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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

July 1, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Lake Washington sockeye count of 98,428 now surpasses preseason forecast

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(People gather to watch as hundreds of sockeye mill in the Locks fish viewing window on Saturday, June 29. Photo by Mark Yuasa.)

The Lake Washington sockeye counts really began to ramp up the past two days at the Ballard Locks fish ladder, and has now surpassed the preseason forecast.

The updated run size of 98,428 sockeye through Sunday, June 30 is still almost 40,000 more fish ahead of the 2006 run during this same time frame, which was the last time a sport fishery was held in the large urban watershed. The preseason forecast is 96,866.

Last summer’s return of 145,815 waxed the preseason forecast of 45,871, and more than 20-million fry were released into the lake earlier this spring.

State and tribal fish managers are meeting soon to possibly provide an inseason run size update, and the peak time is between July 4 and July 12.

At this point the forecast falls well short of the 350,000 spawning escapement needed before any fisheries can be considered. Some believe the return this summer will fall between 200,000 and 325,000. The 2010 fry outmigration from the Cedar River was only 17 million, and those would be the adults returning this season.

Single-day counts have looked like this since counting began on June 12 it was 2,778; June 13, 2,424; June 14, 1,285; June 15, 2,430; June 16, 3,081; June 17, 3,603; June 18, 3,851; June 19, 4,638; June 20, 2,961; June 21, 3,296; June 22, 10,782; June 23, 12,936; June 24, 4,545; June 25, 6,021; June 26, 5,577; June 27, 4,641; June 28 5,314; and then it really began to build steam with Saturday (June 29) going to 9,084; and by Sunday it climbed to 9,182.

Just to compare, here are the cumulative totals of counting from past years:

2006: 247; 803; 1,217, 1,975; 2,606; 3,179; 4,656; 6,623; 9,660; 12,785; 16,162; 20,840; 24,030; 29,158; 33,407; 37,917; 44,168; 53,334; and 60,808 (453,543 was the final season total).

2007: 412; 892; 1,343; 2,058; 2,907; 3,467; 4,302; 6,595; 8,390; 9,795; 11,048; 13,013; 15,484; 17,604; 20,824; 22,692; 24,033; 26,148; and 27,196 (69,271 was the final season total).

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(Swarms of sockeye in the Locks fish viewing window. Photo by Mark Yuasa)

2008: 236; 570, 894; 1,411; 1,774; 2,173; 2,785; 3,653; 4,530; 5,437; 6,577; 8,439; 9,752; 11,068; 11,564; 13,558; 15,509; 16,781; and 17,910 (33,702 was the final season total).

2009: 299; 825; 1,322; 1,797; 2,425; 2,880; 3,520; 3,931; 4,394; 5,064; 6,190; 7,057; 7,686; 8,156; 8,702; 9,414; 10,279; 11,296; and 12,124 (22,166 was the final season total).

2011: 304; 563; 866; 1,218; 1,866; 2,512; 3,134; 3,452; 4,177; 5,319; 6,297; 7,221; 9,175; 11,011; 12,531; 13,794; 14,659; 14,969; and 15,217 (43,724 was the final season total).

2012: 1,633; 2,320; 2,852; 5,035; 8,097; 9,821; 11,337; 13,577; 19,999; 23,546; 25,385; 27,628; 31,368; 37,191; 38,971; 42,701; 47,781; 50,565; and 57,094 (145,815 was the final season total).

The last time Lake Washington was open for sport sockeye fishing was 2006 for 18 days with a return of 458,005 fish, the longest since 1996 when it was open 25 days. Other dates a fishery was held included 2004, 2002, 2000 and 1996.

There have been ongoing talks between state and tribal fisheries managers about lowering the minimum spawning escapement goal. Some would like to see it as low as 150,000 to 200,000. State fisheries sources have indicated that talks have been active between co-managers.

 

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