September 16, 2006 in Idaho

Handle Extra features new weather column

The Spokesman-Review

The Spokesman-Review debuts a local weather column for Kootenai County subscribers today. It appears on Page 2 of the Handle Extra section.

The weekly column is by Michelle Boss, who has a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and has been a freelance meteorologist for KREM-2. Weather is a common topic in her family: Her husband is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Spokane.

Boss will help readers understand what’s happening in local weather, provide historical context and give short-range and long-range forecasts. In today’s column, she discusses the transition from summer to fall and even hints at the first signs of winter.

– From staff reports

Lake Coeur d’Alene

State considering limits on kokanee

Record low numbers of kokanee in Lake Coeur d’Alene has prompted state officials to consider closing or limiting the fishery.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials plan to make a recommendation Monday. Anglers can e-mail their thoughts on the proposals this weekend.

Summer population estimates indicate there are 23,200 mature kokanee in the lake and another 66,700 two-year-old fish that would be next year’s spawners. Normally, kokanee number several hundred thousand mature fish and over a million two-year-old fish during the July trawl estimate.

The state is considering two options:

• Close the kokanee fishery lakewide.

• Close it on the north end of the lake, from Arrow Point north, and set a limit of six kokanee in the rest of the lake. The limit now is 25.

Kokanee should bounce back quickly if the fishery is closed or limited, biologists say. The number of kokanee fry and year-old fish are near normal levels.

Several factors have led to the low numbers. Initially, record floods in 1996-97 flushed many fish out of the lake. Reduced numbers of kokanee resulted in a dramatic increase in the size of the fish: 14-16 inches long instead of 10-11. The larger size drew more kokanee anglers, and the harvest increased. The lake was the top fishery in the state in 2003, largely due to the big kokanee.

Chinook salmon, which prey on young kokanee, also increased in numbers in recent years. From 1998 to 2001, the average number of wild and hatchery chinook combined was about 29,000 fish a year. From 2002 to 2006, the number of chinook increased to 69,000 a year, and more young kokanee were being eaten.

Officials plan to make a decision quickly because fall is when kokanee are especially vulnerable to fishing pressure. Send comments to

– From staff reports

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