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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just as a note, I am not the biggest fan of this fish. I look at them as nothing more than a novelty or a bait fish.

This being said.

Utah is creating more opportunities to harvest this species.
Fish Lake (Upcoming)
Electric Lake (Started)

I think they can do well and add to fisheries, especially the fisheries with Lake Trout. Am I right?

(Didn't work at Bear Lake, but works at the Gorge)

I think they won't do well in fisheries without a predominant predator. Am I wrong?

(Works at Strawberry, but results in stunted fish at Porcupine and Moon)

How much research is done before they are proposed to be stocked?

Is there actual evidence the stocking will work or is it brought up at a meeting ("Yeah, we should try kokanee there)?

I do think they are a cheaper and better alternative to sterile rainbow trout.

Look at the lakes that currently have stalked salmon

• King, also known as chinook, salmon were among the first fish species brought to Utah. Kings were introduced in 1873 with 150,000 fry placed in the Jordan River near South Jordan. King salmon fry also were released in the Ogden River, Weber River, Blacksmith Fork River, Box Elder Creek, Twin Spring Creek, Bear River, Silver Creek, Jennings Pond, Mill Creek, Spring Run and the San Pitch River.

• Sebago salmon, a landlocked Atlantic salmon, first arrived in Utah in 1873, but records show the first introduction took place in Spring Run in Murray in 1901. Records on Sebago salmon are rare, but it is believed they were planted in Strawberry Reservoir, Scofield Reservoir and Fish Lake.

• Kokanee salmon, a landlocked sockeye salmon, are the only member of the family still found in Utah waters. They originally were introduced in 1922 at Bear Lake. The next introduction did not take place until 1937 when Strawberry Reservoir received 98,000 fry. Panguitch Lake, Navajo Lake and Scofield Reservoir also received kokanee fry. Kokanee can be caught by Utah anglers at Flaming Gorge, Strawberry, Causey, Stateline, Moon Lake, and Porcupine reservoirs.
Added

• Chum, or dog, salmon are similar to sockeye salmon, but they tend to grow larger. Chum were planted in 1939 and 1940 at Strawberry Reservoir and Fish Lake. Chum salmon are among the least-prized of salmon when it comes to sport fishing.

• Silver salmon, also known as coho salmon, first were introduced in 1925 to Strawberry Reservoir and Fish Lake. Between 1926 and 1939, they were planted in the Logan River, Blacksmith Fork River, Bear Lake, Minersville Reservoir, Puffer Lake, Panguitch Lake, Navajo Lake, Utah Lake, Scofield Reservoir, Nebo Reservoir, Granddaddy Lake, Mirror Lake and Echo Reservoir. All told, more than 5.4 million silver salmon were planted in Utah.

Looking at how many times we tried to stalk salmon into Fish Lake makes me skeptical that it will work and having fished the tributaries of Electric Lake also makes me skeptical.

I guess I just have a lot of questions, because I really do not understand the concept of Kokanee Salmon in most lakes.

This isn't meant to be a bashing, but an open discussion on this game fish.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/outdoors/56818985-117/salmon-utah-reservoir-lake.html.csp
 

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MWF,

No personal bashing of you intended here, but I'm really at a loss trying to understand why you would want to have an open discussion on a subject (kokanee salmon) that you profess to not be a fan of and look at them as nothing more than a novelty or a bait fish. What would be the point?

If you are truly looking for answers to the questions you posed, then you should be calling and talking to the UDWR aquatic biologists working on the kokanee project/program. While some of the members on this board have a solid grasp of the facts in this regard, none are true experts in the field.

About all you're going to get with this discussion on here is a huge amount of gut feeling opinion and very little in the way of hard, cold facts. Unless, of course, an aquatics biologist enters the discussion on this board. :mrgreen:

I certainly don't have the knowledge, or the desire to find the knowledge, to adequately and factually answer your questions. I just want to catch, process, and eat the buggers. :EAT:
 

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Im interested, how do you compare chum salmon with sockeye in similarity.Sockeye is always the highest priced,and desired at my counter.Dog,chum,keta salmon is what it is ,for the dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
MWF,

No personal bashing of you intended here, but I'm really at a loss trying to understand why you would want to have an open discussion on a subject (kokanee salmon) that you profess to not be a fan of and look at them as nothing more than a novelty or a bait fish. What would be the point?

If you are truly looking for answers to the questions you posed, then you should be calling and talking to the UDWR aquatic biologists working on the kokanee project/program. While some of the members on this board have a solid grasp of the facts in this regard, none are true experts in the field.

About all you're going to get with this discussion on here is a huge amount of gut feeling opinion and very little in the way of hard, cold facts. Unless, of course, an aquatics biologist enters the discussion on this board. :mrgreen:

I certainly don't have the knowledge, or the desire to find the knowledge, to adequately and factually answer your questions. I just want to catch, process, and eat the buggers. :EAT:
Well, I just wanted to discuss it, because they are starting to plant them everywhere.
 

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Well, I just wanted to discuss it, because they are starting to plant them everywhere.
Everywhere? That's an overstatement.

Flaming Gorge is the premiere kokanee fishery in the Western United States, maybe the nation. People come from all over to fish the Gorge just for the salmon.

Strawberry is great for them as well. Not near as crazy as the Gorge, but it's still a blast to go get 'em out of the Berry.

Why not put them in Fish Lake? They'll compete with perch for plankton (since that's all kokanee eat) which will drive up perch size, which in turns drives up the size of every other fish in Fish Lake. Win-win for everyone there.

I've already caught some of them from Electric Lake. They're doing well there, it would seem. Which adds another draw for people to fish that lake, as opposed to Scofield or any of the surrounding lakes. I don't see where there's a negative impact here, and the DWR certainly isn't putting them "everywhere." Just places where there's a chance they'll do good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Everywhere? That's an overstatement.

Flaming Gorge is the premiere kokanee fishery in the Western United States, maybe the nation. People come from all over to fish the Gorge just for the salmon.

Strawberry is great for them as well. Not near as crazy as the Gorge, but it's still a blast to go get 'em out of the Berry.

Why not put them in Fish Lake? They'll compete with perch for plankton (since that's all kokanee eat) which will drive up perch size, which in turns drives up the size of every other fish in Fish Lake. Win-win for everyone there.

I've already caught some of them from Electric Lake. They're doing well there, it would seem. Which adds another draw for people to fish that lake, as opposed to Scofield or any of the surrounding lakes. I don't see where there's a negative impact here, and the DWR certainly isn't putting them "everywhere." Just places where there's a chance they'll do good.
Well as far as fish lake, they have tried other more predacious species of salmon in the lake and they did not fair well at all. I don't know if it was the lack of prey or the the spawning conditions. I don't know if the spawning conditions are enough for the Kokanee to do well. Out competing the perch can be hard, because other than humans, it's only the occasional splake or wayward tiger musky that targets them. I haven't cut open a splake with perch in the guts even though I have caught them on a rat finky tipped with perch. The kokanee will be lake trout food, because lake trout typically don't feed on the spinny perch. The lake trout in fish lake I would say are currently in a period of predator inertia, because most of the chubs and suckers have moved up to Johnson. It would be hard to out compete the perch when you have a basically dormant predator awaking into a feeding frenzy.

Now electric lake, I fear for the spawning conditions at this lake as well. I also believe initially the kokanee will do well, but because of a lack of predation and a lack of competitors for plankton. The population will explode into stunted fish. Like porcupine.

I agree in flaming gorge being a world class kokanee fishery and as far as people traveling all over to fish it for Kokanee, I will slightly disagree. Colorado has Blue Mesa (Limit of 10), Green Peter in Oregon (Limit of 25), and Lake Berryssa in California just to name a few. There also people drawn to the ocean and Idaho to fish for searun salmon too. I do think people come to the gorge to fish for salmon, but I do not think it is as big as it used to be.
 

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I am glad you mentioned Blue Mesa in Colorado, because the illegal introduction of Yellow Perch has definitely negatively impacted the kokanee there. The Yellow Perch are out competing the Kokes even though the two fish occupy different strata of the reservoir, YP are more littoral, while the Kokanee are pelagic. Ask the mack fishermen at Blue Mesa and they will surely tell you that Mack stomachs contain perch. Kokanee provide a much more valuable prey item to Mack growth compared to YP. It is of no wonder that the number of big Mack's coming out of Blue Mesa has declined significantly since the 90's.

Kokanee are a cheap and easy fish to stock, and popular with anglers. Not many downsides to kokanee IMHO.
 

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RE" This isn't meant to be a bashing, but an open discussion on this game fish. "

OK, I'll bite. A few points on what has been brought up so far.

1. The first couple of replies would seem to suggest the depths to which "kokanee guys" love their preferred fish. That is fair. They are at the top of the list as far as table fare and are fun and challenging to catch.

2. RE "Out competing the perch can be hard,"
Kokes will not be planted in Fish Lake to "outcompete" the perch. Kokes are an open water (pelagic) fish and the FL perch pretty much stay near the weedline and local environs. Yes, both will eat plankton, but perch eat anything else that moves, including tons of their own young, so they simply aren't in direct competition for food. Perch and plankton eaters like rainbows coexist well. Examples include Deer creek in the day and Jordanelle that had stunted perch yet had fat, healthy bows. Perch are kryptonite for things like chubs though because they eat all the chub fry, and the loss of chubs has caused the problems seen at FL with the Macks.

3. The FL kokes are being planted as a supplemental forage for lake trout. The DWR also hopes to have them provide additional angling opportunities for koke fans as well, but the goal is to provide an additional suitable forage for the macks so they aren't eating so many finless freddie bows, as they are now.

4. I've read that they are using a koke strain that spawns in the lake as opposed to running up a stream to spawn. They hope this allows for better natural reproduction and a sustained population. Spawning failure (and water quality, ie Jordan river) is the likely reason that koke introductions failed in other places before.

5. I think the reasons that the DWR is considering them elsewhere is that besides their popularity among some anglers, they tend to do be capable of doing relatively little damage if introduced successfully. They require very clean water and special spawning substrates to thrive so they can't proverbially "swim downstream" and wreak havoc in all the fisheries of the drainage or threaten endangered species nearby. The same cannot be said for other species that certain anglers whine about having introduced everywhere, like walleye and Northern pike.;)
 

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I have a hard time at my age keeping a train of thought- so- my only concern with Kokanee is getting Porcupine back to it's banner years- I think the better management of other fish in the system would help bring that about- probably very few things in life that are legal are better than a smoked Kokanee salmon. That fish was just made for a smoker. Back when they allowed I think a 50 limit the 1 year and then dropped it to 25 the next year- 1/2 hour on the ice and you had your limit. Your beer didn't even get cold
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I am glad you mentioned Blue Mesa in Colorado, because the illegal introduction of Yellow Perch has definitely negatively impacted the kokanee there. The Yellow Perch are out competing the Kokes even though the two fish occupy different strata of the reservoir, YP are more littoral, while the Kokanee are pelagic. Ask the mack fishermen at Blue Mesa and they will surely tell you that Mack stomachs contain perch. Kokanee provide a much more valuable prey item to Mack growth compared to YP. It is of no wonder that the number of big Mack's coming out of Blue Mesa has declined significantly since the 90's.

Kokanee are a cheap and easy fish to stock, and popular with anglers. Not many downsides to kokanee IMHO.
Well, I have never caught a big mac at Blue Mesa (only pups). They didn't have any in their stomachs, but they were still probably in the plankton, fry, and crawfish stage.

Blue Mesa still has big Koke's in it, but it is running into the same kind of mac problems as the gorge. Pup's are additionally eating the same plankton that the kokanee would eat. Slowly resulting in less feeder kokanee for the mac's. The Perch don't help at all, but the Mac's are another issue in the lake. BTW there is no limit on pup's in Blue Mesa and they are delicious.

Perch do not receive significant predation from Mac's, because they are generally shallower for the mac's to prey on.

Perch are generally controlled with pike and musky, but they too will eat soft fish (trout, sucker, chub, carp) sometimes before they eat the spinny perch. I lot less risk of getting poked.

I guess it all comes down to a couple of things, most of all setting the lake up to succeed.

The perch bashing will help the lake as a whole at fish lake. However, I don't know if it has suitable habitat to sustain a kokanee population.

Electric lake I am worried that the lack of predation will result in another lake with stunted kokanee. As, well I am worried about the spawning conditions in the tributaries in order to actually have a healthy self replenishing population of kokanee.

I am a little worried that we are putting the fish into lakes by angler persuasion without doing the necessary research to look into the conditions that will promote a healthy self sustaining fishery.

We do spend a lot of money in fish stocking that we could use in developing better fishing habitat that could benefit waters across the state.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
RE" This isn't meant to be a bashing, but an open discussion on this game fish. "

OK, I'll bite. A few points on what has been brought up so far.

1. The first couple of replies would seem to suggest the depths to which "kokanee guys" love their preferred fish. That is fair. They are at the top of the list as far as table fare and are fun and challenging to catch.

2. RE "Out competing the perch can be hard,"
Kokes will not be planted in Fish Lake to "outcompete" the perch. Kokes are an open water (pelagic) fish and the FL perch pretty much stay near the weedline and local environs. Yes, both will eat plankton, but perch eat anything else that moves, including tons of their own young, so they simply aren't in direct competition for food. Perch and plankton eaters like rainbows coexist well. Examples include Deer creek in the day and Jordanelle that had stunted perch yet had fat, healthy bows. Perch are kryptonite for things like chubs though because they eat all the chub fry, and the loss of chubs has caused the problems seen at FL with the Macks.

3. The FL kokes are being planted as a supplemental forage for lake trout. The DWR also hopes to have them provide additional angling opportunities for koke fans as well, but the goal is to provide an additional suitable forage for the macks so they aren't eating so many finless freddie bows, as they are now.

4. I've read that they are using a koke strain that spawns in the lake as opposed to running up a stream to spawn. They hope this allows for better natural reproduction and a sustained population. Spawning failure (and water quality, ie Jordan river) is the likely reason that koke introductions failed in other places before.

5. I think the reasons that the DWR is considering them elsewhere is that besides their popularity among some anglers, they tend to do be capable of doing relatively little damage if introduced successfully. They require very clean water and special spawning substrates to thrive so they can't proverbially "swim downstream" and wreak havoc in all the fisheries of the drainage or threaten endangered species nearby. The same cannot be said for other species that certain anglers whine about having introduced everywhere, like walleye and Northern pike.;)
I don't disagree with anything that you stated.

Well said.
 

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I agree in flaming gorge being a world class kokanee fishery and as far as people traveling all over to fish it for Kokanee, I will slightly disagree. Colorado has Blue Mesa (Limit of 10), Green Peter in Oregon (Limit of 25), and Lake Berryssa in California just to name a few. There also people drawn to the ocean and Idaho to fish for searun salmon too. I do think people come to the gorge to fish for salmon, but I do not think it is as big as it used to be.
have you been to the Lucerne campground, over 1/2 the campers are out of state. and they come to catch big Kokanee. and not the 8" to 14" they catch in Oregon and Callif.
Have you ever got a 5lb Koke? they are fun to catch.
 

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have you been to the Lucerne campground, over 1/2 the campers are out of state. and they come to catch big Kokanee. and not the 8" to 14" they catch in Oregon and Callif.
Have you ever got a 5lb Koke? they are fun to catch.
That's what I was thinking. I see as many boats from not WY and UT as I do from WY and UT.

But fishing at FG is terrible. The kokanees are little and not even worth going after. No one should ever launch their boat there for any reason. You should scoff and laugh at anyone that even tries it.

There are no fish. Ask Goob. He'll tell you.
 

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That's what I was thinking. I see as many boats from not WY and UT as I do from WY and UT.

But fishing at FG is terrible. The kokanees are little and not even worth going after. No one should ever launch their boat there for any reason. You should scoff and laugh at anyone that even tries it.

There are no fish. Ask Goob. He'll tell you.
Yep. They might as well just drain the reservoir.

.
 

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Well, I have never caught a big mac at Blue Mesa (only pups). They didn't have any in their stomachs, but they were still probably in the plankton, fry, and crawfish stage.

Blue Mesa still has big Koke's in it, but it is running into the same kind of mac problems as the gorge. Pup's are additionally eating the same plankton that the kokanee would eat. Slowly resulting in less feeder kokanee for the mac's. The Perch don't help at all, but the Mac's are another issue in the lake. BTW there is no limit on pup's in Blue Mesa and they are delicious.

Perch do not receive significant predation from Mac's, because they are generally shallower for the mac's to prey on.

Perch are generally controlled with pike and musky, but they too will eat soft fish (trout, sucker, chub, carp) sometimes before they eat the spinny perch. I lot less risk of getting poked.
Take a look at the attached article, and scroll to the results section "diet composition" to see what was found in the stomachs of the game fish in Blue Mesa, it could make you rethink your comments above.

http://www.cfc.umt.edu/CESU/Reports...on_CURE_lake trout predation_final_report.pdf

Blue Mesa and Flaming Gorge are more similar in lake morphology compared to Fish Lake. I am not sure the kokanee fisheries will compare, but why not give it a shot?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Take a look at the attached article, and scroll to the results section "diet composition" to see what was found in the stomachs of the game fish in Blue Mesa, it could make you rethink your comments above.

http://www.cfc.umt.edu/CESU/Reports...on_CURE_lake trout predation_final_report.pdf

Blue Mesa and Flaming Gorge are more similar in lake morphology compared to Fish Lake. I am not sure the kokanee fisheries will compare, but why not give it a shot?
"Since introduction, yellow perch constitute a much greater proportion of prey items.
Previous work only observed yellow perch in one instance in 2001, and were <5% of the diet in
lake trout 442-827 mm TL (Johnson and Koski 2005). Today yellow perch are found in all
predatory fish species but their own, and make up the greatest proportion (by number) of fish
prey items in all but the largest lake trout. In stomach content analysis of the largest lake trout,
rainbow trout (n = 65) were more than twice as frequently found as yellow perch (n = 31)

whereas only five kokanee salmon were indentified. This is contrary to the stable isotope
findings as an increase in consumption of kokanee salmon was indicated across all size classes of
lake trout (Table 3).
Using the mixing model, the proportion of kokanee salmon in the diets has gone up since
previous work by Johnson et al. (2002). Intermediate sized lake trout had the greatest increase in
consumption of kokanee salmon going from 6.9% to 53.4%. Lake trout >600 mm TL had the
smallest increase, but still constitute a very significant proportion of the diet at 87%. Lake trout

<426 mm also had an increase in kokanee proportion, and went from 60.3% to 75.8%. The assumption that lake trout are consuming much more kokanee salmon depends on the
significantly depleted carbon signature of kokanee compared to all other fish species. Lake trout
are only slightly enriched from the kokanee, and all other fish species are more enriched than
they are.
Caution is warranted when interpreting differences between the mixing model and
stomach content analyses, as temporal scales can vary significantly between the two methods
(Johnson et al. 2002). Stomach contents allow a brief snapshot of what the organism consumed
just before capture, likely the previous 24 hours. On the other hand, stable isotopes are
incorporated into the muscle tissues being analyzed and turn over time is much longer than
digestion. This means isotope data reflect a broader time scale of consumption patterns than
does stomach analysis.
Two more caveats are important to interpreting the diet. The rainbow trout stocking
regime in Blue Mesa Reservoir changed in 2010, going from sub-catchable (≈150 mm TL) to
catchable (≈250 mm TL) size fish. Thus, most rainbow trout were not vulnerable to predation by
lake trout < 600 mm TL in 2010. Also, the mean size of rainbow in the stomachs was 184mm TL
compared to 84 mm TL for kokanee salmon and 71 mm TL for yellow perch. Thus, diet
composition on a mass basis will differ from that based on a frequency of occurrence; those
analyses are ongoing.
We believe lake trout consume yellow perch primarily in fall-spring when there is no
thermal segregation of lake trout and perch (preferred temperature of lake trout = 10 °C and of
yellow perch = 24 °C, Hanson et al. 1997).
These temperature differentials result in an effective
thermal barrier to lake trout in summer, and this segregation was observed in Blue Mesa
Reservoir during the summer 2011 Summer Profundal Index Netting sampling. This seasonal pattern in spatial overlap could explain the conflicting results from diet and isotope analyses. It
may be that during the summer, when lake trout consumption rates are likely highest due to the
warmer temperatures, lake trout consume primarily salmonids, most of which are kokanee.
Thus, kokanee may indeed be the most important prey for lake trout, as reflected in the stable
isotope data.

We conclude that, given our analysis of trophic relationships at Blue Mesa Reservoir, that
lake trout continue to pose a significant threat to the kokanee population and fishery. Because of

the importance of kokanee to fishing and visitation at the CNRA, and the dependence of the
state's hatchery system on the Blue Mesa Reservoir kokanee egg take, Colorado Parks and
Wildlife should consider increasing efforts to remove lake trout and reduce predation pressure on
kokanee salmon to sustain sport fishing at Blue Mesa Reservoir and other coldwater reservoirs
across the state. "

I don't think this article does anything to relatively prove or disprove what I said. I did bold some points make for my argument and at the same time I can see things that would prove your side and things that would disprove my side. It is written really loosely.
 
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