Estuaries, Pacific Northwest
The Salmon River Estuary is made up of approx. 500 acres of intertidal marshes and mud flats, with the river meandering through them. Spruce & hemlock forests dominate the estuary’s upland areas and open wet grasslands, along the waterways.
Coho, Chinook, Pink, and Chum salmon travel through the Salmon River Estuary on their way to their spawning areas. Steelhead, cutthroat, and Dolly Varden trout can be found here, as well. Some of the steelhead can weigh on the high side of 10 kilos!
Year round access to sheltered, open waters, filled with insects & vegetation, has made this estuary a very important winter destination for thousands of waterfowl & shorebirds. During winter, birds can be seen in the thousands, including large numbers of trumpeter swans, green-winged teals, golden eye ducks, widgeons, mallards, great blue herons, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, and numerous shorebird species.
Cougars and black bears can be seen on the south side of the estuary, along with rare sightings of wolves. The plentiful estuary grass supports a healthy population of deer and elk. Just offshore from the estuary, orca and grey whales pass by on a regular basis. Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of watching a gray whale swim past the estuary! I have seen false killer whales many times here as well.