If the rain outside my office window wasn't enough of a reminder that fall is here, the arrival of the spawning salmon would do it. (And actually seeing the salmon is a lot more fun than looking at the rain....)
The first good viewing place to see the salmon is from the bridge at 4th Ave downtown Olympia where you may get to see the big fish gathering and milling around as they make their way in from the saltwater of Budd Inlet to acclimate & transition across fresh water Capitol Lake and then up the Deschutes River. You are very likely to also see some herons or maybe a seal intent on seeing if they can catch a salmon snack.
Then do not miss the fish ladders at Tumwater Falls Park - it amazes me every single year that those fish are able to leap up the steps to make their way up river!
There are many good vantage points along the paths or on the bridge across the river where you can get a ring side seat for their fishy travels.
And the big tanks full of leaping, splashing salmon is a real adventure where you are up close enough to get splashed.
The fish are counted and identified and eggs are removed, and there is an updating sign showing the count by species, as well as some great info about the whole salmon life cycle.
I love making this part of every fall season - and the kids will be well entertained as well as learning just how this little miracle of nature works. Hello to fall and hello to the salmon - welcome back!!