The Fishing and Marine Industry Daily News Feed

Kokanee Salmon Spawning Underway and Public Giveaway Days Scheduled

DURANGO, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife aquatic biologists across the Southwest Region have started this year’s spawning operations for kokanee salmon.

Kokanee grow quickly, typically live about four years and naturally die after spawning. CPW conducts kokanee salmon giveaways to make sure the meat is not wasted. Kokanee are tasty fish considered easy to filet and cook.

Giveaways at the Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery north of Gunnison are scheduled for Oct. 21, 28 and Nov. 4. The kokanee run is low this year, and the number of fish available on giveaway days will fluctuate depending on the number of fish spawned during the week. Participants should call Roaring Judy Hatchery at 970-641-0190 prior to the giveaway day for more information.

Lake Nighthorse in Durango will host giveaway days at 3 p.m. Nov. 4, 11 and 18. Lake Nighthorse staff typically allow participants to access the parking area around 2 p.m.

Joe Rowell Park in Dolores will also host giveaway days at 3 p.m. Oct. 27,  Nov. 3 and Nov. 10. It is recommended those wanting fish arrive early to get in line at this well-attended giveaway event.

“The kokanee salmon public giveaways are subject to fish availability,” said CPW aquatic biologist Jim White. “The number of fish given away will depend on how many fish we are able to spawn that week and how many people are in line prior to the start of the giveaway, as we try to split the fish evenly among participants. It is first come, first serve. Please bring your own fish containers and don’t show up late.”

To be eligible for the giveaway, a 2022 Colorado fishing license must be presented. Up to four youth may receive kokanee if accompanied by a license-holding adult.

Those interested in receiving kokanee should bring their own small cooler or other container. Most of the kokanee are 10 to 13 inches in size.

Kokanee are a freshwater, land-locked Pacific sockeye salmon. Though not a native fish to Colorado, they are well suited to Colorado’s large reservoirs.

Those interested in the Dolores or Lake Nighthorse giveaways may call 970-247-0855 for more information. Call 970-641-7070 or 970-641-0190 the evening before giveaways at the Roaring Judy Hatchery for updates on the number of fish expected to be given away.

Anglers are reminded that snagging kokanee at Lake Nighthorse is prohibited. Those fishing at the reservoir must stay at least 100 yards from the salmon-spawning platform.

For more information on kokanee salmon snagging opportunities in Colorado as well as the giveaway days, see the 2022 Kokanee Regulations brochure.

Keep your finger on the fishing industry pulse

The Definititive News Source of the Fishing & Marine Industry