In what has become an annual event, volunteers from the Puget Sound Anglers Association Sno-King Chapter Saturday morning assembled a coho salmon net pen along the Edmonds waterfront, after which a Port of Edmonds work boat towed it to guest moorage.
Next week, 30,000 coho salmon smolt from the Issaquah fish hatchery will be introduced to the pen. After spending a few months in Edmonds waters for imprinting, the salmon will be released to mature. When it comes time to spawn, the hope is that the survivors will return to the Edmonds area to lay eggs or be caught by local fishermen.
— Photos by Brent Tugby
Many thanks to Puget Sound Anglers club and the Port of Edmonds for keeping this successful project going every year. When these coho salmon return to Puget Sound in 2-3 years as adult salmon, they’ll help boost local salmon fishing opportunity as well as provide additional salmon spawners in Shell Creek (which is otherwise losing its salmon production due to road runoff and sediment buildup from upstream erosion).
To increase the number of coho smolts returning as adults to spawn in Shell Creek, some of the 30,000 smolts should be released into Schell Creek for imprinting there rather than in the salt water pen. This assumes that Shell Creek is suitable for successful coho spawning and juvenile coho rearing.
These fish are part of the delayed relase program. They stay in Puget Sound for fishermen to catch. No, they shouldn’t be released into the creek. If they were, they would out migrate and go north up the coast, increasing odds of being intercepted. They also provide food for resident orcas.
Many of these returned CoHo will be taken on hook and line by people on the pier and sport fishing boats in the vicinity. Survivors will linger in the area for a time and then look for a stream of opportunity to spawn in finally. I’ve observed them swimming in schools in the shallows along the town beaches and along the sea wall by the pier walkway.
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