Grab your free, front-row seat to watch one of nature’s greatest journeys. Summer’s the time when hundreds of thousands of salmon and steelhead head up the Columbia River in mass to spawn in home waters
Steelhead and sockeye, summer/fall Chinook and coho salmon are passing Rocky Reach Dam this summer and fall after swimming nearly 500 miles from the ocean. The Visitor Center’s fish viewing room offers an eye-to-eye view as the fish near the end of their incredible trip from the Pacific Ocean.
Now’s the time
1,000 to 2,000 migrating salmon and steelhead are swimming past the fish viewing room’s huge windows each day, said Chelan PUD senior fish biologist Thad Mosey. “The best time to come is July and August no doubt,” Mosey said.
Chelan PUD’s fish ladder gives adult upstream spawners safe passage around the dam. And, it offers the unique opportunity for to see this amazing journey through the eyes of a fish.
Don’t miss the lamprey
The summer also brings fascinating, snake-like lampreys to Rocky Reach, which Mosey says are wriggling past the dam in record numbers this year. While parents may squirm, lamprey are a favorite of curious kids who watch the fish use toothy, suction cup mouths to help them get upstream.
“I think it’s cool for people because you don’t often get to see a salmon, steelhead or lamprey that up close and personal,” Mosey said. “You’re going to see hundreds of fish passing through consistently. You’re not going to see the same fish over and over again.”
Don’t miss the chance to see these magnificent fish heading up the Columbia River on an epic trip to get home.
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Rocky Reach Visitor Center is open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. After you see the fish, enjoy a break in the café and work off that ice cream strolling acres of beautiful grounds overlooking the Columbia River.