Since they prefer to spawn near lakeshores and tributaries of lakes, sockeye salmon had a much smaller range in the Elwha River than the other anadromous species. Historically, they would travel up the Elwha to Lake Sutherland and spawn along its gravel shores. The lake’s shoreline has the potential of supporting over 3,000 spawning fish. Construction of the Elwha dam made Lake Sutherland inaccessible to adults attempting to swim upstream. Fisheries biologists anticipate that "land-locked" sockeye, or kokanee, currently living in Lake Sutherland, will provide the source for new anadromous sockeye runs once the dams are removed.
—The red line represents the theoretical historic range of sockeye salmon in the Elwha River.