The Kokanee Salmon are Running on the Colville National Forest

Release Date: 

Media Contact: Starr Farrell (509) 684-7235

Colville, Wash., (Nov. 2, 2020)It’s time for cold weather and fall colors on the Colville National Forest. Come watch one of the best colors shows as thousands of Kokanee Salmon run up Harvey Creek, near Sullivan Lake. Huge schools of these bright red beauties can be seen from the bridge or creek bank. This intense and exciting event is important to the survival of the species, so please avoid harassing the fish or disturbing the streambed. The run typically peaks the middle of November and lasts until the middle of December.

The Salmon Run is comprised of three-year-old Sockeye Salmon leaving Sullivan Lake and swimming up Harvey Creek to find suitable spawning sites. From Harvey Creek’s banks or the bridge, the fish are visible as they separate from the schools and pair up with mates. Females dig a redd (deposit site) to lay eggs and within a few days die. Their decaying bodies provide nutrients to the creek and Sullivan Lake vital to the growth of plankton and insect life that will feed next year’s young. The dying salmon also feed animals like bald eagles, raccoons, and mink. Kokanee eggs hatch in February and remain in the gravel until spring where they are swept away into Sullivan Lake to start another cycle.

To get to the south end of Sullivan Lake and the mouth of Harvey Creek; from Highway 31 south of Ione, take County Road 9345 toward the Sullivan Lake Ranger Station and Sullivan Lake. The bridge is at the south end of the lake. For a Kokanee status report call the Newport Ranger District at (509) 447-7300. Harvey Creek is closed to fishing from the mouth to the second county bridge (Bridge 4830), and open above the second county bridge from the first Saturday in June through October 31. For complete fishing regulations on the web, go to: http://wdfw.wa.gov/

For any additional questions feel free to contact the Colville National Forest online, or call (509) 684-7000. For the most current updates about the Colville National Forest, please follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/colvillenf/ and Twitter at  https://twitter.com/Colville_NF.