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 2019 Daily Count

2019 Running Total

10 - Year Avg. Running Total

09/01/2019 343 343 160
09/02/2019 350 693 414
09/03/2019 376 1,069 729
09/04/2019 206 1,275 1,126
09/05/2019 88 1,363 1,569
09/06/2019 404 1,766 2,091
09/07/2019 417 2,183 2,569
09/08/2019 417 2,601 3,084
09/09/2019 792 3,392 3,649
09/10/2019 744 4,136 4,336
09/11/2019 212 4,348 5,170
09/12/2019 586 4,934 5,804
09/13/2019 288 5,222 6,261
09/14/2019 268 5,490 6,822
09/15/2019 1,155 6,645 7,433

Daily sockeye counts

Date Daily Count Running Total
6/12/19 74 74
6/13/19 15 89
6/14/19 7 96
6/15/19 0 96
6/16/19 7 103
6/17/19 0 103
6/18/19 59 162
6/19/19 83 246
6/20/19 162 408
6/21/19 66 474
6/22/19 103 577
6/23/19 0 577
6/24/19 133 710
6/25/19 414

1,124

6/26/19 1,293 2,417
6/27/19 1,026 3,443
6/28/19 282 3,726
6/29/19 374 4,100
6/30/19 587 4,687
7/1/19 1,441 6,128
7/2/19 404 6,531
7/3/19 737 7,268
7/4/19 467 7,735
7/5/19 126 7,861
7/6/19 240 8,100
7/7/19 457 8,557
7/8/19 921 9,478
7/9/19 937 10,415
7/10/19 1,139 11,554
7/11/19 266 11,820
7/12/19 133 11,953
7/13/19 325 12,278
7/14/19 580 12,859
7/15/19 642 13,500
7/16/19 933 14,433
7/17/19 430 14,863
7/18/19 133 14,996
7/19/19 106 15,104
7/20/19 200 15,304
7/21/19 311 15,615
7/22/19 327 15,942
7/23/19 133 16,075
7/24/19 221 16,296
7/25/19 52 16,348
7/26/19 30 16,378
7/27/19 15 16,393
7/28/19 52 16,445
7/29/19 37 16,482
7/30/19 78 16,560
7/31/19 268 16,828
8/1/19 26 16,854
8/2/19 113 16,976
8/3/19 33 17,000
8/4/19 64 17,064
8/5/19 122 17,187
8/6/19 36 17,223
8/7/19 85 17,308
8/8/19 33 17,341
8/9/19 26 17,367
8/10/19 13 17,380
8/11/19 0 17,380
8/12/19 13 17,393
8/13/19 7 17,400
8/15/19 0 17,400
8/16/19 0 17,400
8/17/19 4 17,404
8/18/19 0 17,404
8/19/19 0 17,404
8/20/19 4 17,408
8/21/19 0 17,408
8/22/19 0 17,408
Ballard Locks Sockeye Counts

Annual sockeye counts

Year Total Count
2018 32,103
2017 112,934
2016 59,404
2015 33,910
2014 64,760
2013 182,731
2012 145,463
2011 43,420
2010 148,393
2009 22,165
2008 33,702
2007 69,271
2006 453,543
2005 87,024
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.