Q: Would it be possible to catch a salmon in an alpine lake?
I was fishing an alpine lake in Central Idaho and caught and released a beautiful 12-inch fish with a bright red belly, dark green back with black spots and a large mouth with a slight hook to it at the end.
The lake is tiny and has no outflow at this time of year due to the lack of rain.
I checked the Idaho Fish and Game guide when I got back to my car and sure enough it looks like it was a salmon.
I assume it was accidently planted? By the way, the fishing was great in most of the lakes that we visited.
D. SNYDERMANN, via email
A: I talked with Jeff Dillon, state fisheries manager with Idaho Fish and Game, and he suspects the fish you caught was a westslope cutthroat in spawning colors.
He looked at stocking reports for the lakes you mentioned and they have been stocked recently with rainbows. (We don’t name alpine lakes in the paper because of their fragile nature.)
Dillon believes cutthroats from the past may be doing well on their own in the lake and reproducing.
There doesn’t seem to be any way a salmon could have been stocked in the lake. Fish and Game mainly stocks rainbows and cutthroats in alpine lakes. Golden trout and grayling have been stocked in the past when they were available.
I did a search online for cutthroat trout in spawning colors and the photos that popped up look just like your description.
By the way, since we’re speaking about salmon and mountain waters, I got sidetracked when Dillon mentioned that Deadwood Reservoir’s chinook are coming on strong.
Dillon has received reports of 7- to 8-pound chinook in the reservoir this summer.
Fish and Game has been stocking 5,000 chinook fingerlings a year in the reservoir since 2009.
Given that chinook are 3 to 6 inches-long when they’re stocked, they must be really chowing down on the kokanee in the reservoir to get that big.
Anglers are trolling deep with flashers.
LOTS OF COLLARED DOVES
Q: I fully support the Idaho Fish and Game’s position on Eurasian collared doves to be taken in any amounts at any time.
On Sept. 1, three of us shot 50 doves, but only 12 were mourning doves. The balance were Eurasian collared doves.
It seemed most of the doves we saw were Eurasians. Are the collared doves pushing out the mourning doves?
GRANT YEE, via email
A: You’re right. Eurasian collared doves are increasing and taking over habitat used by mourning doves in Idaho, according to Fish and Game.
F&G didn’t have any percentages on increases over the years, but there has been concern ever since the non-native birds started expanding their range in the state.
The mourning dove season runs through Sept. 30. The daily bag limit is 10, and the possession limit is 20.
Because Eurasian collared doves are introduced birds, you can take as many as you want, according to F&G hunting regulations. When you’re dove hunting, you need to make sure you leave the Eurasian doves unplucked so they can be distinguished from mourning doves.
They don’t not count as part of your aggregate bag limit of mourning doves as long as they are identifiable.
Hunters should keep a copy of the state’s upland bird regulations handy. You’ll see photos on Page 18 comparing both species of doves.
BOISE RIVER DRIFT BOATS
Q: I saw some fishermen in a driftboat floating the Boise River downstream of Barber Park.
Is that a thing now? I’d never seen one before right here in town.
GREG HAHN, via email
A: Drift boats have been running the Boise River in town for years but you don’t see many.
The logistics are tough. Not the river and diversions, but the launch and take out.
Actually, the Boise River from Barber Park to Ann Morrison Park is an excellent drift boat stretch at 800 to 1,500 cfs.
It’s a great way to fish the river. The diversions are easy to negotiate if you have intermediate rowing skills.
The big hang up is that there are no boat ramps at Barber Park and Ann Morrison Park.
Basically, you have to drag your boat across the lawn to launch or get the boat out of the water.
We definitely need boat ramps at the two parks to make the Boise River a drift-boating stream.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors