Aquaculture for all

First Chinook Reach Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

Salmonids Sustainability +2 more

WASHINGTON, US - Recent rain and higher water levels in Issaquah Creek helped at least 300 chinook salmon return to the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery last week.

The fish arrived about two weeks after the first chinook – a 25-pound hen – reached the hatchery.

Issaquah Press reports that workers opened the hatchery fish ladder on 7 September and several hundred chinook swam into a holding pond. Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery executive director, Gestin Suttle, said the salmon might be visible from observation windows at the hatchery despite murky water.

The fish should have company soon: Muckleshoot Tribe fisheries officials forecast about 5,500 chinook. But the number is about half the size of a typical return.

Mr Suttle said the small forecast was not yet cause for concern.

“Nobody is hand wringing at this point,” Mr Suttle said. “Our programme looks like it’s very safe.”

Hatchery workers raise chinook and coho. The chinook will be joined by sockeye during the return to Issaquah Creek. Coho salmon are expected to arrive in a few weeks.

Workers expect to spawn 1,000 chinook and 1,200 coho salmon by the end of the autumn. The hatchery aims to collect two million chinook and 1.5 million coho eggs.

The first chinook reached the hatchery on 24 August; a jack, or juvenile male chinook, joined the hen a few days later. Until the end of November or early December, three- to five-year-old fish will return to Issaquah Creek to spawn.

Mr Suttle said volunteers from her nonprofit and state hatchery workers hope for additional rain to drive chinook upstream.

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