SALMON -- While fishermen are keyed in to the run of chinook and sockeye salmon heading into the upper Columbia River, now's a good time for non-anglers to check out the action, too.
Up to 5,000 adult sockeye and 1,000 adult chinook salmon a day are moving past Rocky Reach Dam on their way upstream to spawn, offering a non-stop look at the large Pacific salmon through the fish viewing windows at Rocky Reach Visitor Center near Wenatchee.
"This year, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife forecast that more than 120,000 adult sockeye salmon will pass by the viewing windows at Rocky Reach Dam," said Thad Mosey, Chelan County PUD fisheries biologist. "You’ll definitely see a lot of fish."
The Visitor Center is open 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. every day, which is prime fish-viewing time, Mosey said. The big fish are most active during the day.
The salmon are making their way up the Columbia River to spawning grounds in tributaries. Chelan PUD provides passage upstream for adult salmon and steelhead through its fish ladders at Rock Island and Rocky Reach dams. In the spring, young salmon and steelhead pass the dams on their migration to the ocean with help from a combination of spill and the one-of-a-kind fish bypass at Rocky Reach Dam.
Fish viewing should be excellent at Rocky Reach for about three months, Mosey said. Sockeye and summer Chinook will be the primary travelers for the next month, and steelhead numbers will increase in August.
Visit www.chelanpud.org/fish-counts.cfm for daily fish counts.
The Visitor Center, seven miles north of Wenatchee on Highway 97A, is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day through Oct. 31. Information about other things to see and do at the Visitor Center is on the PUD Web site.