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Fewer sockeye return to lake

SEATTLE – The number of sockeye salmon returning to Lake Washington this summer is one of the lowest on record, dashing chances of any recreational or commercial fishing later this year in the area.

The Seattle Times reports that nearly 13,000 sockeye salmon have returned to the lake east of Seattle. The rate is on pace to meet the forecast of 19,000 salmon, not enough to grant a fishing season for the popular fish.

This year’s run is on pace to be half of last year’s, which was 33,702 – the lowest on record since 1972. In 2007, 69,271 salmon returned.

Those numbers are a drastic contrast to 2006, when the run numbered 453,543 and state authorities granted several days of fishing.

The sharp decline has many anglers worried.

“Perhaps it will be a new record low – all of us are praying that doesn’t happen,” said Frank Urabeck of Bonney Lake, Wash., a longtime sport-fishing activist.


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