Baker River sockeye salmon season and counts

Baker sockeye are native to Baker Lake and Baker River, a tributary to the Skagit River. Each year, sockeye returning to the lake are trapped below two dams before they are transported above the facilities where they are placed at artificial spawning beaches, used for production at the lake’s hatchery facility, or released into Baker Lake to spawn naturally.

Natural spawning takes place mostly in seeps and springs at the head end of the lake and in the lower Baker River, although some sockeye may also enter other tributaries. Fry from the artificial spawning beaches and from hatchery production are released into Baker Lake and Shannon Lake, where they rear naturally.

At the smolt stage, sockeye are captured at both the lower and upper dams and released downstream for their seaward journey.

Baker River Project

Improvements in the smolt trapping and transportation system at the dams have contributed, at least in part, to the rebound of the Baker sockeye population from a long decline.

Puget Sound Energy employees operate and maintain the facilities at the Baker River Project under the directives of WDFW and tribal co-managers. These facilities not only include the hatchery and spawning beaches, but also an upstream trap-and-haul facility, and floating surface collectors for juvenile fish at Baker Lake and Lake Shannon.

Hatchery broodstock schedule

Fish that return to the Baker trap are prioritized to first meet our hatchery broodstock needs. Once the hatchery goal is met for the week, all remaining fish are transferred to Baker lake for the recreational fishery and to meet natural spawning goals in the lake.

2019 Hatchery Broodstock Schedule

Week Total Broodstock
6/10 - 06/16 2
6/17 - 6/23 50
6/24 -6/30 464
7/1 - 7/07 1,215
7/8 - 7/14 2,180
7/15 - 7/21 2,441
7/22 - 7/28 1,467
7/29 - 8/4 724
8/5 - 8/11 281
8/12 - 8/18 99
8/19 - 8/25 49
8/26-9/1 29
After 9/1 0
Total 9,000

Sockeye returns

Adult Baker sockeye enter the trap from mid-June to mid-October. Numbers of returning fish peak in mid-July. Spawning occurs from mid-September through December, peaking from late September to late November.

Baker River sockeye salmon trap counts

2019 daily counts

Date Count
6/1 - 6/9 0
6/10 1
6/11-6/12 0
6/13 3
6/14 8
6/15

22

6/16 8
6/17 4
6/18 9
6/19 19
6/20 28
6/21 14
6/22 61
6/23 25
6/24 169
6/25 88
6/26 207
6/27 487
6/28 195
6/29 280
6/30 245
7/1 276
7/2 244
7/3 391
7/4 189
7/5 130
7/6 560
7/7 625
7/8 164
7/9 461
7/10 1014
7/11 884
7/12 664
7/13 397
7/14 413
7/15

298

7/16 184
7/17 454
7/18 539
7/19 236
7/20 263
7/21 131
7/22 266
7/23 170
7/24 414
7/25 71
7/26 43
7/27 100
7/28 138
7/29 473
7/30 80
7/31 43
8/1 80
8/2 34
8/3 24
8/4 35
8/5 111
8/6 109
8/7 62
8/8 39
8/9 19
8/10 8
8/11 26
8/12 22
8/13 19
8/14 0
8/15 58
8/16 20
8/17 2
8/18 2
8/19 17
8/20 14
8/21 10
8/22 14
Total Fish Trapped 12,919
Total number of fish transferred to lake 4,336

 

Baker Sockeye Counts Graph

Baker River Sockeye Salmon Trap Counts by Year

Year Trap Count
2018 17,577
2017 16,704
2016 24,989
2015 31,928
2014 13,788
2013 12,534
2012 28,410
2011 27,195
2010 14,239
2009 6,486
2008 3,211
2007 2,763
2006 8,325
2005 3,191
2004 9,106
2003 20,235
2002 4,021
2001 4,942
2000 10,384
1999 4,654
1998 13,187
1997 7,099
1996 7,769
1995 2,181
1994 15,991
1993 3,818
1992 2,443
1991 480
1990 1,977
1989 536
1988 818
1987 683
1986 542
1985 99
1984 358
1983 735
1982 1,869
1981 208
1980 499
1979 865
1978 2,716
1977 1,707
1976 1,518
1975 1,303
1974 3,611
1973 3,656
1972 10,031
1971 2,931
1970 821