Low Lake Washington Sockeye Returns Means No Salmon Fishing There

By on July 21, 2015
Wild sockeye salmon en route to spawning zone in Issaquah Creek, near the Issaquah Hatchery. (Credit: Ingrid Taylar, via Flickr)

Returns of sockeye salmon to Lake Washington appear to be on a downward trend, according to The Seattle Times. Through July 14, only 22,289 sockeye had been counted as returning to the lake.

The low returns mean that fishermen hoping to catch salmon in Lake Washington will have to keep waiting as state restrictions forbid sport fishing with such low numbers. The last time that the lake was opened for sockeye fishing was 2006, when the return was 453,543 sockeye.

“These are real dismal numbers, near historic lows,” said Bill Robinson, an oversight committee member at Seattle Pacific University, to the Seattle Times. “At this point, I’m thinking we’ll be lucky to get 50,000.”

Threats to the sockeye run include higher-than-normal water temperatures in Lake Union and Ship Canal, which lead to the lake, as well as predators like walleye, cutthroat trout and northern pikeminnow.

Image: Wild sockeye salmon en route to spawning zone in Issaquah Creek, near the Issaquah Hatchery. (Credit: Ingrid Taylar, via Flickr)

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