Spawning Update – Oct. 9, 2020

Kevin with Chinook hen at hatchery
Kevin Boze with Chinook hen at the hatchery

Oct. 9, 2020: Hatchery staff and volunteers have been spawning our chinook salmon since Sept. 22. After the third spawn, the hatchery has collected just 1.7 million eggs. This year’s goal is 3.3 million eggs, so this may be difficult to achieve.

While the chinook run is bigger than average this year, the vast majority of fish returning to the hatchery are males. The reason for the lopsided return is unknown, but we do know that predators generally prefer to feed on females with their tasty and nutritious eggs. WDFE staff will be picking up chinook eggs Tuesday, October 13 from the Soos Creek Hatchery to supplement our harvest and reach our goal for egg production — as they did last year as well.

Meanwhile, Issaquah Creek is full of spawning chinook below the hatchery, and coho are starting to return as well — although they won’t start spawning until later in October. We have also seen four sockeye in the creek so far.

The unseasonably warm and dry weather this fall has kept fish in Lake Sammamish for the last couple of weeks as they wait for rain to migrate upstream. The next storm should bring an influx of new fish to the hatchery.