Salmon Fry Release

Spring 2016 Salmon Release Summary


Springtime at the Les Malmgren Imprint Pond is usually a busy time for Salmon Programs volunteers, but this year tops them all in a couple of important categories.

On Saturday, April 23, we released about 35,000 Chum salmon fry into Venema Creek. And after May 28’s release of the last 2,000 fingerlings, the total release this Spring is about 98,000 fry! Typical total release numbers are 60-70,000.

171 visitors joined us for this 2016 7:45PM release on April 23. That’s a record number of visitors eagerly wish the fish a safe journey. Lots and lots of kids and parents brought flashlights to help watch these many thousands of fish move from pool to pool as they figured out their new freedom.

So many thanks go to the 21 volunteers who fed and maintained the several batches of fish and interacted with the more than 2,300 park visitors who came to the Imprint Pond from early February through the end of May.

Our heartfelt thanks go to the Suquamish Tribe and their amazing staff at Grovers Creek Salmon Hatchery who generously support these valuable educational/demonstration programs every year. Thank you Mike, Bill, Ben, Brian and many more for your expertise and generosity.

  • Eggs hatched and self-released (Jan7-Mar21) = 30,000 fry
  • 1st batch released on March 1 = 31,000 fry
  • 2nd batch released on April 23 = 31,000 fry
  • SIS school fish released on April 23 = 4,000 fry
  • Last release of fingerlings on May 28 = 2,000 fry

That’s a total of about 98,000 salmon fry released in Spring 1016, many of which will return in 3-5 years to spawn in their home waters of Pipers Creek Watershed and Carkeek Park.

1st batch release March 1, 2016 (Tue evening)
Tuesday evening, 5:30PM as it is getting dark. Bring kids and flashlights so you can spot the fish in the creek! UPDATE: 31,000 salmon fry were released Tue evening on March 1, 2016.

The 1st release of 35,000 fry (March 17 in 2015) occurs in early-to-mid March just as it gets dark. Darkness may give the newly released fry some cover from visual feeders such as birds while they are working their way towards Pipers’ Creek. The release of so many thousands of fish into Venema Creek is an exciting experience. Many friends and families of Carkeek Park participate by bring flashlights to watch the fish move further and further downstream to Piper’s Creek. Please join us at the next release!

2nd batch release April 23, 2016 (Sat evening)
Saturday evening as it is getting dark. Bring kids and flashlights so you can spot the fish in the creek! UPDATE: 30,000 salmon fry were released Saturday evening, April 23, 2016 with about 3,000 fry held back for further feeding.

The 2nd batch release 35,000 fry (April 18 in 2015) occurs sometime near the end of March all the way up to the mid-April Earth Day Celebration at Carkeek Park, depending on the Grovers Creek Salmon Hatchery schedule and other factors.

SIS School Fish Release April 23, 2016 (Sat evening)
Saturday evening as it is getting dark. Bring kids and flashlights so you can spot the fish in the creek! 4,000 school salmon fry were released Saturday evening, April 23, 2016 along with the main 2nd batch group mentioned above.

The day of the SIS school fish release corresponds to the Annual Earth Day Celebration, so there is a lot of activity at the Park and many friends and families of Carkeek Park stay until the evening. As always, kids and adults alike, including students from the 22 participating Salmon in Schools elementary schools send off these fish fry with well wishes for the long journey ahead.

Last release of fingerlings May 28, 2016 (5:00 PM)
We kept about 2,000 salmon fry in the Imprint Pond after the typical “final release” on April 23. Several school groups from Islandwood and other groups working on their program planning took advantage of the enthusiasm our volunteers had to continue caring for the fish. Since the record number of visitors we had for our April 23 release, another 200+ visitors have continued to find amazement and learning at the Imprint Pond.

Within a few days of the last release, CWCAP volunteers shut down the Imprint Pond system and thoroughly clean it.

Note that some years allow the larger 2nd batch of fish to be released before SIS school fish begin arriving at the Imprint Pond, providing an exciting 3 releases in one season. In 2015 as will be the case in 2016, the fish fry delivery schedule and the physical development of the newly emerged fry result in a need to combine the larger 2nd batch of fish with the SIS school fish. This leads to just 2 releases, a 1st batch release and a 2nd, combined batch that includes Carkeek Park fish and SIS school fish. In any case, the last batch of the season is released on Carkeek Park’s Annual Earth Day Celebration — typically a Saturday evening around the middle of April.