Metaline Falls, WA - Thousands of Kokanee Salmon are running 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 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 site; come from Highway 31 south of Ione and 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 Sullivan Lake Ranger District at (509) 446-7500 or stop in for a brochure on the Kokanee. Harvey Creek is closed to fishing from the mouth to the second county bridge, and open above the second county bridge from June 1 through October 31. For complete fishing regulations on the web, go to: http://wdfw.wa.gov/