EPHRATA – Sockeye salmon fishing on Lake Wenatchee will close one hour after sunset Friday, Aug.15.
By then, the catch will be close to total that can be taken while maintaining sufficient sockeye for natural spawning, said Jeff Korth, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) north central region fish program manager. At least 23,000 surviving fish are needed to meet spawning goals.
Since the season opened Aug. 6, about 3,000 sockeye have been caught.
“Leaving the season open for the weekend would risk excessive harvest,” Korth said, adding that the fish are beginning to show more color and will soon be moving into the lake’s tributaries.
A total of 27,108 sockeye had passed Tumwater Dam on the Wenatchee River by last Sunday, Aug. 10. When the fishing season opened, about 400 sockeye were passing the dam daily. By last Sunday, the number of sockeye passing the dam had dropped to only 69 fish a day.
This year’s 10-day sockeye season was the first on Lake Wenatchee in four years. In 2004, more than 30,000 sockeye entered Lake Wenatchee and fishing was open July 24 through Aug. 31.