Where's the Fish? Part 2

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 05:20PM

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Our favorite salmonids are on their way back! The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) forecast (including the Issaquah Hatchery runs) expects “similar [to last year] Chinook fisheries” and “. . . a strong run of Coho salmon.” All our returning fish pass through the Chittenden (Ballard) Locks where they are counted as they make their way into the Lake Washington basin. Many of the Chinook and Coho are on their way to Issaquah Creek – most of the Sockeye are on their way to the Cedar River. The current count is pictured below:

The Chinook count has taken a nice bump up to 1,697. This is still short of the historic numbers at this time, but not scary. Yet. The Issaquah Salmon Hatchery only needs about 800 pair of Chinook to hit our typical egg allotment. More sport-caught Chinook have been reported at the Shilshole Public Ramp, which is right at the entrance to the Locks. The Neah Bay Chinook fishery has peaked and is dropping; one of the routes our fish take to get to the Puget Sound from the Pacific Ocean.

With these sparse numbers it is unlikely that fishing for the Chinook would be open in the Sammamish River or Lake Sammamish. The official word is on the WDFW site current regulations and Special Rules, which can change from day to day.

The sport catch out of Westport is still excellent. Now most of those fish are headed for the Columbia and other watersheds, but we can hope, can’t we, that some of these fish will continue up the coast to head to Issaquah.

The coho count has not started yet – the forecast is for over 22,000 fish, so that is very heartening!

Darin Combs, Issaquah Hatchery Manager, caught this 35 pound Chinook earlier this summer.

Where's the Fish?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 07:16PM

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Our favorite salmonids are on their way back! The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) forecast (including the Issaquah Hatchery runs) expects “similar [to last year] Chinook fisheries” and “. . . a strong run of Coho salmon.” All our returning fish pass through the Chittenden (Ballard) Locks where they are counted as they make their way into the Lake Washington basin. Many of the Chinook and Coho are on their way to Issaquah Creek – most of the Sockeye are on their way to the Cedar River.

The count as of July 28th is pictured below. This chart, as well as a chart for coho, is updated every couple of days. We've linked this chart to the page on the WDFW website where you can see the latest count.

As you can see, only 489 Chinook have been counted so far – our fish are still hanging off in the salt water somewhere. A few Chinook have been reported at the Shilshole Public Ramp, which is right at the entrance to the Locks.

Fishing for our Chinook is occasionally open in the Sammamish River or Lake Sammamish – please check the WDFW site for the current regulations and Special Rules, which can change from day to day.

Additional salmon viewing opportunities around the Puget Sound can be found at the Salmon Seeson website – check it frequently for emerging opportunities!

If there are other fishy topics you would like to see in this blog, please request them in a Comment.

Meet FISH Volunteer Coordinator, Lei Deitz

Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 08:44PM

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It is with great pleasure that we introduce Lei Dietz, our new Volunteer Coordinator. She began work on July 1st and is eager to meet all of our volunteers and our visitors.

Lei has work for 25+ years in the field of environmental conservation at non-profit organizations in Montana and Colorado, 15 of those years managing volunteer programs. She brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to the job.

Lei grew up in Maple Valley along the Cedar River and has wonderful childhood memories of the many creatures she learned to cherish in that stream. She credits that experience with her love of the environment and her eagerness to help the next generation grow in its understanding of the importance of watershed stewardship.

She holds an AS degree in Natural Resource Conservation/Zookeeping from Pikes Peak Community College and a BS degree in Anthropology from the University of Colorado. She has worked at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Zoo Montana in Billings and The Children's Museum in Colorado Springs.

She and Beverly Lee spent many hours together earlier this month so she could learn the ropes and pick up the reigns of this very important position with FISH. Please stop in and say hello the next time you visit the hatchery.

We are recruiting volunteers for our fall tour season right now. Our all day training is planned for August 23rd. If you have an interest in helping FISH tell the story of the annual miracle of salmon returning to Issaquah Creek, please get in touch with Lei by email or phone (425-392-8025), or by visiting our website and completing our volunteer interest form.

Welcome Lei to FISH. We know you'll like getting to know this committed, dedicated and fun group of FISH volunteers.

Larry Kangas Day in Issaquah - July 19

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 09:23PM

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At the July 7th City Council Meeting, Mayor Fred Butler declare July 19th as Larry Kangas Day in the City of Issaquah. Kangas, a mural artist from Beaverton, Oregon, painted over 1,000 murals in the Pacific Northwest. Issaquah is home to six of the murals – the Darigold Mural (located on Front Street), Mill Street Logging (on Sunset), two at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, and two in the Issaquah Café. Kangas passed away in November, 2013.

On Saturday, July 19th, the public is invited to discover the stories hidden in these murals. From 10AM to 2PM, guides will be stationed at the Darigold, Mill Street, and Issaquah Hatchery Murals to share the stories these murals represent. The public is also invited to dine-in at the Issaquah Café and enjoy the Kangas murals while having a delicious meal.

Kangas received an art degree at the University of Massachusetts. He was a Veteran, serving twenty years in the Air Force. He began painting large scale murals in the 1980’s. Kangas came to Issaquah four times over a twenty year span, from his home base in Beaverton, Oregon. Bev Ecker, who worked with Kangas on the Beaverton Arts Commission, said, “He is the most prolific and creative mural artist I have met. He has a way of making a scene come alive with vibrant colors, brilliant design work and amazing realism.”

Issaquah’s largest mural, by far, is the Darigold mural at 611 Front Street N, painted in 1995. It dominates that area of town and is actually painted on three sides of the building. It depicts the history of dairy farming in the Issaquah area and is one of the first things people notice coming into town from the north.

It wasn’t easy bringing the idea of murals to the city, according to former Issaquah Chamber of Commerce President Suzanne Suther.Suther had to work with city administration to establish a mural policy and then craft an inventory of all eligible Issaquah walls. She had to learn about preservation, raise money for an artist and decide what part of the community’s vast history deserved artistic depiction. “He [Kangas] brought a great wealth of sensitivity to the community, as though he were living here,” she said. “He was very interested in having the outcome be the pride of the city.”

Dave Waggoner, an active community volunteer and friend of Kangas, said, “The murals speak to me, especially that Darigold mural, because I was a little boy growing up on a farm and I saw that Darigold truck come out every day,” he said. “When I look at that, it reminds me of the old Issaquah that I loved then and still love today.”

Kangas returned to the city in 1996 when he was commissioned to transform the water tower at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery into a scenic depiction of the Issaquah Creek that flows through it. It literally brings to life the salmon habitat, featuring the creek, its wildlife and the lifecycle of a salmon. Norb Zeigler, a volunteer at the hatchery said, “It’s really become a teaching tool for the community.”. “It picks up on our message that we need to keep the salmon coming home.”

In 1997, Kangas added a touch of history to a wall on East Sunset Way, across the street from what is now Issaquah City Hall. That piece honors Issaquah’s logging past. “I can almost hold up a picture of my dad when he was really young, doing that logging, and it matches perfectly to the mural,” Waggoner said.
In 1999, Kangas adorned the inside walls of Issaquah Cafe with murals depicting Issaquah’s country-living past. More than 10 years later, he came back in 2013 to paint the backdrop of the hatchery’s new aquarium. The underwater scene of Issaquah Creek was one of Kangas’ last works before he died.

To learn more about the history behind the murals in Issaquah connect to the City of Issaquah YouTube and view this video created to commemorate the legacy of Larry Kangas murals in Issaquah.

Bev Lee Retires from FISH

Monday, June 30, 2014 at 08:27PM

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On June 30, after more than 5 years as a volunteer and seven years as Volunteer Coordinator, Beverly Lee is retiring. It is difficult to quantify the contribution she has made to the hatchery and to Issaquah. As coordinator of the more than 80 volunteers who serve as docents, tour guides, harvest staff and speakers, she has played a major role in expanding the universe of those who have come to cherish the hatchery, the town and the annual miracle made possible in large part by those volunteers.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has publicly stated that no other hatchery in the state enjoys such reliable, enthusiastic volunteer support without which the function of the hatchery -- with only two-and-a-half paid employees -- could not be accomplished. Under Bev’s supervision, speakers, and school visits have been recognized as a key component in raising awareness of the keystone role salmon play in our environment and the culture of the Pacific Northwest. We believe Bev Lee’s selfless dedication to furthering the FISH mission warrants a huge “thank-you” from the community of Issaquah. We wish Bev great travels and rest in retirement and thank her for her many years of devoted service to FISH.

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