Kokanee

(Oncorphynucus nerka)

Kokanee are populations of sockeye salmon residing year-round in lakes, typically land-locked ones. Kokanee tend to be smaller in size than other sockeye because food sources are limited in lakes. They average between 10 and 18 inches in length and weigh from one to four pounds. Kokanee have similar markings and coloration to sockeye, with their bright silver sides, bluish-black tops and white bellies. Prior to spawning, kokanee will turn bright red with green heads and the males will also develop a humped back and hooked jaw.  Here in Whatcom County, the native Lake Whatcom kokanee stock is enhanced through hatchery operations.  Eggs from Lake Whatcom kokanee are used to stock lakes through the United States.