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Storm kills 10,000 Koocanusa kokanee

 The emerald green waters of 90-mile-long Lake Koocanusa attract campers to Rexford Bench Campground, in the Kootenai National Forest west of Eureka, Mont. 
 
 (Janet Boehme)
The emerald green waters of 90-mile-long Lake Koocanusa attract campers to Rexford Bench Campground, in the Kootenai National Forest west of Eureka, Mont. (Janet Boehme)

FISHING -- News about the impacts of that huge thunderstorm system that rumbled through the region on Aug. 25 keep rolling in.

An algae bloom combined with the fast-moving storm killed at least 10,000 kokanee salmon in Lake Koocanusa in northwestern Montana.

State fisheries biologist Mike Hensler tells the Missoulian that previous hot, calm weather caused the water on the top of the lake to warm, allowing algae to bloom.

The Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks says the Aug. 25 storm brought strong winds that moved the algae deeper into the water, where it was ingested by salmon.

FWP spokesman John Fraley says the fish became disoriented after ingesting toxic blue-green algae and came to the surface. They were unable to dive back into cooler water and were killed by the warm surface water.

Fraley says the die-off of the 8- to 10-inch salmon affected a small portion of what will be next year’s adults.

Other impacts of that big storm system include:

Camper killed by falling tree near Priest Lake

Forest Service closes Beaver Creek Campground because of hazardous trees

Free firewood available at campgrounds as crews drop hazardous trees




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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