The Wenatchee World —
On a golden autumn day, the reflection of bright yellow leaves in the river was broken by the movement of dark red fish. Leaning over the rail of a bridge, I could see salmon jockeying for position over the cobbles of the riverbed. Throughout October and well into November, visitors to Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery could expect to see coho salmon in Icicle Creek. They haven’t always been there, but thanks to the work of many partners, returns were strong enough to support fishing in 2020.
Salmon in the Columbia River were heavily overfished in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Coupled with major changes to the river itself from dam-building, along with other impacts that wrecked or blocked fish habitat, coho vanished from the mid- and upper-Columbia River basin. Just in the past 20 years, the human population of Washington State has increased 30 percent, placing huge pressure on our natural resources.