2023 End of Year Report                                                                          February 10, 2024

The year of 2023 was an interesting year with several surprises such as the fish in Wickiup, the destruction of fisheries in Green Peter and Lookout (??), the development of Bacterial Kidney Disease (BKD) in our Kokanee being held at Marion Forks, and the list goes on. 

We cannot start any annual report without reminding anglers of the importance of filing your daily catch reports on our KPO website!

DETROIT

This lake again had an overall great year with great fishing most of the season, even during some winter months.  Kokanee ranged from 11 to 17 inches with the average around 13inches.  Based on some data about 9% were adipose marked and 3% were double marked.  Anglers should be very aware that we now must be very observant to note Kokanee that are just adipose clipped and those that are both adipose and left ventral clipped.  This is extremely important and will determine the future of our release efforts and costs.  Rainbows again were nice sized and ranged from 11-20 inches.  Kokanee that were double clipped were surprisingly larger than expected (11 to 12 inches) based only one year since they were released at 4 inches in size. 

Since we have been releasing Kokanee in the fall annually for several years now and only seeing 10% or less in the catch reports we were going to try keeping them over the winter at Marion Forks hatchery and releasing them in April when zooplankton populations were plentiful.  However, in late fall a BKD outbreak occurred with this population at the hatchery and 34,500 adipose fin clipped kokanee had to be released on November 20th to avoid it spreading to the rest of the fish in the hatchery.  They were released at the Blowout bridge.

For the third year now, we will again be double clipping Kokanee in late June to be released in late July when food sources are high.  So far, this effort has shown great promise.  During the week of July 24-28, twenty six KPO volunteers double clipped 34,516 Kokanee(approximately 4 inches long), and these were released on August 4th at the Blowout bridge.  We will need volunteers to help with this process.  Camping will be available again at Marion Forks Hatchery. 

GREEN PETER

This is a very sad situation for several reasons such as the long drawn out process for the past few years, the decision to draw down the reservoir, all species mortality rates, water quality of the rivers and surrounding communities, destruction of spawning reds for salmon and steelhead, and the list goes on.  This all occurred due to the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) failure to provide downstream passage of spring chinook and winter steelhead over their dams despite having many years to do so.  This then led to the court injunction and the decision to draw down the reservoirs to flush salmon smolts out of the reservoirs.  The resulting high turbidity and rapid draw down caused extensive mortality from barotrauma and the lack of oxygen from the extremely high turbidity, likely causing additional death to many species.  We’ve heard that a lawsuit has been filed against the ACOE for not maintaining adequate water quality during the drawdown.  We will see if this has an impact on next year’s decision to implement the draw down or not, but if they do, and it is done much slower and maybe at a later time, it will have a lesser impact on the Kokanee.  ODFW has been doing some monitoring of the downstream passage in their traps and also last fall spawning success in Quartsville Creek throughout October and unfortunately, they did not find any spawning Kokanee this year.  Results of the downstream trapping data were not available to us yet.  On October 6th, district staff estimated a minimum of 15,000 adult Kokanee coming out of Green Peter per day, but likely many more than that, and most of them dead or dying.  With the Kokanee impacts both on the adult population being flushed down over the dam and the spawning population wiped out by the extreme turbidity, the future looks bleak.  However, we should not discount the resiliency of mother nature and species survival in the face of natural or human made disasters.  There is also the possibility that some of the adults flushed down into Foster survived to create a decent fishery this spring?

In July, KPO sponsored a kids fishing event coordinated by board member Robert Hamman.  It was a huge success, and we hope to be able to do this again if this lake or another in the future.

WIZARD FALLS HATCHERY

I copied this report from Luke, the hatchery manager because it illustrates this year’s egg shortage and specifically where Kokanee were released.

Hey Rick,

Wanted to give you an update on KK situation for taking eggs this fall. It has been a struggle to get KK eggs. We started monitoring the trap at Paulina the second week of October like we normally do every year. The fish always show up later in the month. We waited until November 1st and took our first egg take of 161K eggs. Jerry went out on the lake in his boat to check some of the other spawning locations and didn’t see much activity besides some carcasses. We kept the trap open and did another egg take on November 17th and took 55K eggs. Unfortunately, it looks like we are going to come up short of our 300K egg goal this year. We had some discussions and concerns, but seems it is too late in the season to try to get eggs elsewhere when looking at past records. Also means that we didn’t do any triploiding of KK. We have the pressure vessel here and the recipe to triploid but didn’t get enough eggs to meet production first. Hopefully, we have low loss and underestimated on the eggs once they are ready to work to help cushion the shortage. End the end this means some water bodies might be shorted on numbers or just one (Haystack). It will ultimately be up to the bios. I’ll keep you in the loop as things transpire.

 2023 Updates from Wizard Falls Hatchery

Liberations

6/12/23 Lake of The Woods         26,680 fish @ 116 f/lb

6/13/23 Haystack Res                     106,792 fish @ 116 f/lb

7/25/23 Crescent Lk                        25,300 fish @ 50.6 f/lb

10/5/23 Paulina Lk                           6,426 fish @ 23.8 f/lb AD marked

10/5/23 East Lk                                 2,380 fish @ 23.8 f/lb AD marked

10/6/23 Crescent Lk                        19,120 fish @ 23.9 f/lb AD marked

10/12/23 Crescent Lk                     8,806 fish @ 23.9 f/lb AD marked

Transfer

7/19/23 Marion Forks                    25,568 fish @ 54.4 f/lb

9/25/23 Marion Forks                    35,140 fish at 25.1 f/lb AD marked

2023 Spawning

Estimated egg take 216,000 eggs

Actual egg take 242,000 eggs

Eyed eggs trayed = 220,000

Eyed eggs needed for production = 250,000 (short 30,000 eggs)

 CENTRAL OREGON LAKES

Please see below for Deschutes District kokanee updates for 2023. Jerry wrote us such a great report I could not summarize it any better than to include it just like he wrote it.

Jerry George

District Fish Biologist

Deschutes Watershed District Office

General Updates: There was a shortage of spawning kokanee for the 2023 egg take at the Paulina Lake Fish Trap. Staff from Wizards Falls and Fall River monitored the Paulina trap, noted late returns, and reduced numbers, and brood collection was late this year on November 1 and again on November 17th resulting in approximately 75% of the egg take goal. In mid-November District staff evaluated whether additional shoreline spawning fish could be collected with nets at Paulina or Odell lakes, but the spawning season was at the very end. The shortage will mostly affect the numbers of fish stocked into Haystack Reservoir in 2024, a fishery that is not among the more popular ones in the state. ODFW had also planned to triploid some of kokanee eggs this year as an experiment but that has been postponed to 2024.

ANGLER EDUCATION

Jen Luke, the Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program Coordinator with the help of Forest Service staff and a slew of volunteers held Kokanee Karnival the last week of September at Sheeps Bridge on the Deschutes River arm of Wickiup. The mission of the Kokanee Karnival is to provide a dynamic, hands-on learning experience to educate and excite elementary school children about clean water, healthy watersheds, and fish conservation while promoting safe and responsible angling, good citizenship, and community stewardship. The kokanee cooperated this year and were present in good numbers and spawning colors for the kids to enjoy.

  WATERBODY UPDATES

Crane Prairie- Relatively light angling pressure on kokanee, nice sized fish in the 12-13” range and up to 15-16”. ODFW does not typically do redd or spawning ground surveys for kokanee, however, staff visited the Deschutes River at Cow Camp in late September and counted 531 spawning adults.

Crescent Lake- Very few kokanee reports for 2023, mostly Lake Trout reports. Crescent lake had very low refill in 2023 and only filled to 20% compared to other Deschutes Watershed lakes and reservoirs that filled fully or near full. Stocked 25k non adipose clipped fish in July and 28k adipose clipped fish in October. Due to low water levels, ODFW was not able to evaluate the proportion of clipped and unclipped fish in 2023 and hopes to sample Crescent Lake in 2024. In 2024, an angling regulation change will go into effect at Crescent, East, and Paulina lakes that allows anglers to keep five kokanee in addition to the daily trout limit, also known as the “bonus bag” this allows anglers to keep 10 kokanee/day, or up to five trout and five kokanee. These regulation changes were supported by KPO leadership and the vast majority of anglers that participated in the regulation review process.

 East Lake- Low water level made launching difficult and reduced the stocking because of small and a superabundant population. 2,400 fish were stocked in October using lake stocking boat. Due to the small size and over abundance, ODFW has been cutting the number of fish put into East Lake in recent years. In 2024, an angling regulation change will go into effect at Crescent, East, and Paulina lakes that allows anglers to keep five kokanee in addition to the daily trout limit, also known as the “bonus bag” this allows anglers to keep 10 kokanee/day, or up to five trout and five kokanee. These regulation changes were supported by KPO leadership and the vast majority of anglers that participated in the regulation review process.

 Elk Lake – Elk Lake continues to have a population of small kokanee. Very little angling effort is targeted at kokanee.

 Haystack Reservoir- Following draining in the fall of 2022, we stocked 100k fish in June. It will be a year or two for these fish to provide and sort of fishery. Haystack will likely receive a cut in stocking numbers in 2024 because of lower-than-expected egg take at the Paulina fish trap.

 Lake Billy Chinook- Good fishery in 2023, most fish 12-13” range. Fewer reports of copepods (lice) on fish. The CTWS and PGE did not conduct any kokanee abundance estimates or spawning escapement in 2023, it has been a number of years since these data were collected. A PGE creel surveyor worked in April 2023 and a report of those surveys will be forthcoming for ODFW to review.

 Odell Lake- Good fishery in 2023. Especially good reports from May when fish were near the surface. Fish average around 12″. In mid-November ODFW staff visited Odell Lake to see if kokanee were still spawning to supplement the Paulina Lake egg take. Odell has some of the latest spawning in Central Oregon; however, mid-November was the very end of the spawn with the last few fish spawning along the shoreline and in a small stream near Shelter Cove Marina.

Paulina Lake- Great fishery in 2023 with anglers reporting limits of fish averaging 12-13”. Paulina Lake was stocked with 6,500 adipose-clipped kokanee in October 2023. Fish were liberated into the middle of the lake using the district stocking boat as opposed to a shoreline or boat ramp release. District fish staff continue to work with ODFW engineers and KPO on exploring on screening alternatives for the Paulina Lake Dam; however, funding has not been secured for the project.  Deschutes District staff joined Wizard Falls and Fall River hatchery staff at the trap in November to spawn fish and collect information on marked vs unmarked fish and lengths. In addition to the 600 kokanee examined in 2022, 215 were sampled in 2023 to determine the proportion of unmarked fish in the lake and natural reproduction. ODFW also distributed self-report creel surveys to Paulina Lake kokanee anglers to estimate fishing pressure and proportion of marked/unmarked fish in the fishery. Thanks to angler reports and checking fish at the trap, we are documenting significant natural reproduction occurring in Paulina, with fish utilizing springs and beaches for spawning. We are also finding that naturally reproduced fish are on average about an inch larger than fish reared at Wizard Falls and stocked as fingerlings. Fish stocked in 2023 were adipose marked and we encourage anglers to continue to report the number of marked/unmarked fish that are caught in 2024. In 2024, an angling regulation change will go into effect at Crescent, East, and Paulina lakes that allows anglers to keep five kokanee in addition to the daily trout limit, also known as the “bonus bag” this allows anglers to keep 10 kokanee/day, or up to five trout and five kokanee. These regulation changes were supported by KPO leadership and the vast majority of anglers that participated in the regulation review process.

Lake Simtustus Reservoir- Not many angler reports. Report of poor fishing from Tom Schnell, no fish landed, few if any fish marked.  Another angler who visited Simtustus on a weekly basis later in the year reported1 to 2 Kokanee per trip with fish averaging 14-15 inches!  ODFW may try to sample Simtustus in 2024 to gather more information on the fishery.

Suttle Lake- 2023 was another year of small kokanee and little interest in the fishery. Small fish, 8-10” range were observed spawning in Link Creek in late October. The smallmouth bass population continues to expand and thrive in Suttle Lake.

Wickiup Reservoir- Wickiup was a surprise kokanee fishery in 2023. However, North Wickiup boat launch was only accessible for launching large boats until around early July. Large and healthy fish were caught in May-June. ODFW does not typically do redd or spawning ground surveys for kokanee, however, staff visited Sheeps Bridge in late September and counted 376 spawning adults. With water levels maintained higher in 2023 and the previous few years, Wickiup is expected to provide a decent kokanee fishery in 2024 as long as boat ramps are accessible. ODFW received many reports of illegal fishing at Sheeps Bridge after the season had closed some resulting in citations. We remind anglers that the Deschutes River Arm of Wickiup is closed from the boat ramp at Gull Point Campground to ODFW markers near Sheeps Bridge beginning September 1 to protect spawning kokanee.

The major project KPO and ODFW are working on is the Paulina Lake fish trap, which is nearly worn out and needs to be replaced.  The only real bid for replacing it will cost about $200,000 and several efforts to procure funding from grants have failed because other competing projects also enhance a federally listed species, and this one does not.  KPO has been looking for a company that could build a replacement trap according to the ODFW design specifications.  If any members have an suggestions, please contact a board member.

KPO is dedicated to the enhancement of Kokanee fisheries in Oregon and will continue to work closely with ODFW to develop additional projects for other water bodies as opportunities evolve. 

Rick Breckel

KPO Project Coordinator

2022 End of Year KPO Report                           January 10, 2023

As in recent years, some of our Oregon lakes provided some stellar Kokanee fishing with Detroit, Paulina, and Odell being some of the best.  Detroit started the year with  fat 11-12″ Kokanee at our April derby and finished the year with Kokanee up to 15″ in September.  Wallowa was also one that produced lots of Kokanee, with a few up to 23″.  Paulina consistently produced limits throughout much of the summer with nice 13″ Kokanee, and Odell produced larger Kokanee than recent years, but not quite as many.  On the other hand, we also had a few lakes such as East, Crescent, and Green Peter which were not as good  previous years.  As a result, we still have lots of work to do.  

We continue to work with ODFW on many projects, and to have some influence in management decisions.  We would be remiss here however if we did not once again highlight the importance of your submission of catch reports on the KPO website every time you fish, especially in the eastern Oregon lakes.  These data are the most important factor in much of our influence on ODFW and management decisions.  We now have up to 4000 Facebook members whom share the interest in Kokanee and this number continues to grow annually.  I doubt that few members can honestly say that they have filled out a catch report every time they fish, but we all need to do a better job at this because every time we meet with ODFW, these are the data that carry the most weight and influence.  Please do your part, every time and remind others at the ramp and elsewhere to do the same. 

DETROIT

Lots of anglers enjoyed many Kokanee limits all year from Detroit Lake.  At times there were up to 130 trailers at Mongold  ramp on weekends, more than ever before.  After most of the fish spawned in the fall of 2022,  this year’s fish caught were 11-12″ and in good shape, so it looks like this year will again be a great one.  This winter, the few anglers who have caught Kokanee report similar size fat Kokanee, but also report lots of Chinook smolts and a few rainbows.  Please remember to release all Chinook caught in Detroit. 

Anglers have been relatively good about reporting catches from this lake, however the number of reports has diminished somewhat from previous years.  These catch reports have shown a lower number of adipose marked Kokanee in recent years, implying that the 25-30,000 Kokanee we have released annually in September/October are not surviving to adults.   For the past two years, less than 10% of the catch has been the adipose marked fish.  Biologists suspect that it may be that the Kokanee released in the fall, which have been on pelletized food, are not able to adapt to the decreasing zooplankton food source in the lake.  Attempts to release smaller Kokanee in July during 2021 were not successful due to the warmer water temperatures in the lake, so they had to wait until September.  Again, because of the catch report data, a new project was developed in which an additional 27,111 Kokanee were brought to Marion Forks Hatchery, and KPO volunteers clipped these with a left ventral fin clip in late June.  In July these marked fish were released at Hoover boat ramp where water temperatures between the hatchery water and the river were compatible to maintain fish survival.  Then on September 27, 2022, ODFW released  30,153 Kokanee at Mongold boat ramp.   As a result we now have a over 57,000 fin marked Kokanee in the lake, half with only the adipose fin removed, and half with the left ventral fin removed.  We plan to continue with this plan for the next 2-3 years until we can determine which time and place are best to release the Kokanee raised at Wizard Falls Hatchery.  Until then, the catch reports are of utmost importance!  Please watch for the opportunity to come help with the fish marking this coming summer at Marion Forks.  It will be 4-5 days of clipping and we’ll need up to 8 people per day.  It was a lot of fun last year.  Also note that there is a Forest Service campground at the Marion Forks Hatchery in case anyone wants to stay over.  KPO is funding the majority of this effort except for the extra food donation from Bio Oregon.  In spite of all this, Detroit remains one of the best in the state, implying that the natural spawning habitat is in good shape.

Other information from the Mid Willamette ODFW biologists will be forthcoming for Detroit, Green Peter, and Foster after our spring meeting with them.

GREEN PETER

For the past several years, the Kokanee at Green Peter have been very abundant, but also very small, sometimes only averaging 7″, which was too small to entice many anglers to go after them.  However, in 2022, the average size was larger with some fish in the 11-12″ range. This was very encouraging since historically this lake has produced some very good quality Kokanee, but on a cyclic pattern where they were small for a few years, then larger for a few. 

During the summer of 2022 KPO sponsored a kids fishing day at this lake coordinated by one of our board members, Robert Hamman.   This was not a derby, just an opportunity to take a bunch of kids fishing and give them a multitude of prizes donated by our many sponsors.  It was a huge success!

However, some major changes are in store for this lake starting this year with a significant draw down of the reservoir to do some work on the dam for the purpose of eventually enhancing the spring Chinook spawning population above the lake.  This draw down will likely flush out most of the Kokanee in the lake, so we don’t know if it will be a positive effect long term or not.  However, for this year at least, Foster reservoir may get a large influx of Kokanee. 

As a result of all this, there may be a need for additional monitoring efforts at Green Peter in terms of zooplankton and Kokanee population status, which means a need for more catch report data, gill net surveys, etc.

No progress has been made on our project of improving the low water winter ramp at Thistle Creek yet, but it is still on our radar.

FOSTER

This reservoir has historically been a rainbow/bass fishery, but has always had a few small number of Kokanee caught annually, some of which were up to 14-15″.  As the Green Peter draw down occurs, this may be one many anglers may want to try.  The best year round boat ramp is at Sunnyside campground, but there are at least two others which are usable in the summer when water levels are at full pool.

BIG CLIFF

Since 2014 the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) has had the small gravel boat ramp closed to public use due to the discovery of some heavy metals in the mud spanning over a 7 acre area of the lake.  A major clean up is planned for 2024.  Some unconfirmed rumors of large Kokanee have been circulating, but very little use of this lake other than bank anglers and small craft that can be carried to the water.  KPO will be monitoring the clean up and has sent a letter asking that when it happens that the boat ramp be improved for daily use of any boat, as well as analysis of the fish for safe consumption.

TIMOTHY LAKE

For two years KPO members attempted to start a project to develop and install weirs on the creeks surrounding the lake in an attempt to reduce the number of fish that can reach their spawning habitat in an effort to increase the size average in the lake.  It involved the Mt. Hood Community College fisheries department and Portland General Electric (PGE).  Due to some unknown reasons, the partners have not been able to put it all together yet.

CRESCENT LAKE

We had high hopes that our efforts to restore good size and numbers of Kokanee in this lake were going to be successful, but mother nature had other plans.  As a result of drought and low water in the lake for the past few years, it has been very difficult to access with a boat.  Until we get a significant snowpack that allows for Whitefish Creek to contribute adequate flows/nutrients to the lake, the District Biologist suspects that Kokanee will be negatively impacted.  In spite of this, Crescent lake was stocked with 25,026 Kokanee in July and 23,310 marked Kokanee in late September, 2022.  ODFW plans to dedicate their sampling effort to Crescent in 2023 to support evaluation of the marking program.

PAULINA LAKE

This lake produced many limits of 12-13″ Kokanee all season in 2022 and we hope that trend continues this coming year.  As in the past few years, 4,995 adipose marked Kokanee were released in late September 2022 into the middle of the lake.  District Fish Staff sampled Paulina Lake for Kokanee in September using a pelagic gill net and shoreline fyke nets.  Chub trapping occurred again from June-August with a little less than average number removed. 

Paulina Lake Dam is the only place that Kokanee eggs are collected and subsequently raised at Wizard Falls Hatchery and then distributed to lakes statewide.  This has been occurring for many years, and as a result, the collection screens are in dire need to replacement.  This is an expensive project, estimated at around $200,000.  KPO has offered to help, but we don’t have that much.  ODFW has been attempting to procure the funding through a variety of means, but has been unsuccessful to date.

Deschutes District Staff and Wizard Falls Staff joined to collect the spawning fish in October, 2022 as usual and sampled 600 fish to collect eggs and monitor the marked vs unmarked Kokanee.  It will take another year of this monitoring to determine the proportion of marked and unmarked Kokanee in the lake. 

ODELL LAKE

This lake had a good Kokanee fishery this year with fish starting out at 11-12″ and ending the season at 13-14″ by late summer!  This lake does not receive any hatchery raised Kokanee, they are all naturally spawned in the creeks and shoreline gravels.  It is one of the most utilized lakes on the east side along with Paulina.  However, we get few catch reports from those anglers and we hope that this will improve.  We suspect that heavy predation by Lake Trout may be contributing to the larger size Kokanee by keeping their numbers in check.  The worst thing that can happen to a Kokanee population is to allow them be become over populated.  However, managing predation levels, food quantity, and natural spawning success in a lake like this is mainly accomplished by mother nature, not us.

EAST LAKE

For the past two years, due to low water, low nutrient levels, and Tui Chub competition, the fishing at this lake was poor overall.  It was nearly impossible to launch a boat, and reports from those that did were that the Kokanee were very small.  Until we get a significant snowpack, just like Crescent, it will likely not change.  The snowpack so far this year is good, so it may improve as the springs are recharged and fill the lake.  In spite of this, in June of last year, 9,927 Kokanee were released into the lake.  Because of the small size of Kokanee reported on catch reports, ODFW is considering decreasing this stocking rate to increase the average size.  Chub trapping occurred again June-August.

CRANE PRAIRIE

This lake continues to support a small natural population of good sized Kokanee which average 13-15″.  Kokanee were again observed spawning at Cow Camp and Quinn River this last fall, so we suspect it will continue to be good along with the very popular rainbow fishery.  ODFW implemented an expanded non-native fish trapping program this year at Crane Prairie focused on the removal of brown bullhead. 

WICKIUP RESERVOIR

The Kokanee fishery in Wickiup Reservoir is essentially gone as the reservoir has been drained down to the lakebed the last few years.  After the fish were all flushed into the Deschutes River in 2018, very few fish have been observed spawning at Sheeps Bridge or by anglers.  There is a slight glimmer of hope in the idea that as the irrigation ditches are converted to pipes at some date in the future, and less water is utilized by irrigation, maybe some water can be retained in the reservoir over the summer. 

SUTTLE LAKE

Several years ago, this lake produced some 11-12″ Kokanee.  In recent years they are only 9-10″ and as a result get very low angling pressure.  ODFW did some pelagic gill net sampling in August.  As anticipated, the Kokanee were again only 9-10″.  Unfortunately some Smallmouth bass were illegally introduced into the lake and are starting to increase in numbers.  If there is any good news here, maybe the Smallmouth bass will reduce the Kokanee numbers and result in some larger fish? 

LAKE BILLY CHINOOK

PGE has been conducting creel surveys on this lake annually but the 2022 numbers are not yet available.  In 2021 however, an estimated 6680 Kokanee were caught with 4798 kept.  The average catch rate was 0.11 fish per hour.  Most were 11-12″. 

LAKE SIMTUSTUS

PGE continued to transfer smaller Kokanee from Lake Billy Chinook to this lake.  2022 was the second year of this process, so this coming year should provide good fishing since the kokanee will be in their 3rd year as adults and ready for harvest.   KPO initiated the discussion for this project back in 2019 and with the support of Deschutes District Staff and PGE biologists, it may prove to be one of the great success stories.  We look forward to the first angler catch reports this coming spring!

HAYSTACK RESERVOIR

This reservoir has been stocked in most years but due to irrigation drawdown and then in June of 2022 it was drained to dead pool for emergency gate maintenance. ODFW implemented a temporary rule lifting all bag limits and gear restrictions for October and November.  Stocking will reoccur in 2023 but it will take a couple of years for the fishery to rebound.

ANGLER EDUCATION

For the past couple of years, KPO has joined forces with ODFW Angler Education program to help introduce beginning anglers to the concept of Kokanee fishing.  Some KPO members have completed the training to become certified instructors along with ODFW staff.  This program introduces sport angling to both youth and families.  Any members willing to help out should visit the ODFW website and then complete a short training program (about 3 hours) to help out with future projects.  Another option is to contact Amanda Boyles, Anger Education Coordinator, at 503-580-5102.

SUMMARY

As we all know, the Kokanee fishery continues to grow rapidly, along with our membership on Facebook, paying members, and our bank account for projects.  The list of sponsors is also getting very large along with new tackle sales businesses. KPO board members are committed to work towards the enhancement of the Kokanee fishery and the education of all new members of the sport.  We continue to gain traction and influence with ODFW and other partners.  With your help, it will be another great Kokanee season.

Rick Breckel

KPO Project Coordinator

inter and should have it completed by our first derby we hope. 

The 2022 planned releases for rainbows are approximately 40,000 1 lb trout April-June.  52,000 were released in 2021.

GREEN PETER

Unfortunately not much has changed at this lake.  Kokanee are still over populated and running very small, like 7-9″ as I recall.  The only project we are currently working on is the possible extension and improvement of the low water ramp at Thistle Creek.  It will be a cooperative effort between Linn County, the Marine Board, ODFW, and KPO.   We will keep you up to date as progress occurs.

BIG CLIFF

The only small gravel ramp at this lake has been closed since 2014 due to the discovery of some construction debris on a 7 acre area at the bottom of the lake which was emitting some toxic materials such as pcbs, and heavy metals.  The Corps of Engineers (ACOE) has proposed to clean it up in 2023-2024 sometime and KPO submitted a letter suggesting that along with the clean up that they also test all fish species for safe consumption and because they will already have lots of heavy equipment on site, that they also improve the boat ramp for public access again.

TIMOTHY LAKE

Last year we began a cooperative project with PGE and ODFW trying to improve the size of the Kokanee in this lake.  The hope is to install weirs on the creeks surrounding the lake in an attempt to reduce the number of fish that can reach prime spawning habitat.  This is a very intensive project especially in the first few weeks after the weirs are installed.  We have talked with the fisheries instructor at Mt Hood Community College and plan on using the entire class to help with install and a few students for daily checks.

In the later part of 2021, the two Fisheries Biologists we have been working with for the past few years on the east side of the state, Brett Hodgson, and Erik Moberly have moved on.  Brett retired and Erik is now working on the reintroduction of salmon and steelhead in the upper basin.  ODFW has hired  Jerry George as the new District Fisheries Biologist and he will be hiring a new assistant in the next few weeks.   We will all miss working with both Brett and Erik as they have been very supportive of our efforts.

CRESCENT LAKE

In 2020 26,000 Kokanee were released in July and another 25,000 marked Kokanee were released in October.  The few catch reports we received from there in 2021 reported only small 10″ Kokanee and no clipped fish in the bag.  It was a very challenging year at Crescent due to the low water and limited ramp availability.  In 2021, these issues prevented the release or gill netting of Kokanee.  We are hoping for a significant snowpack this year to recharge all the springs and Whitefish Creek so it will contribute significant flows and nutrients into the lake.  The lower levels also make Kokanee more available to predation.

 

PAULINA LAKE

For the past few years, a total of 5000 Kokanee have been released into this lake each summer.  Last year was a very good year for this lake with many daily limits being reported almost all summer long.  All the eggs for the entire state are collected here each fall and taken to Wizard Falls Hatchery for the raising of our Kokanee in all lakes where they are released.  The fish collection screens are in desperate need of repair and upgrade.  KPO is working closely with ODFW to help collect the $100K in funds to complete this job.  As of this writing, the fish screens project is on hold until the District get fully staffed and funded.  we do not have a confirmed date when construction will begin.

EAST LAKE

2021 was a disastrous year for this lake.  The water level was so low that many were not able to launch as the season progressed.  In addition, the Kokanee caught were very small and few.  Both Paulina and East lakes have large populations of Tui chubs, especially in East lake.  We suspect this may be having an impact on the Kokanee population and growth.  Tui chubs consume lots of zooplankton, the main food source for Kokanee.  Here again the biggest issue is suspected to be the low water level. 

KPO is working with ODFW biologist (Jennifer Luke) to help trap more Tui chubs in both Paulina and East lakes starting this summer.  We may be asking members to assist as well, so if you have the time to help out in any way, please contact our President Joe Moritz and he will direct you as to how you can help.

WICKIUP RESERVOIR

Several anglers tried to fish this lake at the beginning of the season and  there were a few reports of a some small Kokanee being caught.   Spawning surveys at Sheep’s Bridge did not find any Kokanee spawning.  With another low water year (2021), this fishery is most likely done until water levels can be maintained.  Only a few Brown Trout were caught that we know of.  Deschutes county along with the Bureau of Reclamation are working on a plan to pipe water from Wickiup rather than use ditches.  This may be a more efficient method and might allow for more water retention in Wickiup in the future.  This is still somewhat speculative though.

CRANE PRAIRE

KPO held a derby at this lake in 2021 and it was quite successful, but some anglers had a hard time getting enough Kokanee to weigh in.  However there were some very nice sized Kokanee up to 16″ caught which again we suspect to be available this coming year.  Spawning surveys at Cow Camp showed significant spawning Kokanee  so we suspect survival will be good as long as predation from the bass, bullhead, rainbows, and brook trout is low.

LAKE SIMTUSTUS

PGE will again be transferring smaller Kokanee from Lake Billy Chinook into Lake Simtustus for the next few years to see if it will ignite a new Kokanee fishery.  2022 will be the second year of transferring these fish so it will be another year  (2023) before there will be a fishery for the public.

ANGLER EDUCATION

KPO has joined forces with the ODFW Angler Education program to help introduce beginning anglers or new ones to the Kokanee fishing concept.  Some KPO members have completed the training to become instructors along with ODFW staff.  This program introduces sport angling to beginners with an emphasis on youth and families.  Any members willing to help out should first visit the ODFW website to review the program and then complete a short training program  (about 3 hours) to help out as projects are available in the future.

 

Rick Breckel

Project Coordinator

2021 End of Year KPO Report                                                January 19, 2022

The year of 2021 was great in some lakes and very disappointing in a few others, but now again we need to reflect last year’s efforts, learn from any mistakes, and plan for the upcoming 2022 season.

As all of you know, one of the most helpful things all anglers can do to help insure a good Kokanee fishery in the future is to document and report our catches for each lake every time you fish, whether or not you catch anything!  PLEASE fill out the catch report on the KPO web site or a card where they exist like at Detroit.  Brad just sent out the year end summary of the catch reports and other than Detroit, it was pretty sad to see that very few reports were turned in compared to how many anglers were out during the year.  These data are one of the only ways that we get ODFW to act on issues we raise.  It helps them get funding and the authority to proceed from supervisors as well.  If you see that a problem has existed for several years without any action from ODFW, it may be lack of data that is holding it up. 

DETROIT

Last fall we had many concerns of negative impacts of the fires of 2020 on Detroit.  In the end, it turned out to be a great year, often providing limits of nice 12-15″ Kokanee and some very nice trout up to 21″.  Detroit continues to provide great fishing success even throughout the fall and winter to date.  Most winter fish however are only 11-12″, but all are in great shape and will provide another great year the way it looks. 

Because the catch reports reflected only about 10% of the Kokanee being marked, in 2021 we tried to change the marking and release schedule from approximately 25,000 marked 6″ Kokanee released in October to about 31,000 marked 4.5″ Kokanee released in July.  The reason for this is that we suspect that the released fish in the fall may not be able to adapt to eating only zooplankton in the short time between fall and winter when zooplankton populations are decreasing drastically for the winter period.  By releasing the Kokanee in July, when zooplankton populations are at maximum production.  After trying to make this happen for two years now, it turns out that we cannot get the fish marked until early August, but they can be released soon after that.  This year however, the water temperature was so high that they decided  to wait until it cooled off a bit and 31,250 Kokanee (4.5″ long) were released on September 16th. 

No gill net sampling was accomplished in 2021, but hoping it will get done in 2022.  As mentioned above, the card catch data was way down, so ODFW will be analyzing the data from our website and the cards this winter and should have it completed by our first derby we hope. 

The 2022 planned releases for rainbows are approximately 40,000 1 lb trout April-June.  52,000 were released in 2021.

GREEN PETER

Unfortunately not much has changed at this lake.  Kokanee are still over populated and running very small, like 7-9″ as I recall.  The only project we are currently working on is the possible extension and improvement of the low water ramp at Thistle Creek.  It will be a cooperative effort between Linn County, the Marine Board, ODFW, and KPO.   We will keep you up to date as progress occurs.

BIG CLIFF

The only small gravel ramp at this lake has been closed since 2014 due to the discovery of some construction debris on a 7 acre area at the bottom of the lake which was emitting some toxic materials such as pcbs, and heavy metals.  The Corps of Engineers (ACOE) has proposed to clean it up in 2023-2024 sometime and KPO submitted a letter suggesting that along with the clean up that they also test all fish species for safe consumption and because they will already have lots of heavy equipment on site, that they also improve the boat ramp for public access again.

TIMOTHY LAKE

Last year we began a cooperative project with PGE and ODFW trying to improve the size of the Kokanee in this lake.  The hope is to install weirs on the creeks surrounding the lake in an attempt to reduce the number of fish that can reach prime spawning habitat.  This is a very intensive project especially in the first few weeks after the weirs are installed.  We have talked with the fisheries instructor at Mt Hood Community College and plan on using the entire class to help with install and a few students for daily checks.

In the later part of 2021, the two Fisheries Biologists we have been working with for the past few years on the east side of the state, Brett Hodgson, and Erik Moberly have moved on.  Brett retired and Erik is now working on the reintroduction of salmon and steelhead in the upper basin.  ODFW has hired  Jerry George as the new District Fisheries Biologist and he will be hiring a new assistant in the next few weeks.   We will all miss working with both Brett and Erik as they have been very supportive of our efforts.

CRESCENT LAKE

In 2020 26,000 Kokanee were released in July and another 25,000 marked Kokanee were released in October.  The few catch reports we received from there in 2021 reported only small 10″ Kokanee and no clipped fish in the bag.  It was a very challenging year at Crescent due to the low water and limited ramp availability.  In 2021, these issues prevented the release or gill netting of Kokanee.  We are hoping for a significant snowpack this year to recharge all the springs and Whitefish Creek so it will contribute significant flows and nutrients into the lake.  The lower levels also make Kokanee more available to predation.

 

PAULINA LAKE

For the past few years, a total of 5000 Kokanee have been released into this lake each summer.  Last year was a very good year for this lake with many daily limits being reported almost all summer long.  All the eggs for the entire state are collected here each fall and taken to Wizard Falls Hatchery for the raising of our Kokanee in all lakes where they are released.  The fish collection screens are in desperate need of repair and upgrade.  KPO is working closely with ODFW to help collect the $100K in funds to complete this job.  As of this writing, the fish screens project is on hold until the District get fully staffed and funded.  we do not have a confirmed date when construction will begin.

EAST LAKE

2021 was a disastrous year for this lake.  The water level was so low that many were not able to launch as the season progressed.  In addition, the Kokanee caught were very small and few.  Both Paulina and East lakes have large populations of Tui chubs, especially in East lake.  We suspect this may be having an impact on the Kokanee population and growth.  Tui chubs consume lots of zooplankton, the main food source for Kokanee.  Here again the biggest issue is suspected to be the low water level. 

KPO is working with ODFW biologist (Jennifer Luke) to help trap more Tui chubs in both Paulina and East lakes starting this summer.  We may be asking members to assist as well, so if you have the time to help out in any way, please contact our President Joe Moritz and he will direct you as to how you can help.

WICKIUP RESERVOIR

Several anglers tried to fish this lake at the beginning of the season and  there were a few reports of a some small Kokanee being caught.   Spawning surveys at Sheep’s Bridge did not find any Kokanee spawning.  With another low water year (2021), this fishery is most likely done until water levels can be maintained.  Only a few Brown Trout were caught that we know of.  Deschutes county along with the Bureau of Reclamation are working on a plan to pipe water from Wickiup rather than use ditches.  This may be a more efficient method and might allow for more water retention in Wickiup in the future.  This is still somewhat speculative though.

CRANE PRAIRE

KPO held a derby at this lake in 2021 and it was quite successful, but some anglers had a hard time getting enough Kokanee to weigh in.  However there were some very nice sized Kokanee up to 16″ caught which again we suspect to be available this coming year.  Spawning surveys at Cow Camp showed significant spawning Kokanee  so we suspect survival will be good as long as predation from the bass, bullhead, rainbows, and brook trout is low.

LAKE SIMTUSTUS

PGE will again be transferring smaller Kokanee from Lake Billy Chinook into Lake Simtustus for the next few years to see if it will ignite a new Kokanee fishery.  2022 will be the second year of transferring these fish so it will be another year  (2023) before there will be a fishery for the public.

ANGLER EDUCATION

KPO has joined forces with the ODFW Angler Education program to help introduce beginning anglers or new ones to the Kokanee fishing concept.  Some KPO members have completed the training to become instructors along with ODFW staff.  This program introduces sport angling to beginners with an emphasis on youth and families.  Any members willing to help out should first visit the ODFW website to review the program and then complete a short training program  (about 3 hours) to help out as projects are available in the future.

 

Rick Breckel

Project Coordinator

2021 Mid Willamette ODFW Annual Meeting                                                                    April 12, 2021

KPO board members met by Zoom meeting with Fisheries Biologists Elise Kelly and Alex Ferrand and were joined for a portion of the meeting by Luke Allen, Wizard Falls Hatchery Manager.  The purpose of this annual meeting was to discuss our ongoing projects, answer questions, and possibly develop new project ideas.

Detroit Reservoir

  1. We first discussed the overall growth of the Kokanee fishery state wide, and especially Detroit this winter and spring. Last Sunday 130 trailers were counted in the Mongold lot at 10am.  KPO board emphasized the need for ODFW to realize and place more management emphasis on Kokanee overall, since most salmon and stealhead fishing efforts have diminished.  No commitments were made, but they are hearing us.
  2. Creel census data collection continues to be the most important issue. Overall, it is going well, but a continued effort needs to occur for more anglers to report our catches accurately.  With the increased bag limit and increased pressure on this lake, the question is whether or not the Kokanee population and size will be sustained over time.  Thus, in order to find out, the creel data is extremely important to keep collecting.  Last year’s data has not yet been summarized by ODFW, but we anticipate it by mid May.  The only way we have a chance to influence future decisions and maintain this high quality fishery is to collect accurate data.  Anglers not willing to report their catch every time they fish, whether they catch anything or not, have no right to complain about how it is managed!  When we know there are over 100 boats on the lake and we get less than 5 reports for the day, there is significant room for improvement!  Please encourage fellow anglers to keep track of their catch, especially the clipped fish, and report it accurately.
  3. Rainbow Trout stocking has changed annually and again will be altered. Only about 50,000 rainbows will be released into Detroit this summer, and they will all be considered trophy size (>1 lb).  These trout will all be clipped and should range from 13-20 inches.  Some smaller trout do remain in the lake which were stocked previously as fry.  The larger rainbows will all be from Desert Springs Hatchery in Summer Lake, OR.   In general, these are high quality fish and often cut as red as the Kokanee.  Anglers targeting these rainbows have reported high satisfaction to ODFW in the last two years.
  4. Kokanee Stocking has remained constant at 25,000 annually in October since 2016. Some concerns were discussed about the survival of these adults since the clipped fish were 30% of the catch in 2018 and 2019, and seems to be as low as 10% this year.  However the data from 2020 is not tabulated yet, and we must be cautious in making management decisions based on only one year of data.  In spite of that we discussed the concept of stocking more like 35,000 Kokanee starting in 2022 and put them into the lake as soon as they are clipped, which will likely be early August.  At this earlier date, they will only be 2.5-3 inches instead of 5-6 inches in October.  The potential benefit of the earlier release is that the zooplankton will be plentiful and they may be able to adapt better for the upcoming winter than the larger Kokanee released in October.  This is similar to the concept we are monitoring in Crescent Lake.
  5. The Temperature Control Tower project proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) was discussed. We were told that the Environmental Analysis was completed but there is currently not enough funding to start the construction, which is all anticipated to be under water mostly, so if and when it is started the reservoir will not need to be totally drained.
  6. Post-Fire Water Sampling has been ongoing since October of 2020 in the lake and rivers to determine if any impacts exist. Preliminary results indicate the presence of high levels of manganese and aluminum following heavy rain and runoff events.  No indication of impacts to the fish or eating them at this point.
  7. A Kokanee Age Comparison between Detroit and Green Peter was discussed as one factor that might be relevant to help determine why the GP fish remain small. We may get some scale envelopes from ODFW and coordinate a time in late summer before the Kokanee begin to spawn to collect scales from 25-50 fish.  This might happen for two years before the scales are submitted to the OSU lab for aging.  No decisions on this project were made yet.
  8. Triploid Kokanee stocking was again suggested by KPO. We were hoping that they could be tested in Detroit .  We suggested it because the tribal program at Roosevelt and some Canadian lakes has been successful, as well as information indicating that WDFW may be starting it in Lake Chelan.  However, much of the published data on this concept has not shown consistent success regarding overall survival and increased growth over time.  In spite of this we continue to encourage this trial effort in a lake with ample food sources and possibly minimal native reproduction.  Maybe Crescent lake is a candidate?  ODFW is hesitant to initiate the process due to concerns about pond space in the Wizard Falls hatchery and others, potential disease introduction, costs regarding collection and triploiding the eggs, etc.  It may be a long process, but KPO will continue to keep this concept in discussions.

Green Peter Reservoir

  1. The improvement of the low water ramp at Thistle Creek is being discussed by KPO, Linn County, and the Marine Board. The idea is to make a ramp similar to the low water ramp at Detroit if there is a suitable location.  Discussions are just starting, and no potential costs or timeframes have been developed.

In addition, an effort was made to try to convince ACOE to open the gate at Big Cliff reservoir so that smaller boats could use the existing gravel ramp.  It has been closed since 2014.  Rumors of decent sized Kokanee have been reported there from some kayak anglers.  The ACOE recreation ranger told us that in order to meet minimum standards for a boat ramp on ACOE land it would take an environmental assessment and much more money than it would be worth for the few anglers who might utilize it.  We called the Marine Board and they too have suggested it be opened, but were told the same thing.  Yesterday we asked ODFW if they would make a call to see if ACOE might reconsider.

  1. An OSU Graduate Research Program was suggested by KPO to help determine why Kokanee at GP remain small. A zoom meeting was held with Scott Heppell, Fisheries Graduate Research Director at Oregon State University along with ODFW Biologists.  This entailed a long discussion of the many possibilities for the research, and a long term effort and high cost.  Both OSU and ODFW committed to continue discussions, and seek a reasonable proposal and funding, but no decisions were made.  Based on historic data on the annual size of Kokanee in this lake since 2000, the fish have varied from 8-9 inches to an average of 14-15 inches twice during this timeframe.  As a result, the situation may correct itself in time without any additional research.  However, we will keep this effort going.
  2. May 15th Fun Day. One of our members, Robert Hamman is coordinating a fun day and hot dog feed for anyone who wishes to join up and bring some kids or anyone to fill your boat and thin out the Kokanee at Green Peter.  He has reserved space #1 at Sunnyside Park at noon for the hot dog feed and social gathering.  There will be a prize for the largest Kokanee and smallest Kokanee.  Cost is free unless you wish to donate for his expenses.
  3. A Kokanee 101 Class and fish day is being coordinated in cooperation with ODFW sometime this summer at Odell Lake. KPO is assisting ODFW with their Angler Education Program.  This will be for any beginning anglers interested in learning from some of the best .  Instruction on both trolling and jigging techniques will be reviewed.  Then on the second day KPO members will take participants out on the lake.  KPO members interested in participating are encouraged to attend one of the zoom instruction courses given by ODFW for angler instructors/volunteers.  For information you can contact Amanda Boyles, Angler Education Coordinator at 503-580-5102.

Summary

As many of you are aware, the Kokanee fishery continues to grow and we believe it may be the most significant and consistent fishery in the state, potentially surpassing the salmon and stealhead angler efforts if current trends continue.  Without the efforts of all KPO members and sponsors, much of the progress accomplished and needs in the future would not be possible without your support.  We want to thank you all for making this a great resource for generations to come!

Rick Breckel

KPO Project Coordinator

Quick note from your president. Some exciting news on the project front for KPO. We are beginning talks with Scott Heppell of Oregon State University, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife to discuss projects that we can work together on. Scale sampling for aging, discussions of fish size at Green Peter and other topics are on the agenda. I have also been talking with Amanda Boyles the new head of the Angler Education program at ODFW. This program was nearly dead and we will be in discussion with her about partnering in projects such as kids fishing events, educating people on fishing and Kokanee fishing in particular and sponsoring a Kokanee kayak fishing event. Stay tuned for updates. This should be an exciting year for new direction in projects to enhance our Kokanee fishery.

 

Fresh Kokanee Cakes

1 lb diced fresh Kokanee meat or Canned Kokanee
1/4 cup of chopped green onion
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of panko
1 egg
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp black pepper
.5 tsp Salt

Dice Kokanee into 1/2 inch or smaller pieces and place into bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate mixture for 30-45 minutes.
Form mixture into patties; the size of patties is by preference but about a 3 inch diameter works well. 
Fry patties in pan with hot oil until golden brown on both sides. 
Serve with your favorite tarter sauce or sweet chili sauce and enjoy!
ODFW Annual Meeting                                                                                                                                                     February 27, 2020

at Adair Office

KPO met with ODFW Willamette Valley Fisheries biologists, Elise Kelley and Alex Ferrand at Corvallis on February 27th to discuss a list of questions developed by KPO and get an update of the current status of management issues.

The major points are as follows:

  1. Daily Bag Limit and Creel Census Data. Because of the data collected by the creel census cards at Detroit lake and the KPO web site, ODFW has decided to increase the daily bag limit to 10 fish, similar to what was previously done at Little Billy Chinook and Wickiup reservoirs.  This will be implemented in 2021.  In order to determine if this was a good decision or not, ODFW would like us to continue to collect creel data for the next 4 years including 2020. The proposed bag limit change was submitted by the District Biologist for approval which is anticipated in August-September, 2020.  They emphasized that both the data for Kokanee as well as trout and Chinook is of great importance to them, as well as the accuracy of reporting.  An analysis of the last three years is attached.  It is extremely important that we continue to report and encourage other anglers to report their catch data, even if they did not catch any fish!  The most important part of this data is to accurately record how many of the clipped Kokanee and clipped rainbows vs. not clipped fish are caught.  Without good data, there will be no management actions.  Please do your part and encourage others to do the same.
  1. Rainbow Trout. ODFW also decided to modify the release of trout based on comments and data from KPO beginning in 2019.  Historically they released about 125,000 legal size (8-10″) trout annually.  In 2019, they released around 75,000 and some larger trout.  In 2020, they will only release about 50,000 trout and a good portion will be trophy size (14-21″).  These will be from the Desert Springs Hatchery in Summer Lake.  It should be noted that in terms of pounds of fish, the same amount is being released as was historically.  They are 1-2 fish/lb now rather than 3 fish/lb historically.  Bottom line here is that they were listening.  The 2021 stocking program for rainbows will be the same as 2020.
  1. Chinook management. ODFW does not release any small Chinook into Detroit lake.   They collect mature adults from the Minto trap in the fall, and release them in the rivers.  These adults go up the Santiam and Breitenbush and spawn.  The eggs hatch in the winter, and the fry live in the stream until spring when they migrate down to the lake to grow.  Some migrate down through the turbines at the dam and others seem to stay in the lake, but do not appear to grow much over 15″.  Note that all Chinook are protected and should be released.  The regulations will be clarified on this issue in 2021. Keep in mind that retention of any Chinook in Detroit is not allowed.
  1. Kokanee Large Program. This is the name for our project where we are clipping and releasing 25-30,000 larger (4-6″) Kokanee into Detroit in the fall each year.  Based on the success of this program, ODFW has budgeted to keep funding it for at least the next three years.
  1. Green Peter Reservoir. No Kokanee release has occurred in the past 5 years, and due to excess natural spawning success, there are too many Kokanee in the reservoir which has resulted in the average size of 8″.  After much discussion on possible solutions, ranging from manipulation of spawning habitat via stream barriers, to no limit on Kokanee, to seine netting, no potential options are feasible.The most feasible option would be to convince the Army Corps of Engineers to drain Green Peter to flush out the majority of the fish one year, but they are not willing to do this due to other priorities and concerns.  ODFW collects gill net samples annually in the fall on both lakes to get at least 60 Kokanee for pathology analysis and see what size ranges of each species exist in the lake.   Of special note is that for the first time in Green Peter this year, several very large pike minnows were caught in the gill nets.  Several ranged up to 10-12 lbs and 30 inches long.  Stomach samples were inconclusive as to what they were eating.  However this may help reduce the Kokanee population so they get larger in time.  Also, a special note that in Detroit, for the first time this last year one small mouth bass was caught in the gill net.  A relatively new study method was discussed whereby it is now possible to take water samples from streams, such as one each mile, and because the spawning fish all release small strands of DNA constantly, the water samples can be analyzed to determine what species are spawning in each section.  You just cannot determine how many of each.  As this technique is further developed, it may someday yield more complete stream data on natural reproduction.
  1. Triploid Kokanee. We proposed that since Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has been experimenting with this concept for a few years now, maybe ODFW might consider it.  After some discussion, it was agreed that ODFW will look into the possibility of getting some triploid (sterile) eggs, and releasing them into Green Peter.  If this works, we could end up with a few 5 or 6 year old Kokanee in the lake some day.  All is just a possibility at this time depending on several other logistical factors.  After some discussion, it was determined that Green Peter is not a logical place to try triploids at this time due to the number of small fish and lower zooplankton levels.
  1. Detroit Temperature Control Tower. At the current time, the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) is still working on their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), but have not been fully funded to finalize it and begin construction of the $500 million project which was proposed to begin in 2021.
  1. UP Stream Release of Kokanee. We asked if there would possibly be any advantage to releasing our marked Kokanee up above the lake in order to encourage them to return upstream to spawn.  At this time, it was their opinion that there would be no advantage to this.  If we knew that our marked Kokanee were not going up to spawn, it may be worth trying, but without further spawning surveys we cannot tell.  These surveys are very difficult to conduct accurately in the larger streams like the Santiam, and sometimes dangerous.  We invited Alex to again come to our derby at Detroit to report and answer questions in the afternoon.

Summary

Without the efforts of all KPO members and sponsors, much of the progress we have accomplished in past years and what you see above would not have happened.  We look forward to more improvements in the future so that this great Kokanee resource is available for generations to come.

Rick Breckel

KPO Project Coordinator

The KPO Board of Directors is excited to get started for 2020.  We have derbies to plan and the sportsman shows are in full swing.  This should be a great year for kokanee fishing.  We will keep the membership updated on the projects we will be involved in around Oregon.  Here is your KPO Board of Directors for 2020.

 
2020 KPO Board Members

The KPO Board of Directors is excited to get started for 2019.  We have derbies to plan and the sportsman shows are in full swing.  This should be a great year for kokanee fishing.  We will keep the membership updated on the projects we will be involved in around Oregon.  Here is your KPO Board of Directors for 2019.

 
2019 KPO Board Members
Jason Pearce – New 2018

We are excited to have EGO Fishing as a new sponsor for next years derbies.  They have donated two of the 48″ extending handles with the rubber nets.  Please drop our sponsor a line sometime and thank them for their generous donations.  You can see all the sponsors on the sponsor page.

Our Project Director Rick Breckel spoke with a couple of the ODFW Biologist recently and here is his summary of the conversations.

Howdy all,

I just got off the phone with Erik Moberly from Bend ODFW.  He called to discuss Crescent and other lake issues.

  1. Crescent Lake:  He just finished collecting zooplankton samples, and will continue on a monthly basis through October to determine levels of food available.  The first results were very good illustrating both good size, species, and vigor of the zooplankton available to the existing kokanee.  Their next release will be the 25,000 clipped fish in October.  He plans to continue the release of 50,000 per year for the next 5 years, so hopefully we can support this project during that period to see an increase in size there.  He also said that Crescent, along with the other 5 fish limit lakes are on the table to increase limits to 10, like Wickiup if this all turns out well, with each lake considered on its own merit.  

 

  1. East lake:  There is little to no natural reproduction in this lake other than around a few of the springs.  They are releasing 5000 kokanee fingerlings annually here, 8300 brown trout, 10,000 rainbows, and I think he said about 3000 legal size rainbows.  Their creel census in the last couple years show most folks at East lake are into catch and release, likely from a Mercury issue reason.  

 

  1. Paulina lake:  This lake also has little to no natural reproduction.  He didn’t say how many are released here and nothing about zooplankton.  We did talk about the fish trap, and he said this will likely be the only lake that they use to collect eggs now because it is so easy to catch and collect them, rather than at Odell where they have to net the fish and collect the eggs.  Thus, I told him that if he will collect the scale samples from Paulina from 25 fish, and send them to Corvallis, that we would pay for them to be aged.  He agreed.  

 

  1. Wickiup:  Erik said they were out last week and the lake is extremely low, but he did talk with a diver who was looking for gear on the bottom and said there are still quite a few large silver kokanee on the bottom, and Erik said he checked up stream by Sheeps Bridge and did not see any kokanee yet.  He agreed to go up there when they do arrive, set a net, and collect scale samples from 25 fish for us.  He said he has done this before and was able to release the fish unharmed back into the spawning areas, so hopefully that works.  I asked again about if the results show that they are spawning at 4 years of age, could we then use these eggs to grow out at Wizard Falls, but he said we need to take it one step at a time and see what happens, so no promises yet.

 

  1. Suttle:  This is a natural reproducing lake with no stocking.  They have verified that Bull Trout have migrated from the Metolious into this lake and some reports of even small mouth bass, but that is unconfirmed.  The addition of bull trout is a good thing to eat some of the kokanee and maybe they will get larger.  There is currently both brown trout and bull trout in there.  Even is bass have made it there too, it could be a good thing for the kokanee, maybe?

 

I asked Erik about any other projects in the future, and he said that there is not anything new at this time.  If we can continue to support Crescent and current efforts at Wickiup, it would be good.  I only see Crescent as the place where we will be spending any money for the next 5 years, depending on how this aging project goes.  

This last week I also got this message from Brett Hodgson regarding a fishing report I sent to him on East Lake:

Thanks for your thorough and excellent report on East Lake. We reduced our stocking rate in East in hopes of producing larger and higher quality kokanee, but to be honest the response has been greater and quicker than anticipated. Hopefully, we’ll see something similar in Crescent.

Regarding the browns, the change in regulations enacted in 2016 was part of the broader simplification process. Bottom line is with the increase in anglers practicing catch and release and a limit of 1 trout over 20 inches it is unlikely harvest is removing the trophy component of the brown fishery.

The 1995 mercury study was conducted by DEQ rather than ODFW. We did collect new samples (analyzed by DEQ) prior to implementing our chub removal effort in 2010 I believe. The results were similar to 1995 with the larger brown trout having the highest mercury levels.

Rick

The Army Corp of Engineers has released the summary of the comments submitted on the Detroit Downstream Passage Project.  You can view this document on the following website.  https://usace.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16021coll7/id/7438. Interesting read.

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The KPO would like to welcome Santiam Fishing Rods as one of our new sponsors.  Santiam Fishing Rods was generous to donate 4 great travel kokanee rods for the raffles at the 4 derbies plus a bunch of tackle.  If you have a chance check out their web page at www.santiamfishingproducts.com. 

KPO Board Updates

The KPO Board of Directors would like to thank outgoing board member Kelly Wunderlich for his service to the KPO.

We would like to welcome two new board members for 2018.

Jason Pierce

Hi my name is Jason but everyone calls me Jake, that’s my name. Grew up in Stayton, work in Stayton as a machinist and saw filer. I’ve been fishing all of the local streams, rivers, and lakes for as long as i can remember. Always liked kokanee fishing but have really got into it over the last couple of years, so here I am.

Russ Lawrence

Hello All

I am semi-retired as a Professional Civil Engineer and Land Surveyor.  The last two decades of my career has been focused on stream restoration/aquatic habitat development.  I have been fishing with any regularity, since 2009.  Seriously Kokanee fishing for the past couple of years.

Russ

John Werderber

Hi All .

I`m  retired . Worked on Tugboats up and down Columbia & Snake rivers .  Grew up in PDX.  Always in search of sunshine and fishing . Happy to be onboard .

John

2018 KPO Board Members
Rich Bryan – President
Ken Currey
Jim Wheaton
Brad Halleck
Rick Breckel
Nathan Bohlmann
Joe Moritz
John Kline
Dave Krajczynski – New 2018
John Werderber – New 2018
Jason Pierce – New 2018
Russ Lawrence – New 2018

To: Erik Moberly, Fisheries Biologist, Bend, Oregon                                    December 6, 2017

From: Kokanee Power of Oregon (KPO)

RE: Comments on Kokanee management at Wickiup and other lakes

KPO would like to state again that we support the proposed regulation changes for Wickiup and Little Billy Chinook reservoirs.  We offer funding, labor, and support of projects which we agree will enhance Kokanee size and populations throughout the state.  

With salmon and steelhead fishing options diminished significantly in recent years, more and more anglers are turning to Kokanee and we hope to work with you to meet the demand and provide for future generations.

Below are some comments and questions we hope you will consider and provide feedback in the near future:

  1. KPO has offered to develop creel census signs for all the boat ramps at Wickiup, similar to what we implemented at Detroit Reservoir in 2017. We need to know if you want the same, and if so, we need you to finalize the design this winter so that we can get them funded and installed by opening day of 2018.  KPO will cooperate similar to how we are doing it at Detroit. 
  2. KPO would like to see a larger and more consistent average size of Kokanee in as many lakes as possible in the watershed. By this we mean that managing for an average of 14″ Kokanee would be the goal.  In order to do this we would like to discuss the options with you and Luke Allen at Wizard Falls Hatchery.  A part of this concept may be genetic selection of egg collection from older and larger Kokanee somehow.  Another option is growing them out for up to a year prior to stocking.  There may be other measures possible, and we’d like to help meet common goals with you.  We also desire to learn as much about Kokanee management to help get enough data to avoid situations where a lake only contains stunted (6-9″) Kokanee for several years. 
  3. Last year KPO paid for about a dozen signs for Wickiup to help prevent snagging and fishing for spawning Kokanee. We also purchased a kayak for OSP to monitor the spawning areas. Can you tell us how many signs were posted and if any violations were issued?
  4. In 2017 you collected gill net samples at Wickiup. Can you share the results of these data and how you intend to use it in the future?
  5. Were any spawning surveys completed in the watershed and specifically at Wickiup? If so, what were the results, and if not, how would they help you manage the populations and how can KPO help?
  6. As you are aware, KPO has collected a total of $1800 for the purpose of getting scale samples aged from fish at Wickiup, Odell, and Paulina lakes. The purpose was to help determine if the spawning fish in Wickiup are older than those from Odell and Paulina where all the eggs are collected for stocking in the state.  This has not been accomplished to date as we need your assistance for the last step of getting samples to the lab in Corvallis.
  7. You have stated in the past that it is unclear how many fish are being lost at the outlet at Wickiup Dam. Is there any plans to get this information and how can KPO help?
  8. We are aware of the decision regarding the spotted frog and the resulting decision to drain Wickiup more than other reservoirs in the future to maintain adequate habitat for the spotted frog. Can you explain to us why Wickiup is the only reservoir which will be drained lower than normal for this purpose?  It is our  understanding that it was the downstream habitat from Wickiup that was needed for the frog, so why not spread the impacts from all upstream water bodies instead of impacting the most productive fishery for Kokanee?

The long term goal of Kokanee Power is to establish non-profit organizations in all the states of the Pacific Northwest.  To date, only California and Oregon have done this, but together we may have approximately 1500-2000 members in 2018. At some point in the future, we hope that fisheries managers in all the states will be working with Kokanee Power groups to help manage this superior fish.  We hope you will be a part of this effort to enhance the cooperation and enhancement of Kokanee with all other fisheries managers.

Regards,

Rick Breckel, Project Director – KPO

Rich Bryan, President – KPO

Detroit Stocking Update 9-28-2017

This years fingerlings have been planted in Detroit. 27,000 4.5-5″ smolts made their way into the lake. All these are fin clipped. Please continue to report your catches as it will be very important for us to track the progress of this project and the size and quantity of these that survive. Here is a short video of them being let go in the lake.

 

 

Kokanee Aging Project                                       

Kokanee Power of Oregon (KPO) is looking for additional funding to support the aging of spawning Kokanee from Wickiup, Odell, and Paulina lakes.  The purpose of this project is to determine if there is a difference in age at spawning between Wickiup Kokanee and the other two lakes.  Currently all eggs for hatchery programs are collected from Odell and Paulina lakes.  They are then reared at Wizard Falls Hatchery and stocked in several other water bodies later in the year (usually June).  For the past several years, the fish at Wickiup have been significantly larger than any other lake.  This could be the result of warmer water temperatures earlier which produces a longer growth period of zooplankton, or just maybe these Kokanee are spawning one year later than Odell and Paulina? 

Kokanee age estimates would be produced under contract by the lab in Corvallis where other fish are aged for ODFW.   KPO will share the cost which for all three lakes is approximately $1800 to age 25 fish from each lake.  Aging is accomplished by collecting 10 of the largest scales off each fish, then  trained technicians prepare and examine them under a micro scope to determine the age of each fish.

Once the aging is completed, and if by chance the Wickiup Kokanee are spawning at four years and the other lakes are spawning at three years, KPO will work with ODFW to collect eggs from the Deschutes Channel at Wickiup to be grown out at Wizard Falls and see if we can get a strain of larger Kokanee stocked in other lakes to increase the average size in the future. 

If anyone is interested in donating some funds to accomplish this, please send funds to Oregon Fisheries Enhancement FDN, 782 SE 40th Court, Hillsboro, Oregon 97123, or contact Rick Breckel, Project Coordinator at rickbreckel@gmail.com.

 

The KPO would like to introduce Matt Schindler’s Fly Shack as a new sponsor.  Matt’s flies have been very effective at catching kokanee.  See some of his flies in the picture below.  See Matt’s contact information (971) 344-4543 Schindlersflyshack@gmail.com.  Please support our sponsors.

 

 

Two more new sponsors we would like to introduce.  Frank’s Fly Box and 2 Old Farts Tackle.  Both of these tackle suppliers have proven tackle.  Frank won the Chelan Kokanee Derby up in Washington with his Kokanee Kandies.  Don did real good at the Odell Derby with his tackle.

 

Mill City Shop Class helps ODFW at Detroit Lake                              June 13, 2017

A non-profit volunteer group known as Kokanee Power of Oregon (KPO) has been working with ODFW to promote the enhancement of Kokanee fisheries at Detroit Lake for the past four years.  The most recent accomplishment was to coordinate the development of detailed signs with attached drop boxes, where anglers can report their daily catch to ODFW.  This will greatly assist ODFW in future decisions regarding fish stocking and daily catch limit regulations. 

The Mill City Shop class, supervised by their teacher Chris Lindeman built 26 drop boxes last winter for anglers to place their catch records within.  Last Tuesday, 18 of the shop class participants came up the Detroit State Park to begin the installation of a total of 14 of these signs located at key fishing locations.  This is only one of the many projects that the shop class has accomplished during the year to not only teach the class the art of using tools, but also the benefits to  many of the community organizations such as the senior center and others.  The community is lucky to have a school district who can see the value of a program such as this.

When anglers are finished for the day, they are all encouraged to fill out one of the cards in the drop box at each sign.  Fill it out and put it in the slot on the box.  Then KPO representatives will collect them weekly and send to ODFW.  This is a long term project that if successful, may be expanded to other lakes.  Another way to report catch data is to log in to Kokaneepoweroregon.com and go to fishing reports.  It is very quick and simple.

 
2017 Kokanee Power of Oregon Derby Schedule
 
Saturday April 29, 2017 Detroit Lake
Saturday June 10, 2017 Wickiup Reservoir
Saturday August 19, 2017 Odell Lake
 
 

News Update – March 14, 2017

Brad’s Killer Fishing Gear is now an official sponsor of the KPO.

 

Detroit Reservoir Project Update  –  January 30, 2017

A correction to the stocking levels starting this year.

ODFW will ONLY be stocking the 25,000 – 30,000 fin marked Kokanee that are raised up to a size of about 5.5″ long, or 20/lb.  This way, in a few years, with our monitoring program, we will be able to determine how much natural reproduction is occurring compared to the fish caught that are fin marked.  There will be no non-fin clipped kokanee stocked during this project for the next few years.

Detroit Reservoir Project Update  –  January 9, 2017

Members of KPO met with ODFW biologist Alex Ferrand  November 15, 2016 to discuss design of the signs and drop boxes which will be constructed and placed at up to fourteen locations around Detroit Reservoir.  KPO members designed a draft of the sign to be posted, and Alex is working specifically with the Information and Education division at ODFW to create the final version and get it printed either on a metal sign or heavy laminated version that will be two to three feet in size and posted on a kiosk like back board sign.  Then a simple drop box with catch record cards will be mounted below whereby anglers can fill out the days catch and drop the card into the slot inside the box.  One of the members will then collect these cards weekly and take them to ODFW for tabulation and future decisions on stocking both Kokanee and rainbow trout.  The Mill City Shop class will be starting on construction of the drop boxes mid January and once both the signs and drop boxes are complete, members of KPO will install them at each location.  Coordination with US Forest Service, State Parks, US Army Corps of Engineers, both Marinas, and private camp grounds is ongoing.  Our goal is to have all the drop boxes and signs installed by March 1st so that nearly all of the fish caught at the primary locations will be recorded.  ODFW has told us that this is the kind of data they need to make adjustments in both the daily limits and annual stocking rates for rainbow trout and Kokanee.  Depending on the results we are hoping that the daily limit can be increased and rainbow stocking will be reduced. 

An update on the original project  that we were planning is that for the next three years the Kokanee we raised at Wizard Falls Hatchery were planned be held over until March of the next year before stocking.  Our last discussion with Hatchery Manager Luke Allen indicated that due to pond space availability, it is more likely they will only be held until October like they were this year.  That only means that they will be 5.5″ long when planted instead of maybe 8″ due to slower growth rates during winter months.  If results show that the 5.5″ fish are able to escape predation sufficiently, then we’ll save on food for them during winter months.   Bio-Oregon recently announced that they will again donate all the fish food for the Kokanee that are raised to a larger size and stocked into Detroit.  This can be a value of up to $2500.  We sincerely appreciate their help!

This last year, in June, 75,000 fingerlings were stocked by ODFW.  Then in October, the other 25,000 clipped fish (5.5″ long) were stocked.  This concept will continue for the next 3-4 years unless results indicate a change to this plan is beneficial.

 

Update on the Detroit Reservoir Project

This years kokanee fry were successfully released into Detroit on Monday 10/3 and Tues 10/4. The fry were raised to 5.5″ and were in good health. There was no reported loss during the transfer to the lake. These fish have been fin clipped so please fill out the catch record report on the KokaneePowerOregon.com website. Report how many of your catch were fin clipped and in the comments state the size of the fin clipped fish. This will be important data moving forward with this project. Our hopes are that this project will produce a higher survival rate and bigger fish in the future. If all goes well and the numbers increase we may be able to lobby for a kokanee bonus limit at Detroit.

Just want to say thanks to all those that have been working on this project, Bio-Oregon for donating the feed for raising the fry, the Detroit Business Association for their generous donation to the project and the Andrew Hedesh Memorial Fund for donating the funds to cover the cost of the fin clipping.

Summary of Kokanee Power of Oregon Detroit Reservoir Project 2016

For the past three years, Kokanee Power of Oregon (KPO) volunteers have been collecting monthly zooplankton samples from Detroit and Green Peter reservoirs.  The purpose of this is to determine if there is sufficient zooplankton to support a healthy Kokanee population, and at this point the data indicates there is enough.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has been planting 100,000 fingerling (100/lb) Kokanee in June annually for several years, but very few seemed to reach adult size.  The assumption is that either predation or the turbines in the dam were taking them out.

KPO volunteers developed a written proposal to ODFW offering to pay for the food to grow the Kokanee to a larger size prior to release in the lake to see if more of them will survive to adult size over the next 3-4 years.  In March, 2016 a meeting was held with ODFW, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and KPO representatives.  ODFW approved the proposal and offered to raise 25,000 Kokanee at Wizard Falls Hatchery until October, 2016.  Prior to release, they will be clipped to monitor success of the program in the next 3-4 years.  Due to the lack of hatchery pond space this year, they will be released in October, 2016, but in future they will be held over the winter and released in March as 16 month old fish, and they may be as large as 8-9 inches.  Monitoring will be accomplished by utilizing a drop box at each ramp and marina’s whereby Kokanee anglers will fill out a card reporting their catch, or via the KPO web site catch report form.

Since this meeting in March, due to the coordination efforts of KPO volunteers and ODFW staff, the company which produces Kokanee food, Bio- Oregon, has offered to donate all the needed high protein food this year, which is a value of $2500.  Next, the Detroit Business Association met and after talking with KPO representatives and attending the meeting in March, decided to donate $1000 in support of this proposal and would like to assist with any future derbies held at Detroit.  Lastly, to pay for the clipping of 25,000 Kokanee, the Andrew Hedesh Memorial Fund out of Bend offered to pay for all the clipping of the Kokanee, which is another $500-$1000 value.  The KPO Board of Directors approved a total funding of $16,000 over the 3-4 year life of this project, but due to the donations offered, it will cost very little of anything this year.

This is only one example of likely opportunities to enhance Kokanee fisheries.  KPO is dedicated to the enhancement of Kokanee in Oregon, and will continue to work closely with ODFW to develop additional projects for other water bodies as opportunities evolve.  Member support in derbies and annual membership along with volunteer efforts of the board is critical to the future if this valuable fishery.

Rick Breckel

Project Coordinator

 

2017 Board Members Welcome!
 
The following members have volunteered their time to be a part of our Kokanee Power of Oregon Board.
 
President | Rich Bryan
Vice President | Ken Currey
Treasurer | Nathan Bohlmann
Brad Halleck
Jim Wheaton
Joe Moritz
John Kline
Kelly Wunderlich
Rick Breckel