A Forest Service fish tech collects biological samples from a sockeye salmon in the Redoubt Lake weir. Manager Chris Leeseberg says that beginning in about 2000, juvenile sockeye began leaving the lake after rearing for only one year, rather than two — a sign that the lake fertilization program was working. (USFS photo)

Despite a slow start, the Redoubt Lake sockeye fishery is on its way toward another good season. US Forest Service biologist Chris Leeseberg, who manages the program, says he expects over 40,000 fish to pass through the weir before the end of August. Redoubt Lake has been fertilized by the Forest Service since 1982. Leeseberg discusses the lake’s unusual characteristics (the bottom two-thirds are salt water!) and the biology of sockeye with KCAW’s Robert Woolsey.

Forest Service techs count fish one-at-a-time as they pass through the “picket weir” at the top of Redoubt Falls. Although the weir is supposed to be “fish tight,” occasionally a bear will damage it. (USFS photo)