First salmon of the year reaches Issaquah Creek

July 17, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 11:45 a.m. July 17, 2010

Issaquah Salmon Hatchery volunteers and workers have spotted the first salmon of the year in Issaquah Creek — more than a month before the fish usually arrive.

Teams confirmed a fish in the creek to be a female chinook. But the species of another fish spotted in the waterway could not be determined, though hatchery volunteers believed the fish could be a chinook.

Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery Executive Director Gestin Suttle attributed the early arrival to unseasonable rainfall and higher-than-usual flow in the creek.

“We’re excited and wondering what’s going on,” she said.

The first chinook salmon to reach the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery this year swims in Issaquah Creek. Contributed

FISH Education Coordinator Celina Steiger spotted the salmon earlier in the week, and Hatchery Manager John Kugen later confirmed the find.

Suttle described the mid-July arrival as the earliest in recent memory.

In 2009, the hatchery recorded the arrival of the first chinook — a 25-pound hen, or female — in late August.

Muckleshoot Tribe biologists had counted about 260 chinook salmon at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard by July 13. Most of the chinook and coho passing through the locks head to Issaquah Creek in order to spawn.

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