The first two Redfish Lake sockeye salmon of 2007 have returned to the Sawtooth Valley.
Two adults, one male and one female, were trapped in late July at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Sawtooth Fish Hatchery adult trap on the Salmon River in Stanley and taken to the Eagle Fish Hatchery.
The Redfish Lake sockeye salmon was listed as an endangered species in 1991 and recovery efforts involving state, federal and tribal entities have been underway since then to preserve genetic resources and prevent extinction. The Redfish Lake sockeye stock is unique to the Pacific Northwest - noted for being the farthest-migrating sockeye salmon, traveling more than 900 river miles, to the highest elevation at 7,000 feet above sea-level, and the southern-most spawning population of sockeye salmon in the world.
Hatchery employees trapped a male sockeye 21inches long, 2 pounds 15.7 ounces, and transported it to the Eagle hatchery for pre-spawn rearing and observation on July 23. They also trapped a female, 21.25 inches long, 3 pounds 1 ounce, on July 28. It was taken to the hatchery on July 30 for pre-spawn rearing and observation.
Researchers at the Eagle Fish Hatchery don't know the ages of the fish yet, but they have taken scales from the each sockeye and further analysis will indicate the age of the individuals. Fish deposit "growth rings" on scales as they age - similar to growth rings on a tree.
Both fish were "unmarked" with no external or internal tags and no fin clips.
They are the offspring of one of three potential sources: