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ALERT! Updated 4:30 p.m. on 4/22/14: Peamouth are arriving! There are at least a couple dozen just upstream of the Wilburton Trestle. This photo taken in the afternoon shows a peamouth tail at site 13B. The rain is supposed to return this evening, so hopefully the big crowds of fish will arrive soon!
Countless peamouth minnows return to Kelsey Creek in the spring to spawn. For 24 to 48 hours, the stream is thick with the usually elusive fish. Groups of peamouth have been observed one to four times every year from late April through June since 2004.
Volunteers in the Peamouth Patrol monitor Bellevue streams for the peamouth's arrival and track their numbers and wildlife when they visit. The city makes an effort to alert residents when the fish are around. Sign up for an Alert, and you will receive an email or text as soon as staff can post it when the peamouth arrive.
Unlike the stereotypical minnow, peamouth average a foot long. A Lake Washington fish, they can live an average of eight years. Unlike salmon, peamouth don't mind warmer water and lower stream levels in the spring.
Peamouth spawn in our streams, then return to the lake. The stream is plastered with gazillions of sticky little eggs that only take about a week to hatch.
The best spots to watch the peamouth are by Kelsey Creek, under the Wilburton Trestle and at the Mercer Slough Fish Ladder. Watch quietly at these sites and, in addition to the peamouth, you may see other wildlife looking for dinner, including blue heron, wood ducks, river otters and bald eagles.
Peamouth primer and directions to watching sites