For those of you who are not familiar with this magnificent “little red fish,” as they were known to the Snoqualmie People, the kokanee is a land-locked sockeye salmon. Meaning: these are sockeye salmon which do not migrate to the ocean, but instead spend their entire lifecycle in freshwater, inhabiting the waters of Lake Sammamish and Lake Washington. During the spawning season, kokanee turn a brilliant red and green as they migrate to local creeks.
The Snoqualmie People have lived in the southern Salish Sea region for time immemorial, for as long as the earth and waters remember. While, historically, kokanee once filled local spawning creeks to capacity and in such numbers that they enabled native people to inhabit Lake Sammamish year-round, today, for a number of reasons, their drastically low numbers are a call to action for all of us. The Snoqualmie People are answering that call and partnering with The Kokanee Work Group to fight for the survival of these magnificent red fish. The The Snoqualmie Tribe has created a wonderful, historical and informative online presentation which describes their history in the region and the importance of preserving the kokanee of Lake Sammamish.