Issaquah Salmon Hatchery spawns chinook, coho

November 6, 2012

FISH docent Grace Reamer holds a handful of chinook salmon eggs for students at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery on Oct. 30. By Greg Farrar

Issaquah Salmon Hatchery workers and volunteers sloshed around in 40-degree water Oct. 30, as the annual effort to spawn coho salmon started again.

Teams from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery plan to collect 1.2 million coho eggs. The process to spawn coho started about a month after hatchery workers and volunteers started spawning chinook. In the resulting effort, teams collected 2.2 million eggs.

FISH Executive Director Jane Kuechle and John Kugen, hatchery foreman, said the partnership between the nonprofit organization and the state agency is essential for the survival of Issaquah Creek salmon — and the hatchery.

The hatchery, a fixture in downtown Issaquah for 75 years, spawns and raises coho and chinook.

State fisheries experts expected a more robust chinook salmon return but a smaller coho salmon return to Puget Sound streams in 2012.

“It comes and goes,” Kugen said. “The best one that we had that I can remember was 2001, when we had 18,000 coho and then a couple years ago we had 13,000. Coho come back in bigger numbers because they’re released as bigger smolts. They’re about 7 or 8 inches long, so there’s less predation on them than chinook.”

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Darigold donates water for Lake Sammamish kokanee

November 6, 2012

Darigold joined the effort in recent weeks to preserve dwindling Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery announced Oct. 26.

The downtown Issaquah dairy is donating water from a well to the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer for the hatchery to use in the ongoing effort to restore kokanee. The contribution from Darigold should save the hatchery about $50,000 over the program’s anticipated lifespan through 2021.

Experts said the Darigold water is ideal for kokanee due to consistent quality and temperature. Using the water allows hatchery teams to prevent the fish from imprinting on Issaquah Creek water, and instead allows fry to imprint on Ebright, Laughing Jacobs and Lewis creeks.

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Head to Beaver Lake for hatchery rainbow trout

November 6, 2012

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is planning to release some of those big rainbow trout you may have seen in a rearing pond at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. In fact, you may have fed them through the fence with fish food provided by the Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery during Salmon Days.

Dallas Cross

Beaver Lake in Sammamish will be the fortunate recipient site. The department announced it will release about 2,000 rainbow trout weighing from 2-3 pounds, and open the lake for fishing at sunrise Nov. 8. The lake was to be closed for fishing Tuesday and Wednesday prior to the reopening.

The daily limit for Beaver Lake is five fish of which only two may exceed 15 inches in length. Two of those big trout should be more than enough to feed most families.

Now, here is an easy-to-access, urban lake that is close by and only 15 minutes from downtown Issaquah. To cast and wade from shore, do so from Beaver Lake Park, maintained by the city of Sammamish. It has a lot of parking and is accessible from Southeast 24th Street that intersects 228th Avenue Southeast at Discovery Elementary School.

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FISH, Issaquah Community Network earn state award

November 5, 2012

NEW — 8 p.m. Nov. 5, 2012

Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and the Issaquah Community Network garnered a top honor for offering employment opportunities for young people with disabilities, officials announced Nov. 1.

The organizations received the Youth Employer Award from the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment. The honor recognizes the organization’s partnership to accommodate workers with disabilities, and for efforts to create a productive and inclusive workforce.

The state-level committee behind the award advises the governor, legislators and state agencies on policy affecting people with disabilities.

In recent years, students with disabilities from local school districts received paid internships at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, and helped hatchery staffers and volunteers complete important tasks.

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FISH lures public to annual meeting

October 30, 2012

Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery volunteers and hatchery crews spawned 996 chinook in the past month, as the autumn salmon run transformed the hatchery into a hub of activity.

Now, residents can learn more about the salmon conservation efforts spearheaded by FISH at the nonprofit organization’s annual meeting next month.

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Beaver Lake to receive 2,000 hatchery trout

October 30, 2012

Anglers can soon catch large trout in Beaver Lake, due to the release of about 2,000 hatchery rainbow trout averaging about 2 to 3 pounds each.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is scheduled to release the fish Nov. 7. Beaver Lake access closes at sunset Nov. 6 and reopens at sunrise Nov. 8. Beaver Lake remains open to fishing while the access site is closed.

The trout were part of an educational display at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

Beaver Lake is best fished by small boat, although anglers also can be successful fishing from shore, said Justin Spinelli, fishery biologist for the department.

The lake’s access site is most easily reached by way of East Beaver Lake Drive Southeast, off Southeast 24th Street in Sammamish.

Parking for vehicles and boat trailers is limited, and a valid Department of Fish and Wildlife Vehicle Access Pass or Discover Pass must be visible in vehicles parked at the access site.

Vote for local spots in PEMCO Insurance contest

October 30, 2012

PEMCO Insurance could someday introduce audiences to Lawn Perfectionist Guy and Salmon Spawner Guy — characters from local contestants in the company’s latest advertising campaign.

Alex Bell, a Liberty High School graduate, created Lawn Perfectionist Guy and Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery volunteers launched Salmon Spawner Guy as inspiration for the next Northwest Profile.

PEMCO asked residents to create characters for the popular “We’re A Lot Like You. A Little Different.” advertising campaign. The public can vote on videos through Oct. 31 at http://nexttype.pemco.com.

Watch the Lawn Perfectionist Guy spot at http://nexttype.pemco.com/videos/lawn-perfectionist-guy and the Salmon Spawner Guy spot at http://nexttype.pemco.com/videos/salmon-spawner-guy.

The finalists have a chance to win more than $18,000 in prizes and Northwest experiences.

Gubernatorial hopefuls support hatcheries, parks

October 23, 2012

Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna clashed in a recent series of debates, but the candidates vying to serve as Washington’s next governor share similar positions on local issues, such as support for the state parks system.

Jay Inslee

Rob McKenna

The race at the state level is focused on the candidates’ policies on education and transportation — hot topics on the docket as Inslee and McKenna met in recent weeks.

The Issaquah Press asked the candidates about funding for state parks, salmon restoration and growth management — key concerns in Issaquah and the surrounding area.

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Salmon Days Festival is packed to the gills

October 9, 2012

Unseasonably warm weather greets visitors for fun, sun

Thousands of visitors to Salmon Days fill Sunset Way on a warm and sunny Saturday to help set an attendance record for the annual two-day festival. By Greg Farrar

The calendar says it is October. The changing colors of the tree leaves suggest that autumn is in the air and the endless stream of chinook congregating at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery definitely confirms it.

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Issaquah mayor eyes property tax hike

October 9, 2012

Issaquah homeowners can expect to pay about $5 more in property taxes next year, if City Council members adopt a 1 percent rate hike to fund long-term projects.

The property tax increase, proposed Oct. 1 by Mayor Ava Frisinger, is not expected to generate much next year. If enacted, city officials expect to raise only $69,707 — a drop in a proposed $35 million general fund budget.

The decision to raise the property tax rate by the maximum amount allowed under state law, 1 percent, is projected to cost the average homeowner $4.75 per year.

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