Idaho Sockeye return second lowest in a decade

Biologists pleased, despite low numbers
Posted at 9:28 AM, Sep 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-26 11:33:26-04

It  hasn't been a good year for Idaho's anadromous fish. Spring Chinook returns were only enough to provide a very limited season to anglers, and for the first time in decades, there is no season for steelhead, suffering from dismal numbers. The return of Idaho's endangered sockeye salmon is the second lowest in a decade, with only 157 being trapped in the Sawtooth Basin this summer, but biologist with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game say they are pleased.

"We are very pleased with this return given the estimate of only about 400 Idaho sockeye made it to Bonneville Dam this summer based on PIT tag estimates," said research biologist Eric Johnson.

Over the last ten years, Fish and Game trapped an average of 690 sockeye. This year's run is ten percent of the ten year high of 1,579 fish, and a little less than twice the ten year low of 91.

During two years in the 1990s, no sockeye returned to the Sawtooth Basin, and the species was protected under the Endangered Species act in 1991.