The Return of Sockeye

See the sockeye returning to spawn in the Cle Elum River!

When: October-November 2012
Where: Cle Elum River, WA

Sockeye are spawning as a result of Yakama Nation reintroduction to Lake Cle Elum. 10,000 adult sockeye were transported from Priest Rapids dam in July and are spawning above Lake Cle Elum. Yakama Nation is in its fourth year of reintroducing sockeye, monitoring populations, and developing strategies to maintain the Yakima Basin stock.

Local sockeye salmon populations were eradicated decades ago by dam development that blocked adult sockeye access to lakes. Yakama tribal elders describe the value of kálux (sockeye) to the people as a winter sustenance food to carry people until new spring food arrives. Historically, at least 200,000 sockeye would annually return to four lakes in the Yakima Basin. Returning sockeye to harvestable numbers requires ongoing studies and partnerships to obtain permanent fish passage.

Partners for permanent fish passage through a Yakima Basin Plan include: Bureau of Reclamation, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA, USF&WS, U.S. Forest Service, Yakima and Kittitas Counties, irrigation districts, and conservation groups.

Would you like to see sockeye spawning?

Click here to get directions to one of the best viewing spots on a map.  Known as “Bridge to Cooper Lake,” by the locals, this spot is along the Cle Elum River. Formally listed on maps as NF-46.

* Please do not disturb the fish and stay out of the water.

Click here to see a flyer version of this blog.

Many thanks to Yakama Nation for providing content for this blog.

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