No Sockeye Salmon have Returned to Idaho LakeEnvironmental News Network - September 27, 1997
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game still has the door open on the sockeye-trap at Redfish Lake but no adults from this endangered salmon have returned this year.
Salmon enthusiasts were excited earlier this summer when observers at the federal dams on the Columbia and Lower Snake Rivers reported seeing 19 adult fish returning to the system. Hopes for a return all the way to the Redfish Lake spawning waters were not fulfilled, however.
According to fisheries biologist Paul Kline, the Corps of Engineers counted 19 sockeye at Lower Granite Dam, the last hydro-electric barrier to salmon returning to Idaho. Of those fish, only two were hatchery-produced, having clipped adipose fins. The other 17 were wild. In 1995, Fish and Game estimated that 360 wild smolts left Redfish Lake. Given recent rates of return, this should mean 0.6 fish could be expected to return to Redfish.
Because 17 is so much higher a number, it is likely that this year's fish were Dworshak kokanee or other strays. This theory was boosted by two observations of adult sockeye in tributaries of the Lochsa River. These fish had adipose fins and showed spawning behavior in August. Redfish Lake sockeye spawn in October.
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