Sawtooth Salmon Festival on August 26


The Sawtooth Salmon Festival celebrates the life cycle of salmon as they make their 900+ mile journey from the Pacific Ocean to the Sawtooth Valley. Join us in welcoming them back to their birthplace!

The  Idaho Rivers United  (IRU) and the  Sawtooth Interpretive & Historical Association  (SIHA) have teamed up to present the Sawtooth Salmon Festival at the Stanley Museum. This fun and educational event brings awareness to the salmon species.

Friday, August 25, Stanley Museum, 5pm
SIHA’s Forum and Lecture Series presents biologist Dave Cannamela who will share his knowledge and passion for the ‘Native Fishes of Idaho’.

Saturday, August 26, Stanley Museum, 10am – 9pm
The SIHA Naturalists have exciting activities planned for kiddos and adults.

  • The interactive life cycle games will get the kids moving while learning a thing or two about salmon.
  • The ever-popular bean bag toss.
  • Fish printing – paint a rubber mold of a fish then press it onto paper to create the print. Definitely fridge-worthy!

Biologists will lead tours every other hour to a Redd (the spawning area of salmon) for your chance to see salmon spawning in the wild. You don’t want to miss this!

Guess what’s for dinner on Saturday? Salmon! Doug Plass, owner and chef at the Redd Restaurant in Stanley, will be serving up a delectable salmon dinner at 6pm. Scott Knickerbocker’s traditional country and blues songs will entertain folks throughout dinner.

Dinner tickets are limited so buy yours in advance at the Stanley Museum and Redfish Visitors Center or purchase them online through  Idaho Rivers United .

IRU/SIHA Member: $30
Non-member: $40

Don’t you think the Sawtooth Salmon Festival is a great way to spend your Saturday in the Sawtooths?

Here is a synopsis of a salmon’s life cycle……

A salmon’s life begins in the Stanley Basin until they become of age to make the 900+ mile journey to the ocean. They live in the ocean for 1 to 7 years where they grow big and strong. An undetermined signal will stimulate them to migrate back to their home. They stop feeding and rely on their stored fat and muscle to make the 900+ mile journey back to the Sawtooth Valley to spawn.

Salmon will die for their offspring….literally! Males and females will die soon after spawning. But don’t be sad, they give life to a new generation who will also repeat this incredible life cycle.

Salmon Challenges

  • Dam! Dam! Dam! Dam! Dam! Dam! Dam! Dam! The 8 dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers challenge the salmon’s strength and mobility. They have to maneuver through these unnatural obstacles on their way to and from the ocean.
  • From fry to smolt to salmon, they have many predators including humans, fish, birds, bears and other mammals.
  • The loss of salmon habitat has been caused by many factors including human population growth, agriculture, industry, logging, mining and grazing.

Chinook and sockeye are on the Endangered Species List due to the decline in their populations. This year is proving to be a very bad year for salmon. On August 8, only 13 adult sockeye arrived in the Stanley Basin and less than 40 wild Chinook arrived at the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery.

The Sawtooth Salmon Festival is a collaborative effort among many area organizations. Thank you to IRU, SIHA, United States Forest Service and Idaho Fish and Game for protecting the salmon!

Please visit  Idaho Rivers United  to make a donation or learn how you can help. Here are a few ways to get you started:

  • Be the voice for salmon. Educate your friends and family.
  • Use environmentally safe products. Remember water from your yard eventually makes its way to the rivers affecting the water quality and salmon habitats.
  • If you are a fisherman, you can save a salmon’s life by learning the difference between trout and salmon smolts.

Join us at the Sawtooth Salmon Festival to celebrate the extraordinary life of a salmon!

We’ll see you there!

Blog written by Erica Cole