Seattle’s Carkeek Park, where wild salmon return from the sea to spawn in a neighborhood creek

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From mid November to mid December salmon return to spawn in Piper’s Creek, which flows into the Puget Sound at Seattle’s Carkeek Park.

We stumbled upon this year’s run late in the season. There was one lone salmon alive, laboring in the cold, shallow water on its last swim upstream past a scattering of dead fish that had already completed their end-of-life task. 

The Piper’s Creek salmon run is small. Only a few hundred chum return each fall to spawn after spending a couple of years at sea. But these determined fish are a magnificent reminder that Seattle has to be one of the few major cities in the U.S. where you can see salmon spawning in a neighborhood creek.