Recovering Lake Washington Sockeye Runs Subject Of Upcoming Meeting


The Cedar River Council will host an important meeting on Tuesday, April 23. at 7 p.m. at the Renton Red Lion Hotel and Conference Center (1 South Grady Way) about the very popular Lake Washington sockeye fisheries which had been largely supported by the Cedar River sockeye run produced by natural spawning and a temporary Cedar River hatchery that began operation in 1991 followed by a permanent hatchery constructed by Seattle Public Utilities in 2011.


No Lake Washington recreational sockeye fisheries have been allowed since 2006 when more than 50,000 sockeye were taken by sport anglers over an eighteen day season. That year the number of sockeye surging through the Ballard Locks exceeded 400,000.

The 2019 run is forecast at only 15,000, the lowest forecast ever. There have been no directed harvest fisheries for the last 13 years.

The public meeting will include presentations by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and Seattle Public Utilities on the history of the introduced sockeye run, fabulous periodic sport fishing from the early 1970s until 2006, and the likely reasons the run has collapsed.

The role of the sockeye hatchery will be covered. What might be done to restore the run to harvestable levels and the possibilities this could happen will be discussed.

Puget Sound Anglers and other organizations have worked hard over the years to secure recreational sockeye fisheries, and engaged as strong advocates for the permanent Cedar River sockeye hatchery.

Coastal Conservation Association was instrumental in securing funding for a Lake Washington juvenile sockeye predation study that provided important scientific data.

2 thoughts on “Recovering Lake Washington Sockeye Runs Subject Of Upcoming Meeting”

  1. Lets be clear about the facts surrounding the loss of the sockeye run. This article states that sportsfishing was the cause for the decline. In 1978 the tribes were allowed to set gill nets in lake Washington as long as these nets were removed by sunrise to allow for sportsfishing to go without interfearance. These nets ran from the south tip of Mercer Island to Rainier Beach on a continuous line. For numerous days the tribe scrambled to remove their nets after so many fish were caught the floats sank. I was there, get your facts straight before laying blame.

    1. I think the press release just states that we had a great fishery during a year of high abundance, not that that harvest sunk the run. The run has been declining ever since 2006, and the primary causes are believed to be high predation on sockeye smolts, high water temperatures in the ship canal which make returning adults more susceptible to disease, and prespawn mortality from that. These articles lay those out more fully:



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