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“Quintessential Pacific Northwest”

Friends of Issaquah Salmon Hatchery
Ranked #4 of 31 things to do in Issaquah
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Every fall the salmon return to Issaquah, and so, too, do thousands of young students and visitors, who come to see these magnificent fish return from their grueling journey at sea, to fight against the current and spawn in Issaquah Creek. The Issaquah hatchery is the most visited of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s hatcheries, with thousands of visitors every year. As the region grapples with change to the natural environment, FISH highlights the presence of salmon in Issaquah Creek to cultivate a sense of wonder about these remarkable fish. We strive to tell the story of salmon here in such a way that fosters a natural, life-long commitment to their wellbeing, with tours, educational programs, and summer camps! “FISH champions the annual miracle of salmon in our fragile environment.” — FISH Mission
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Seattle, Washington
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Quintessential Pacific Northwest”
Reviewed 8 September 2013

I moved to Issaquah in February and love bringing out of town guests to the hatchery. It's fun to see the fry in the tubs and read about the salmon's migration in the spring or summer months, but the real treat starts in August when they start to run. It is so neat to see these huge salmon swimming upstream and trying to jump the dam. The water is shallow that it is easy to see the salmon and kids and adults alike are enamored. It's easy to get to and free. I have been to the ladders in Ballard, but liked this hatchery better because it's easier to get up close and personal. Check it out!

Visited September 2013
Thank heather9552
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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40 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Renton, Washington
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Nature at its finest!!”
Reviewed 20 May 2013


The salmon do not run year around - but even when they are not running it is an educational experience in nice weather.

When the salmon are running, we have spent hours watching. Watching them swim upstream, watching them leap up the ladders and in the holding tanks. The salmon are fascinating!! During the summer months there is always a highly educated volunteer to teach you and/or your children all about the salmon.

Definitely a family friendly location; however, be careful with little ones on the entry bridge! We visit at least once a month sometimes weekly. There is no charge to visit and no time limit on how long your children can learn!!!

This is an experience in the life cycle, feeding habits, the trip the salmon make out to sea, their return to spawn and ultimately the death of the salmon. It is reality and death is a part of life not to be "protected" from.

Visited May 2013
Thank K M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pasadena, California
Level 5 Contributor
93 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Great place to visit and take the kids”
Reviewed 18 September 2012

This was a really nice place to visit. You get up close and personal look at lots of fish. There were several kids around and they were getting a good lesson on nature. The place was small enough that it was not overwhelming and the workers were willing to share knowledge with visitors. Very relaxing. Would visit again!

Visited September 2012
Thank KatPlay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oro Valley, Arizona
Level 6 Contributor
241 reviews
77 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Get a close up look”
Reviewed 10 September 2012

When the hatchery is open for the Salmon running this is a great place to see the action. Well maintained and with lots of educational signs, info. and docents on site. The only draw back is the parking can be difficult.

Visited September 2012
Thank bmonson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
“Do you like watching fish struggle to live?”
Reviewed 7 April 2012

For some reason it didn't occur to me that fish--and lots of them would be dying or dead. Though this is the cycle of life it can be quite disturbing to see decomposing fish, if you are not prepared to see hundreds if not thousands in this codition. Dogs seem to love it....

2 Thank RanchoViejoSusan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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