Q: My wife and I were on the South Fork of the Boise River last week and saw post-spawning fish bright red bodies, heads shaped either like bull trout or kokanee but we cant decide what we might have seen.
The fish were floating near the edge of the water and appeared to be dying.
I understand that bull trout may be in the Boise river areas, but I havent heard of salmon in the South Fork.
Can you answer our questions please?
LARRY ARMSTRONG, via email
A: You definitely saw kokanee salmon.
There are a couple of thousand spawned-out kokanee up the South Fork of the Boise River from Arrowrock Reservoir this summer, and they range around 17 inches in length.
Its the most seen by Idaho Fish and Game and signals a high kokanee population in Arrowrock Reservoir.
Weve never really seen them taken off like this, said Art Butts, regional fisheries biologist with Fish and Games Nampa office.
He said fishing was phenomenal in Arrowrock during summer and anglers preferred Arrowrock to Lucky Peak Reservoir, which gets a lot more kokanee stocking annually.
The size of the fish indicates the kokanee population in Arrowrock is in good balance.
The key now for Fish and Game is to keep that balance. The agency stocks about 50,000 to 60,000 kokanee fingerlings (3-inch fish) annually in the reservoir to keep the population going. Lucky Peak Reservoir gets about 250,000.
The reason the fish are large is that theres a lot of food (zooplankton) in Arrowrock, and its enough for the size of the population of kokanee.
The concern is that if natural spawning of kokanee in the South Fork is too successful, the population in Arrowrock might grow too large and there wont be enough food for the larger numbers of fish. When that happens, kokanee start to become stunted in size.
Arrowrock also provides a run of kokanee that goes up the Middle Fork of the Boise River, so theres plenty of places for the fish to spawn.
Fish and Game will monitor the population in Arrowrock, and if the population increases too much, it may cut back its annual stocking.
It sounds like Arrowrock is a success story for kokanee fishing.
Whats also neat is the dying kokanee are bringing nutrients to the South Fork of the Boise River, which means food for insects, and in turn, food for the wild trout up there.
Its kinda like it was when ocean-going salmon migrated up the Boise River drainage.
SMELLY FISH NET
Q: Im about to retire my fishing net for the season, but I cant get the fishy smell out of it.
Ive tried soaking it in Dawn dishwashing detergent and baking soda and neither seemed to get rid of the odor.
I am afraid bleach would deteriorate the netting, so I havent gone to that step yet.
PAT KELLY, via email
A: Wow, sounds like your net was put to good use, and youve caught plenty of fish.
I havent tried it on fishing nets, but Natures Miracle Odor Remover works on dogs, carpets and skunk odor. It should work on a fishing net.
One thing, though, you might think about going to the new rubber fishing nets.
Ive got one for trout fishing and one for steelhead fishing.
The rubber is washable. The other advantage of a rubber net is that it doesnt tangle as much with fish, line and hooks. The rubber is also easier on fish, especially when you are catch-and-release fishing.
Check them out at fishing shops.
RIDING AND LUNCH
Q: My friend and I are interested in riding the Boise Greenbelt from Eagle (where Eagle Road crosses the Boise River) to Parkcenter near the Albertsons headquarters.
I was looking for a good restaurant near Eagle a few miles from where you can park and get on the Greenbelt just off Eagle Road.
I wanted to ride a few miles and then stop for lunch.
NICOLE C., via email
A: First of all, the thing that might give you indigestion is that you cant ride the Greenbelt on your bike all the way from Eagle to ParkCenter.
Garden City has banned bicycle riding on a 1.5-mile section on the north side of the Boise River from where the Eagle path ends to near Glenwood Street.
Youll have to negotiate city streets until you hook up with the Greenbelt at Glenwood Street and head east. Advocates proposing to open up the pathway to bicyclists say the detour ends up being 2 1/2 miles and involves 44 driveways, 28 intersecting streets and almost no bike lanes.
Garden City residents will decide this fall whether they want to open that section to bicyclists. Two initiatives will appear on the November ballot: one to repeal restrictions on bicycles, and the other to permit all forms of nonmotorized transportation for commuting.
But enough of the bureaucratic stuff. Whether you decide to ride the pathway detour or start your ride at Glenwood, my first choice for lunch would be The Pantry at 1545 Shoreline Dr. in Boise (344-5486).
They have an assortment of sandwiches, salads and burgers.
The restaurant is located just off the Boise Greenbelt just upstream from the Americana Boulevard Bridge.
Bon appetit and bicycling.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors