History of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

You cannot think of Issaquah without also thinking about the salmon. The community and the species are inextricably linked. Issaquah Creek for centuries teemed with this mighty species, which provided the local First Nation populations with a vital food, cultural and trading resource.

The Issaquah Hatchery was constructed in 1936 as a federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) venture, created to restore the historic salmon runs that once thrived in Issaquah Creek but had been destroyed by logging, coal mining and other activities in the Issaquah Creek Basin.

The Issaquah Hatchery’s salmon stocks originally came from the Green River. The hatchery began raising chinook, coho and steelhead (and historical records indicate that sockeye were also spawned here). Today the hatchery raises chinook and coho; steelhead rearing stopped in the early 2000s. Plans are in the works to spawn and/or raise Lake Washington kokanee at the Issaquah Hatchery.

The hatchery grounds were once part of city park that was connected to downtown Issaquah with a wooden bridge over Issaquah Creek. During the 1920s, the park featured a bandstand and speaking platform for large holiday celebrations, and there was much picnicking along the creek.*

Every year the hatchery, which is owned and operated by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), serves as the hub for Issaquah Salmon Days, a festival presented by the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce to honor the annual return of the salmon. The annual Salmon Days Festival began in 1970 and draws an estimated 150,000 visitors to the city to celebrate the species with which Issaquah is so closely identified.

* From Issaquah History Online//

Annual Salmon Return To Hatchery

These numbers represent the number of salmon trapped at the hatchery. Additional salmon spawn naturally in the creek and do not get counted by the hatchery.

YEARCHINOOKCOHO
20132,55410,568
20124,4929,612
20113,0004,000
20103,107474
20092,29513,878
20083,0694,296
200713,4323,272
20068,9348,698
20057,3148,740
200412,77125,617
**20035,8425,643
20025,6201,284
YEARCHINOOKCOHO
200110,45135,259
20003,77627,225
19992,2463,155
19984,5393,906
19974,75128,000
19961,13424,000
19951,90133,000
19943,7031,384
19933,15912,934
19927692,435
19911,4695,023
19905,0411,774
Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery on PlaceFull

** Thousands of salmon passed over the hatchery's barrier without being counted during this season due to flooding and other reasons.