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Salmon Estimates and Orca Data Puget Sound

Rivers Draining into Puget Sound

The following rivers drain to the Puget Sound and act as a spawning grounds for chinook salmon (also known as king salmon). Below are current estimates for the number of salmon born in each river system each year.

Salmon Estimates

Nooksack River – 40,000

Samish River – 35,000

Skagit River – 60,000

Stillaguamish River – 45,000

Snohomish River – 4,500

Cedar River – no estimates, small river

Green/Duwamish River – 3,000

Puyallup River  – 500-1,000

Nisqually River – 14,000

Deschutes River – 800-1,000

Skykomish River – 5,500

Dosewallips River – 1,200

Dungeness River – 5,000

Elwha River 7,000-10,000

Number of Salmon - 2015

A recent study of chinook salmon caught in Puget Sound yielded the following results:

Fisheries in the northern sound caught over 5,000 fish during the study with an average mass of 13.7 kg.

Private fishing boats from the Seattle area reported catching 342 chinook with an average size of 18.9 kg.

Scientists studying salmon populations on the Olympic Peninsula caught and released 470 chinook with an average size of 8.7 kg in a sheltered river outlet. They also caught and released 83 chinook in deeper waters with an average size of 17.4 kg.

3 Pods of orcas

Three are three pods of orca whales that live in Puget Sound. Researchers call them J, K, and L pods. The main food source for these resident pods in chinook salmon.

J pod – 25 whales

K pod – 19 whales

L pod – 39 whales

average mass of orca


The average mass of an orca in Puget Sound is estimated at 4,170 kg based on recent size measurements.