Friday, December 2, 2011

Lake Sammamish Kokanee Return in Large Numbers

Kokanee salmon adult
Like an early holiday gift, kokanee salmon have been observed by the hundreds spawning in tributaries to Lake Sammamish during the month of November. Our partners at King County and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have been out counting the colorful red fish in Ebright, Lewis and Laughing Jacobs Creeks in order to keep track of their numbers and track the recovery of this native fish population. Click on this story and video as covered by King 5 News: 

As of November 28, our partners have counted 1575 kokanee along with 301 redds dug by the female kokanee in these three creeks. These large numbers are cause for celebration! In comparison, only 50 or so fish were estimated to have returned to the same creeks all of last fall. Click on this King County link for a video showing kokanee spawning in Laughing Jacobs Creek:
Collecting kokanee adults for hatchery broodstock
Our office, along with King County, have collected just over 200 of this year's kokanee adults from these three creeks in order to spawn them and rear their offspring within the safe confines of the Issaquah State Fish Hatchery. So far ,we have collected more than 50,000 eggs. We plan to keep on collecting 15% of the adults that return to the creeks during the coming weeks. In the spring, the fry will be released back into the same creeks where the adults were collected. 
Lake Sammamish kokanee hatchery fry
From there they will immediately swim downstream to Lake Sammamish and hopefully return to the creek as adults 3 to 5 years later. The current draft of the Conservation Supplementation Plan for Lake Sammamish Kokanee is available here:

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