More than 1,000 kokanee have washed up on the northern half of Okanagan Lake shores since May 25.
At this point, the die-off is not severe enough to have a significant effect on Okanagan Lake’s overall kokanee population. Last year, biologists counted more than 180,000 spawning kokanee on the lake, which was considered equivalent to the average return over the past 10 years.
Samples from the current die-off have been sent to the Provincial Animal Health Centre, where they are being tested for disease. Results are expected within the next two weeks, and more information will be shared at that time.
According to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, kokanee are landlocked sockeye salmon and are second only to rainbow trout as the most popular game fish in B.C.
Kokanee populations in Okanagan Lake are threatened by several factors, including interactions with introduced species, climatic variability and habitat loss.