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Kokanee record broken for second time in a month at Wallowa Lake

An Enterprise woman last week caught a kokanee at Wallowa Lake that likely will go down as the largest such salmonid ever caught in the United States, authorities said.

Wan Teece caught the fish March 24 while trolling at the northeast Oregon reservoir. It was the second time in less than a month that Wallowa Lake yielded a new state-record kokanee, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Teece's fish weighed 8.23 pounds, measured 26.25 inches long and sported a 16-inch girth.

The only kokanee known to be caught that was larger is the world record of 9 pounds, 6 ounces from Lake Okanogan in British Columbia, Canada, says Bill Know, an ODFW assistant district fish biologist in Enterprise.

She was trolling with a Double Whammy lure and used two ounces of lead to keep the lure deep, ODFW spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy says.

On Feb. 26, Gene Thiel caught a 7-pound 8-ounce, 25-inch kokanee that broke the previous state record. Thiel, 73, of Joseph, caught his fish while jigging from a canoe in 100 feet of water.

Thiel's fish broke the standing Oregon kokanee record of 7 pounds, 1 ounce set at Wallowa Lake in July, Dennehy says.

Teece's fish represents the sixth time since 1999 that Wallowa Lake has broken the state record for kokanee, she says.

That should generate even more interest among Oregon anglers for kokanee at Wallowa Lake, where anglers already log close to 30,000 hours a year fishing for them.

Kokanee are land-locked sockeye salmon, and Wallowa Lake is famous for growing large ones primarily because of the introduction in the 1960s of freshwater shrimp called mysis relicta. The large shrimp provide a bonanza for the larger kokanee.

However, the shrimp's introduction in other lakes has been linked to the wiping out of kokanee populations, according to the ODFW.

The Rogue Valley Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will hold its 21st annual fundraising banquet April 10 at the Red Lion Hotel, 200 N. Riverside Ave., Medford.

The banquet begins at 4 p.m. with a social hour that will include raffles, games and auction previews. Dinner follows at 6 p.m., with a live auction beginning at 8 p.m.

Reservations are requested, and tickets will not be sold at the door.

For reservations, call Lou Budge at 541-779-6180.

The campsite reservation system used by the Oregon State Parks will be out of service until April 14 to allow for a computer updatie.

Reservations Northwest, which has a license to handle state parks' campsite reservations, will not accept overnight or day-use reservations — either by telephone or through the Internet, during the shut-down, state parks officials said.

Current reservations still will be honored and camping will continue on a first-come, first-served basis during the two weeks of no reservations. No reservations can be made or changed during the down time. Also, no advanced campsite availability can be checked through Reservations Northwest until the morning of April 14.

Wan Teece of Enterprise displays the state-record kokanee she caught at Wallowa Lake March 24. - photo courtesy of Wan Treece