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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Applications are currently being accepted. Applications close on May 15, 2014.
Fore more information please contact the FISH Education Coordinator at education email@example.com.