Skip to content

The FISH Story & Our Mission

“Protecting our salmon and ensuring their survival for future generations through education, advocacy, and outreach.” — FISH Mission

Imagine Issaquah without the salmon? The salmon are a well established cultural icon and serve as both a city attraction & economic boon to downtown Issaquah. But that was not always the case, and that is the reason Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH) was formed.

FISH is the result of many successful partnerships that formed after the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery was threatened with closure in 1992. Private citizens, community leaders & business leaders teamed together to save both the Issaquah hatchery and the salmon runs in Issaquah Creek. 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.

Each fall, the Issaquah Hatchery welcomes over 10,000 students and educators to witness the magnificent fish fight against the current and spawn in both the Issaquah Creek & at the hatchery.

FISH is here to lead tours and answer questions. Our organization  promotes salmon friendly habitat, watershed stewardship and local conservation efforts. 

The Issaquah hatchery is the most-visited in the state, welcoming over 100,000 visitors a year. The hatchery 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 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 10,000 people on average receive educational tours from FISH annually, 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.

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!”