Each year, the Edmonds Salmon Chapter of Trout Unlimited participates in a Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife project to imprint yearling Coho salmon to Puget Sound waters. The purpose of this project, which is in its 25th year, is to yearly establish a resident population of Coho that will stay in the Puget Sound area and become available to sport fishers during the early and mid summer months. Typically, during these months, sport fishing opportunities for salmon are rather slim in these waters.
According to Edmonds Trout Unlimited Chapter President Gary McConaghy, the project starts in February with 30,000 one-year-old Coho salmon being transferred from the State Salmon Hatchery in Issaquah to the Port of Edmonds Marina via tank trucks. The salmon are then pumped into the salt water net pen, capped off with a predator net and moved out to the Edmonds fishing pier where they will stay until the first of June.
The fish are fed two to three times a week by members of the fishing club to the tune of 48 pounds a week, McConaghy said, and by the end of their 14-week stay, the fish have nearly tripled in size and weight. At that point, the fish are released.
“The theory is that these fish will have taken a liking to the waters of Puget Sound and will stick around for the remaining two years of their life and, if a lucky fisherperson gets to catch one, so much for the better,” McConaghy explained.