Columbia River Sockeye Off the Hook
The Sockeye Salmon numbers in the Methow Valley region are off the hook! Or, to be exact, they’re on our hooks.
Currently, there are over 20,000 Sockeye being observed and recorded over the Columbias Well’s Damm ~ per day. Wells is a check-point for salmon between headwaters and the ocean. These fish are counted by live people ~ 24 hours a day.
Largely a wild run fishery, the vast number of salmon are making national news and statistical records. This high mountain river run is one of the last of it’s kind in the entire country for wild river fish.
That’s according to our resident expert, my husband Wes, who is a Fisheries Biologist here in the Methow Valley for the Department of the Interior (U.S. Geological Survey). The sockeye percentage alone has increased in number to over 350% over the last ten years. That is fantastic news in terms of river health, and reflects positively on Dam management of fish populations.
Sockeye salmon and other wild fish run up the Columbia River to the the Okanogan River, then travel up to Lake Osoyus, B.C., to the Columbia’s origination. Wes mentioned after a successful day of fishing this week that the Okanogan River is truly impressive, even on an international level. It provides a major salmon resource for recreational anglers and Tribal sources.
Sockeye, Summer Chinook, and Stealhead are among the finest fish we gather locally for creating fresh, gourmet cuisine. But among those, fresh Sockeye are really the cream of the crop ~ in our humble opinion.
The Columbia River real time data access gives up to date statistics on fish to catch: http://www.cbr.washington.edu/dart/
After a good catch the last few days, we have 8 large Sockeye fillets in the freezer and tasted one off the grill last night. We grilled Sockeye fillets and tossed fresh baby green beans with cherry tomatoes from the garden.
~ Grilled Sockeye with Herb Butter ~
1 large sockeye salmon fillet
bunches of fresh herbs ~ Dill, oregano, chives, basil, terragon (you may also substitute your preferred combo of fresh herbs ~ rosemary, mint, sage, cilantro are good options).
3 Tablespoons butter
~Coat the fillet in extra virgin olive oil, top and bottom; sprinkle with fresh ground sea salt and pepper.
~Place fish on preheated grill, skin up, and seer for about 2 minutes; turn the fish skin down and seer for 5-7 minutes more.
~Remove from grill and top with herb-butter.
~ Green Bean & Cherry Tomato Salad with Feta & Herb~Lemon Vinaigrette ~
1 lb. fresh green beans
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup crumbled feta
~Boil 1 pound of green beans for 5 mintues then rinse in cool water; cut into 1 inch lengths.
~Toss with 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes and the lemon dressing and top with feta.
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cloves minced garlic
chopped fresh basil, about 1/2 cup
salt & pepper to taste