Yakama Nation Sockeye Reintroduction XI

Salmonid Hatcheries and Harvest Management

Hatchery Production
Project ID20-Yaka-01
Recovery DomainsInterior Columbia
Start Date10/01/2021
End Date10/31/2024
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.

PCSRF funds are requested to provide staff and logistical support in 2020 and beyond to continue the essential elements of the sockeye reintroduction program: 1) the trap-and-haul project that transports 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, 2) conduct spawning and hydro acoustic surveys, 3) implement efforts to reduce the abundance of Mackinaw (Salvelinus namaycush), an introduced predator of juvenile sockeye. In the effort to reduce Mackinaw population we help fund a Mackinaw Fish Derby in May and deploy gillnets into Lake Cle Elum during the Mackinaw Spawning Season in the winter months October, November and December. And then 4) for the education and outreach aspects there will be school visits and presentations for the youth conducted. Promotional Sockeye Project items will be distributed at these events. An ongoing relationship with local schools and reservation schools is a major priority for the project.

Specific tasks include:

Fish Transport

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).

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 Surveys

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.

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 passag

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:$405,000

Project Map


Lake CleElum    

  • Worksite Identifier: Lake CleElum
  • Start Date: 10/01/2021
  • End Date: 12/01/2025
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)