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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Monday, September 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Lake Pend Oreille’s kokanee comeback

A once-popular Lake Pend Oreille angling season is making a comeback in 2013 after a multi-million-dollar decade of controversial efforts to revive fabled kokanee and trout fisheries from the brink of collapse. After kokanee -- landlocked sockeye salmon -- were washed downstream into Pend Oreille by a 1933 flood, they became a wildly popular fishery in numbers large enough to support commercial fisheries. Gerrard-strain rainbows were planted in the lake in 1941 and the trophy fish grew rapidly on the feast of kokanee. The world record rainbow was caught in Pend Oreille in 1947 and the world record bull trout (a native fish) in 1949. But kokanee began declining significantly the 1960s. Scientists say the leading causes are the fluctuating lake levels caused by winter power demands through Albeni Falls Dam (built in 1955) and the 1966-69 introduction of mysis shrimp, which biologists later learned compete with juvenile kokanee for nutrients. These photos help tell the story of fame, fall and revival.