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Features

  • A Place for Pollinators

    pollinator garden

    The hatchery has taken on improving habitat for pollinators! New areas have been created and old gardens replanted with native plants that attract and enhance natural pollinators. Take a look!

  • What We Do...

    Coho Salmon

    Eagle Creek produces 1.5 million Coho salmon annually. 350,000 are released on site, 550,000 are transferred to the Nez Perce Tribe and 500,000 are transferred to the Yakama Nation to support Coho restoration projects in their watersheds.

  • Salmon Released...

    Eagle Creek

    On March 27, 2019 we released 350,000 Coho smolts into Eagle Creek.  We coordinate with a rain event as this provides smolts with camouflage while they acclimate and begin their seaward migration.  

what's happening at the hatchery

What's Hatchin'?

The Coho eggs that were spawned in early November are now hatched out and have been busy growing and developing into fry.  Once all the yolk is used up and the fry are as big as they’re going to get, they are moved from the incubation stacks out to the raceways.  The first groups have been ponded out into the raceways and the remaining fry are not far behind.  Like any young animal, they need frequent feeding and careful tending while they figure out how to swim and eat and generally behave like fish.  It’s a big change for the fry to be out under the open sky (but protected by bird netting) and in a much larger space.  The flow in the raceway is reduced for a couple of weeks while the fry get used to swimming in a current and learn to eat the feed that they are offered.  In the wild, they’d be coping with the river flows, looking for slower water refuges during the high flows caused by rain storms and hunting for food.

The year old smolts that were spawned in November of 2017 have now all been transported to release in other areas to help out with restoration programs, or released into Eagle Creek at the hatchery.  They will complete the final stages of smolting while they migrate out to the ocean.  Smolting is a process of going through physiological changes in preparation for life in salt water.  Their skin shifts color from browns and greens and spots to sleek silver scales.  They get longer and thinner and start dashing around the raceways, thinking about migration out to sea.  There are special cells in their gills that become active and able to expel salt, which will enable them to drink sea water and not die of dehydration.  The smolts released this spring will spend the next year and a half foraging for food in the ocean and growing much larger, returning to the location of their release in the Fall of 2020 as full size adults.

Recent Fish Returns

As of April 09, 2019, 27 adult winter steelhead have returned to Eagle Creek National Fish Hatchery .
As of November 20, 2018, 3,719 adult coho salmon have returned to Eagle Creek National Fish Hatchery .
Last Updated: May 24, 2019
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