Field reports: North Idaho’s ‘year of the kokanee’ includes Hayden Lake
FISHING – Kokanee are either reviving or flourishing in one of the most encouraging seasons in years for the popular sport fish in North Idaho. Highlights include:
• Lake Pend Oreille kokanee numbers have rebounded enough to open the first season since 1999.
• Dworshak Reservoir is producing the best fishing in years for numbers and size.
• Lake Coeur d’Alene has good numbers kokanee in the 10- to 11-inch range.
But the newest buzz stems from the 100,000 kokanee planted two years ago in Hayden Lake.
Consistent catches of kokanee in the range of 14-16 inches have been reported – big enough to crank the reel of any angler who prizes the landlocked sockeye salmon.
The growth of the 2011 plant has been impressive, and the 100,000 kokanee released in the lake last year are already 9 to 11 inches.
In the past 20 years, most of the fishing effort has been concentrated along the shorelines for bass, northern pike and crappie, said Jim Fredericks, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager.
Stocking kokanee will help make use of open water in the middle of the lake. Kokanee are filling a void by taking advantage of the rich populations of zooplankton and Mysis shrimp, he said.
Kokanee have survived better to provide a more consistent troll fishery than trout, he said, noting the agency hasn’t given up on trout.
Most anglers are catching no more than six fish a day, although the daily limit is 15.
Meeting on cabins at Lake Roosevelt
PARKS – The issue of vacation cabins on public land within the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation area will be revisited in a public meeting set by the National Park Service, 6 p.m. on Thursday at the Colville Campus of the Community Colleges of Spokane.
Surveys conducted by the University of Idaho will be presented dealing with the park’s effort to bring the cabins – some of which have been developed into homes – into compliance with park rules.
Wilderness attracting volunteers for projects
TRAILS – Two friends groups are hosting volunteers to improve access or restore habitat in three of the region’s choice backcountry areas.
• Friends of the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness have a full schedule ranging from guided hikes to trail-building northeast of Lake Pend Oreille. Check them out: scotchmanpeaks.org
• The Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation connects people with wilderness in volunteer projects ranging from controlling weeds to hosting fire lookouts.
Check them out: selwaybitterroot.org/volunteer
Rainier’s highest stools being upgraded
PARKS – The highest outhouses in Washington are being upgraded this summer in Mount Rainier National Park.
The composting privy is at Camp Muir, 10,000 feet, a destination for hikers as well as climbers heading to the mountain’s 14,410-foot peak.
The tab for the four johns, including helicopter delivery, is about $200,000.