Kokanee fishing is a rising sport in Oregon, the place these frisky salmon aren’t as huge as chinook and coho reared within the ocean however are so plentiful that many lakes provide bonus bag limits as a result of there are such a lot of to go round.
In 2010, Ron Campbell set the brand new world with a 9-pound, 10.72-ounce kokanee he caught at Wallowa Lake in northeast Oregon.
Wallowa Lake has lengthy been Oregon’s finest lake for very massive kokanee. These landlocked sockeye salmon develop to sizes resembling their ocean-going kin, relatively than the pan-sized fish present in most kokanee lakes.
The place to Catch Kokanee in Oregon
Apart from Wallowa Lake, Oregon has a handful of favourite kokanee lakes. A number of of them have “bonus” bag limits of 25 kokanee per day along with limits of different recreation fish.
Probably the most constant kokanee waters in Oregon is Odell Lake close to Willamette Cross, off Freeway 58 roughly mid-way between Bend and Eugene. The kokanee right here aren’t huge, however anglers with even modest expertise stand an opportunity at reaching the 25-kokanee restrict.
Whereas kokanee numbers fluctuate from season to season in most places, different Central Oregon lakes and reservoirs that always have glorious kokanee fishing embody Wickiup Reservoir south of Bend and Suttle Lake close to Sisters, which even have 25-kokanee limits. Elk Lake has the identical bag however kokanee there are inclined to run small.
Additionally in Central Oregon, Lake Billy Chinook close to Culver not has a 25-kokanee bag however nonetheless has glorious angling. Different favourite waters on this space are Paulina and East lakes in Newberry Crater, Crescent Lake close to Odell Lake, Haystack Reservoir between Madras and Redmond and Lake Simtustus close to Heat Springs.
In Western Oregon, an ideal kokanee fishing spot is Inexperienced Peter Reservoir close to Candy Dwelling within the Cascade foothills, a brief drive from Willamette Valley cities together with Albany. Inexperienced Peter has a 25-kokanee restrict and anglers who be taught the reservoir can attain it when the chunk is on.
Timothy Lake, a well-liked rainbow trout fishery southeast of Portland, additionally has a separate 25-kokanee restrict and at time produces good catches. East of Salem, Detroit Reservoir anglers embody kokanee and different landlocked salmon of their trout restrict.
In Southeast Oregon, Lake of the Woods and Fourmile Lake, close to one another within the southern Cascades between Klamath Falls and Medford, each have good kokanee populations and 25-fish limits along with dependable trout fisheries. Additionally within the area, Miller Lake close to Chemult and Coronary heart Lake between Klamath Falls and Lakeview provide kokanee fishing. Miller has a 25-kokanee bag however the kokanee are inclined to run small right here.
Find out how to Catch Kokanee
First off, maybe essentially the most useful gizmo an angler can have is a fish finder. This enables them to pinpoint kokanee colleges, each their places on the lake and their holding depth. And not using a fish finder, the most effective recommendation is to inquire domestically and look ahead to concentrations of boats.
The most well-liked technique to catch kokanee is by trolling.
Trollers make use of small, brightly coloured lures to entice a strike. Varied spoons, spinners and hootchies all work nicely. Inventory a mixture of lure varieties and colours, together with fluorescent shades, as kokanee preferences can change by the hour.
When trolling, most anglers pull their lures behind dodgers or gang-style blade units to assist appeal to kokanee, a flashy, education fish. Additionally, it is pretty normal observe to place a bit of bait on the hook. Widespread baits embody white shoe-peg corn, maggots, shrimp, ready baits or a small piece of nightcrawler. Some anglers additionally add ready scents. Some anglers use rubber snubbers in an effort to blunt the drive of the hookup as a result of kokanee have delicate mouths, however not all kokanee fishers imagine that is productive.
Early within the season, kokanee usually may be discovered close to the floor. As hotter climate arrives, kokanee dive deep and trollers use lead weight or weighted traces to succeed in their quarry. Many severe anglers as a substitute use downriggers, permitting them to extra precisely goal kokanee colleges after which battle frisky fish on gentle deal with with out as a lot weight.
One other very efficient technique to catch kokanee is by jigging for them with brightly coloured steel lures. These jigs usually are labored by anglers in a anchored boat, dropped vertically to the extent of holding colleges. Jig the lure upward and let it flutter among the many fish. Kokanee normally seize it on the drop.
Jigs additionally may be solid towards shallow colleges, which frequently are marked by leaping kokanee. Pitch the jig towards the fish and retrieve it in an erratic movement that features pauses to let the jig flutter whereas it sinks.
Bait fishing can be productive, utilizing lots of the identical baits trollers use. Some anglers use a mixture of baits, recognized domestically by such names because the “Wickiup Sandwich.”
Sometimes, anglers could have success fly fishing for kokanee, particularly early within the 12 months when these zooplankton eaters will flip a spotlight to aquatic insect larvae nearer to shore.