While numbers of returning sockeye salmon aren’t as high as in the last few years, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has decided to go ahead with a recreational fishery on Osoyoos Lake for the fourth year in a row.
Starting Aug. 1, fishers working the north basin of Osoyoos Lake (north of the bridge at Highway 3) may keep two sockeye per day. The DFO hasn’t set a closing date yet, but a review of sockeye numbers and environmental conditions in the lake will be conducted by Aug. 12 to determine the duration of the fishery.
While numbers appear to be down from the nearly 400,000 that made it over Wells Dam and into the Okanagan basin in 2012, the run is still far ahead of where it was in the early ‘90s, before the Okanagan Nation Alliance began their restoration program, when only 3,000 to 5,000 sockeye made the return journey.
As of July 30, 184,751 sockeye passed Bonneville dam, with 74,451 continuing to pass Wells Dam.
In the past couple of years, Sockeye have made it as far as Skaha Lake, and are expected to do so again. However, the opening contains a notice that no salmon fishing is allowed in Skaha.