Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 04:09PM
Yesterday 550,000 Chinook smolt started their journey to the sea. There are more planned released of Chinook and Coho over the next several days. By May 20th the last of the Salmon left in raceways 11 & 12 will be flushed out into the stream to start their journey.
But there are hazards along the way. Many predators depend on the spring salmon fry run for food. Those fry that manage to get past the ducks, kingfishers, sea gulls and bass in Lake Sammamish and Lake Washington, still face a treacherous journey. On warm spring days the Sammamish Slough can be too warm to survive.
Some fry fail to find their way out of Lake Washington through the ship canal to Lake Union and the Ballard Locks. Survivors reach the locks about two weeks after having been released from the hatchery into Issaquah Creek. The Locks themselves present an unnatural hazard and fry get caught up in the plumbing.
In most watersheds Salmon hang out in estuaries for a time to adjust to the change from fresh water to salt water. Issaquah Salmon Hatchery fish are immediately plunged into salt water if they survive the locks, too much of an adjustment for some. We wish them well and will look for their return in a couple of years.