Salmon Imprint Stewards

3 posts

2019 Spring Imprinting Season is here and we have salmon to feed!

Here’s what’s happening right now:

Salmon, Matt, Priya, and Bonnie; Jan 5, 2017
Eggs are being distributed on trays that will be placed into Egg incubator/Self-release tanks.

January 9, 2019 (1st batch)
CWCAP picked up 30,000 eyed (fertilized) Chum salmon eggs at the Suquamish Tribe’s Grovers Creek Salmon Hatchery.  This 1st batch marks the official launch of the 2019 Imprinting Season.

Eggs have hatched in the Egg Incubation/Self-release tank and are now in the alevin stage of their development as they feed from their attached egg/yolk sacs.  By about mid-March the fish will have become free-swimming and will self-release themselves directly into Venema Creek by way of an outflow pipe.  Grovers Creek Salmon Hatchery also provided about 220 Chum salmon eggs each to about 2 dozen local public and private schools participating in the Salmon in the Schools — Seattle program. Their fish are similarly developing and schools will begin delivering them to Carkeek Park on March 29 to be fed and imprinted by CWCAP‘s 21 Imprint Stewards. 

February 15, 2019 (2nd batch)
Grover’s Creek Salmon Hatchery staff delivered 30,000 free-swimming Chum salmon fry to the Imprint Pond.  The Suquamish have provided salmon to CWCAP for release into the Piper’s Creek system since 2004.

This continues the annual Imprinting Season as 21 CWCAP volunteers provide public and educational access 3 times per day, 7 days per week to these maturing salmon.  We keep salmon in several batches through mid-May and have several release events as well.

Please feel welcome to visit, feed the salmon, and share a good fish story.  Salmon Imprint Stewards will be there to positively add to your experience.  Look for the Help Feed Salmon, Now Open! sign in the park that indicates that our Imprint Stewards are there feeding the salmon.

Salmon return! Late October, NOVEMBER, early December

Male Chum salmon, 33 inches in length. This is the 1st sighting of the fall run in Piper’s Creek, found dead and scavenged; 10-27-18

Salmon are returning to Carkeek Park!  Like old friends, park visitors are walking the trails with keen eyes and ears to find fish returning to their home waters.

Students on field trips to Carkeek Park on Monday, October 29, 2018 from St. George and Thornton Creek Elementary Schools observed a few early Coho salmon during one of their three educational activities, the Interpretive Creek Walk.  These are 2 of 34 schools participating in this fall’s Salmon Search program at Carkeek Park.  Other schools and organizations are also visiting every day.

Students on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 from Gatewood and West Woodland Elementary Schools observed a female Coho salmon turning on her side and digging a nest (redd) during one of their Interpretive Creek Walks.  Another Coho was periodically seen beside the female in mating position during brief encounters.

Students on Thursday, November 1, 2018 from Kimball and Queen Anne Elementary Schools observed paired male and female Coho salmon in at least three different locations during their Interpretive Creek Walks.

Male Coho spawner provided by FISH for use in salmon dissection activity; 11-2-18

Students on Friday, November 2, 2018 from Green Lake Elementary School observed Coho salmon in Piper’s Creek during their Interpretive Creek Walks.  Schools in the Salmon Search program also participate in Salmon Dissection/Anatomy and Salmon Ecosystem Simulation activities.  Coho salmon are provided each year by Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH).  Friday’s fish was not only quite large, but had a fantastically developed kype (hooked jaws found in the spawning form of male salmon and female spawners to a lesser degree).

Students on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 from Concord Elementary School were able to observe Chum salmon in Piper’s Creek during their Interpretive Creek Walks.  Chum salmon is the primary salmon species in the Piper’s Creek system and their numbers will increase steadily into November.  On Tuesday, Concord students were able to observer nearly a dozen Chum salmon in several locations.

We’re hoping for rain to bring our expected Chum salmon into Piper’s Creek.  Rain increases the flow of water from the Pipers Creek Watershed to Puget Sound and attracts fish that were reared in these waters in past years by the CWCAP stocking and education programs.

Historically, the 2nd and 3rd weeks of November have seen peaks of salmon numbers and spawning activity in the Piper’s Creek system, with increasing numbers before this and diminishing numbers after this.  Thanksgiving has been within a few days of the actual peak of live activity for at least the last 5 years.  

Here’s a short history of first sightings in the park over the past four years: October 27, 2018; October 19, 2017; October 27, 2016; October 26, 2015

Select here for a Salmon Return summary for the past 4 years:
CarkeekWatershed.org/salmon-return/