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  • A Place for Pollinators

    pollinator garden

    The hatchery has taken on improving habitat for pollinators! Most recently we have added several new Dogwood trees in memory of Gale Varner, a long time hatchery volunteer.

  • 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

    Late in March of 2020 we released approximately 350,000 Coho smolts into Eagle Creek. 

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice

    During the current public health emergency, the hatchery remains closed to the public. Please call the hatchery directly at (503) 630-6270 for further information. More information: FWS Coronavirus Response page.

what's happening at the hatchery

What's Hatchin'?

The hatchery is currently closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Please recreate responsibly, maintain social distance and wear a mask!

Spawning is done for the season.  The return was better than usual at 5,909 Coho – of which 892 were jacks.  A jack is a male Coho that returns to spawn as a two year old, rather than staying at sea another year and returning as a full size 3 year old (which is what about 95% of their sibling fish do).  While there is not a straight-line relationship between the number of jacks in one year and the number of three year olds the next, the jack number can be a ballpark indicator of what may be headed home to the hatchery in the following year.  The 2020 jack number was three times our normal number (!!) and is a hopeful indicator that the return in the fall of 2021 will also be larger than normal.   

The returning adults were also larger than normal.  We thought they were whoppers while we were handling the fish for spawning, and this has been proven true by the fecundity.  Fecundity is the number of eggs per female, and our usual rate is about 2,800 eggs per female.  This season, though, we had 3,360 eggs/female, an increase of 560 eggs/fish on average.  This means ocean conditions were good and there was a lot of feed available for the fish – and along with being good nutrition for the adults, it is good nutrition for the eggs.   

The eyed eggs have been picked (dead eggs removed) and counted and nestled back into their incubation trays where they will hatch into sac fry in a week or so.  They will remain in the incubation stacks until all of their yolk is absorbed and they have grown as big as they can without needing to be fed.  At that point we will move them into the outdoor raceways and start offering them some food – if the water temperatures don’t get too cold, this will happen in mid to late March. 

The yearling fish, which were spawned in the fall of 2019, are still hanging out in the raceways and being fed to reach their target transfer or release size.  This is the “teenager” phase of their lives where they are eating pretty much everything we feed them and their bodies are starting to change in preparation for migrating downstream out to the wide wide ocean.  They are starting to lose their freshwater camouflage (brownish/greeny coloring with brown spots) and turning more silvery.  Their bodies are also shifting shape from shorter and deeper to longer and skinnier.  Most importantly, they are waiting for the special cells in their gills that will actively excrete salt to activate.  This will enable them to drink saltwater and survive – until these cells are active, being in salt water too early would kill them as their kidneys would be overwhelmed.  Transfer to remote acclimation ponds is scheduled for the end of February, and on-site release into Eagle Creek will be late March/early April  

Recent Fish Returns

As of January 11, 2021, 5,909 adult Coho salmon have returned to Eagle Creek National Fish Hatchery.
As of December 03, 2019, 3,732 adult Coho 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: January 11, 2021
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