Tribal tales from a kokanee salmon, as told to Dallas Cross

October 2, 2012

Dallas Cross

Before the Ice Age my ancestral sockeye salmon bearing our tribal name, oncorhynchus nerka, regularly came from the ocean to Lake Sammamish to find mates and reproduce in its streams. As it got colder, a huge glacier cut off the escape of the tribe to Puget Sound. Being trapped, we had to adapt to living our entire lives in fresh water.

It was difficult at first, but soon we were feeding on the small daphnia or water fleas living in the lake. Because daphnia are not as big as krill in the ocean, our size got smaller. Our tribe enjoyed less swimming distance for a lifecycle and we were glad not to be eaten by big salt-water fish and seals. We became land-locked in the lake and its streams. We adapted and survived.

We did retain some traditions of our sea-run ancestors, such as only living three to five years, turning red to spawn, running up streams to lay and fertilize our eggs, and dying afterward. Our short life spans allowed us to make rapid genetic changes in response to climate changes and food availability.

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Lake Sammamish kokanee need long-term fix

September 25, 2012

Dallas Cross

Oncorhynchus nerka, our kokanee salmon in Lake Sammamish, is a threatened native species with greatly reduced numbers spawning in streams feeding the lake.

Most of their historical spawning areas are now denied by barriers or degraded as a result of land development.

Until recently, Lake Sammamish kokanee have not been included with other salmon species in conservation measures and have been low in profile for public concern.

For the past several years, an effort of the environmentally concerned and governmental communities adjacent to Lake Sammamish have participated in defining the problem, setting goals and taking action to address the threatened loss of the kokanee.

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Press Editorial

September 4, 2012

Healthy ecosystem supports salmon

Last week, the first returning salmon of 2012 were seen at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery where they have come home to spawn. More will follow in the fall months ahead, crowding the many tributaries that feed into Lake Sammamish.

A healthy return of the Northwest’s favorite fish is an important symbol of the health of our streams, lakes and Puget Sound ecosystems.

While some residents are crying about the imposition of tough city laws meant to strengthen the salmon’s habitat — and our own — the fact remains that Issaquah has embraced its role as watershed steward. Our waterways are healthier today than 10, 20 or 30 years ago.

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Japanese fencers join international trend to train in Issaquah

September 4, 2012

A delegation of young fencers and their three coaches came from Japan to Issaquah to train with saber coach Wang Yung (center, standing) at the Washington Fencing Academy the week of Aug. 27. By Christina Corrales-Toy

Issaquah has become quite the destination for elite fencers looking to improve their game.

Fencers from all over the world travel to the Washington Fencing Academy, just to train with saber coach Wang Yung.

Yung has coached national and world champions. In July, the coach hosted Mannad Zeid, an Egyptian fencer who spent time training at the Washington Fencing Academy before he traveled to London for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The parade of international competitors hoping to learn from Yung continued the week of Aug. 27, as eight junior fencers from Japan traveled to Issaquah to train with the coach for a week.

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Spawn is on as first salmon reach Issaquah hatchery

August 28, 2012

Salmon spawning season at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery started early Aug. 25 as a hatchery docent-in-training spotted the first fish, a small chinook in Issaquah Creek.

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Volunteers needed to report spawning kokanee salmon

August 28, 2012

The Kokanee Work Group needs volunteers to report spawning kokanee salmon this fall in creeks feeding Lake Sammamish.

Volunteers will be asked to survey creek sections once a week during the 2012-13 spawning season from October through January. Trout Unlimited of Bellevue-Issaquah is registering volunteers wishing to participate.

Fish biologist Hans Berge will make a presentation at a public meeting of Trout Unlimited at the Issaquah Brewhouse at 7 p.m. Sept. 12. He will discuss plans and actions to restore the threatened kokanee population in Lake Sammamish.

He will also be available to answer questions about counting spawners and the training to be offered in late September.

Spawning salmon reaches Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

August 27, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. Aug. 27, 2012

Salmon spawning season at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery started early Aug. 25 as a hatchery docent-in-training spotted the first fish, a small chinook in Issaquah Creek.

The recent drop in temperature aided the salmon on a long journey from the Pacific Ocean to Issaquah Creek. Cool conditions often prompt the fish to depart Lake Sammamish and head upstream.

The initial fish, a female, or hen, appeared just below the weir across the creek at the hatchery. The arrival occurred as Friends of the Issaquah Salmon conducted training for docents and other volunteers.

Late August is a typical arrival time for spawning salmon. The hatchery recorded the initial fish last year, a pair of chinook, early Aug. 23.

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Salmon fishing season opens on Lake Sammamish

August 14, 2012

The annual salmon fishing season will open in Lake Sammamish beginning Aug. 16.

Dallas Cross

There will be a daily limit of four salmon, of which an angler may retain up to two chinook or king salmon and complete the catch limit with other salmon species. Silver or coho salmon may be part of the catch. Sockeye salmon must be released so barbless hoods are required.

Of course, the smaller kokanee salmon are still illegal to have in one’s possession and must be released.

All fishing is closed within 100 yards of the mouth of Issaquah Creek. You will find that area well-surrounded by a parade of trolling boats.

To park at the Lake Sammamish State Park boat launch you must have purchased a Washington State Discover Pass. If you launch your boat there, you will pay an additional $7 launching fee using the pay box at the ramp.

Because the feeding portion of these salmon’s lives is over, you either have to appeal to their instinct to bite what once was food, or trade on their aggressive nature. The former is touted by those who use bare, red, size 4/0 hooks trolled behind a Dodger flasher.

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Trash strike causes confusion for Issaquah customers

August 7, 2012

Drivers for the garbage hauler in most Issaquah neighborhoods fielded questions in late July as a strike paralyzed another hauler and led to festering containers on street corners in many King County cities.

The strike did not affect either contract hauler operating in Issaquah, but drivers for CleanScapes received questions from customers along collection routes. Many customers assumed the drivers to be nonunion replacement drivers for Waste Management.

CleanScapes drivers, members of Teamsters Local 174, operate under a contract signed last year. The company operates under a single labor agreement with garbage, recycling and yard waste drivers.

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Company auctions 46 acres near Lake Sammamish

July 17, 2012

Land near Lake Sammamish is up for auction, as a Seattle-based real estate auction company markets 46 acres.

The undeveloped site — once owned by the Weyerhaeuser family — is the focus of interest from developers, investors, conservation organizations and recreation groups. The parcel contains open space and forest.

The land is across the street from Lake Sammamish State Park, between Issaquah and Redmond. The parcel is zoned for single-family suburban development. Environmental rules and a conservation easement limit the developable area to 4.8 acres.

“A year or two ago, there would have been very little interest in this property, despite the outstanding location,” auction manager Paul Thomas said in a statement. “Today, in contrast, we’re only halfway through the marketing campaign and already our website has had over 11,000 hits. This level of interest would seem to indicate that at long last, the real estate market really has turned the corner.”

The company expects the winning bid to reach the mid to high six-figure range. The live auction is scheduled to occur Aug. 8 in Issaquah. Learn more about the parcel and the auction at www.nwauctions.com.

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