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Kokanee Salmon

Kokanee Salmon Fishing at Eleven Mile

Although the present run of Kokanee salmon into the South Platte River from Elevenmile Reservoir is much smaller than the run on the Gunnison River, it appears to be gaining momentum. The action here begins in October and continues into November.

Last November, Jim Gebing of Colorado Springs was all smiles as he repeatedly hooked brick red salmon that were holding in a shallow riffle a quarter of a mile above the reservoir. From his vantage point at the head of the riffle, he cast a weighted fly above the school of salmon and watched his strike indicator as the fly drifted among the fish. Occasionally, one of the male salmon would poke its grossly disfigured head above the water as if it were looking around for something.

On one such drift, Gebing's strike indicator dove beneath the surface and he lifted his fly rod into a deep arch, setting the hook into a salmon's hooked jaw. "Red Chironomid," Gebing replied to the usual question about his choice of fly pattern, adding, "They are taking it pretty well, faster than they were earlier".
South Platte Kokanee Two-hundred yards upstream, Division of Wildlife aquatic biologist Jeff Spohn and his crew of biologists and wildlife technicians were trapping the salmon and spawning them artificially in a temporary trailer parked beside the river. Workers mixed eggs with milt in bright yellow tubs, fertilizing the eggs before transporting them to a fish hatchery, where they will grow into fingerlings. Spohn?s allotment of fingerlings in the future will go directly into the South Platte River instead of into Elevenmile Reservoir, as in the past.

"It is not big numbers," said Spohn, referring to the millions of eggs taken at other rivers in the state, "but it is a great start, and kokanee coming from Elevenmile Reservoir are some of the largest in the state because of an abundance of forage. The salmon are averaging about 18 inches, compared to 14 to 16-inches last year."

Fishing in the South Platte between Elevenmile and Spinney Mountain reservoirs is by flies and lures only, and all fish must be returned to the water immediately.
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