Saturday, February 5, 2011
February 5, 2011 : Sockeye Salmon
Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), also called red salmon or blueback salmon in the USA, is an anadromous species of salmon found in the Northern Pacific Ocean and rivers discharging into it. There are also completely landlocked populations of the same species, which are known as the kokanee. Sockeye salmon is the third most common Pacific salmon species, after pink and chum salmon. The name "sockeye" is believed to be a folk adaptation of the anglicization of sθə́qəy̓, its name in Halkomelem, the language of the indigenous people along the lower reaches of the Fraser River.
Some sockeye live and reproduce in lakes and are called "kokanee", a word in the Okanagan language for this kind of fish. They are much smaller than the ones that go to the ocean and are rarely over 350 millimetres (14 in) long. In Okanagan Lake and many others there are two kinds of kokanee populations - one spawns in streams and one spawns in the lake near the shore. As an aside, the Kokanee Glacier gets its name from Kokanee Creek, which enters Kootenay Lake near Nelson, British Columbia (see Kokanee).
Sockeye salmon ranges as far south as the Columbia River in the eastern Pacific (though individuals have been spotted as far south as the 10 Mile River on the Mendocino Coast of California) and northern Hokkaidō Island in Japan in the western Pacific, and as far north as Bathurst Inlet in the Canadian Arctic in the east and the Anadyr River in Siberia in the west. Landlocked populations occur in the Yukon Territory and British Columbia in Canada, and in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, New York, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming in the United States. Nantahala Lake is the only spot in North Carolina where kokanee salmon are found. The fish, which is native to the western United States, was stocked in Nantahala Lake in the mid-1960s by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission in an attempt to establish the species as a forage fish for other predator fishes in the lake. This stock has remained and become a favorite target for anglers.