Still time to catch kokanee at Dworshak Reservoir

There’s no better place to be on a hot summer day than out on the lake. If you haven’t been kokanee fishing on Dworshak Reservoir yet, you’re missing out. The kokanee are large, and fairly plentiful. During our trawl survey on July 29, the adult kokanee we caught were typically 12 inches long, with some as big as 13.

Magnus Bay Kokanee
Creative Commons Licence
Sean Wilson

Most of the adult fish are now above Grandad. Normally, we tow our trawl net for three minutes, then move it up in the water column and tow it for another three minutes, and again until we’ve covered all depths where we see kokanee. However, there were so many fish stacked in above Benton Creek that we had to drop back to one minute.

Finding large kokanee at high densities is unusual, so this is a great opportunity for kokanee enthusiasts. However, a few of these fish are starting to show signs of coloring up in preparation for spawning, so the bite can be fickle. If you go and they aren’t biting, stick with it a while. The bite can sometimes go hot and cold at this stage.

It might also be worthwhile trying farther down reservoir, where fish densities are lower, but fish are more likely to bite. We caught adult kokanee in the trawl all the way down to Freeman Creek, but densities were highest above Grandad, and really dropped off below Weitas Creek.

Creative Commons Licence
Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game

We also caught good numbers of age-1 kokanee (next year’s adults) throughout the reservoir. Many of these fish were over eight inches, with a few as big as ten. That doesn’t seem big, especially when there are 12 inch fish to be had, but it’s big enough that anglers could get out and catch them, and could support a fall fishery as they continue to grow. It also bodes well for next year. It’s not too late to get in on some good kokanee fishing on Dworshak, but don’t wait around or you’ll miss out.