Upper Snake Blog

Sure Sign That Fall is Close

Kokanee Salmon add Color to Idaho Streams

As autumn approaches many outdoor adventurers enjoy watching a natural transformation that changes the look of Idaho’s high country; while the autumn sky is filled with the colors of changing leaves, so are many small Idaho streams filled with the color of spawning kokanee salmon.

Kokanee are a land-locked version of the anadromous sockeye salmon which spend most of their adult lives in the ocean then return to places like the Stanley Basin to spawn.  The domesticated kokanee planted in Idaho reservoirs and lakes originated in Washington state in the 1930’s and 40’s.  They have been successfully introduced into many lakes and reservoirs around Idaho including:  Lake Pend Oreille, Lake Coeur d’Alene, Priest Lake, Dworshak Reservoir, Payette Lake, Warm Lake, Lucky Peak, Arrowrock Reservoir, Anderson Ranch Reservoir,  Deadwood Reservoir, Island Park Reservoir and Ririe Reservoir – just to name a few.

Kokanee can grow to 18 inches but the “typical” Idaho kokanee is 10 to 14 inches long. Many would argue they are the most flavorful freshwater fish found anywhere.

Kokanee spend much of their lives eating plankton and aquatic insects, following food sources in the water column. In spring and early summer they can be found in as little as five feet of water, but as temperatures warm in the summer, kokanee go as deep as 20 to 30 feet. Immature kokanee are silver to blue (hence the north Idaho name “blueback”) with a “football” shaped body. Like their salt water cousins the sockeye, their meat is pink to red and is highly prized for its rich flavor.

Kokanee reach maturity and spawn between the ages of 2 and 4 - depending on how fast they grow. When they prepare to spawn, their colors shift to a vibrant red with a green head. This transformation makes kokanee highly visible in streams and along shorelines – not only to people but to predatory birds.  In north Idaho, large groups of bald eagles congregate to prey on the spawning fish. This provides wildlife watchers multiple opportunities to observe nature in action.

Early spawning Kokanee are visible in Mores Creek, the Middle Fork Boise, South Fork Boise and Deadwood River as early as Labor Day Weekend.  Spawning in north Idaho generally starts a few weeks later, and peaks around Thanksgiving.

Beasts of Idaho's Mountain Lakes

August is prime mountain lake fishing season.  If you're fishing mountain lakes that contain many brook trout, don't be surprised to see an occasional lunker northern pike.  We have an on-going evaluation on the effectiveness of predatory sterile northern pike on reducing stunted/over-populated brook trout in Idaho's mountain lakes.  These fish are "eating" machines that will consume many times their weight in fish.

If you observe or catch a northern pike, please release it back into the lake so it can continue making fishing better.

 

July 19th Upper Salmon River Salmon Fishing Closure

After nearly a 4 week run, we're projecting we will meet our 780 fish harvest allotment on the upper Salmon River Chinook salmon fishery.  The season will close on Saturday, July 19th.

When compared to recent Upper Salmon River Chinook salmon fishing seasons, this has been one of the longer periods the river has been open to Chinook harvest.  Hopefully, we can offer the same opportunity or more in 2015.

Upper Salmon Chinook Update 6/30/14

Chinook anglers on the upper Salmon River had mixed results this past week depending on where they decided to fish. Anglers downstream of the Pahsimeroi River, in location codes 16 and 17, were working hard to find the fish and averaged 202 hours per Chinook caught. Upstream of the Pahsimeroi, in location codes 18 and 19, anglers did much better and averaged 13 hours per Chinook caught. At this point in the season, an estimated 23 hatchery adult Chinook have been harvested downstream of Pahsimeroi and 123 hatchery adult Chinook have been harvested upstream.  For  more details go to the Chinook Harvest Report.

The Salmon River near the town of Salmon was on the rise most of the week, but it did begin to drop again Sunday morning. As of today, it is back down to approximately 3,000 cfs and the visibility is good. As of June 27th, 150 adult Chinook have returned back to the Pahsimeroi hatchery and as of June 30th, 157 adult Chinook have returned to the Sawtooth hatchery. - Brent Beller. Salmon Region Fisheries Technician

 

Little Salmon River Fishing - Riggins June 13

Fished Riggins - On 6/10-6/11 caught 4 fish and kept 2. Combat fishing at its greatest. But so much fun. The fish are so beautiful and I never have seen fat on Idaho Chinook like there are right now. Best tasting salmon I have ever had. Thanks to all that have made this possible. We need to all appreciate what we have and do whatever is necessary to make this possible for generations to come. - Jeff

 

I was in Riggins 6/9 - 11.  Observed many fishing being caught.  As this gentleman stated, this is social fishing.  Please be courteous and respect your fellow anglers. - dparrish

What to Do for Father's Day? - Take Dad Fishing!

If you want to do something fun for a Father's Day gift - take dad fishing!  Better yet, give him an early gift and take him fishing on Saturday June 14th and he can fish without a license.

Visit our Fish Planner website for all the details on where to go and the type of gear you will need.

The Fish Planner can be found at:  http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/fishingPlanner/

 

Dare to go to Idaho [CNN top 10 list]

Secrets of Idaho's beauty are becoming more rare as the state cracked a world-wide list of lesser-known or emerging travel spots. Idaho was listed 4 of 10, and is included with places like Mongolia, Malawi, Bolivia, and even outer space. 

Get your fishing license early to beat the rush and enjoy our wonderful Idaho.

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2014/05/travel/cnn10-dare-to-go/?frame=4&...