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!