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Kokanee slow to rebound

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Wood Lake continues to show low kokanee returns, according to surveys of kokanee numbers in Okanagan lakes taken during the fall of 2013.
Surveys of kokanee numbers in Okanagan lakes during fall 2013 showed mixed results, but will not impact angling opportunities for the coming season, reports the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
Kalamalka Lake did particularly well, with excellent spawner numbers of kokanee and exceptional average size. Some fish caught by anglers approached record levels.
However, neighbouring Wood Lake continues to show low returns due to significant mortality from poor in-lake conditions in 2011. Wood Lake kokanee slightly rebounded in 2012, but remain well below historic levels. Therefore, the spring 2014 kokanee opening for Wood Lake will remain brief (April 15 to May 31), with no fishing permitted for the remainder of the year.
Surveys of the number of fish returning to spawn along shorelines and in-lake tributaries of the main valley lakes show:
- Okanagan Lake kokanee spawners totalled 126,000. This is a small increase from the poor returns in 2012, but still below average.
- In Kalamalka Lake, kokanee numbers totalled 45,000, which is the highest return since 1994.
- Skaha Lake's total kokanee count is estimated at 18,000, which is the lowest return since 2001.
- Wood Lake kokanee that spawn in Middle Vernon Creek totalled 2,900. Visual surveys of the Wood Lake shoreline indicated 850 kokanee spawning along the shoreline areas. Totalled, this represents a slight improvement over 2012's result of 2,300, but remains low.
In-lake conditions were excellent for kokanee survival in 2013, and a more substantial kokanee run that should be able to support a full-season harvest is expected by 2015.

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