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Nisqually Fish Programs

Kokanee Fishery


Get hooked on kokanee

Tacoma Power plants up to 500,000 kokanee in Alder Lake each spring to provide you with fishing opportunities. Kokanee are landlocked sockeye salmon that live in Alder Lake for two to three years before spawning in the area's streams.

Alder Lake is:

Headed to Alder Lake to fish? Download our Kokanee Fishing Brochure.

We began stocking kokanee in Alder Lake in 1999, although releases of kokanee historically took place at Alder Lake in the 1950s.

We study the fishery to learn how to make it more successful. Tacoma Power's fisheries staff collects information from Alder Lake anglers and performs spawning surveys of Alder Lake tributaries.


Salmon Habitat Enhancement

Before Alder Dam and LaGrande Dam were built, a natural barrier that is now beneath LaGrande reservoir prevented fish from migrating upstream. That means it wasn’t necessary to install fish ladders at the dams.

Tacoma Power releases water from LaGrande Dam into the Nisqually River to enhance the fish habitat downstream of the dam.

  • Released flows are higher than naturally occurring flows in the summer and fall months.
  • The flows create more spawning habitat for Chinook and coho salmon.
  • The released water allows fish to distribute more broadly throughout the river, providing more habitats for fish to use.

In addition, Tacoma Power fully funds the operation of the Nisqually Tribe's Clear Creek Hatchery. This hatchery produces approximately four million Chinook smolts and one million coho smolts each year.

These plants result in adult returns to the hatchery of approximately 12,000 adult Chinook and up to 4,000 adult coho annually.


Warm Water Fishery

Alder Lake also provides exceptional angling opportunities for warm water species. Fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie and yellow perch.