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Kokanee returns showing big improvements

Kokanee salmon spawning in Mission Creek Regional Park.
November 28, 2017 - 6:00 PM

PENTICTON - Okanagan kokanee salmon returns this year are showing signs of recovery after some tough years.

A release from the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations shows while the numbers fluctuate, the fall 2017 surveys shows local lakes are getting back to normal and one even broke a record.

Signs of recovery are seen in the Wood Lake kokanee population after 2011 when poor in-lake conditions killed many fish of all ages.

This year, there was more than 34,000 kokanee that returned to the tributaries of Wood Lake to spawn, enough to support a fishery on Wood Lake from April 1 to Aug. 31, 2018.

The 2017 results indicate:

  • Okanagan Lake kokanee spawners totalled 182,500. Stream-spawning kokanee totalled 28,500 and shore-spawning kokanee totalled 154,000 fish. These returns approximate the 10-year average return.
  • In Kalamalka Lake, kokanee numbers totalled 67,000. This is the highest return on record, and the run was largely dominated by shore-spawning kokanee.
  • In Skaha Lake, kokanee and sockeye numbers totalled 32,000.

Kokanee, which are landlocked sockeye salmon, are found in all of the Okanagan main valley lakes and are an important part of the natural ecosystem.

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