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First Kokanee at Strawberry

Kokanee Fishing Tackle
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First Kokanee at Strawberry
I became a BFT member several years ago but haven't posted any reports. I really do find some very good information on this forum thanks to the good members who are willing to share. So I thought I would try sharing my reports as well, although I realize that I am not nearly as experienced as some of the other anglers on this forum.

I went to Strawberry with my wife and son Friday afternoon, spent the night and fished Saturday morning as well. I have targeted Kokanee several times before at Strawberry but have never landed one. I fish from a 14' aluminum boat. Previously I had only been able to long line with leadcore line. This trip I was set up with a small Hummingbird fish finder and Cannon Minitroll downrigger that I had just picked up a few days ago.

We fished Friday evening from about 7:00 to 9:00. We had a couple fish that got away including one that broke the second hook on my white and green squid (could have all been cutthroats). We did not land any fish. We had the downrigger set up at 30-40 feet with a pink and silver sling blade and various pink, orange and green squids. We were also long lining with the lead core lines with different colors of flashers, squids, wedding rings, etc. We didn't see many fish on the finder and those we did see were scattered. We went back to camp and decided to try again the next morning.

We got back on the water at 5:30 the next morning. Thank goodness we had some success this time after waking my wife and 8-year-old son at 5:00 am! We started right in between the Strawberry Marina boat ramp and Haws Point. Within about 20 minutes my wife caught a nice cutthroat. While netting the cutthroat I kept the boat barely moving (probably less than 1 mph) when we looked out and saw a fish repeatedly jumping about 20 yards behind the boat. Knowing that it must be hooked, we grabbed the pole from the downrigger and brought in a nice 19" kokanee! Although we were ecstatic, I was a little shocked and confused because we were barley moving when we caught it. We tried trolling back though the sam area several times at different speeds with no success. We then trolled across the lake over towards the Ladders on the other corner of the Triangle. We missed a few and caught a couple more cutthroats on the leadcore lines. Around 9:00 AM we caught another kokanee with the downrigger, pink sling blade and a pink and white squid at 35 feet. We trolled until about 1:00 PM and only picked up a few more cutthroats.

Overall it was our most successful outing chasing Kokanee by far, obviously. It did seem like pink was the best color as many of the reports have suggested. I do have a couple of questions though. Is the evening a good time to target Kokanee? We only saw a couple other boats Friday afternoon. Or is early morning usually best? Does the bite taper off as it gets hotter, or do you just have to fish a little deeper? When it comes to speed, is slower sometimes more effective than the traditional 1.6 to 1.9 mph? Anyway, we had a very fun weekend and look forward to spending more time trying to figure out these fish!
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Re: [kevinL] First Kokanee at Strawberry In reply to
Both work early morning and late afternoon

Speed depends on the kind of set up you use
speeding up and slowing down sometime causes them to hit the hooks
kokes will sometimes follow you for five min.
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Re: [kevinL] First Kokanee at Strawberry In reply to
Well congrats on some success at last! Hope to read more of your reports in the future
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Re: [1sthound] First Kokanee at Strawberry In reply to
Nice report! Love the pics!
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Re: [kevinL] First Kokanee at Strawberry In reply to
Now you are REELY HOOKED!

Fish OnFish On
Hunting for a House?
I will be your guide.
Dan Lewis
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Re: [kevinL] First Kokanee at Strawberry In reply to
Don't eat those fish!! Especially don't fillet them and put them on a cedar plank outside on your grill, with a little olive oil and lightly seasoned....Those Kokanees are injected with a substance, which when consumed, make you want to go back for more, and then more, and again more.....You will lose sleep, you will be spending money that you should be saving for your kid's education, you'll get the occasional hook in your finger as you're trying to remove hooks once you've netted another 2 lb'r.......
Enjoy! Good to see you have your family involved....and Guluk.....
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Re: [Jmorfish] First Kokanee at Strawberry In reply to
Thanks for the comments and tips guys! We cooked one on the grill yesterday and yes, it was delicious! Can't wait to get back up there. Spent the afternoon yesterday with my daughter putting some "custom" beads on a few squids.
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Re: [kevinL] First Kokanee at Strawberry In reply to
Congratulations. You have done better then I did all of last year when I was trying to figure the Kokanee out. I'm far from an authority on Kokanee but this year I've been lucky enough to limit out by 10:00-11:00 in the five trips to Strawberry. Like I said, I'm no expert but I'm happy to share with you what works for me.

Good Kokanee poles are important, the downrigger is a must. Double stack to get more lines out at a controlled depth, I troll at 1.3-1.5 n a big Zig-zag pattern. Follow the main body of boats. There is a lot of experienced anglers that have a good idea where to find the Kokanee.

For me the Kokanee bite really slows after 10:00. I'll start trolling just before daybreak between the marina and Haws and work my way east to the east tip of the triangle. Can't tell you anything about the evening fishing but I think your the on track.

I'm heading out again Thursday to feed my addiction.
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Re: [Lunder] First Kokanee at Strawberry In reply to
Thanks Lunder, and good luck on Thursday!
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Re: [kevinL] First Kokanee at Strawberry In reply to
I wonder if the reason you caught that koke when you slowed down is because your lure was able to sink down to the depth of the kokes. Right now they are 35-45ft deep but depending on the heat they can be deeper. Your downrigger ball may say it's 35 ft deep but depending on its weight and your speed, it could be 5-10 ft higher than you think. You should research stacking lines on a downrigger. Lots of good online resources and youtube videos. This way you can set your second line about ten to fifteen feet higher than your bottom line and really start pin pointing the depth they are at.
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Re: [BoatsandHoes] First Kokanee at Strawberry In reply to
Yes that is a good point. I could see my ball on the fish finder at 35 feet but wondering if the dodger and lure may have dropped 10 feet or so when I slowed down.
What kind of release/system does everyone like for double stacking? I watched a couple of YouTube videos and read about the Shasta Shuttle Hawk system. This seems like a pretty simple and effective way to stack a downrigger. Or is there a better method? Any other suggestions or tips when stacking?
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Re: [kevinL] First Kokanee at Strawberry In reply to
I haven't tried the shuttle hawk yet, but I am interested in them. I just use these clips and connect them directly to the cable. https://www.amazon.com/...cqx1L&ref=plSrch
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Re: [Lunder] First Kokanee at Strawberry In reply to
Thanks for all the great information.
I am coming out on the old timers way to troll using lead line and trolling poles.
I just bought a downrigger what is the recommended length of line to have behind the release?
Does the pole matter that much and if so what are some recommended poles?
Between the new boat and my addiction to koke fishing i need a second job!
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Re: [Penguin] First Kokanee at Strawberry In reply to
I use the shuttlehawk, it works well!
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Re: [Penguin] First Kokanee at Strawberry In reply to
Sportsmans warehouse sells some ultra light trout poles for $22. They have a lot of bend to them and bend over nicely in the down rigger holder and also help you from losing more fish. If you are deeper than 40 ft you only need to be 5-25 ft from your ball. If you are shallow I would be 50 to 100 ft back. If stacking, make sure your upper line is back 20 ft further than your bottom line. Because kokanee will turn up and away from your bottom lure and that's when your higher up lure will attract them.
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Re: [BoatsandHoes] First Kokanee at Strawberry In reply to
Yes, I found out that it is very difficult to keep from losing fish at the boat with a heavy action rod and leader line. Good suggestions on the double stacking as well! Thanks again for all of the great suggestions and comments!