Fisheries biologists completed their annual kokanee monitoring effort on Ririe Reservoir in early June. This annual monitoring effort consists of setting ten gill nets at standardized locations suspended in the thermocline, the depth at which water temperature is changing fastest. We estimated the second highest catch rates since our annual monitoring program for kokanee began in 2015 (Figure 1). Catch rates of kokanee in gill nets this year indicates that the kokanee population is doing well and fishing for them should be great this summer and through the winter with multiple age classes present in the catch.
The size structure of kokanee this year is very good with high abundances of fish caught that were 12 inches and greater (Figure 2). These fish are estimated to be age-2 kokanee and most fish that are seven to eleven inches are estimated to be age-1 kokanee. Age estimates are based off of our 2020 sampling data, which is described in a blog post we released in February (Ice fishing update) that described kokanee age and growth in Ririe Reservoir between summer and fall sampling last year.
Biologists do not commonly catch Smallmouth Bass when gill netting for kokanee, but anglers have recently been reporting excellent catch rates for Smallmouth Bass when fishing points, boulder drop-offs, and rocky, steep banks. So, for anglers that want to mix it up and fish for different species other than kokanee and trout, there are plenty of opportunities to target bass throughout Ririe Reservoir.