September 7, 2006
Raleigh, N.C. – While most people associate salmon
with the Northeast and the West Coast, Tony Robinson knows of a
honey hole in western North Carolina that produces a salmon that can
put up quite a fight despite its relatively small size.
Tony Robinson holds the newly established
state record for kokanee salmon.
NC WRC Photo
On Sept. 7, the Burke County angler landed a newly established
freshwater fish state record for kokanee salmon. Robinson caught the
fish, which weighed 9.2 ounces and measured 11 ½ inches in length,
from Nantahala Lake in Macon County using an Eagle Claw rod, Penn
309 reel and a fin-tail spoon as a lure.
Kokanee salmon are native to the western United States. Those found
in Nantahala Lake are a remnant population from a stocking done in
the mid-1960s by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission in an
attempt to establish the species as a forage fish for other predator
fishes in the lake.
In lakes, kokanee salmon do not grow very large, generally less than
20 inches in length, which is why they were stocked as a forage
species. They feed almost exclusively on plankton and on small
aquatic organisms, such as freshwater shrimp.
The Nantahala population represents a landlocked form of the
anadromous (spawns in fresh water, lives in the ocean) sockeye
salmon found in the western United States. Adults make a spawning
migration up the Nantahala River each fall.
The fish was weighed on certified scales at Penny Patch in Morganton
and was certified by Robert Brown, a fisheries biologist with the
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