The fishing is good at Ririe Reservoir and the Kokanee are biting
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A quiet report circulated through the Upper Snake River Valley that a few kokanee fishermen were catching some large kokanee at Ririe Reservoir while the majority of fishermen were headed for Henrys Lake. Mike Bruton of Rexburg and I decided to find out as Ririe had skunked us four times this spring and my wife and I were hungry for some land-locked salmon.
As we got to the Juniper Boat Ramp Thursday morning another fisherman was also putting in and reported to us he had caught two kokes and eight trout down by the dam on Wednesday. “But I talked to a fisherman who had fished down by the power line and had caught a bunch of kokes and trout down there and that is where I am heading,” he whispered.
He beat us there so Mike went to the next bend above the power line to give the other fisherman room to roam before we each put out a downrigger at 45 feet and a rod loaded with leadcore line. It wasn’t five minutes before I had to net Mike’s icebreaker, 14-inch kokanee. I got the next two; an 11-incher and the largest koke that I have caught in several years, a thick bodied 16-incher.
In the next four hours we landed 18 kokanee and eight trout from the bend affectionately known as the “Chum Hole” down to the floating toilet area just below the power line. The kokes we caught included two over 16 inches, four between 15 and 16 with only three under 10 inches. All of the trout appeared to be recent planters and were sent back to grow. A couple of Bald eagles were also successful picking up an occasional fish near the surface.
There were about 15 other boats with fishermen working the same areas and as we visited with many of them most were catching more trout than kokanee. A couple of boats were working the rocks picking up a few bass. We watched as one fisherman beat the water to a froth after losing a fish near his boat.
It was a great day for us as we exercised the trout and got plenty of salmon for some great eating. As we fished next to fishermen catching trout we noticed that they were trolling faster than we were.
“For kokanee I like to troll about one mile per hour and never over about 1.4,” said Mike. “If we get around two miles per hour we start catching a lot more trout.”
We used a dodger about 14 inches in front of wedding ring or a hoochie, sometimes pink worked the best and other times green or a UV dodger was more effective. But the most effective hoochie was a pink UV one tipped with “fire corn.”
We also found most of the schools of fish were from 10 to 15 feet below the surface or from 25 to 35 feet down.
The fishing is still not as good as it was several years ago so when I got home I called the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in Idaho Falls to report our experience. I visited with John Heckel, a Regional Fishery biologist that just started working in the Idaho Falls office last week.
“We know of the fishermen’s concerns about the kokanee fishery at Ririe,” Heckel said. “We will be doing a gill netting survey in a few weeks to try and evaluate the population and the conditions to try to determine what is happening at Ririe. We are glad fishing is picking up and hope that it will continue.”
Mike and I are already planning another trip to see if we can duplicate another good day on the water at Ririe.