Trout Unlimited hosts Run with the Kokanee

September 17, 2013

By Staff

On Oct. 19, the Bellevue-Issaquah chapter of Trout Unlimited will host its second annual Run with the Kokanee.

The race is a 5K and 10K run and walk through Lake Sammamish State Park, beginning at 9 a.m., and proceeds from the registration will go to support Trout Unlimited’s efforts to conserve the kokanee salmon.

Trout Unlimited works frequently with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife to help count the number of fish in Lake Sammamish during spawning season. Over the past five years, Trout Unlimited has seen record lows in number of kokanee, according to Mark Taylor, who is in charge of conservation and education efforts for Trout Unlimited.

The final counts have hovered between 50 and 100 kokanee for the past five years, and have even dropped as low as 35. But last year, Trout Unlimited and the Department of Fish and Wildlife counted 14,000 Kokanee, which Taylor says is the combined result of environmental factors and conservation efforts.

“They were the first returns from our supplementation program,” Taylor said, referring to last year’s kokanee count. “We think all the environmental conditions came together. Everything seemed to work perfectly.”

Apart from just counting the fish, Trout Unlimited works to educate the public about the plight of the kokanee. It has worked with local Boy Scout troops to put signage with information about the kokanee up at Lake Sammamish State Park.

One of the main problems is that the kokanee, which fishermen are not allowed to retain, look a lot like trout, which fishermen can retain. Trout Unlimited also works to open and re-channel streams, and even started a petition to get the kokanee listed as an endangered species.

Last year, more than 60 people came out to Lake Sammamish for the Run with the Kokanee. Taylor said that this year, they are expecting between 100 and 150 people. There is no age limit; in 2012, runners ranged from 6 to 72, Taylor said.

Learn more at www.tu-bi.org.

 

On the Web

Registration is open online at http://bit.ly/154QuBJ, and is $28.98 for the 5K race and $34.21 for the 10K race. Day-of-race registration will also be available.

 

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