Posts tagged: Dworshak Reservoir
FISHING — Lake Coeur d'Alene is ranked the best Northwest bass fishing lake and No. 11 in the nation in the new Bassmasters magazine rankings of the top 100 bass fisheries in the United States.
No. 1 in Bassmasters 2013 rankings is Lake St. Clair, Michigan
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.
FISHING — Dworshak Reservoir’s kokanee fishery surprised anglers in 2012, as notoriously small kokanee finally showed some size. The fish were growing to the 13-inch range in response to the nutrient enhancement project Idaho Fish and Game and the Corps of Engineers have been conducting since 2007 to make up for the lack of feed in the reservoir’s deep waters.
This year – depending on overwinter survival that has yet to be determined — biologists expect twice as many two year-old fish in the fishery reaching even heftier sizes.
“The fish anglers are catching right now are running about 10-11 inches long,” Andy Dux, IFG biologist, said last week. “Those fish should be 12-15 inches long by this summer and be abundant enough to provide good catch rates.”
Here’s some science anglers can sink their teeth into: “Past research shows that as kokanee get larger, they are easier to catch,” Dux said.
The water fertilizing project was stalled in 2011 because of a lawsuit a citizen brought regarding its impacts on water quality. That resolved, the nutrient project resumed in 2012 and the fish appear to be responding.
Dworshak’s kokanee fishery picks up as water temperatures warm, with good fishing from spring through summer.
The trick at Dworshak is to follow the fish, which progressively move farther up the 54-mile reservoir during summer toward their fall spawning areas, Dux said.
In spring, most anglers launch at Big Eddy near the dam since the fishing is best in the lower reservoir upstream for about 10 miles.
As summer progresses, more anglers will launch at Dent Acres recreation facility 13-miles upstream from the dam to get into the good fishing.
BOATING — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir says the Dent Acres Campground has been opened for the season and campers are reserving sites for spring and summer using the www.recreation.gov reservation system.
The smallmout bass fishing can be good, and Idaho Fish and Game biologists predict this will be a great kokanee fishing season at the reservoir.
Reservations can be made for camping dates May 23 or later, though the campground opens on April 11 on a first-come, first-served basis.
BOATING — Most of the recreation facilities at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir are buttoning up for the winter.
Dam View, Grandad and Canyon Creek campgrounds, and Merrys Bay day-use area are closed for the season and will reopen in the spring 2013 as weather conditions allow.
Dent Acres campground will remain open until Dec. 15, weather permitting, to accommodate late-season hunters.
Big Eddy, Bruces Eddy and the fishing wall area below the dam will remain open for use during the winter season.
Roads accessing recreation areas can be challenging and icy during inclement weather.
Info: (208) 476-1255 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
FISHERIES — In an effort to improve the kokanee fishery in Dworshak Reservoir, the U.S. Corps of Engineers and Idaho Fish and Game are experiementing with “fertilizing” the waters.
This is a popular idea with some people, but not by others, including those who've filed a lawsuit claiming the nutrient supplementing has caused algae blooms.
The Columbia Basin Bulletin had an interesting dialogue on the issue. Click here to see two sides to a report the CBC had the previous week.
OUTDOORS PROGRAMS — Free nature-themed movie presentations are being presented this month, starting Friday at the Dworshak Dam Visitor Center near Orofino, Idaho.
Read on for the list of Friday and Sunday programs, ranging from bugs to grizzlies.
To reserve a campsite go online to www.recreation.gov. Non-reservable sites are first-come, first-served. — Make camping reservations during August weekdays — Monday through Thursday — and get 50 percent off at facilities near Dworshak Dam managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Dent Acres Campground, with 42 reservable campsites and eight first-come first served, is a good example of a top-quality experience. Open April 7- November 30 (weather permitting), facilities include restrooms, showers, camping, group shelter, playground, day-use, picnicking, fishing, boat ramp and hiking trail. The campground is 20 miles north of Orofino, Idaho.
Info: Dworshak Natural Resources Management. Telephone:(208) 476-1261.
Other Corps recreational opportunities in the Walla Walla District: www.nww.usace.army.mil/corpsoutdoors
BOATING — With snowpack levels more than 130 percent of normal for the Dworshak Dam and Reservoir watershed area, regional water-management officials continue to hold Dworshak lake levels at 1,451 feet, which is 149 feet below full pool (1,600 feet).
That leaves a lot of shoreline to tramp up to the lake's many mini-camps.
But U.S.Corps of Engineers manaers say there's still plenty of recreation available at the reservoir untilthe runoff flows and enables them to bring levels back up.
Read on for details.
FISHING — Kokanee limits were lifted starting Saturday BELOW Dworshak Dam to give anglers a chance to harvest fish that are otherwise being sucked into the dam.
NOTE: My previous post erred by suggesting the limits were lifted in the reservoir. That's not so: The order targets only the spillage of kokanee through the dam.
With many dead and dying kokanee been flushed through Dworshak Dam, the bag and possession limits will be removed for kokanee in the North Fork Clearwater River and Clearwater River downstream of the North Fork in Clearwater County March 12-May 15, Idaho Fish and Game announced this afternoon.
While anglers can take home as many kokanee as they can carry, the fish may only be taken by rod and reel, dip net or by hand. AnIdaho fishing license is required.
Kokanee, which are a popular target of anglers fishing at Dworshak Reservoir, tend to congregate near the dam during winter. When mountain snowpacks are abundant and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dumps water to make room from spring runoff, the fish are susceptible to being washed downstream.
At this point, the number of kokanee being flushed is not expected to have a large influence on next year’s fishery, IFG biologists say.