Okanagan Lake Kokanee Open
Posted 12 April 2012 - 12:20 PM
-- This is Bitter/Sweet news that the fishery is finally open. The vast majority increase has come from shore spawn kokanee recovery which are smaller than the once famous larger creek spawning kokanee that until recently produced the world record. There are some larger fish out there and we need to keep presure on to enhance creek spawn areas.. such as Penticton Creek. The creek has several spawning beds which have not been utilized due to low numbers of fish returns.
--We need people to fish the lake and bring attention to the potential value of this fishery. I have not fished the lake for the many years of kokanee closure. There is a healthy population of large rainbows... some of which have been featured in BC Outdoors magazine pictures...( how about adding a few here!) Dig out some of your old large Okanagan Lake kokanee pictues as well.
--Got this Note from Paul Askey Biologist Min of FLNR Penticton
To summarize the last two decades for Okanagan Lake kokanee:
Kokanee numbers declined dramatically in the late 1990s (spawner abundance under 3% of the 1970s levels)
The decline in abundance was associated with several factors, and it is difficult to tease apart the relative influence of each factor (disease issues, poor water management, decline in lake nutrients, competition with mysis shrimp, spawning habitat degradation).
There are two types of kokanee: streamspawners and shorespwners that use different spawning habitat. Since both populations declined together, initial indications were that the limiting factor was likely occurring within the lake (as opposed to spawning habitat).
Management actions have been: fishery closure, improved water management in streams and lake levels, maintenance of a spawning channel, spawning habitat and implementation of a mysis fishery.
There has been a steady recovery in kokanee spawners during the last decade, and we are back to an overall abundance similar to the early 1990s. However, the recovery is favouring the shorespawning stock, and it appears as though shorespawners are outcompeting the highly value streamspawing stock. The lack of recovery of streamspawners is still a concern, and a high priority for future management actions. Shorespawners tend to be quite small, whereas streamspawners can grow to large sizes.
Monitoring of the fishery during recent years, has indicated that there is very little fishing pressure on kokanee and that harvest rates are extremely low (<<5%). Given these low harvest rates, there is no need to have specialized restrictive regulations on fishery harvest.
As a final note, anglers should expect to catch large numbers of small kokanee in Okanagan Lake. High-grading (releasing small kokanee and keeping big ones) would not be considered a responsible use of fish because: typically you will catch many, many smaller ones (shorespawners) between larger ones (streamspawners); survival probability of released kokanee appears much lower than most species given easy descaling and softer mouth tissues; harvesting only large kokanee would put more harvest pressure on the “weak” streamspawning stock. They all taste good, so if you are kokanee fishing, please just take them as they come and encourage others to do the same.
Hope you have a great fishing season,
Posted 13 April 2012 - 05:00 AM
Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:11 AM
--As part of the re-introduction of Sockeye to Skaha there will be some harvest of Mysis this summer as well. In general I think the Skaha Kokanee have been getting smaller (at least the ones I'm catching). Some feel the issue may be Mysis rather than competition from the introduced Sockeye.