Kokanee in Lake Desmet

October 09, 2019
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Sheridan - Forty thousand fingerling kokanee salmon were released into Lake Desmet in late April 2019 with the intent to create new fishing opportunity in the lake. Though it will take another couple years for them to reach catchable-size, fisheries biologists captured two small kokanee during the annual fall population monitoring of Desmet in late September. The two fish had both grown to approximately seven inches and weighed ten ounces.

“Based on introductions in other Wyoming waters, we were surprised to see the kokanee as soon as we did,” said Sheridan Region Fisheries Supervisor Paul Mavrakis. “This is a good sign that at least some of the kokanee we stocked were able to avoid predation so far.”

“We stocked Kokanee because we felt that they have a good chance to create an "off shore" or open water fishery,” added Gordon Edwards, one of Sheridan’s two fisheries biologists. “They are filter feeders inhabiting the open water of the lake as adults which gives us hope that they can escape predation by walleye, lake trout, and brown trout better than the rainbow trout we stock in the lake.”  

Edwards said he expects some of the kokanee might be large enough for anglers to begin catching in 2020 and that while most will reach maturity at age four, a few might try to spawn during their third year as ‘jacks’.

“It is possible that they will find some shoal areas and successfully reproduce in DeSmet, but we will likely need to keep stocking to maintain a fishery,” he said. “They will definitely run the shorelines in a few years and it is cool to see.” 

- WGFD -

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