Kokanee fishing is picking up on Dworshak Reservoir. In 2022 the population abundance was so high that Kokanee were very small, measuring just 7.5 inches on average during July surveys. These smaller fish were difficult to catch and didn’t yield much of a filet for those anglers who could get them to bite. Although abundance remains high this year, the fish are bigger than last year, and angler catch rates have been improving over the last couple of weeks.
In a short 3-hour outing last week near the Elk Creek arm, IDFG boated 8 Kokanee all measuring 8-9 inches.
In the preseason forecast, it was speculated that there would be a high abundance of three-year-old kokanee in the reservoir this year. To get an idea of whether this is the case, IDFG personnel took scales from the kokanee they caught last week, which allows them to estimate age by counting growth rings. They found that 5 of the 8 fish were three years old, which is a good early indication that there is a substantial three-year-old component in the population this year.
Other anglers have reported moderate to high catch rates with some boats catching limits in a few hours when they get on a good school of fish. Sizes have ranged from 8 to 10.5 inches.
Most anglers are still fishing the lower end of the reservoir below Dent Bridge, but the adult kokanee will soon begin their upstream migration toward spawning grounds. By the beginning of August, expect to see the largest concentrations of fish above the Grandad Bridge. Although the kokanee are still on the small end for Dworshak, they’re big enough to be worth firing up the smoker or getting out the canner, so this month should be a great time to get out on the water and go fishing!