Why is it more important to keep the Red Fish Lake Sockeye Native and not just plant other Sockeye with them so we can finally have another run of salmon in Idaho for the good people of Idaho.
Very good question and one our agency has explored in the past.
The sockeye that return to the Stanley Basin run the longest distance inland of any sockeye population in the world. Back in the early 1980's, IDFG staff went to Babine Lake in northern British Columbia, Canada and took eggs from sockeye at that location. The fish were then reared and released in the Stanley Basin to begin their migration to the ocean. This was done for two consecutive years. Not a single adult sockeye returned to the Stanley Basin lakes from this experiment.
We surmise that something in the genetic makeup of these fish just didn't allow them to make the over 900 mile freshwater journey back to Idaho. We're not sure if they didn't have the capability to detect the tiny fraction of water from their release stream in the Columbia River or they just weren't capable of storing the fat reserves to give them energy to survive the long swim - bottom line was, they just never made it back to Idaho.