Friday, July 24, 2015 at 06:56PM

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FISH is currently seeking applications for the Education Coordinator position. The posting will be open until August 2nd, (or until the position is filled). If you are interested in applying, please mail, fax or email a cover letter and resume to Karen Kane, Executive Director, FISH, 125 West Sunset Way, Issaquah, WA 98027. Fax to 425.392.3180 or email to For full Job Description click here.

Join Us for the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 08:39PM

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Join Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery on May 7, for a fascinating, insightful presentation about the survival of salmon, steelhead and other marine life in the Salish Sea.

The public is invited as Jacques White, executive director of the nonprofit organization Long Live the Kings (LLTK), discusses what we are learning about the environmental state of this area, and its impacts on Puget Sound salmon and orca populations.

The presentation will be held in the Watershed Science Center at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery on May 7, 2015. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and the program will begin at 6:30 p.m. There is no charge for the program, although FISH will gratefully accept donations.

The presentation is the second in a series called FISH Talks, a program to educate and inform our community about issues and activities affecting salmon raised at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

The Salish Sea includes the coastal waterways located between the southwestern tip of British Columbia, and the northwestern tip of Washington State.

The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project leverages human and financial resources from the United States and Canada to determine the primary factors affecting the drastic reduction in survival of juvenile salmon and steelhead in the Salish Sea. It is the largest and most important research of its kind in the shared waters of British Columbia and Washington State, addressing a key uncertainty impeding salmon recovery and sustainable fisheries.

White is the executive director of LLTK, a nonprofit organization committed to restoring wild salmon and steelhead to the waters of the Pacific Northwest. LLTK pursues projects and partnerships that compel coordinated, scientifically-credible and transparent changes to harvest, hatchery and habitat management.

FISH Offers Screening of Elwha River Film

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 06:44PM

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Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery will offer a screening of the film “Return of the River” (The Elwha) on Friday, February 20, 2015, in the Watershed Science Center at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. “Return of the River” follows a group of strong-minded committed people as they attempt the impossible: to change the public opinion of a town and eventually the nation to bring a dam down. The community comes to a consensus, setting the Elwha River free and showing the way to more sustainable future. The film is produced by Jessica Plumb and co-directed by Jessica Plumb and John Gussman.

The screening is open to the public. Doors will open at 6pm, the program will begin at 6:30pm. The film runs 70 minutes. There will be a sampling of salmon hors devours and a discussion following the viewing. The event is free but contributions will be gratefully accepted.

In her review Seattle Times film critic Lynda V. Mapes said: "Return of the River vividly portrays the epic story of the freeing of Olympic National Park's mighty Elwha River from two salmon-blocking dams. The Elwha Klallam people, scientists, fishermen, politicians, enviros, and townsfolk all add their voices to a film that is visually dazzling, lyrically evocative, and fluid as mountain snowmelt."

Fundamentally, the Elwha River is a story about people and the land they inhabit. The film captures the tenacity of individuals who would not give up on a river, mirroring the tenacity of salmon headed upstream to spawn. It is a narrative with global ramifications, exploring the complex relationship between communities and the environment that sustains them.

Memorial Services Set For Charles “Stan” Staniforth

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 07:19PM

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The Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery lost a wonderful friend in September of 2014. Charles "Stan" Staniforth passed away leaving a long legacy of devotion to the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and the Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. He became a member in 2003 and could be found almost every day at the hatchery helping to do chores, spawn fish, mow the lawn or whatever needed to be done. He loved to help people understand the annual miracle of the salmon return to Issaquah Creek and enjoyed giving tours, especially to school children.

Memorial services are scheduled for Thursday, September 25 at 2PM. St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, 4228 Factorial Blvd. SE, Bellevue WA

“Stan was such a positive influence on so many children who came to the hatchery to learn about salmon. His legacy will live on in the many lives that he touched.” Gestin Suttle, former Executive Director of FISH

“It's hard to put in words - but he was a friend, a mentor, and just an overall good guy. To know him was to love him.” Norb Ziegler, FISH Volunteer

“Stan was an amazing man and I will miss him. He really loved being at the hatchery and we all benefited from his presence.” Darin Combs, Manager, Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

“Issaquah lost a true friend of the Hatchery and FISH.” Fred Butler, Mayor of Issaquah

“Not only did Stan lead tours and spawn fish, but he worked at the hatchery like he was part of the hatchery staff. He cleaned restrooms, mowed lawns, fire hosed raceways, sampled fish, etc. Because of this he is the only volunteer who we gave a complete set of keys for the hatchery. He was also given a pin number to use the fuel cards since he refueled the vehicles and went to fill gas cans for the off road equipment and gas powered grounds equipment. In 2009 the Director of the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife presented Stan with the Volunteer of the Year award, something very few volunteers receive. The hatchery staff is going to miss him!” John Kugen, Hatchery staff

“So sad! It won't be the same without Stan! I'll miss seeing him ride up on his motorcycle! RIP Stan!” Debi SanChez, Hatchery staff

Where's the Fish? Part 3

Monday, September 8, 2014 at 10:18PM

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The Chinook count is up to 4,827! And, the recent rain has brought the first of them into Issaquah Creek. And, we have jumpers! Few Chinook are being reported at the Shilshole Public Ramp, but the Coho count is picking up! Pretty soon the official count will start tracking the Coho return – presently they have counted about 500 Coho at this time. That forecast is for over 22,000 fish, so we should have lots of Coho action at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

Can you spot whether these fish are hatchery-reared or naturally spawned? Please “comment” with your observations.

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.

Sustaining Salmon In A Rapidly Urbanizing Environment - May 22nd

Monday, May 19, 2014 at 07:04PM

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"Sustaining Salmon in a Rapidly Urbanizing Environment: What Will it Take & Are We on Track?"

Please Join us for this special event and hear Jacques White, Executive Director of Long Live the Kings (LLTK), examine the history of salmon stewardship, where it currently stands, and where it needs to go to assure a future for both salmon and people in the Pacific Northwest.

Thursday May 22nd in the Watershed Science Center at the hatchery.
Doors open at 6 pm, program begins at 6:30.

Having salmon among us as our region grows and changes is an important element of retaining who we are. Salmon provide nutrition, livelihood, recreation, and are a gauge of environmental health, providing us with critical information on how we are doing as stewards of our surroundings.

Many salmon stocks in Washington State are listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act, which has given us a pretty clear indication that this stewardship has fallen short. In the face of documented declines in salmon, and with an increasing human population in our region, what does it mean to sustain salmon in a rapidly changing urban environment?

Jacques White grew up in Olympia, Washington near Puget Sound and spent most of his childhood either fishing or swimming. He is trained as an Oceanographer and has conducted marine research in the deep sea and along three major U.S. coastlines. Jacques has worked for the last 18 years on critical conservation issues in the Pacific Northwest and is focused on being a catalyst for improved health of salmon and the ecosystems they share with people. He currently serves as Executive Director of the conservation organization "Long Live the Kings" and provides support and guidance for Washington Sea Grant, the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council and the Puget Sound Partnership.

LLTK pursues projects and partnerships that compel coordinated, scientifically-credible, and transparent changes to harvest, hatchery, and habitat management to protect and restore wild salmon. They bring innovative tools, proven processes, and a track record of success to each of our projects. With non-government partners, they build new and necessary constituencies and support for positive change.

We know you will find this an informative and timely topic. Please RSVP to your intention of attending and the number in your party. Thanks.

FISH Intern Nathan Perry

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 10:36PM

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Nathan Perry has been working with Celina Steiger, FISH Education Coordinator on a weekly basis beginning in January of this year. Here’s a bit about Nathan in his own words.

“My name is Nathan Perry and I am an intern at Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. I go to Bellevue Big Picture School, which is choice school that focuses on Project Based Learning. The students go to classes every day but on Thursdays when they participate in an internship in the community. I wanted to get an internship at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery because I am interested in marine biology and conservation. My experience has been all positive, whether it was organizing a teacher education kit, which is my main project, or other odd jobs around the hatchery and with FISH. Some other things I have been able to do with FISH is go to elementary schools’ science fairs and school classrooms to teach children about salmon and their habitats. Overall I have had a wonderful time here at the hatchery and have benefited from this experience”.

Fun fact #1. Nathan has some purple hair.
Fun fact #2. He likes Cthulhu and Archie McPhee.
Fun fact #3. He is a freshman, is currently 15 years old and lives in Issaquah.

His favorite memory of his time with FISH is cleaning the egg incubation trays and wearing waders. He also did a great job helping kids learn about salmon guts! (see picture)

JOB: Summer Naturalist for Summer Science Camp

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 07:47PM

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Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to retaining and improving the historic Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and promoting watershed stewardship through education. This will be FISH’s 13th year offering summer day camps that teach about salmon, habitat and watershed stewardship. All day camps take place at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. This year there are two weeks of camp for 6-8 year olds, one week for 9-11 year olds and two 3-day camps for preschoolers at the hatchery. Camp for 6-11 year olds is called “Salmon Science Camp” and the preschool camp is known as “Little Fry Camp”. In addition, we will be providing programming for YMCA and other groups.

The Summer Naturalist supports FISH’s summer education programs and Education Coordinator (EC). The intern will work with camp staff and volunteers to deliver high quality, hands-on day camps centered on salmon and the ecology and watersheds of the Northwest. Camps have a focus on science, but include arts, games and other elements. Camp takes place indoors and outdoors at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and surrounding area.

Click here for the full job description. Applications are currently being accepted. Applications close on May 15, 2014.

Fore more information please contact Celina Steiger, Education Coordinator at

Time to Sign Up for Summer Camp with FISH

Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 08:59PM

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We’re all geared up for Summer Camp. It may be cold and rainy outside now, but summer fun is right around the corner. Summer camp with FISH has proved to be a very popular summer program with campers returning year after year. One parent said, “My kids loved camp! They came home each day with a story and very happy. We will be back next year!” Celina Steiger, our Education Coordinator is the Camp Director, and along with summer staff and young camp helpers, has designed a program that helps children discover the wonders of our amazing salmon and the waters they live in. Days are filled with active games, songs, stories and exploration of salmon habitat.

Issaquah Salmon Hatchery's Little Fry campers will investigate "Where do salmon live? And who lives near the salmon?" Campers will also explore the salmon hatchery and Issaquah Creek, create an animal track to take home, become a salmon, act like a bug, and sing the songs of water. This camp will encourage the joy of discovery and cultivate a sense of wonder in the environment and in salmon. For ages 3 to 5, camp is June 30 through July 2, from 9:30 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon.

For youth ages 6 to 11 there is Salmon Science Camp where campers will have fun learning all about the salmon life cycle and watershed stewardship as they conduct a water quality and aquatic insect study of Issaquah Creek. Campers will perform experiments, go on a nature hike, make arts and crafts, play games, use microscopes, hear Native American legends and more! Our most popular camp, there are three sessions available for youth 6 to 9 years old: June 14-18 and July 21-25. The Salmon Science Camp for youth ages 9 to 11 is July 28-Aug 1.

To learn more about these camps and register online visit the camp page on this website.

Now Is The Time To Invest In The Future

Monday, December 9, 2013 at 09:48PM

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As I watched our salmon return to Issaquah Creek right on schedule this fall, I was once again inspired by the beauty and uniqueness of these amazing fish. And I was just as inspired by the spirit of volunteerism I see among all of those who are just as amazed as I am at the miracle of the salmon life cycle.

Do you fish? Watch for salmon in streams? Enjoy outdoor photography? Visit our hatchery frequently? Eat salmon? For those of us who live here, life is constantly enriched by the presence of these amazing creatures.

We have the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery because we as a community choose to preserve it. We have salmon in our streams and lakes because we choose to protect our watershed. We choose to help others understand the miracle of the salmon’s return and the role they can play in perpetuating their survival for future generations. This mission is driven by people like you who hold our salmon dear. I hope you will join me in this effort by supporting the Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

Why support FISH? Here are a few of the ways we take the lead in conserving this precious resource.
• Advocate for the hatchery facility as a community asset by lobbying for the removal of the upper intake dam and new water intake that allows our salmon to imprint on Issaquah Creek.
• Salmon lifecycle educational programs for youth including hatchery tours for nearly 10,000 school children, science fair salmon dissections, classroom presentations and Salmon In Schools for 150 classrooms in King County, a program that allows students to observe up close and personal the development of salmon from fertilized eggs to fry.
• A volunteer program that enables 85 people each year show their love of salmon by pitching in to help with spawning, egg picking, hatchery operations, and share their enthusiasm for salmon with the public.

Please show join me as a partner in this work by making a contribution today. Help us ensure that our hatchery and our salmon remain a proud legacy we can pass on to our kids and our grandchildren. Now is the time to invest in the future.

Best Fishes,
Jane Kuechle, Executive Director

Your donation can be made right here on this website via credit card by visiting our "Get Involved" page. You can also mail your contribution to FISH, 125 West Sunset Way, Issaquah, WA 98027. Thank you for your support.

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