What We Do

Established: 1956

Purpose & Authorizing Legislation: Eagle Creek National Fish Hatchery was authorized under the Mitchell Act to help compensate for anadromous (migrating to the ocean from fresh water) salmonid losses in the Columbia River basin due to mainstem Columbia River dams. The hatchery continues to operate under the original authorization, rearing and releasing anadromous salmon to support Tribal, commercial, sport, ocean and river fisheries and to restore salmonids in watersheds where they have become extinct.

Funding: Funding is provided though the Mitchell Act, administered by NOAA Fisheries.

Fish Produced: Eagle Creek raises approximately 850,000 coho salmon annually. The hatchery releases 350,000 coho on site, while 500,000 coho are transferred to the Yakama Nation to support coho restoration projects in their watersheds. During its history, the hatchery has also reared fall Chinook, spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead for release at the hatchery and local streams.

The broodstock broodstock
The reproductively mature adults in a population that breed (or spawn) and produce more individuals (offspring or progeny).

Learn more about broodstock
objective at Eagle Creek is to collect and spawn 3,000 adults annually for their on-station release into Eagle Creek. Those on-station releases support recreational fisheries in Eagle Creek, and commercial/recreational fisheries in the ocean, lower Columbia, Willamette, and Clackamas rivers.

Hatchery Life Cycle

Fall: Adult coho return to the hatchery and are spawned. Eggs are set to incubate. Carcasses are sampled for fish health and coded wire tag recovery.

Winter: The coho eggs eye up and hatch. 

Spring: Yearling coho smolts are released directly into Eagle Creek or transferred. Swim-up fry are moved out to ponds and feeding starts.

Summer: Fingerlings are ad-marked and tagged. Growing fish are fed and cared for, and facility maintenance projects are underway.

Management and Conservation

The next time you go fishing, you might just catch a fish that was raised at Eagle Creek National Fish Hatchery. Since 1871, National Fish Hatcheries have been responding to conservation challenges affecting America’s fish and other aquatic species. Producing fish continues to be an irreplaceable tool in managing or restoring fisheries along with habitat conservation. In doing so, we help provide recreation opportunities to America’s 34 million anglers who spend $36 billion annually in pursuit of their favored pastime. National Fish Hatcheries raise fish and other aquatic species to help restore and sustain important fish and other aquatic species for the benefit of the American people. Hatcheries remain current by performing special studies to assure best fish culture practices.