Yakama Nation Sockeye Reintroduction X

Salmonid Hatcheries and Harvest Management

Hatchery Production
Project ID19-Yaka-01
Recovery DomainsInterior Columbia
Start Date03/01/2020
End Date12/31/2024
Last Edited04/08/2022
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The purpose of this project is to continue with sockeye reintroduction through continued transport of sockeye from Priest Rapids Dam to Lake Cle Elum. Additionally, this project will also take measures to aggressively eradicate mackinaw (lake trout; Salvelinus namaycush) an introduced species from Lake Cle Elum and increase all native fish populations in the lake, 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. Additionally, an outreach objective will ensure this sockeye work has educational parameters.

Specific tasks include:

Fish Transport

The sockeye adults collected at the Priest Rapids Dam will be transported by truck and released into Lake Cle Elum located in Kittitas County, Washington.

Spawning surveys

Spawning ground surveys will be conducted weekly (Sep-Dec) to determine range of adults in the Cle Elum and Cooper rivers. These surveys will begin as soon as the sockeye start their spawning migration from the lake to the river, streams and tributaries above the lake (~40 miles). Survey times and crew are adjusted as needed due to ever changing water conditions, sockeye migration timing and spatial distribution. Also, genetic samples will be taken from all morts found to determine the basin of origin. Over time, the expectation is to have a locally adapted run, which will be slightly different genetically from the two existing runs used for reintroduction.

Mackinaw Reduction

Gill nets will be deployed during the spawning season (Oct and Nov) when the Mackinaws come into shallow rocky areas around the perimeter of the lake to spawn. A Scientific Collection Permit is requested from the Yakama Nation Fish & Wildlife Committee, dates and location of gillnet deployment is shared with Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and they notify their Fish & Game Officers of our intentions. All harvested fish are sampled for length, weight, sex, age, and stomach contents. A boat driver and two Fish Tech’s are needed to complete the netting of Mackinaw on Lake Cle Elum in extremely hazardous weather conditions. This is an ongoing process of learning the different tendencies, behaviors and life history of the Lake Cle Elum Mackinaw population. All Mackinaw remains are placed back on the spawning areas where a fungus is formed from decaying carcasses, having a negative effect on Mackinaw embryos.

Hydro Acoustic Survey

The YN is currently estimating population—fry to smolt survival and smolt output—using Hydro Acoustic survey. The YN will also conduct field surveys in the Cle Elum Lake watershed to form a baseline data starting point (chemical limnology, physical limnology, stream surveys, invertebrates, thermographs, bathymetry, etc.) as we continue with our reintroduction. In addition to the trap estimates Hydro-acoustic work will be used in the lake to try and determine overall parr production within the lake. As the number of adults placed in the lake is a known and the average fecundity is also known, by using hydro-acoustic readings this will give us an estimate of the number of parr present in the lake. This information will lastly be used to determine overall smolt production from the lake.

Sockeye Education, Outreach and Public Events

• Design handout for biologists with an overview of the project and accomplishments
• Design handout/interactive materials for elementary and middle school students
• Design poster that can be hung at schools and used at booths and exhibits
• Design presentation that biologists can use to provide an overview and accomplishments
• Conduct tours and events to assist with education and outreach of sockeye reintroduction and fish passage
• Create visual examples including film or photos to help illustrate work that is being conducted
• Printing (posters, t-shirts an

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:$430,000

Project Map


Lake Cle Elum    

  • Worksite Identifier: Lake Cle Elum
  • Start Date: 03/01/2020
  • End Date: 12/31/2023
Area Description

No Area Description data was found for this worksite.

Location Information

  • Basin: Yakima
  • Subbasin:
  • Watershed:
  • Subwatershed:
  • State: Washington
  • Recovery Domain: Interior Columbia
  • Latitude: 47.282
  • Longitude: -121.1075


  • Un-Named ESU Sockeye




  • D.0 Salmonid Hatcheries and Harvest ManagementY (Y/N)
    •      . . D.0.a Hatchery and harvest mgmt. funding .00
    •      . . D.0.b
      Complement habitat restoration project
    •      . . D.0.c
      Project Identified in a plan or watershed assessment.
    •      . . D.1 Hatchery Production ProjectY (Y/N)
      •      . . . . D.1.a Hatchery Production Funding
      •      . . . . D.1.e.1 Native/wild broodstock collection/relocationY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . . . D.1.e.2 Number by species of broodstock collected (LOV)