Chinook have shown up at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, and they are putting on a good show in front of our cameras. Serendipitously, the underwater camera got buried under 3 feet of gravel in the February floods in Issaquah Creek, and the crater left from the excavation is right in front of the new camera placement, and is preferred by the chinook waiting to enter the (closed) fish ladder.
The hatchery raises both chinook and coho salmon, which are released at a young age to spend the majority of their lives in nature. Not everyone has the ability to visit the hatchery to view the return of the adults of these magnificent salmon each fall during their spawning migration. SalmonCam is the solution to this problem; live streaming is now available of adult salmon attempting to jump the weir, an artificial and removable barrier in Issaquah Creek.
Many thanks to WRIA 8 and the King County Flood Control District for funding the grant that purchased the hardware. And similar gratitude to Lucas Hall with Long Live the Kings for pivotal camera advice.
Village Theatre KIDSTAGE is partnering with Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH) for the summer production of The SpongeBob Musical! The SpongeBob Musical hopes to bring awareness to marine health and ocean plastics. Educational material from FISH helped to inform the production. See The SpongeBob Musical at Village Theatre’s Francis J. Gaudett Theatre August 5 – 14, 2022. Visit www.villagetheatre.org/spongebob for tickets.
About The SpongeBob Musical:
Dive into the underwater world of Bikini Bottom! When a looming volcanic eruption threatens the community, SpongeBob relies on his friends and his unwavering optimism to save the day. The SpongeBob Musical has 12 Tony nominations and an all-star rock and pop score. With clever timeliness and relevancy, this production has a special message: to celebrate what makes us unique, and to protect our earth both on land and under the sea.
Every year across the US and Canada, avid birders set off to participate in the largest annual bird census in North America: The Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC). CBC participants set out to count all the birds in a 15-mile diameter circle over the span of 24 hours. This 24-hour period happens on one calendar day (per circle) between December 14th and January 2nd every year.
The Christmas Bird Count was started by ornithologist Frank M. Chapman in 1900 as an alternative to a Christmas hunting tradition. With the help of 27 birders, Chapman started this century-long tradition with the simple idea of counting birds, instead of killing them. Since its conception, the CBC has provided useful data to the scientific community, informing reports like the 2012 EPA Climate Change Report, and Audubon’s 2014 Climate Change Report.
The Eastside Audubon Society includes the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery as a part of their 15-mile diameter circle that is surveyed during the CBC. In 2020, and again this year, FISH will be assisting Eastside Audubon Society leaders in their census of the hatchery grounds. As many know, the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is an urban wildlife refuge, rich with animals, bugs, and plants that create a complex ecosystem ideal for many native bird species. Last year during the CBC, 20 species of birds were counted at the hatchery including species of sparrows, starlings, gulls, mergansers, and more! Stay tuned to see what birds are spotted at the hatchery during the 2021-2022 CBC!
Update: Final Birds from 2021 CBC at the Hatchery
Dark-eyed Junco 36
Black-capped Chickadee 6
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 2
House finch 16
Mallard ducks 8
Common Merganser 2
Northern Spotted Towhee 9
Glaucous-winged gull 6
Cooper’s hawk 2
Song Sparrow 2
English sparrow 10
Anna’s hummingbird 3
American Robin 25 (in the large Holly tree across the ally from the
library parking garage)
American Crow 29
Great Blue heron 1
Rock pigeons 55
Now Scheduling Fall 2022 School/Group Tours!!
We are delighted to be able to hold guided tours again this fall starting the week of September 6th and going until November 11th — two whole months of touring! With the hatchery reopened for public visitation after two long years, feel free to drop by for a self guided tour, or to visit some of the displays and salmon fry that live at the hatchery year-round!
We are currently not scheduling family or weekend tours for groups smaller than 7, but we do have donation-based walk-up tours on the weekends at 11am & 1pm. If your group is larger than 7, please contact us at least 2 weeks before your desired tour date to schedule.
School tours use the Sign Up link at the bottom of this page.
Tours are $5 per person*
Here’s to a great year full of cool, flowing water, eggs, alevins, frys, fingerlings, smolts and returning adults! Keep ’em coming home!
Your Friends at FISH
*Some financial assistance available. Contact FISH for more details.
Recent research in the Salish Sea and off the Washington coast examined the orca’s seasonal diet. It is well documented that orca prefer Chinook, presumably because of their larger size, but it turns out “Chinook salmon were identified as an important prey item year-round, averaging ~50% of their diet in the fall, increasing to 70–80% in the mid-winter/early spring, and increasing to nearly 100% in the spring. Other salmon species and non-salmonid fishes, also made substantial dietary contributions.” How did the researchers establish this detailed diet analysis? Poop. More specifically, analysis of feces collected from October to May 2004-2017. The authors reach a number of conclusions, ranging from noting that most Chinook consumed consisted of 50-80% hatchery fish, and that the unexpected diversity in species consumed suggests that a successful orca recovery strategy include more than just Chinook enhancement.
Brian Foote, co-founder of EarthViews, sent us a special treat: a view of Issaquah Creek from the hatchery weir down to Confluence Park. This amazing technology gives you the ability to virtually ‘walk’ down the middle of Issaquah Creek, spinning your head for a 360 degree view — all from the comfort of your desk chair or smartphone! Check it out. We’d love to get your feedback! Should we do more of the Creek — maybe from the mouth to the headwaters? Maybe do this multiple times per year? Tell us what you want.