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WEDNESDAY, OCT. 10, 2012, 7:28 A.M.

Sockeye regaining ground throughout Columbia region

FISHERIES More than a century after their runs up the Cle Elum River were wiped out by dams, the sockeye are spawning again this year, thanks to a boost from fisheries programs.

Meantime, the Yakama Nation is in the fourth year of spearheading an effort to reintroduce this prized salmon species back into the Yakima River Basin. 

Sockeyes bound for the Wenatchee and Okanogan rivers were trapped at Priest Rapids Dam about three months ago and trucked them to Lake Cle Elum for release. A total of 10,000 wild sockeye were released in the lake this year, a number that has grown steadily each year because of the abundance of the Columbia River sockeye run. The Yakama Nation plans to harvest fish at Priest Rapids after the overall run reaches 80,000 fish.

Ultimately, the program seeks to establish a self-sustaining run of Yakima River sockeye that will allow for a sport fishery.

The total Columbia River run this year approached 600,000 fish as daily counts set June records at Bonneville Dam.

See more in this report by the Yakima Herald-Republic.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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