Scientific Information


Scientific Name: Onchorhychus nerka
Nsyilxcen Name: Scwin
Common Name: Okanagan Sockeye Salmon


Historically the Okanagan Sockeye was one of twelve sockeye stocks making up the Columbia River aggregate. Currently, over 80% of the Columbia Sockeye originate from the Okanagan, and the balance from Wenatchee River (19%) and Snake River (<1%). The Okanagan Sockeye are in recovery mode with recent mean five-year escapements exceeding 100,000 adults per year.

In fact, the only natural sockeye spawning grounds existing in the Columbia Basin are in the Okanagan River (15km total, proximate to Oliver BC, Canada). Cumulative benefits resulting from re-engineering adult fish passage at McIntyre Dam (and Skaha Dam, pending), ORRI (Okanagan River Restoration Initiative, spawning side channel construction), hatchery outplants into Skaha Lake (800,000 per year), and real time fish-water management decision tools assisting water managers with scheduled flow releases have contributed to smolt-to- adult survival rates that have ranged from 7-25% compared to 1-3% survival rates, prior to these initiatives (Pre-2003).