Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 7125
Title: Sonic tags in sockeye salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka, give travel time through metropolitan waters
Author: Kenneth L. Liscom
Publication Year: 1973
Journal: Marine Fisheries Review
Volume: 35
Issue: 9
Pages: 38-41

Sonic tags were inserted in the stomachs of sockeye salmon returning from the Pacific Ocean to a large lake (3 × 30 km; 80 m deep) adjacent to Seattle, Wash.  These fish contribute to a growing sport fishery, and State officials were concerned with their rates of travel through the waters of a metropolitan area.  Their travel route lay between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, a distance of about 10.5 km.

From initial plantings in the 1930s, returns of sockeye salmon to Lake Washington rose from a few thousand fish to well over the 100,000 level in the past several years.  In 1971, estimates placed the returns at approximately 250,000 fish.

To enter the lake from Puget Sound, fish must travel through the Lake Washington Ship Canal, including parts of Lake Union.  Because the Canal is a relatively shallow passageway, surrounded by heavy industrial and urban development, the Washington State Department of Fisheries (WDF) was concerned that the migration of the fish might be delayed or subjected to harmful environmental conditions.

To determine travel time of the sockeye salmon from the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks into Lake Washington, a study was made in the summer of 1971 by the Northwest Fisheries Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, in cooperation with WDF.

Notes: darkened copy at