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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I just got off the phone with Erik Moberly from Bend ODFW. He called to discuss Crescent and other lake issues.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.