sockeye salmon underwater

Sockeye (Red) salmon running up river to spawn.  One of the purposes of the park is to protect spawning grounds for salmon.

D. Young/NPS


Lake Clark National Park and Preserve was established in part to protect salmon and their habitat. Salmon are the keystone to the ecosystem - they are eaten by sea mammals, bears, and people. After they spawn, die, and begin to decay, other fish and microscopic organisms turn their carcasses into energy. Without salmon, Lake Clark would be like a house without electricity.

Salmon spawn in all major rivers and streams from June through September. Species include king, sockeye, chum, coho, and pink. An estimated 1.5 million to 6 million sockeye salmon enter the Lake Clark watershed each year through the Newhalen River. This commercially valuable salmon run accounts for approximately 10% of the total Bristol Bay salmon cannery. Sockeye salmon depend on spawning and rearing habitat of the Kijik, Tazimina and other major rivers that empty into Lake Clark and Sixmile Lake.

Sport fish in the Lake Clark area include arctic char, arctic grayling, Dolly varden, northern pike, lake trout, rainbow trout, and sockeye and coho salmon. In winter, local residents catch burbot and whitefish through the ice. Check out our sport fishing information.


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