Outdoors

It's official: survey confirms Dworshak kokanee bonanza

Kokane of good sizes were sampled by Idaho Fish and Game Department surveyors at Dworshak Reservoir in April 2013. (Idaho Department of Fish and Game)
Kokane of good sizes were sampled by Idaho Fish and Game Department surveyors at Dworshak Reservoir in April 2013. (Idaho Department of Fish and Game)

FISHING — Fisheries biologists made an educated guess earlier this month that kokanee fishing at Dworshak Reservoir and other regional waters would be in top form this season. See story.

Now Idaho Fish and Game Department biologists have finished trawling surveys that confirm their optimism.

Joe DuPont, regional fisheries manager in Lewiston explains:   

IFG completed its spring trawl survey on April 10.  The 2-year old kokanee (the ones we mostly catch) ranged from about 9 to 11 inches in length and were fat and healthy looking.  These fish were as big as we’ve ever caught this time of year, and were about a half inch longer than what we caught last year at this time. 

For this survey, we sampled from the Dam to Evans Creek (halfway between Dent Bridge and Grandad Bridge).  Interestingly, the lowest catches were near the Dam, and catches tended to increase as we moved up reservoir, especially upstream of Magnus Bay.  So, if you are having troubles catching kokanee this spring, you may want to try farther up reservoir then you typically do.  

Based on trawl counts, it appears that kokanee abundance will be on the low side again this year, so it should shape up to be another year of fewer, but bigger fish.

If you’re a bass fisherman, it’s almost time to start looking for smallmouth bass on the lower end of the reservoir.  Smallmouth bass tend to get active when water temperatures reach 50°F.  During our trawl, the surface temperatures on the lower end ranged from 48 to just below 50°F and a thermocline has already developed in some areas.  So get ready, bass should be getting hungry any time now. 




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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