Named for the First Nations word for chief, “Sau-Kai,” sockeye have always been valued along the Pacific Coast. They begin their 4-year lifecycle in freshwater streams, migrate to the Pacific Ocean, and then return to streams to spawn and die, providing an important food source for bears, eagles and other animals.
Populations are in serious decline; theories attribute sea lice from farmed salmon, warming waters, changes to the food supply, or a combination of several factors.
Unlike anadromous sockeyes, smaller kokanees remain in freshwater for their entire lives. They occur naturally where sockeye no longer have access and have also been stocked in a number of cold, high-elevation lakes.
saltwater and freshwater habitats