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Colorado Fish Species

Arctic Char
Arctic Grayling
Bigmouth Buffalo
Black Bullhead
Black Crappie
Blue Catfish
Bluehead sucker
Bonytail Chub
Brook Trout
Brown Trout
Channel Catfish
Colorado Pikeminnow
Colorado River Cutthroat
Common Carp
Creek Chub
Cutbow Trout
Cutthroat Trout
Emerald Shiner
Flannelmouth Sucker
Flathead Catfish
Flathead Chub
Freshwater Drum
Gizzard Shad
Golden Shiner
Golden Trout
Grass Carp
Green Sunfish
Greenback Cutthroat
Hybrid Striped Bass(wiper/palmetto)
Lake Chub
Lake Trout
Largemouth Bass
Longnose Sucker
Mountain Whitefish
Northern Pike
Orangespotted Sunfish
Rainbow Trout
Redear Sunfish
River Carpsucker
Roundtail Chub
Sacramento Perch
Smallmouth Bass
Snake River Cutthroat
Spottail Shiner
Spotted Bass
Striped Bass
Sunfish (Bream)
Tiger Muskie
Tiger Trout
White Bass
White Crappie
White Sucker
Yellow Bullhead
Yellow Perch
Yellowstone Cutthroat

Lakes with Kokanee on FishExplorer
Rivers with Kokanee on FishExplorer
Blue River (Above Dillon Reservoir)
Dolores River (Upper)
Gunnison River (Upper)
South Platte - Dream Stream
Taylor River

3 rivers were found with Kokanee that have incomplete research and may not be active, but are listed. Log in or create a free account to view the rest of the list of rivers with Kokanee.
Kokanee are the land-locked sockeye salmon. Unable to migrate to the ocean, kokanee rarely reach the proportions of their ocean run brethren. Their identifying characteristics are very similar to sockeye. Prior to spawn kokanee are a silvery sided fish with a green or blue back and white tips on the ventral and anal fins, and little or no spotting. Spawning males develop a bright to olive green coloring on the heads, bright red body coloration, often a hooked jaw and a small, but obvious hump.  Spawning females exhibit a less brilliant coloration than males, the jaw is “normal” and they retain their prespawn shape. Their size at maturity is typically 12-18 inches.
Kokanee live in a lakes most of their lives, doing best in well oxygenated, open waters that don’t exceed 60 degrees.  They feed primarily on zooplankton, small fish and insects are occasionally taken. Their diet can change throughout the year based upon food availability.
Kokanee are most readily available to anglers during spawn, which occurs from early August through late December.  Were self-sustaining populations exist they run up streams or rivers after 2-4 years in open waters.  Were stocked, they return to their release point.  Females build redds on gravel bars, with both sexes defending the nest.  Once the eggs are laid and fertilized Once fertilized, the eggs are buried beneath the gravel. Most kokanee die within a week after spawning. Fry emerge in April through June, then move downstream to mature in lakes or reservoirs.  In many regions kokanee stocks are maintained through stocking programs.

Kokanee in Colorado

Kokanee (land-locked Pacific sockeye salmon) are suited to the large, fluctuating mountain reservoirs of Colorado. These silver fish with black spots on the upper half of their bodies can be found  swimming in compact schools feeding on zooplankton, a food source unaffected by the drawing down of reservoirs. They turn reddish in color and males develop a “hook jaw” during the fall spawning season. Trolling with cowbells at medium depths provides angling success. Special snagging seasons are offered on some areas during spawning runs, and provide much of the catch for these delicious salmon. Kokanee die after spawning.

Colorado records

Kept angling        27.5 inches, 6 lb 13 oz
Kept snagging    27 inches 7 lb 5oz
Released             28 inches

Qualifying length for a Colorado Master Angler Award is 20 inches.

Most Recent Kokanee Forum Posts
Snake River Inlet frozen? 12.29.23 by FishingJunkie
Kokanee CPW Giveaway? 10.25.23 by therealtrigster
Let's Talk Kokanee Salmon Runs 10.13.23 by Wilderfish
Kokanee ready yet? 09.04.23 by JimmyRig
Blue Mesa Kokanee 07.11.23 by not too old to fish
Flossing for Kokanee 04.05.23 by Rual812
Wolford Average Kokanee Size? 01.27.23 by ESB1975
Snake Inlet 12.30.22 by Buho
Green Mountain Question 12.15.22 by not too old to fish
Disgusting res 11.18.22 by randog
Kokanee Articles, Blogs, & Podcasts
Blog: Anti-Troutite, not really 03.14.21 by Jeff Wagner
Blog: Fifteen, But Whoís Counting? Ė Oh, I Am! 10.17.14 by David Coulson
Blog: Skip the Dunkin Donuts 08.05.14 by Alan Peak
Blog: Granby area fishing report 01.01.14 by Bernie Keefe
Blog: Icing Dillon Reservoir's Snake River Inlet 12.04.13 by Dave Bryant
Blog: Water Levels Effects on Granby 11.09.13 by Bernie Keefe
Blog: Blue Mesa Kokanee Flourishing...Come Snag Yours! 11.07.12 by Robby Richardson
Blog: Boomerang Tool Co. Grip 11.07.12 by Joshua Christensen
Blog: Kokes R Us 10.28.12 by Shane Dubois
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