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October 4, 2012 at 8:35 PM

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Hatchery homecoming


ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

It's a hard road to get home for thousands of Chinook and a few hundred Coho salmon as they return to Issaquah Creek during the annual fall migration. The gates to the fish ladder are down because the hatchery pool above is filled to capacity. More than 1,000,000 eggs from both kings and silvers will be harvested. The Chinook head to Alaskan waters when they leave the hatchery as smolts with only about 2 percent returning as adults. The Bering Sea is where they're headed and they generally return in 3-to-5 years. This weekend is the town's Salmon Days and these gates will be up and thousands of visitors will be able to see salmon in the creek and in the fish windows along with talks led by docents from F.I.S.H.; Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Visitors can get up close and personal to migrating salmon as they move up the fish ladder at the Issaquah Creek Hatchery.

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Thousands of Chinook and a few hundred Coho salmon are returning to Issaquah Creek during the annual fall migration. More than 1,000,000 eggs from each species will be harvested at the hatchery. Most of the Chinook are weighing between 10 and 12-pounds and here they're waiting for the gates to the fish ladder to be raised so they can continue their journey and complete their life cycle.

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Master docent David Waggoner, a volunteer at the hatchery, leads another school tour of the facility Thursday. This is his 14th year as a guide.

For more photos, visit the gallery.

Most Popular Comments
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I asked a docent why the gates were shut and got this reply: "The fish ladder is... MORE
What are you waiting for ? Open the bleepen gates and let them in ! MORE
I just visited the Issaquah Creek East Fork (near Boehms candies) six days ago and... MORE

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