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  • Wyoming Outdoor News

    Location: Wyoming

    GREEN RIVER-- The kokanee are spawning in the Green River. If you are even the slightest bit tempted to snag one of those large, red, spawning kokanee, a word to the wise - don't do it!

    Snagging is an attempt to take a fish in such a manner that the fish does not take the hook voluntarily in its mouth. In the "old days" it was legal to snag fish and, consequently, many vulnerable spawning fish were taken. Snagging fish in Wyoming is illegal. Kokanee are fall spawners and begin running the Green River in late August. There are now two distinct strains of kokanee in the Green RiverKokanee are fall spawners and begin running the Green River in late August. There are now two distinct strains of kokanee in the Green River

    Each year Wyoming Game and Fish Department officers issue warnings and citations for snagging kokanee on the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The Game and Fish is asking for help from parents to get the message across to children, as most warnings are typically issued to children.

    Kokanee are fall spawners and begin running the Green River in late August. There are now two distinct strains of kokanee in the Green River, an early run strain, which spawns in September, and a late run strain, which spawns in October. The spawning fish can't eat, as their stomach is absorbed. After spawning is completed, all kokanee die. Their decaying carcasses supply nutrients for other plant and animal life, as well as their offspring when they hatch.

    The early spawning runs are a direct result of fingerling kokanee planted in Flaming Gorge Reservoir since 1992 by the Game and Fish. These fish can only spawn in a river or stream. Since they were raised at the Auburn Fish Hatchery, the kokanee are basically “lost,” and don’t know which stream they should run to spawn. Green River fisheries biologist Bill Wengert says some imprinting occurred to the area stocked and some fish were able to locate the Green River.

    Wengert adds, "The early strain kokanee running the Green River will spawn anywhere conditions are favorable. And that means anywhere from the town of Green River to Fontenelle Dam. The shoreline spawning kokanee in Flaming Gorge Reservoir are also vulnerable to snagging. If we want these kokanee around for future generations, we need to protect these vulnerable spawning fish."

    Anglers on both the Green River and Flaming Gorge should be aware of the following closures: All kokanee caught from Sept. 10 through Nov. 30 on Flaming Gorge Reservoir must be released and returned to the water immediately. Fishing on the Green River from the Fontenelle Dam downstream (one mile) to the USGS Gauge Station (Cable Crossing) is CLOSED Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.

    "Anglers should pick up a copy of the fishing regulations and read them carefully," Wengert said. "Pay attention to any kokanee closures, creel limits and any size restrictions which may apply to a fish species."

    Parents, please inform your children that snagging fish is against the law. Instead, encourage them to observe a natural process taking place and, with their help, kokanee will continue to spawn in the Green River for their kids.

    Anglers please check your Wyoming Fishing Regulations, copies of which can be picked up at any local sporting goods vendor or Green River Game and Fish Office. A great deal of fishing information can be found at the Game and Fish web site. For questions, call the Green River Office at (307) 875-3223.

    News Source: Wyoming G&F - Oct. 06, 2008

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