Fish & Wildlife | Ecotrope

Lonesome Larry has bragging rights

Ecotrope | July 25, 2010 7:33 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:48 p.m.

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sockeye-salmon

Page 5 of U.S. Government Printing Office Pamphlet 1996-792-501: Lake Washington Ship Canal Fish Ladder

Drawing of male freshwater phase Sockeye (red) salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

The Columbia River sockeye run is huge this year. Its the biggest on record with 250,000 fish crossing the Rocky Reach Dam in Wenatchee, Wash.

Think how big ol’ Lonesome Larry’s head must be by now. He was the only sockeye to make it back to Idaho in 1992. Many of the fish swimming back today are his descendants, thanks to copious amounts of hatchery breeding.

Of course, it wasn’t all Larry’s doing. Hydroelectric dam projects that improve fish passage and stellar ocean conditions have also boosted survival.

The result has been a healthy bump for commercial fishermen in the Yakama Tribe this year. Non-tribal commercial gillnetters are wondering if they, too, might get a chance to fish them in the future.

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