Kokanee Fingerlings Released into California Lakes and Reservoirs

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has recently completed the release of the 2016 allotment of kokanee salmon fingerlings. This year’s allotment included 634,430 kokanee released into 13 lakes and reservoirs throughout the state.

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Kokanee were introduced into California waters to provide diverse recreational angling opportunities for anglers and have become an extremely popular sport fish. They are typically smaller than the landlocked Chinook salmon with the average size about 12 inches.

Due to the continuing drought conditions making it difficult to obtain kokanee eggs within the state, this year’s allotment was supplemented with eggs provided by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“Anglers can expect excellent fishing opportunities in these waters two years from now, when these fish reach a catchable size,” says Kyle Murphy, Senior Environmental Scientist and project leader of CDFW’s Landlocked Salmon Program. “The stocking of fingerling-sized fish is a very cost-effective way to maintain this popular recreational fishery.”

The landlocked version of the sockeye salmon, the kokanee (pronounced coke-a-nee) spends its entire life in fresh water. Instead of migrating to the ocean, adult kokanees inhabit large lakes before returning to their natal streams or gravelly shorelines to spawn. Like all Pacific salmon, kokanee die after spawning, the whole life cycle taking from three to seven years.

CDFW worked closely with volunteers at the California Inland Fisheries Foundation, Inc. and Kokanee Power, Inc., especially during the 2015 kokanee egg take operation. The careful planning and coordination between these two organizations, the American River Fish Hatchery, the San Joaquin River Fish Hatchery and the Silverado Fish Planting Base have made this year’s kokanee salmon releases a huge success.

The fish were planted in the following waters:

Water                                                   County                             Fish Planted

Boca Reservoir                                  Napa                                 25,042

Bullards Bar Reservoir                    Yuba                                  70,140

Donner Lake                                      Nevada                            25,042

Hell Hole Reservoir                          Placer                                25,042

Lake Tahoe                                         El Dorado                         138,099

Little Grass Valley Reservoir        Plumas                             15,052

Stampede Reservoir                       Sierra                                60,027

Union Valley Reservoir                  El Dorado                         49,995

Lake Berryessa                                  Napa                                 50,111

Bass Lake                                             Madera                            50,064

Don Pedro Reservoir                      Tuolumne                       19,980

New Melones                                   Tuolumne                       55,524

Shaver Lake                                        Fresno                              50,312

CDFW typically stocks between 800,000 – 1,000,000 fingerlings annually in 18 waters statewide.

Media Contacts:
Kyle Murphy, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 323-5556
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 32-8944