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Fish: Kokanee

Let's Talk Kokanee Salmon Runs

Post By: Wilderfish      Posted: 9/10/2023 9:39:01 AM     Points: 26    
From my observations at various Colorado Reservoirs, the kokanee will run upstream around late September and into mid October, but how far upstream will they go and what determines that? I've heard that they go back to where they were stocked but then I've definitely seen some that are farther upstream than where they realistically would have been stocked. We don't need to name specific places but what's the farthest any of you have seen them run upstream from lake/reservoir? Also, what time of year would you consider to be peak run? For me the farthest I've seen is about a mile upstream and I would say first week of October is average peak. Anything else interesting regarding CO kokanee runs you want to share is welcome!

 Reply by: not too old to fish      Posted: 9/10/2023 10:24:00 AM     Points: 9226
They used to run from Green Mountain Reservoir all the way to the base of Lake Dillion. This was many years ago before they stopped stocking them a few years back. Since they are not stocking stocking the koks every year now that run may not happen every year.
 Reply by: Hawaiian Punch      Posted: 9/10/2023 10:29:00 AM     Points: 11495
OH boy . . .you sure know how to ask a question!
I've seen koks at a res in the front range mtns where the koks were showing up in both the place they were dropped into the lake (close to the dam) and also an hrs hike away going up the stream that feed the res.The koks in the stream could only go a quarter mile upstream because of the small amount of water running at that time of the yr.We targeted the koks in the stream as they were easy to get with polarized sun glass's.Next . . . .Antero . . .We pull up to the boat ramp area to go ice fishing.There are two guys on the ice(they are just out far enough to have 4ft of water under them) they are yanking koks out pretty stead like(boat ramp=stocking truck) we joined them and had a great day . . .turns out the guys we meet had drilled a test hole and took the time to clear away the hole and when they looked down . . .guess what? Koks are a breed all to them selfs . . . .
Not to old . . . .I remember going the Green Mtn and the inlet would be elbo to elbo with snaggers,same for someplace in Granby . . .lets not forget the smalest koks in CO at Dillon . . . .You want koks,you should look at the mother load . . .Wolford.Do your homework on Wolford . . .its where a good portion of eggs for the hatchery come from.
 Reply by: Wilderfish      Posted: 9/10/2023 9:55:25 PM     Points: 26
Interesting you both mentioned green mountain. I went there with my uncle and cousins with their boat back in the 90's when I was a kid and remember thinking I was glad that we had a boat based on how many people were lined up on the shorelines near the inlet. The reservoir was completely full then which Im not sure if I have seen since then. It was neat to see a bunch of people start catching them all of a sudden when a run would come through. The only other place I've seen that was Alaska. We snagged some that day but caught more brown trout throwing spinners from what I recall.

I grew up on the Front Range fishing the south park and Summit County reservoirs but live in the southern part of the state now. So Wolford, Green Mtn, etc. are a little far of a drive but I've got Navajo, Vallecito, Lemon, and a few others within an hour or two that have kokanee but I haven't fished any of them yet. This is partially the reason for this post as I'm trying to figure out some new areas near where I live now. Again, this post isn't a "where should I go" inquiry. I'm trying to figure out fall kokanee run basics and go from there.
 Reply by: Hawaiian Punch      Posted: 9/11/2023 12:35:25 AM     Points: 11495
You want that kind of info . . .go straight to the CWP and talk to the bioligest in charge of Koks for your area . . .who knows,they may be looking for volinteers to help with egg collection at a res in your area . . .they usually give koks away for free after the egg collection.
 Reply by: Wilderfish      Posted: 9/11/2023 9:16:21 AM     Points: 26
Good suggestion I will contact them! Meanwhile I want to hear more about other fisherman's experiences, particularly the timing of the run.
 Reply by: Hawaiian Punch      Posted: 9/11/2023 5:39:19 PM     Points: 11495
How close to Blue Mesa are you?
 Reply by: Wreckstar      Posted: 9/11/2023 8:48:18 PM     Points: 5490
Just to add to the discussion, I was at Green mnt a few weeks ago. Caught a pike so I turned it into the marina, and chatted with the owner. He said the kokes are super healthy this year and we're being caught in the 16"+ range. Not in huge numbers, but no gill lice and healthy looking. He was optimistic about Green mnt making a comeback.
 Reply by: Infrared      Posted: 9/15/2023 1:59:15 PM     Points: 90
I went to the Dream Stream yesterday. No kokes in there yet.
 Reply by: Budha      Posted: 9/15/2023 3:01:59 PM     Points: 172
I believe the biggest Kokanee Salmon run in Colorado is out of Blue Mesa. Just a fraction of what it was in the early 90s but is still the largest today. The size of Kokes are the largest as well. The Kokes run out of Blue Mesa up the Gunnison, 20+ miles to Almont then up the East river to the hatchery. Due to the diminishing run, the Kokes are now protected during the run once they leave Blue Mesa and enter the Gunnison. You cannot keep any Kokes in the river and technically not allowed to fish for them, but if you catch Kokes in the river they have to be released to complete their run. They are big and put up a great aerial display when fighting on a fly rod. Makes for fun days on the East river in September.
 Reply by: RogBow      Posted: 9/17/2023 3:46:16 PM     Points: 2760
Nothing going on at Wolford yet.
 Reply by: xavierk31      Posted: 9/18/2023 12:02:34 PM     Points: 6086
Too early for kokes on the dream... but if you visited the dream recently Infared, I'd love a conditions report.
Tight lines!
 Reply by: Wilderfish      Posted: 9/24/2023 8:37:29 AM     Points: 26
So it seems as of last week there still isn't much kokanee run action yet. I just heard rumor one of the reservoirs near me in Southern Colorado is seeing some runs at the inlet. I will be checking it out on Tuesday or Wednesday. From what I'm gathering it seems like early to mid October is kokanee run prime time then? Now that I think about it that is when I have had the most luck, but I haven't tried fishing for them much in September before.
 Reply by: Anteroman      Posted: 9/25/2023 7:20:59 PM     Points: 7035
Kokanee, I believe, took picture at 11 Mile today 58 I believe they are kokes ?
 Reply by: hightide      Posted: 10/1/2023 10:39:21 PM     Points: 5
Wondering if anyone has an update on the Koke runs. Its soon time for me to take my little guys to catch some orange fish.
Last year they had a blast just watching the fish abs learning how to fly cast.
Ill likely only get one day to steal them away from the sorts fields, so hoping to make it count. Any kokes running anywhere yet?
Thanks and tight lines!!
 Reply by: spicyhombre      Posted: 10/2/2023 1:23:37 PM     Points: 6182
Fished the Blue River just below Dillon Dam this weekend and spotted 2 reds almost to the dam.
 Reply by: randog      Posted: 10/8/2023 10:25:17 PM     Points: 1805
It seems that anytime September to December. Not sure how far they run up river. Some lakes they just return to where they were stocked around the shore
 Reply by: Wilderfish      Posted: 10/13/2023 9:42:32 AM     Points: 26
Wow that's a beauty! Looks way up there like a headwater stream or beaver pond!

I ended up finding some in a new place maybe 1 mile upstream of the reservoir I went to. Not very many though, just enough to throw on the smoker. A local I talked to at the parking lot said I was early and that there would be a lot more in the river in 3 or 4 weeks.

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