U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 140:716–733, 2011; DOI: 10.1080/00028487.2011.584491


We used the variation at 64 allozyme loci to examine genetic relationships among 32 samples of sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka and kokanee (resident sockeye salmon) from the Snake River basin and other North American locations. The genetic differentiation among populations was pronounced: Wright’s FST was higher (0.244) than has been reported in any other study of Pacific salmon. A detailed examination of the O. nerka from lakes in the Sawtooth Valley of Idaho was undertaken to help guide recovery planning for the endangered Redfish Lake population and to help resolve the relationships between the resident and anadromous forms. In Redfish Lake, adult sockeye salmon that returned in 1991–1993 were genetically distinct from local kokanee but similar to a small group of “residual” sockeye salmon discovered in the lake in 1992. This result is consistent with the hypothesis that the original sockeye salmon population was not extirpated by Sunbeam Dam early in this century. Populations of O. nerka that appear to be native to the Snake River were also found in Alturas Lake, Stanley Lake, and Warm Lake, although the latter two lakes also showed evidence of nonnative gene pools. Kokanee sampled from Pettit Lake are clearly the result of an introduction of late-spawning kokanee from northern Idaho, and we found evidence of two O. nerka gene pools in Wallowa Lake, both traceable to introductions of nonnative kokanee.