Where is Salmon Bay?

We chose the name Salmon Bay Paddle as I paddle weekly on the Puget Sound at the mouth of Salmon Bay.  The bay is located in the NW corner of Seattle in dividing the neighborhoods of Ballard and Magnolia.  Slightly upstream from the mouth is the Chittenden Locks which separate the freshwater from the saltwater. Built in the early 20th century, the Locks were part of a massive project to connect freshwater inland lakes with the Puget Sound to allow shipping and other boating traffic to bring logs, fish and other items back and fourth.

Before the Locks Salmon Bay was actually an inlet going much further east then modern day.  The end of the inlet was about where the Ballard Bridge is now. A small creek connected the bay with Lake Union a few miles east.  Fisherman's Terminal on the south side near inlet's end was a tideland nearly connecting to Puget Sound on Elliott Bay. See a historic map of Salmon Bay before the Locks.  http://www.memorieshop.com/Seattle/LakeWashington/Early-Lake.html

The Shilshole people, a indengous tribe inhabited Salmon Bay for centuries using the inner bay for protection from storms and to hide from more aggressive tribes such as the Haida who would raid on occasion to look for slaves and such.  Some report that nearly a dozen or more long houses existed in he bay, some 50 to 100' long.  The last structure from the tribe was Salmon Bay Charlie's house which was burned by indian agents. A point of land the house was on was bulldozed for the Locks.
Check out Coll Thrush's book Native Seattle which lists village locations in Seattle - pretty cool!

Since the Puget Sound is lower than the upper lake sections of Salmon Bay, water flows below the locks at about 1 to 3 knots. After heavy rains it can get up to 4 kts and can be difficult to paddle against.

Many of my lessons are on Salmon Bay as the current provides great learning conditions for students of all skill levels.  See our Shilshole Bay Tour for a description of paddling in this area.

Salmon Bay Charlie's house, on right. Looking east.

Mouth of Salmon Bay looking into Shilshole Bay

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