Currently, no viable population of sockeye salmon exists in the Elwha River. A population of Kokanee, the landlocked form of sockeye, now inhabits Lake Sutherland. There currently is no hatchery program for sockeye in the river.
The preferred restoration strategy for Elwha sockeye is natural recolonization by Lake Sutherland Kokanee. The period required for this is uncertain. It will begin when the two dams blocking lake access are fully removed, reestablishing upstream and downstream access to Lake Sutherland, making inward and outward migration feasible for the Kokanee now inhabiting the lake. In order to encourage recovery, it may be necessary to curtail recreational fisheries in Lake Sutherland for a period of years.
Complete Restoration Plan (200-page PDF):
Ward, L., P. Crain, B. Freymond, M. McHenry, D. Morrill, G. Pess, R. Peters, J.A. Shaffer, B. Winter, and B. Wunderlich. 2008. Elwha River Fish Restoration Plan – Developed pursuant to the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act, Public Law 102-495. U.S. Dept. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-NWFSC-90, 168 p.