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The Kokanee are biting at Ririe Reservoir

Living the Wild Life

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Bill Schiess, East Idaho News

As Mike Bruton and I left the Juniper docks on Ririe Reservoir, I noticed four ospreys diving and harvesting fish near the surface of the lake. So, we decided to start fishing in the deep water just a few hundred feet from the docks. As we were getting our last rod of the four out, we had a fish on, but it came off.

From 7 a.m. until 8:30 a.m., we found almost solid fish from 30 to 50 feet below the surface in water from 70 to 120 feet deep and caught and released 15 silver kokanee under 11 inches. We had heard that the land-locked salmon had started coloring up but the only pink or red ones we saw early were in the talons of the osprey or Bald eagles. As the morning progressed, we started to catch a few females in the 14- to 16-inch range and they were still a bright silver.

We had been fishing the area just south of the Juniper Boat Ramp until about 9 a.m. when a pleasure boat showed up, creating waves difficult to fish in so we started working our way up into the canyon area. The numbers of the fish on the fish-finders diminished but in one area we caught seven male kokanee that were beginning to turn red.

Bill Schiess, East Idaho News

In the canyon area only four kokanee decided they wanted to battle with us and what schools of fish we saw had dropped to 70 to 80 feet below the surface. We also noticed that the ospreys and eagles had disappeared from rising temperatures and more pleasure boats showed up.

We finished the morning by fishing where we had begun the day and were able to pick up the silver kokes by fishing 70 to 90 feet below the surface. We had landed between 40 to 50 kokes, most of them under 11 inches but kept enough for a couple of meals.

Our normally favorite lures, pink-colored dodgers trailed by pink hoochies, did not catch a single fish. Most of the fish were caught on orange or “watermelon” dodgers with white or red hoochies baited with corn dyed a bright red. Downriggers were necessary for us to get down to the fish for most of the day. We probably could have had success early in the morning with shallow running lures as the kokanee were shallow enough for the birds to catch them. We will probably try our leadcore lines next week when we head back to Ririe.

Bill Schiess, East Idaho News

Kokanee were the targeted fish and we did not try for perch or trout and with the water temperature at 69 to 71 degrees, the trout were probably very inactive anyway.

With the gillnetting that the Department of Fish and Game did last month and what we experienced; it looks like we will have a good winter fishery this winter.

We found most of the pleasure boaters very courteous and got off the water by noon to allow them the water to play on. They only have a few weeks before school starts and the temperatures starts dropping.

The scenery is always good and the ospreys, Bald eagles and even the family of Golden eagles are always fun to watch. Getting a meal of delicious kokes is just an added blessing as we social distance.

Bill Schiess, East Idaho News