,348
9/17 3 17,352
9/18 9 17,360
9/19 7 17,367
9/20 0 17,367
9/21 7 17,373
9/22 22 17,395
9/23 7 17,402
9/24 7 17,408
9/25 7 17,415
9/26 0 17,415
9/27 0 17,415
9/28 0 17,415
9/29 13 17,428
9/30 7 17,434
10/1 0 17,434
10/2 7 17,441

Daily sockeye counts

Date Daily Count Running Total
6/12/22 2 2
6/13/22 7 9
6/14/22 0 9
6/15/22 24 33
6/16/22 9 42
6/17/22 7 49
6/18/22 0 49
6/19/22 16 66
6/20/22 48 114
6/21/22 53 167
6/22/22 59 226
6/23/22 52 278
6/24/22 133 411
6/25/22 333 744
6/26/22 106 850
6/27/22 1,153 2,004
6/28/22 482 2,486
6/29/22 325 2,811
6/30/22 723 3,534
7/1/22 458 3,992
7/2/22

1,109

5,101
7/3/22 871 5,972
7/4/22 995 6,967
7/5/22 1,388 8,355
7/6/22 1,347 9,702
7/7/22 1,063 10,765
7/8/22 1,280 12,045
7/9/22 1,881 13,926
7/10/22 1,355 15,282
7/11/22 1,607 16,888
7/12/22 1,777 18,665
7/13/22 1,216 19,881
7/14/22 1,057 20,938
7/15/22 843 21,782
7/16/22 1,675 23,457
7/17/22 1,304 24,761
7/18/22 780 25,541
7/19/22 1,855 27,397
7/20/22 1,443 28,840
7/21/22 1,284 30,123
7/22/22 508 30,632
7/23/22 1,074 31,705
7/24/22 1,543 33,248
7/25/22 945 34,194
7/26/22 755 34,948
7/27/22 765 35,714
7/28/22 544 36,258
7/29/22 905 37,163
7/30/22 804 37,967
7/31/22 1,018 38,985
8/1/22 269 39,254
8/2/22 535 39,789
8/3/22 374 40,163
8/4/22 268 40,431
8/5/22 337 40,768
8/6/22 457 41,225
8/7/22 360 41,585
8/8/22 137 41,722
8/9/22 131 41,853
8/10/22 200 42,053
8/11/22 119 42,172
8/12/22 96 42,268
8/13/22 109 42,378
8/14/22 218 42,595
8/15/22 97 42,692
8/16/22 85 42,777
8/17/22 46 42,823
8/18/22 65 42,889
8/19/22 42 42,931
8/20/22 52 42,983
8/21/22 52 43,035
8/22/22 31 43,067
8/23/22 13 43,080
8/24/22 13 43,093
8/25/22 7 43,099
8/26/22 65 43,165
8/27/22 26 43,191
8/28/22 0 43,191
8/29/22 33 43,224
8/30/22 26 43,250
8/31/22 0 43,250
9/1/22 7 43,256
9/2/22 33 43,289
9/3/22 0 43,289
9/4/22 0 43,289
9/5/22 0 43,289
9/6/22 0 43,289
9/7/22 0 43,289
9/8/22 0 43,289
9/9/22 0 43,289

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
2021 36,618
2020 22,492
2019 16,825
2018 28,406
2017 129,568
2016 58,583
2015 32,154
2014 58,421
2013 177,349
2012 143,318
2011 42,641
2010 155,900
2009 21,719
2008 33,630
2007 60,166
2006 417,089
2005 74,820
2004 375,517
2003 199,300
2002 375,517
2001 264,823
2000 416,528
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.