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Ecology and salmon related articles

Where are the Sockeye Seven Now?

by WRJ staff
Wood River Journal - November 24, 1999

Seven endangered sockeye salmon from the captive breeding program returned to Idaho and considerable fanfare during the summer. So where are the maginificent seven now?

Three of the six males were released into Redfish Lake on September 15, along with 18 adults from the captive breeding program that had never left Idaho, according to Paul Kline, writing in the fall edition of Fish and Game fisheries bureau's newsletter. Biologists noted the first evidence of spawning behavior and redd (nest) building on October 20.

The remaining three males and the one female that returned to Idaho were transferred to the Eagle Hatchery and taken into the broodstock spawning plan.

The single female was successfully spawned on October 1. She produced about 1,500 eggs.

The seven salmon were the first ever to return to Idaho from the Pacific Ocean after rearing in the captive breeding program. Captive breeding is one of the means of recovery instituted after Idaho's sockeye salmon were listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

These seven were among about 20 captive breeding program fish that passed Lower Granite Dam in August. All fish in the program carry wire-coded tags and were adipose- and left ventral fin-clipped for identification. The coded wire trips a gate at Lower Granite Dam that channels the fish to an adult holding area where they are passed manually upstream on their journey back to their spawning lake.

All these salmon were produced in the 1996 brood year and were second generation progeny of the two female and six male sockeye that returned to Idaho in 1993. They were released as yearling smolts in May of 1998 in Redfish Lake Creek a release of 20,000 and in the upper Salmon River at the Sawtooth Hatchery a release of 40,000. Some of these fish were also released as pre-smolts into Redfish, Alturas and Pettit lakes but no adults returned from these efforts.

by WRJ Staff
Where are the Sockeye Seven Now?
Wood River Journal, November 24, 1999

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