Kokanee on the shore of DeSmet

Photo courtesy of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

Residents who enjoy walking the shore of Lake DeSmet will begin to see dead kokanee salmon wash onto the shore in the coming weeks. It’s not a disease or temperature change that has caused the fish to die but a sign of successful spawning.  

According to Wyoming Game and Fish Public Information Specialist Christina Schmidt, in April of 2019 approximately 40,000 young kokanee salmon were released into the wild, that number was reduced to 23,000 the following year and 18,000 in 2021. Schmidt told listeners of Sheridan Media’s Public Pulse program that according to Game and Fish fish biologists, the first batch is now old enough to spawn in the wild.

C. Schmidt

The change in color to a bright red color and the increased activity near the shoreline will provide for a great spectacle to witness, but spawning comes with a price for the kokanee salmon, Schmidt said. 

C. Schmidt

The Game and Fish reported last year that after years of work and research, Wyoming has found success in managing the only active kokanee salmon broodstock program in the United States.

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