Salmon Makes a Splash at O.O. Denny

Salmon Makes a Splash at O.O. Denny

For those of you wondering if efforts to restore O.O. Denny Creek to encourage the return of salmon has spawned any results, note this sighting passed along by area resident Renee LeBlanc. LeBlanc had been out for a walk with her children in O.O. Denny Park on Thanksgiving Day while the turkey was cooking at home in the oven.

“We saw a commotion when we were north of the mouth (of Denny Creek) and all came to investigate; we never expected to see a spawning salmon!” said LeBlanc. “The salmon was coming up the mouth of the creek, so we could see it splashing in the ‘open’ which is what caught our attention.”

Denny Creek traverses the O.O. Denny Creek Watershed crossing Big Finn Hill Park and draining into Lake Washington in O.O. Denny Park.

LeBlanc took a photo and Seattle Times fishing reporter Mark Yuasa confirmed that it is indeed a salmon, saying it is most likely a coho, though a sockeye or king will sometimes make a late appearance. The photo shows the salmon in Lake Washington. LeBlanc said the salmon attempted to access the creek but didn’t appear to have the strength to navigate it.

The return to O.O. Denny Creek itself helps to validate the health of the stream in attracting salmon. Area residents worked with Denny Creek Neighborhood Alliance (DCNA) and King County to restore the creek and build a fish ladder during the mid-1990s and through 2002. Over a four year period starting in 2000, a remote site incubator was set up to put 5000 salmon eggs per year into O.O. Denny Creek. The time has long passed for any salmon from those eggs to have returned but subsequent salmon may represent later generations from those initial efforts. A few years ago, two or three salmon were spotted in the creek.

A report in 2007 by a DCNA Watershed Survey Team compiled results of a three year study of the watershed and creek. The report authors encouraged further protection of O.O. Denny Creek from the negative effects of development and pollution. Another report at says:

“When salmon return from the ocean to spawn, they bring vital nutrients with them to the watershed. Through decomposing carcasses, the salmon spawning process offers a vital source of food not just for other fish species, but for a whole host of organisms in the watershed vital to ecosystem health.”

Anyone else witnessing salmon in O.O. Denny Creek is encouraged to notify Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance (formerly DCNA) by emailing: or by visiting Finn Hill’s Facebook page.

Finn Hill Salmon seen at Denny Park on 11/22/12

One Response to “Salmon Makes a Splash at O.O. Denny”

  1. Francesca Lyman says:

    Great story, Anne! Thank you, Jeff, for posting it.