Sockeye Start to Trickle Inby Jason Kauffman
Idaho Mountain Express, July 31, 2009
At least 30 red fish have arrived in the Sawtooth Valley so far
The first sockeye salmon of the year have begun to arrive home to their high-mountain birthplace in the shadow of the Sawtooth Mountains.
As of Wednesday night, 30 of the bright red fish had arrived at the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery, on the Salmon River just south of Stanley. The first two sockeye of the summer arrived last week.
Fisheries officials believe quite a few more sockeye will eventually arrive in the Sawtooth Valley when the season finally wraps up in early fall. So far, a total of 1,175 sockeye have been counted crossing Lower Granite Dam on the lower Snake River in southeast Washington, the last manmade obstacle the ocean-going fish must pass on their way back to Idaho.
If a high percentage of the famous red fish ultimately make their way back to the Redfish Lake area as fisheries biologists hope and expect they will, it would mark the second year in a row of positive returns of Idaho's most imperiled species of anadromous fish. In all, 636 sockeye returned to the Sawtooth Valley last summer, far more than the previous high of 257 that came back in 2000, which was the next highest return since 1985. And it's far more than the four sockeye that came back in 2007.
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