It’s never been done…until now. That is, raising kokanee to full-size, then transporting them and showing them at all three Northwest Sportsmen’s Shows. “The states raise kokanee and then release them as fry into selected lakes around the northwest”, started Joe Brennan of O’Loughlin Trade Shows. “Fry are only three inches or so in length. They’ve never raised kokanee salmon to a full size of 10” to 12” and tried to transport them because of high mortality concerns. So the Bi-Mart Kokanee Tank is definitely a first.”
Brennan continued, “Kokanee salmon have come on strong the past decade or so as one of the high target fish species for anglers across the northwest. They’re plentiful, can be easy to catch and are delicious eating. These attributes have made them an ideal fish species to showcase through our three Sport Shows.”
Kokanee salmon are a unique landlocked species of salmon. These landlocked salmon have a similar lifespan to their ocean-bound cousins. Kokanee spend 3 to 5 years in the lake before migrating out of the lake and into feeder streams to spawn. And just like saltwater salmon that migrate into freshwater to spawn, these salmon die after they spawn.
Kokanee thrive in the northwest and northern California. They average 10” to 14” in most lakes with fish to 20” considered to be “trophy-sized”. Oregon’s been a particularly active state for kokanee with several productive lakes producing above average sized fish. In fact, the 9.67 pound world record kokanee was caught in Wallowa Lake in 2010.
Washington has over 60 lakes that support kokanee and can be found from one end of the state to the other. These lakes are easily found on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website.
“We’ve tapped Mack’s Lures, a lure company that specializes in producing kokanee tackle, to provide experts to share their knowledge in catching kokanee salmon. For the Washington Sportsmen’s Show Mack’s pros Jeff Witkowski, Ray Bailey and Mike Hall will be giving seminars. Also, professional kokanee guide Austin Mosier will be sharing his kokanee catching insights as well. In Portland at the Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show, Mack’s pro-staffers, Gary Miralles and Mike Hall will join Ray Bailey and Jeff Witkowski for daily seminars. Also, Kyle Neeser of Crystal Basin Tackle and pro guide Davey Jones will be presenting in Portland. For the Central Oregon Sportsmen’s Show Mack’s pros Jeff Witkowski and Ray Bailey will be delivering daily seminars along with Kokanee Power of Oregon representative Keith Bryan.”