Kokanee fishing is quickly becoming a popular sport fish sought after by many anglers in BC. They can be plentiful, fun and challenging to catch and they are great table fare too! By learning a few basic trolling methods you will be ready to hit the water to try your luck for these chrome beauties!
Finding the Fish:
Kokanee are schooling fish which makes them easier to locate when a boat is equipped with a fish finder (sonar). Start your search on the lake in the main water body. When you pass over a school of fish the sonar will show clusters of fish; once you see this you have located the school.
Kokanee are very enthusiastic and can be aggressive. With this in mind your tackle setup can’t be too big that will spook the fish. Even though Kokanee are aggressive by nature, they are near the bottom of the food chain. A large presentation may mimic a large trout that the Kokanee will flee from.
When choosing terminal tackle it is important to have two primary pieces to your presentation. A flasher or dodger and a lure. The flashers and dodgers create flash and displacement within the water that will attract the Kokanee from a distance. The lure trailed behind the flasher or dodger will create a striking reaction. Traditional flashers such as a small Willow Leaf or Ford Fender gang troll work well. Smaller 4 to 6 inch dodgers like a Gibbs Dodger produce nicely too. Leader length can vary between 8 to 16 inches. The goal when trailing behind a dodger is to make the lure dart in motion.
Lures that work well for Kokanee fishing are small spoons such as Dick Nites, Luhr Jensen Needlefish, small Hoochies and wedding rings. Red and pink are usually the hottest colours; but on darker days or when fishing deeper in the water try changing colour patterns first before the lure. Due to Kokanee having soft mouths the use of a rubber snubber will help you from losing fish.
Tip your lure with baits such as pink maggots or dyed red corn, this extra bit of scent will help intrigue the fish to bite. Just be sure not to add too much bait onto the lure that it takes away from the action.
Trolling speeds between 1.0 to 1.5mph is prime trolling speed. Troll in large ‘S’ patterns making your lines move up and down within the water. Usually the Kokanee will bite on the end of inside turn as the line starts to tighten up again.
Within the Okanagan region some prime fisheries to target Kokanee include Wood Lake (Open from April 15th to May 31st), Kalamalka Lake, Skaha Lake, Yellow Lake and Monte Lake.
Kokanee do not handle catch and release well and their mortality rate is high even when handled and released in the best way. This is why I choose to limit my fishing for Kokanee to the casual appetite for table fare and not to just fill my freezer. Releasing the fish while they are still in the water is the finest way to help with their survival rate when not being chosen for harvest.
For more information on Kokanee fishing please check out www.BCFishn.com or feel free to drop me an email! I’d be happy to help!
Tight lines & please take a youth fishn’!