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Great kokanee fishing predicted at Ririe Reservoir

Fisheries Biologists recently completed an annual sampling of the kokanee population at Ririe Reservoir and are pleased with what they found. “We estimated the majority of the fish we caught this year to be 1 year-old kokanee between 8 and 11 inches,” says Fisheries Biologist John Heckel. “Due to the high abundance of age-1 kokanee this year, catch rates should improve for anglers if they can find the right bait used at the right depth.”

Beginning in 2015, Fish and Game has annually sampled the kokanee population in Ririe Reservoir in early June. Gill nets are suspended in the thermocline, which is the transition zone between warm and cool water in the reservoir water column. In June, this thermocline layer is usually between 40 and 50 feet deep and is where kokanee will often suspend to forage on plankton. This year, the nets of Heckel and his crew sampled an abundance of kokanee in the 200-280 mm range (8-11 inches), with several kokanee measuring up to 17 inches.

This past ice fishing season anglers reported catch rates for kokanee at Ririe Reservoir to be slower than normal. However, by referring to trends over the past four years, Heckel anticipates anglers will have the opportunity for some great kokanee fishing this winter and into next summer, with plenty of kokanee to be had that are above the 12 inch mark.