The first kokanee returned to Lewis and Laughing Jacobs Creeks two weeks earlier than last year. As of this writing 4 pairs of spawning kokanee from each creek have been captured and put in tanks at the Issaquah Salmon hatchery. According to Robert Tabor, fish biologist with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, kokanee are hanging out in the lake below Ebright creek but haven’t started upstream yet. A little more inclement weather and cooler temperatures should bring them on in. This marks the fourth year of success bringing kokanee into the conservation supplementation program at the Issaquah Hatchery and there is have good news to share.
Darigold has agreed to donate water from their well for use in the thermal marking process, starting this year and extending for the anticipated duration of the kokanee supplementation program (2021). This contribution from Darigold will help save approximately $50,000 over the anticipated life span of the program for the cost of the water alone. Their water is ideal for use in this process because it is of consistent quality and temperature, which helps us avoid further costs for purifying and cooling or warming the water from another source.
One key element of the supplementation program is marking the fry by carefully manipulating water temperatures in a way that produces visible changes in the structure of the ear bone of the fry. When the adult fish then return to spawn ear bones are taken from carcasses to see if an individual fish came from the supplementation program; the best way to tell if the supplementation efforts are bearing fruit. In past years the cities of Issaquah, Sammamish, Redmond, and Bellevue have contributed to the kokanee conservation effort by paying for the water that enables this marking process to happen effectively.
Please extend your thanks to Darigold for making this important contribution to this effort and please when you are telling others about the kokanee conservation efforts share with them the example of Darigold lending a hand.