Salmon Egg Incubation and Self-Release

20,000 eggs are raised in this unique Egg Tank with a constant flow of Venema Creek water running through it. Once the eggs have emerged as fry, they will self-release through the exit/outflow pipe at the top of the tank.
20-30,000 eggs are raised in this unique Incubation/Self-release Tank with a constant flow of Venema Creek water running through it. Once the eggs have emerged as fry, they will self-release through the outflow pipe at the top of the tank. The top tray above is one of 3 stacked trays that each contain about 7-10,000 eggs.

Carkeek Park Egg Delivery Early January

Eyed Chum salmon eggs are provided each year in January to Carkeek Park by the Suquamish Tribe‘s Grovers Creek Salmon Hatchery. Tribal hatchery staff obtain the eggs from large numbers of wild-caught spawning adults that return to Grovers Creek each year.  After the eggs are fertilized at the hatchery, about 20-30,000 eggs are brought to the Les Malmgren Imprint Pond where they are incubated in unique Incubation/Self-release Tanks in the Salmon Imprint System.

Salmon in Schools Egg Delivery early January

Chum salmon eggs are also donated each year in January to the Salmon in Schools (SIS) program where 20-30 local area elementary public and private schools receive 200-250 eggs each. Raising these developing eggs to fry-stage is a part of the schools curriculum and a source of school pride every year. SIS is supported by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), Seattle Public Schools (SPS), and the volunteer organization, Salmon in Schools —Seattle (

Self-Release of Fry raised from Eggs at Carkeek Park  → by the end of March

The 20-30,000 Carkeek Park eggs develop in the Incubation/Self-release Egg Tanks and eventually emerge as fry and self-release themselves into Venema Creek through the exit/outflow pipe near the top of the Self-release Tanks.  The fish have all gradually self-release by the end of March.  In 2016, the last fish had self-released into Venema Creek by March 21.

SIS School Fish Release → late April to mid May

SIS school eggs are raised to the fry stage in chilled 55 gallon aquariums by students and SIS program coordinators in the school.  At the end of this part of the salmon life cycle curricula, each school takes their salmon fry to the Imprint Pond at Carkeek Park.  Here they continue to be fed by CWCAP Salmon Imprint Stewards for about a month as they are imprinted for eventual release into Venema Creek.  On May 13, 2017, 108 parents, teachers, and kids brought well-wishing anticipation as 5,500 SIS school fish were released into Venema Creek.

Early Chum salmon life cycle stages.
Early Chum salmon life cycle stages.

3 thoughts on “Salmon Egg Incubation and Self-Release”

  1. Good Morning, My name is Randy Marcellay and I am the Facilities & Maintenance Director here at Paschal Sherman Indian School located in Eastern Washington State, We have just received a grant to purchase and install salmon incubators for the purpose of providing cross-disciplinary education opportunities that include hands-on learning about salmon restoration, fisheries management, and additional curriculum that helps students explore the role of salmon in the ecosystem, culture, and history of Native communities. We are asking for help to put this plan together for our students through the SALMON IN SCHOOLS (SIS) PROGRAM. Thank you, Randy Marcellay

  2. Laurie Aguirre

    I wish to order your
    “Early Chum salmon life cycle stages” specimen set.

    Please advise me on how best to proceed with this order.

    Laurie Aguirre

    1. Hello Laurie,

      We do not make these or sell them. In fact, ours are so old, I am not sure where they originally came from. I am guessing they were made by one of the hatcheries we have worked with in the past, but I am not certain about that.


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