Species affected: Kokanee (landlocked sockeye salmon).
Locations: Cle Elum Lake (Reservoir) and Cooper Lake in Kittitas County.
Reason for action: The Yakama Nation and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are continuing the pilot reintroduction study of anadromous (sea-going) sockeye salmon in the upper Cle Elum Basin that began in 2009. This year approximately 9,500 adult sockeye salmon trapped at Priest Rapids Dam on the Columbia River have been released into Cle Elum Lake. An additional 500 sockeye have been transported to Cooper Lake near Salmon La Sac. Few anadromous sockeye are smaller than 16 inches and few landlocked kokanee are greater than 12 inches, therefore, a 14-inch maximum size limit will allow kokanee fisheries in both lakes to proceed without inadvertently harvesting adult sockeye dedicated to the reintroduction effort and needed for natural spawning in the fall.
The 7-inch minimum size for retention will protect juvenile anadromous sockeye rearing in the two lakes from being inadvertently harvested before they migrate to the ocean.
Other information: The daily limit in Lake Cle Elum remains the same (16 kokanee), see Page 87 in the 2012-13 sport fishing rules pamphlet. The daily limit for all trout (including kokanee) remains five fish in Cooper Lake.
Information contacts: Eric Anderson, District 8 fish biologist, (509) 457-9301 (Yakima) or John Easterbrooks, regional Fish Program manager, (509) 457-9330.