Idaho News 6 —
It’s one of the most scenic places in Idaho – a lake that was named for an amazing fish.
“That’s how it got it’s name,” said Stanley Resident Tom Stuart. “Redfish Lake is named for the red fish, the sockeye salmon that return here. In the 1890s biologists reported as many and 150 thousand sockeye salmon returning to the Stanley Basin.”
But in 1909 the Sunbeam Consolidated Mining Company dumped 300 tons of concrete in the river, building the Sunbeam Dam to generate power for its mining operation on the Yankee Fork, and suddenly, the sockeye’s migration to and from the Pacific Ocean was totally blocked. A year later, the mine shut down, but the barrier remained in the river.
In the mid 1930s the state and concerned anglers blasted a hole in Sunbeam Dam, and while some thought it was too late for sockeye salmon, nature had provided a way for them to rebound.