Posts tagged: kokanee fishing
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.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Kokanee provide two notable spectacles in this region for anglers and nonanglers alike:
Bald eagles flock to the Wolf Lodge Bay area of Lake Coeur d'Alene to feast on spawned out kokanee starting this month and peaking around Christmas. The spectacle attracts thousands of visitors to the Higgens Point are and the Wolf Lodge exit off I-90.
Sullivan Lake kokanee are running up Harvey Creek to spawn, providing a notably accessible viewing point from the bridge area at the south end of the lake.
I'll have much more about the eagles as they begin their congregation.
Read on for more details about the Sullivan Lake viewing opportunity that started this week.
FISHING — For the first time since 1999, anglers will be allowed to harvest kokanee in Lake Pend Oreille starting in 2013 under a fishing regulations adopted Thursday by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.
The popular fishery has rebounded enough under a fisheries recovery program to allow anglers to keep up to six kokanee a day.
The kokanee increase will allow a move back toward trophy rainbow trout management. A size and bag limit will be reinstated for rainbows: six rainbow trout, only one more than 20 inches long.
The $15 per rainbow angler incentive will no longer be in effect, but the $15 bounty remains in place for lake trout.
The new rules will go into effec Jan. 1.
Elsewhere in the Panhandle Region, the kokanee limit was lowered to six fish in Priest and Upper Priest lakes. In Lake Pend Oreille anglers are allowed to harvest six kokanee and six rainbow trout – only one more than 20 inches long.
Clark Fork river and tributaries; Pack River and tributaries; and Grouse Creek and tributaries will be closed to trout harvest from December 1 to the Friday before the Memorial Day weekend.