Photo courtesy of Cheri Scalf, WDFW.
Photo courtesy of Cheri Scalf, WDFW.

Salmon are the heartbeat of Hood Canal

Hood Canal supports all eight of the salmon and trout species that use marine and freshwater systems in the Pacific Northwest. These iconic fish are a critical component of the food chain and have helped sustain human and animal populations for millennia.
Salmon are a vital species in Hood Canal, contributing to the ecological and human wellbeing of the region today. Hood Canal salmon provide:
  • Recreational opportunities
  • A cultural link, including Skokomish and Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal customs, as well as non-tribal traditions in the region
  • An important subsistence food source that has sustained this area’s inhabitants for thousands of years
  • Jobs (e.g., fishing, tourism) and revenue to the local economy
  • An indication of the overall health of the ecosystem
  • A nutrient transport mechanism between freshwater and marine environments
Hood Canal Summer Chum salmon, Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, and bull trout are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. 
All Hood Canal salmon and trout species face many challenges to recovery, including habitat degradation, varying ocean productivity, and changing climate conditions. Past harvest and hatchery operations in Hood Canal have suppressed healthy salmon populations; today they are being managed to help maintain and recover at risk salmonids. 
Our goal is to remove these species from the Endangered Species List and sustain harvestable populations. This is central to our shared economy and the sustained health of all Hood Canal residents and visitors. And it is essential to honoring our treaty obligations to Hood Canal tribal nations.

Our salmon recovery efforts in Hood Canal show signs of success

All salmon species have unique life histories and we are developing suitable strategies to address their needs.

There are a number of large-scale efforts designed to increase the number and diversity of Hood Canal salmonids, and address the key challenges facing our recovery goals, including:

  • Carry out large estuary management and restoration projects
  • Implement the Hood Canal and Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca Summer Chum Salmon Recovery Plan
  • Implement the Skokomish and Mid Hood Canal Chinook Salmon Recovery Plan
  • Maintain healthy Hood Canal salmon populations at harvestable levels by properly managing the annual fisheries to meet escapement needs, and allow the necessary number or fish to return upriver to spawn
  • Provide salmon for commercial, recreational, and subsistence harvesting by utilizing approved practices to protect the integrity of the Hood Canal hatchery programs
Learn more about the successful restoration of Discovery Bay, the estuary of Salmon Creek and Snow Creek.

The Washington Legislature designated the HCCC as the Regional Recovery Organization for Hood Canal and Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca Summer Chum salmon. The Hood Canal region is also a Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Region for Chinook and steelhead; and the HCCC is its Lead Entity, responsible for the implementation of the Puget Sound Chinook recovery plan (approved by NOAA in 2007), and recovery planning for Puget Sound steelhead

Learn more about what each of us can do to help recover our Hood Canal salmon.