Monday, August 24, 2009

Salmon Recovery

Sockeye Salmon Returning to Redfish

Stanley--Hundreds of sockeye salmon are returning to the highest reaches of the Salmon River to Redfish Lake. In years past just a few fish have return to the Sawtooths, this year, some 452 have returned from the Pacific to the weirs near the mouth of Redfish Creek.

Last year 636 red fish returned, the back-to-back record runs comes on the heels of stepped up smolt production by Idaho Fish and Game, good streamflows and excellent ocean conditions.

The first two sockeye salmon of the 2009 season returned in July. Every day in August has seen the traps full of fish. In recent years 257 sockeye came back in 2000, which was the next highest return since 1985, just four sockeye came back in 2007. Between 1991 and 1998, 16 sockeye returned to Redfish Lake.

Biologist blame the decline of the Sockeye to over-fishing, mining, poisoning in the early days and the dams on the Columbia and lower Snake rivers between 1937 and 1975. Despite the obstacles they predict a run that could top the 700 mark by the beginning of September. The last two years Idaho Fish and Game biologists released between 150,000 and 175,000 sockeye smolts.

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