Salmon Stewards

See Salmon Here

Since 1998, Salmon Stewards have helped share the amazing story about Pacific Northwest salmon by answering questions and talking to people at three popular salmon viewing locations. This one-on-one outreach is fun and educational, as well as important for salmon’s survival in our growing urban environment.

Salmon Stewards volunteer at the site(s) of their choice:

  • 5th Avenue Bridge from mid- August to mid-September - Hatchery Chinook [map]
  • Tumwater Falls Park from mid- September to mid- October –Hatchery Chinook [map]
  • McLane Creek Nature Trail from mid- November to mid-December – Wild Chum [map]

At each of these locations, a prepared set of frequently asked questions helps new Salmon Stewards feel more confident as beginners! Salmon Stewards have the option to use the props and education materials available for show and tell. Each location has its own story related to salmon, so the Salmon Stewards learn about the fish and the about the viewing location. For example, at the 5th Avenue Dam, Washington State Department of Enterprise Services staff Larry Kessel gives an explanation about the dam operation. At Tumwater Falls Park, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife staff Lee Pilon talks about the fish operation and City of Tumwater historian Karla Wolfsburg leads a tour around the loop trail.

Once trained, Salmon Stewards chat with visitors at salmon-viewing locations. They are equipped with posters, polarized glasses, toy fish, pictures, an egg development display and other materials to describe the life cycle of salmon, threats to their survival, and what humans can do to ensure that salmon runs continue for future generations.

To learn more about local salmon runs, click the links below:

 Deschutes River Chinook          McLane Creek Chum

If you go: What to expect

Salmon Stewards training begins in mid-August. New Salmon Stewards must attend 6 hours of classroom training (either two 3 hour sessions or 3 two hour sessions) and the field trainings for the sites where they want to volunteer. The classroom training is divided into the salmon’s life cycle and life history and environmental factors – referred to as the H’s: habitat, hatcheries, harvest, and hydro. Every year, a different guest speaker is invited to talk about an “H”, often as an advanced Salmon Steward training for both new and experienced Salmon Stewards. Field trainings occur when the salmon are present: in August at the 5th Avenue Bridge; in September at Tumwater Falls Park; and in November at McLane Creek Nature Trail. During the field trainings, new Salmon Stewards learn how to use materials and props to explain the salmon life cycle and other related topics about the salmon, water quality, and the site.

After the trainings, new Salmon Stewards agree to volunteer for at least 8 hours.

Where Shift time
(time duration)
5th Avenue
2 Weekends:
       10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
       4 p.m. - 6 p.m.
       if possible
Mid August to 3rd weekend of September Can be hot and sunny - exposed, busy
Tumwater Falls Park 2 Same as above & Mon., Wed., Fri., mornings during fish processing

School field trip leaders
Early September through first weekend of October Busy site.
Have options of where to stand.
McLane Creek Nature Trail 1.5 Weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

School field trip leaders

Thanksgiving weekend
One to two weeks before Thanksgiving until 2nd weekend of December Can be cold or cold and rainy.
Fewer visitors, but quality time with people.

2 hour shifts are scheduled for the 5th Avenue Bridge and Tumwater Falls Park and 1.5 hour shifts are scheduled for McLane Creek Nature Trail (shorter shifts are because it’s cold) Salmon Stewards sign-up for the dates, times, and locations for which they would like to volunteer. Shifts are on evenings and weekends. In addition, some Salmon Stewards talk to school groups during the week.

If you enjoy talking to people, enjoy learning and teaching about salmon, and can attend trainings and commit to volunteering at least 4 times (two hour volunteer sessions for 8 hours total), then being a Salmon Steward could be for you!

For more information contact Michelle Stevie at or

Sign me up!