First salmon of the year reaches Issaquah Creek

July 20, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Issaquah Salmon Hatchery workers and Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery volunteers spotted the first salmon of the year in Issaquah Creek last week — 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.

FISH Executive Director Gestin Suttle attributed the early arrival to unseasonable rainfall and higher-than-usual flow in the creek.

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

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

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 360 chinook salmon at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard by July 19. Most of the chinook and coho passing through the locks head to Issaquah Creek in order to spawn.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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