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Our History

You cannot think of Issaquah without also thinking about the salmon. The iconic species are culturally, economically, and historically linked. Issaquah Creek for centuries has teemed with kokanee, a land-locked sockeye species, which provided native peoples with a vital food, cultural, and trading resource.

Hatchery History

In 1936, the Issaquah Hatchery was constructed as a federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) venture to restore the historic kokanee runs in Issaquah Creek that had been destroyed by logging, coal mining, and other activities in the Issaquah Creek Basin. The hatchery is owned and operated by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Hatchery building 1116
historical shot

Fish Stock

The Issaquah Hatchery originally received coho from the Green River and sockeye from Baker River. Steelhead were also released into Issaquah Creek off and on over the years. Today, the hatchery raises roughly 3,500,000 Chinook and 1,000,000 coho. In recent years, the hatchery has spawned Lake Sammamish kokanee to support the efforts by the Kokanee Working Group to save the critically endangered native fish.

Early Days of FISH

Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH) is the result of many successful partnerships that formed after the 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 celebrated its 30th year in 2023. Learn about the people and events that brought about the formation and development of this unique organization.

Salmon Days

Since 1970, the hatchery has served as the hub for Issaquah Salmon Days, a town-wide festival presented by the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce to honor the annual return of the salmon the first weekend in October.

Salmon on Sunset

Launched in 2022, Salmon on Sunset is a family event held at the hatchery one Saturday in September, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., that draws crowds of locals. The community event features a music stage, outreach booth, rubber duck racing, trout feeding, beer garden, food trucks, cultural and heritage booths, native plant garden tours and kids creation labs.


The Arts

The hatchery features more than 54 pieces of public artwork including community mosaics, murals and art installations.

The Stained Glass Salmon Mosaic, pictured here, was created in August 2017 by 87 community members, ages 4 to 86 years old and took over 600 hours to complete.