Expect Kokanee fishing on Priest Lake similar to
April 11, 2017
|Photo by Melo
By Rob Ryan
IDFG Regional Fisheries Biologist
Priest Lake anglers can expect Kokanee fishing
to be similar to what they found last year.
Idaho Fish and Game Kokanee monitoring efforts
suggest Kokanee numbers remain low, but the fish
that are caught should be good sized, likely 14-
Although a small increase in Kokanee abundance
was observed between 2011 and 2013 in Priest
Lake, the upward trend hasn't continued in
Kokanee have been a piece of the Priest Lake
fishery since the late 1950’. Westslope
Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout originally
brought anglers to the area in the early 1900s,
but Kokanee dominated angler’s attention through
much of the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
In the 1980s, with declining Kokanee numbers in
Priest Lake, much of the angling effort shifted
to Lake Trout.
Kokanee fishing faded away for the next 30
years, primarily due to predation by Lake Trout.
However, since the 2011-13 uptick in Kokanee
abundance, Priest Lake anglers have enjoyed some
improvement in the Kokanee fishery.
Catch rates are low compared to some regional
Kokanee fisheries (i.e., Lake Pend Oreille), but
larger fish size often appeals to anglers.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has been
working with local stakeholders to develop
Priest Lake fishery management options for the
Three alternatives were recently identified for
public input. One option is to maintain the
existing management strategy, which favors Lake
Trout. Another is focused on enhancing Kokanee,
Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout, which
requires managing against Lake Trout.
Yet another alternative would attempt to strike
a balance that allows all species to be present
at fishable levels.
Public meetings will be held in 2017 to discuss
these Priest Lake management options and solicit
input from the public. Interested parties are
encouraged to attend.
Once meeting dates are set, they will be
advertised in local papers and on the IDFG
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