There’s no way to pinpoint the best time to visit the Ballard Locks in Seattle but there are definitely better times to visit the fish ladder than others.
The goal is to obviously see migrating salmon when you visit the locks. The fish only pass through from the Puget Sound to Lake Union at certain times of the year. Listed below are the best times to visit the Ballard Locks throughout the year, and what species of salmon you’ll likely see during your visit.
BEST TIME TO VISIT THE BALLARD LOCKS
Chinook (King) — July-November, but the peak time for Chinook salmon is late August.
Coho (Silver) — August-November, but the best time for Coho salmon is late September.
Sockeye (Red) — June-October, but the peak time for Sockeye salmon is July.
Steelhead — November-May, but the best time for Steelhead salmon is late March/early April.
Just by looking at the list, you can see there’s a chance to spot salmon year-round at the locks, but anyone who’s visited knows there aren’t always fish migrating through the ladder. There’s no doubt the best time to visit the Ballard Locks is between July and late September.
The salmon migration shouldn’t be missed in Seattle. It’s an annual event that makes the Northwest so unique. To best maximize your experience, follow our list for the best time to visit the Ballard Locks in Seattle. If you’re looking for even more, you can also check out the Issaquah salmon hatchery for another neat experience. Issaquah is located miles upstream from any salt water, so the salmon are at the end of their grueling migration by the time they reach there.
Have you ever visited the Ballard Locks? When have you found the most success spotting salmon there? Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more great places to experience in the Emerald City!