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Thread: When do the kokes turn red?

  1. #1
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    May 2013
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    Default When do the kokes turn red?

    My wife and I are planning a trip to the gorge and wanted to get some red kokanee. I do understand that they aren't as good to eat then, however, we still want to try it. When do the kokes turn over there at the gorge and do they start heading to sheep creek during that time? Any thoughts or comments are gladly appreciated....

    Thanks in advance!!

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  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by outdoorsman1 View Post
    My wife and I are planning a trip to the gorge and wanted to get some red kokanee. I do understand that they aren't as good to eat then, however, we still want to try it. When do the kokes turn over there at the gorge and do they start heading to sheep creek during that time? Any thoughts or comments are gladly appreciated....

    Thanks in advance!!

    The Kokes generally start turning LATE July If I were just wanting to try for a full blown red one it would be first to second week in August. As far as the Kokes migrating it has just begun they are starting move from there spring areas.....

  3. #3
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    Default Red salmon

    A little off topic, but Iíve always wondered why people think that Ďredí kokanee are not fit to eat. I was stationed at King Salmon, AK for a year in 1975/76 and we had a very substantial run of sockeye (kokanee) salmon that were all red when they came up the Naknek River. The local residents with subsistence permits were allowed to harvest 50 fish a day by any means possible and they were very busy doing that Ė mostly by snagging them with very large and weighted treble hooks. I asked them if they were any good to eat and the most common answer was that if they were canned that I wouldnít know the difference between them and the cans I bought in the local store. They also cold smoked some of them and said they were every bit as good as the non-red salmon caught earlier in the year.

    Iím also reminded all the time here in Utah (from older Utahans) that yellow perch are nothing more than a trash fish and should be caught and thrown on the bank to get rid of them. To each his own, I guess.

    Bob Hicks, from Utah - Iím 75 years young and going as hard as I can for as long as I can.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by dubob View Post
    A little off topic, but Iíve always wondered why people think that Ďredí kokanee are not fit to eat. I was stationed at King Salmon, AK for a year in 1975/76 and we had a very substantial run of sockeye (kokanee) salmon that were all red when they came up the Naknek River. The local residents with subsistence permits were allowed to harvest 50 fish a day by any means possible and they were very busy doing that Ė mostly by snagging them with very large and weighted treble hooks. I asked them if they were any good to eat and the most common answer was that if they were canned that I wouldnít know the difference between them and the cans I bought in the local store. They also cold smoked some of them and said they were every bit as good as the non-red salmon caught earlier in the year.

    Iím also reminded all the time here in Utah (from older Utahans) that yellow perch are nothing more than a trash fish and should be caught and thrown on the bank to get rid of them. To each his own, I guess.
    There is no doubt that the quality of the flesh declines the closer the fish are to spawning, especially considering that kokanee flesh is on the tender side in the best of conditions. And there is no comparison between an ocean caught, bright sockeye and a red colored river caught fish. Certainly they are still edible, but nothing like the same fish when caught from the ocean.

    But hey, I am even more off topic!

  5. #5
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    Ive only ever got them when they started turning, had a little pink showing.... We ate those and they were just as good to me. Ive never seen a full on red one before, they just look awesome. Dirk has 2 mounted in his office at the villa and they are so cool looking. They would make a great mount!

  6. #6
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    I'll except a koke if it has a hint of red. About mid August to closing date in Sept is a good time to catch reds.
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  7. #7
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    Apr 2017
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    Do you guys think the weekend of Aug 19th will be too late to catch kokes that are not fully turned red yet?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorgehunter View Post
    Do you guys think the weekend of Aug 19th will be too late to catch kokes that are not fully turned red yet?
    My experience expects there will be lot's of spawning-year kokes with some red though not many full red ones. If you fish around you should be able to find spawning-year kokes I'd find acceptable for eating (per what Bduck says).
    Also, remember that there are at least a couple year classes that will not be spawning.

    If you want full red koke to keep, I'd target closer to Sept 1 until close Sept 10.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokepoles View Post
    My experience expects there will be lot's of spawning-year kokes with some red though not many full red ones. If you fish around you should be able to find spawning-year kokes I'd find acceptable for eating (per what Bduck says).
    Also, remember that there are at least a couple year classes that will not be spawning.

    If you want full red koke to keep, I'd target closer to Sept 1 until close Sept 10.
    I am trying to avoid a full red, pretty for a picture but they do get a bit mushy.

  10. #10
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    Here is an Aug 9 koke at the Gorge that is representative of what we've found fishing from Buckboard that time of year. Note the hint of red and the changes beginning to jaw, The loss of scales and skin turning leathery is often noticable prior to those changes. We found a fish like in the pic very good on grill and not noticably different than fish caught earlier in year. The red fish in the prior pic was an auxillary catch when targeting trout. It did not survive an attempted release so we kept and smoked to find only marginally acceptable. Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by smokepoles; 06-29-2017 at 02:06 PM.

  11. #11
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    If you've fished the Gorge this year you know that you have to weed through a lot of 2 year old fish this year, (12" - 15" fish). I think that folks will be able to catch several silver Kokes all season long this year.
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  12. #12
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    May 2013
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    Montpelier, ID
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    This has been an interesting topic. I appreciate all the information from everyone. Its looking like we can get time off to go the end of july so we will have to try again another time for some red ones. I hope everyone is having a good koke season!

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