Fish counters at Seattle’s Ballard Locks are staying busy as a strong run of sockeye salmon continues to build and the big rush is still days away.
4,638 sockeye passed through the fish ladder at the Locks Wednesday, bringing the eight-day total to 23,089. Those numbers are big improvements over the last two years and are in line with the some of the larger runs of the past.
But it is far short of the 350,000 fish needed before fish managers will open a sockeye season on Lake Washington. That hasn’t happened since 2006.
Early expectations were for a run of nearly 100,000 this year but the run started off stronger than anticipated.
The sockeye are attracting big crowds as they pass by the viewing window at the fish ladder en-route to Lake Washington and their native Cedar River.
Next year’s run should be even more robust with the return of the first generation of sockeye raised at a new hatchery.