Earlier this last year I wrote about Sockeye Salmon returning to Lake Cle Elum for the first time in like 100 years. We also had a decent (and by decent I mean more than 50, which technically is abysmal) steelhead count up over Rosa Dam and of course a good Chinook return due to the hatchery. Now we are getting word that they might actually build a fish passage through the Lake Cle Elum Dam so that sockeye and other salmon/steelhead can get downstream to leave and upstream to spawn in one of their native grounds. Of course when I say one I mean that Keechelus and Kachess won't be happening anytime soon eventhough they were natural sockeye holdover lakes before the dams were put in and there will be no fish passage built on either of those dams or on the Easton Dam anytime soon, but hey, 1 of 3 is good enough for baseball so it must be for the Fish and Game Dept too, right?
I also here tell that people are opposed to this because they are afraid that these returning salmon will destroy their precious trout fishery. I'm from Cle Elum, grew up there, fished before and after the current chinook fishery was put in and I will say that the upper river is more healthy now than it was before the return of the salmon. The fish are bigger and more active and omg...they are hatchery fish! So are every other Columbia River salmon/steelhead...remember those dams on the Columbia? They killed almost every wild fish we had until the hatchery systems and ladders were implemented. So I don't want to hear about how hatchery fish are ruining our wild fish...in the Columbia system...most of those wild fish are technically hatchery fish that spawned in the wild. Get over it.
Yes I understand hatchery fish spawning on wild fish and the whole genetics thing, but do you really think the genetics will be any better with 250 fish coming up the river? Mull that over.
I digress, my main point is salmon = nutrients in the system, which in turn equates to bigger trout once the initial surge is over and the system rebalances closer to natural levels. So calm down. The salmon were there before and the trout did fine, so it will be again. Anyway. Here's the article.
Feed Fish Flies, Not Plastic