“Protecting our salmon and ensuring their survival for future generations through education, advocacy, and outreach.”
— FISH Mission
Could you imagine Issaquah without the salmon? No? Neither could Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH).
FISH is the result of many successful partnerships that formed after the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery was threatened with closure in 1992. Private citizens as well as community and business leaders joined forces to save this regional treasure. FISH is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that today is supported by its members, the City of Issaquah, local businesses and service organizations.
When the salmon return to Issaquah, so, too, do thousands of young students. They come to see these magnificent fish fight against the current and spawn in Issaquah Creek.
FISH is here to lead tours and answer questions. We promote watershed stewardship so our young people will take care of the water they share with the salmon.
The Issaquah hatchery is the most-visited state hatchery. With some 350,000 visitors a year, it is the only urban location in Washington where visitors can get nose-to-nose with a salmon that has returned home to spawn. The Issaquah hatchery provides a unique “outdoor laboratory” for visitors to learn up close about salmon and watershed stewardship.
FISH trains guides who amaze visitors with their depth of knowledge about the Northwest salmon life cycle, the importance of watershed stewardship and the operations of the historic hatchery.
FISH docents are trained by fish biologists, watershed managers and hatchery staff to provide accurate and astonishing information about the salmon. They provide free tours of the hatchery to visitors, many of them school children from the Puget Sound region and scores of others from around the globe who have come to see salmon spawn in Issaquah Creek. More than 9,000 people on average receive educational tours from FISH annually in the fall, and FISH volunteers each year contribute more than 3,000 hours of service to the community.
FISH also offers an in-class lessons to local students and gives presentations to more than 5,000 students annually.
Other educational opportunities include week-long salmon science camps, Super Salmon Sleuths, a science program designed especially for preschool-aged children, and the Salmon Squad program for Scouts and other youth groups.
By training volunteer guides for school field trips, conducting fundraising for educational exhibits and by working with regional leaders, FISH has been successful in keeping the hatchery open. Without FISH’s involvement there would be very little provisioning of educational services for teachers and the public. We are very proud of our part in the hatchery’s success, which includes securing approximately $7 million for improvements. We are additionally proud of the role our community has played in continuing with the efforts to help “Keep the Salmon Coming Home!”