SOUTH LAKE TAHOE . (AP) — A California man has landed the biggest Kokanee salmon ever caught at Lake Tahoe, breaking a record that stood for four decades.
Bill Bush of Nevada City reeled in the 5 pound, 2 ounce Kokanee last weekend on the south end of the lake near Baldwin Beach.
The record dated to Aug. 1, 1973, when Dave Bournique of South Lake Tahoe caught one that weighed 4 lbs., 13 ounces.
Bush caught his 2-foot-long fish July 20 at a depth of 67 feet with corn on the end of a small lure that looks like a wedding ring. He was fishing between the beach and Camp Richardson when the fun began.
“The next thing that freak fish hit the line and we could tell he (Bush) was on to something the way the fish was banging on that rod. He played the fish perfectly,” Tahoe Sport Fishing Capt. Scott Carey told Lake Tahoe News (http://tinyurl.com/krdbbzc).
He said he knew it was a record-breaker as soon as it hit the deck. Kokanee lose weight when pulled from the water so it was imperative to get to an official scale as soon as possible, he added.
The Kokanee salmon that spawn on Taylor Creek in the fall were introduced to Tahoe in the 1940s. When spawning in the shallow waters they turn bright red like their cousins, the sea-going Sockeye salmon. Their numbers have fluctuated at Lake Tahoe, but locals say the fish aren’t as big as they used to be.
The average Kokanee weighs less than a pound and typically about 14 inches long. Bush’s measured 24.75 inches.
“They said there would never be a new record-sized kokanee pulled out of Lake Tahoe, but we proved them wrong,” first-mate Scott Hoffman told the Tahoe Daily Tribune (http://tinyurl.com/oedflrm ). “This is something we may never see again in our lifetime.”
Carey and Hoffman had the fish certified on Monday with the California Department of Fish and Game.
Bush used a 6-pound line with a flasher setup called a double whammy, Carey said. They placed corn on the tip of the lure because it resembles a form of plankton — daphnia — that no longer exists in Lake Tahoe.