Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Yakamas celebrate sockeye return to Cle Elum Lake

The Yakama Nation is celebrating the return of sockeye salmon into a lake on the east slope of the Cascade Mountains where they were eliminated decades ago.

Biologists released 1,000 fish into Cle Elum Lake in Central Washington in summer 2009, and those fish swam up the Cle Elum River that fall to spawn.

Now, the offspring of those fish are returning to their birthplace to spawn after spending two years in the ocean.

Sockeye salmon were eradicated in central Washington rivers when the rivers were dammed, barring fish passage.

Also known as the "blueback," sockeye salmon are revered by Pacific Northwest tribes. Juvenile salmon migrate to the ocean, then return upriver to spend several months in a lake before spawning in mountain creeks and rivers.


The Associated Press (“AP”) is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from the AP. Founded in 1846, the AP today is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. The AP considers itself to be the backbone of the world’s information system, serving thousands of daily newspaper, radio, television, and online customers with coverage in text, photos, graphics, audio and video.