"We hoped we could get returns equivalent to what you'd expect to see from a hatchery," said Thomas Flagg, a researcher at NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center. "We've seen the population respond even better than that, which bodes well for the idea that the lakes can produce the juveniles you'd want to see to get to recovery."
Considering the lackluster results of other salmon hatchery programs, the success of the Snake River sockeye is even more impressive. When Atlantic salmon failed to return to the Connecticut River, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put the salmon hatchery program on hold after 40 years of effort in the northeast.
Salmon redds, or spawning nests, have shown a steady increase in Redfish Lake.