November 6, 2012
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.”
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.
November 6, 2012
Residents can explore the outdoors for free as state and national parks waive entrance fees for Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 10-12.
Lake Sammamish, Squak Mountain and other state parks do not require a Discover Pass during the holiday weekend. The waiver also applies to lands run by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state Department of Natural Resources, including Tiger Mountain State Forest.
The fee waiver encompasses all 398 national parks — including Washington’s Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic national parks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
October 22, 2012
NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 22, 2012
Under new state laws, residents face fines for feeding bears intentionally or otherwise, such as by leaving food waste in bear-prone locations.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife reminded residents about the changes Oct. 19, as black bears start to appear more frequently in areas populated by humans.
“This is the time of year when bears are looking to build up as much fat as possible to get through winter,” said Mike Cenci, deputy Department of Fish and Wildlife police chief, said in a statement. “Putting food scraps out for them or leaving garbage cans or pet food exposed is an open invitation for them to pay you and your neighbors a visit.”
October 16, 2012
Issaquah Valley Elementary School administrators briefly put the campus into lockdown Oct. 3 after surprise guests ambled onto school grounds.
State Department of Fish and Wildlife officers, plus Mishka, a Karelian bear dog, responded to the downtown Issaquah school, but arrived after a female bear and trio of cubs dashed across campus.
October 10, 2012
NEW — 4 p.m. Oct. 10, 2012
A bear and three cubs paid a surprise visit Wednesday to Issaquah Valley Elementary School, prompting administrators to put the building into lockdown.