Yakama Nation Sockeye Reintroduction VIII

Salmonid Hatcheries and Harvest Management

Hatchery Production
Project ID17-Yaka-01
Recovery DomainsMiddle Columbia River
Start Date06/01/2018
End Date06/30/2023
Last Edited05/08/2024
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The Yakama Nation is implementing a sockeye salmon reintroduction project in the headwater reservoirs of the Yakima River Basin. Prior to impoundment for irrigation purposes, the natural lakes in the upper watershed were estimated to have produced annual adult returns of several hundred thousand. The irrigation impoundment dams were constructed without fish passage facilities and the native sockeye populations were extirpated. This reintroduction effort utilizes wild adult sockeye of Wenatchee and Okanagan stock that are trapped at Priest Rapids Dam and released directly into Lake Cle Elum. This is a straight adult reintroduction; no hatchery process is utilized in this project. Expansion of the program to other reservoirs in the system is intended as funding sources and feasibility planning are further developed.

This project is a cooperative effort initiated in 2009 between the Yakama Nation and US Bureau of Reclamation, which manages Lake Cle Elum for irrigation purposes. Project funding from USBOR is assured for at least the next 10 years to support one FTE assigned to work with USBOR on the final design of permanent juvenile and adult fish passage facilities on Lake Cle Elum. Once these facilities are operating the fish managers anticipate that increasing returns of naturally-produced adult offspring of the sockeye currently being trapped at PRD and released into the lake will gradually reduce the need to bring in sockeye from outside the basin.

PCSRF funds were used to provide staff and logistical support in 2018 and beyond to continue an essential element of the sockeye reintroduction program: the trap-and-haul of adult sockeye salmon from Priest Rapids Dam for release into Lake Cle Elum that occurs annually during the sockeye migration from the ocean in June and July, 10,000 sockeye were outplanted under this years iteration of the project. This project occurred concurrently with efforts to reduce the abundance of Mackinaw (Salvelinus namaycush), an introduced predator of juvenile sockeye, in Lake Cle Elum, which occurred with separate funding.

By Yakama Nation taking these measures annually for a number of years, the lake trout population has continued to decrease and native populations have increased, setting up a more balanced ecosystem and improving the likelihood that the Lake Cle Elum sockeye reintroduction program will be successful in establishing a self-sustaining population. Currently, both upper Columbia sockeye stocks support terminal area sport and tribal ceremonial and subsistence fisheries when annual run abundance is sufficient. By adding another Columbia Basin sockeye population, the YN, will lessen the pressure on the only two remaining in the middle and upper Columbia River.

Project Benefit    

The benefit of this project is to reintroduce sockeye back into its historical areas within the Yakima River Basin starting first with Lake Cle Elum. The YN views this project as not only returning sockeye to its historical range, but also as a major part of rebuilding the ecosystem as a whole. In addition to enhancing the diversity, spatial distribution, and resiliency of the aggregate Columbia River sockeye stock, this reintroduction restores the well-described and broad benefits of marine-derived nutrients to a myriad of aquatic and terrestrial species in the upper Yakima watershed, including ESA-listed bull trout and summer steelhead. Removing introduced Mackinaw from the lake is also a critical part of restoring a self-sustaining sockeye population and natural ecosystem function.


Metric Completed Originally

Funding Details

Report Total:$225,000

Project Map


Lake Cle Elum    

  • Worksite Identifier: Lake Cle Elum
  • Start Date: 06/01/2018
  • End Date: 10/31/2020
Area Description

No Area Description data was found for this worksite.

Location Information

  • Basin: Yakima (170300)
  • Subbasin: Upper Yakima (17030001)
  • Watershed: Cle Elum River (1703000101)
  • Subwatershed: Middle Cle Elum River (170300010105)
  • State: Washington
  • Recovery Domain: Middle Columbia River
  • Latitude: 47.282
  • Longitude: -121.1075


  • Un-Named ESU Sockeye



17_Yaka_01_Summer2020ProgressReport_Fig1 17_Yaka_01_Summer2020ProgressReport_Fig2


  • D.0 Salmonid Hatcheries and Harvest ManagementY (Y/N)
    •      . . D.0.a Hatchery and harvest mgmt. funding 225,000.00
    •      . . D.0.b
      Complement habitat restoration project
    •      . . D.0.c
      Project Identified in a plan or watershed assessment.
      The Yakima Basin Sockeye Reintroduction Plan. The plan is a sub-section in a larger, multi-species anadromous reintroduction plan. The focus is on the highest priority species for reintroduction, sockeye salmon.
    •      . . D.1 Hatchery Production ProjectY (Y/N)
      •      . . . . D.1.a Hatchery Production Funding 225,000.00
      •      . . . . D.1.e.1 Native/wild broodstock collection/relocationY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . . . D.1.e.2 Number by species of broodstock collected (LOV)