Sockeye are one of the favoured fish for consumption in the Stó:lō territory. The wind-drying conditions in August are perfect for drying fish, requiring no smoking. During normal spring salmon spawning, the sockeye runs were used to collect fish oil, which was used much in the same manner that margarine is used today. These fish were usually caught earliest in the spawning season, as the oil content of the fish is highest early in the run.
Typical sockeye are greenish-blue with black speckles, changing to light-green heads, bright-red body, and dark jaws when spawning. They can reach a maximum of 84 centimetres and 7 kilograms. Sockeye are a unique example of the anadromous fish, as they can spend up to two years in fresh water before heading out to sea. Sockeye spawn in rivers headed by lakes, and once the fingerlings hatch, they move into these large freshwater bodies for up to a year to mature and prepare for the journey to the sea.