|"The Fish Journal"
Issaquah Press, Published February 4, 2009
By Dallas Cross
A census of the number of remaining
kokanee salmon on their way to spawning in creeks feeding Lake
Sammamish has been announced. The total number of spawning adult
kokanee was ninety, significantly less than the 147 counted last year
and 713 counted two years ago. The counts were made in Lewis Creek,
Laughing Jacobs Creek, Pine Lake and Ebright Creek, the last known
spawning creeks for the remaining runs of the threatened species.
Counting was conducted by members of
the Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and King County Dept of
Natural Resources during the past month. Complicating the possible
loss of this native fish to the Lake Sammamish region, the Washington
Fish and Wildlife did not trap sufficient numbers of spawning kokanee
to implement a promised egg hatching and fry rearing program before
the recent, severe floods.
Because of the dramatic decline in
returning kokanee salmon to Lake Sammamish and the probability that
any eggs laid may be destroyed in recent floods, Trout Unlimited will
be legally seeking an overdue response from the US Department of Fish
and Wildlife to a 18-month old petition to declare the species
endangered or threatened. They may also submit a request to have the
kokanee given an emergency listing to trigger an immediate and high
priority response for protection.
The Bellevue-Issaquah chapter of Trout
Unlimited plans to continue monitoring kokanee salmon in Lake
Sammamish in different ways: One is to partner with the shop class
of Woodinville High School to repair their fry counting trap and to
fabricate new traps. The chapter plans to monitor return of any
recently hatched fry returning to the lake in Lewis, Ebright and
Laughing Jacobs Creek in April and May. They are seeking volunteers
to assist in the counting from youth or adult groups or individuals.
The second monitoring effort will be to
conduct a survey of fish populations in Lake Sammamish and
electronically tag adult kokanee in order to monitor their activity
and spawning behavior. The hope is to also determine whether the
fish use the gravel shore areas in the lake for alternative or
regular spawning. To help this effort the Bellevue-Issaquah Chapter
of Trout Unlimited has initiated an “Adopt a Salmon” program to
raise funds to buy costly acoustic tags.
Two levels of adoption are offered. The
$100 donation level will adopt a salmon, receive a photo of it
and receive updates on the monitored activity of the kokanee. For a
$300 donation the sponsor will be able to get all of the above and
actually participate in the capture and tagging of their fish on Lake
Those wishing to adopt a kokanee or
participate in the census of returning kokanee fry are asked to
contact the kokanee chairman, Mark Taylor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.