The Idaho Department of Fish and Game plans to begin the second phase of a three-year project to increase the amount of available kokanee spawning habitat in Lake Pend Oreille. The work will be completed along the shoreline of Idlewild Bay on the southern end of the lake.
Kokanee spawn on gravel substrates, so appropriately sized gravel will be deposited onto the lakebed from a large barge. The enhancement work will begin on October 5 and is anticipated to reach completion by October 23.
Eagle Marina, the boat launch in Farragut State Park, will be influenced by this work. Boaters using the launch should expect a closure of the southwest ramp and docks during weekdays for the duration of the project. The northeast ramp and dock will remain available for use during the week, and all ramps will be available on the weekends.
The first phase of the project was completed in the fall of 2014. A similar, partial closure was needed at that time, and only few delays to boaters occurred.
During this second phase, the portion of the Shoreline Trail beginning immediately south of the boat ramps will need to be closed to prevent hikers from entering the work area. The remainder of the Shoreline Trail will be accessible from the trailhead at the south end of the upper parking lot of the marina.
The three-year project is expected to substantially increase the amount of high-quality kokanee spawning habitat in the area. Following completion of the final year of work in 2016, the newly constructed spawning grounds will extend nearly a half mile down the shoreline, similar to the extent of current spawning habitat in neighboring Scenic Bay.
In 2014, the section constructed was quickly discovered and saturated by spawning kokanee that spawned along the shorelines in November and December. This led to an increase in the number of bald eagles frequenting the area. The congregation of eagles attracted bird watchers who really enjoyed viewing and photographing the eagles.
The kokanee population is currently strong and is providing great fall fishing opportunity. Kokanee anglers can anticipate high catch rates for 11-12 inch kokanee through October. Eagles should begin to arrive by early November, with a peak in numbers just before Christmas.
Anyone with questions about this project can contact the Idaho Fish and Game Regional Office at 769-1414, or the Bayview Field Office at 683-9218.