Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Salmon Hatchery

We took a field trip today the Salmon Hatchery. It is salmon season and so the best time of the year to go. This weekend is Salmon Days but I don't want to fight the crowd for a spot on the bridge. It was very informative. We didn't have a tour but there were enough people around ready to show us things and explain things that we were able to learn quite a bit.

Beginning in late August to mid November the salmon begin to return to the hatchery. They travel through the Ballard Locks, Lake Union, Lake Washington, a stream to Lake Sammamish and then into the creek leading to the fish hatchery. One interesting thing that I learned is that it is believed that smell is what guides the fish back to where they were spawned.

They were waiting for the gate to be opened to they could go up the fish ladder (fish ladders are things that Civil Engineers here will design -- my husband is willing to show you the one that he designed). 

We learned that one of the educational things that was happening today was spawning. We continued that discussion at dinner. Most of the salmon here are Coho or Chinook.

We were able to see a male up close and see the various insides -- the heart, spleen, liver, etc. We saw them squeeze the milt and collect it for using in the spawning.

Then we saw the females and the eggs that were taken. Each female Coho has approximately 2,500 eggs while the Chinook females typically produce around 4,500 eggs per fish. The statistics are that only two fish will return and spawn successfully. J said it looked like caviar.

The kids were able to touch a salmon or two. J said he touched the eye. K said they were dead.


We enjoyed just standing at the bridge and watching the fish jump. They can jump three to five feet but the water was a bit too swallow for that high of jumping. The Coho can jump up to 10 feet.

I am so glad that I took the kids to see this. It is interesting to see what Miss K learns and what she tells about her trip. We enjoyed our time and it is not something that we are able to do on the East Coast. Together we marveled at how God has designed the salmon.

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