Wallowa Lake is home to many things: beautiful trees, clear water and, apparently, world record-sized kokanee salmon. Ron Campbell found this out on Sunday, June 13, when he caught a 27-inch-long, 9.67-pound kokanee.
Campbell’s catch is the latest in a long string of large kokanee being caught at Wallowa Lake. In May, Bob Both of Lostine caught an 8.85-pound kokanee, and a 7.5-pound kokanee was caught in February by Gene Thiel of Joseph. Campbell, a 61-year-old resident of Pendleton, told the Oregonian that what makes records fun is that “they are made to be broken.”
“It will be interesting to see where Wallowa Lake goes,” Campbell told Oregonian contributor Richard Cockle. “Does it peak this year?”
The large kokanees are thought to be the product of an operation that began in the mid-1960s. Back then, wildlife officials planted a specific type of shrimp, Mysis relicta, in kokanee-inhabitated lakes such as Wallowa all along the West Coast. These shrimp flourished, and with a new, abundant food source, so did the kokanee salmon.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your state-of-the-art fishing gear and get out there. Who knows? Maybe the next world-famous angler we’ll be blogging about will be you!