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Fly fishing Kokanee?

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Fly fishing Kokanee?
OK, I'm posting this because I really am clueless. I've never fished for kokanee before.

Today I was at a local reservoir taking my son out on the kayak to get him out of the house. While I was gathering up to get him home for his afternoon nap I started seeing fish jump nearby by a dock. I went over and saw a ton of red kokanee swimming beneath the surface, occasionally jumping/surfacing. I have always understood Kokes to be deep dwelling fish. I'm assuming by color and time of the year they've moved shallow to spawn. That's where my questions come in.

First, if they're spawning would fishing them cause undo harm to them? Just because I'm not into trolling doesn't mean I want to ruin someone else's good time by hurting a population. Are they jumping because they're feeding on something, or is it part of mating?

I'm sure the kokanee that have already turned red are no good to eat, but they could be fun to catch and release, and add a species to what I've caught on a fly rod, assuming it's doable and ethical.
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Re: [ditchbanker] Fly fishing Kokanee? In reply to
Figured I'd give it a try.

It seems that they're surfacing just for the heck of it, no rhyme or reason. Maybe there's tiny plant life on the surface I couldn't see. I tried a lot of different things, on surface, below, no luck, meanwhile they were jumping close enough to my flies to splash them, and close enough to me to splash me. It would have been truly amazing to watch had I not been trying to catch them. Because I WAS trying to catch them, it was just annoying. Did get a good show watching ospreys trying to have better luck than me. Also made me feel better that none of them got fish, either.

Out of frustration, I had to stop at a gas station on the way home and pick up some 12 oz. kokes to go with dinner.
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Re: [ditchbanker] Fly fishing Kokanee? In reply to
They are tough to catch during spawn, but it can be done. I am betting a lot of this is snagging however, because they really are NOT keying in on food.
Maybe try a black woolly bugger and be aggressive to tick them off.
Stay in touch on this. That would be awesome to see a picture.



(This post was edited by flygoddess on Sep 2, 2011, 8:07 PM)
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Re: [flygoddess] Fly fishing Kokanee? In reply to
Yeah, I thought it would be a lot of fun to bring one in, especially because my 2 year old was there and he LOVES to see fish.

Funny you mentioned the black wooly bugger, that's exactly what I had wanted to try. Could have sworn I had a couple in my chest pack but was apparently wrong. Didn't have any streamers to try, but did try jumpy retrieves with a bead head nymph (I tried everything else, why wouldn't I try this?)
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Re: [ditchbanker] Fly fishing Kokanee? In reply to
Would plastic bead eggs work? I know Larry Tullis came up with a fly which is a basically a Mohair leech with little dabs of material paint on the fibers to represent Daphnia. Works for him



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Re: [flygoddess] Fly fishing Kokanee? In reply to
Could work. If not, there might be some other fish in the area excited about the Koke spawn that may gobble them up.

So far all I can tell you were some things that DIDN'T work. I truly don't think I'd even seen a Kokanee before yesterday, so I'm more than a little new to this. It just kills me to watch a hundred fish jumping out of the water and not be able to get a bite.
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Re: [ditchbanker] Fly fishing Kokanee? In reply to
Kokanee spawn in rivers so if there is not river for them to swim up they will try to spawn where ever they can but will of course fail. Some places allow snagging the fish in the sides with large weighted hooks when they are spawning. Many places it is illegal to snag Kokannee or any other fish. Generally in limited areas near the lake they reside in. Fly fishermen in rivers talk of "flossing" them while fishing for rainbows that follow them. That is, as the line sweeps down stream through a pod of Kokes the line runs through the fish's mouth and you hook them that way. Though the kokannee do not normally eat during the spawn they are aggressive towards invaders of their "space." Thus stripping streamers or large woolly buggers through a pod will often provoke aggresive attacks. Flashy flies sometimes help aggrevate them to bite. I am told that early in the spawn they are very good eating but towards the end they get mushy when cooked.

dB
disinfect your wading equipment. wash boat. disinfect livewells / sumps, wash ur dog
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Re: [ditchbanker] Fly fishing Kokanee? In reply to
We have them in Idaho and they can be caught. Pink is the color of streamer to throw here. We've never snagged any, all were caught as they attacked the streamer.

Here are some pics:







Not good eating when they're this ripe, but a lot of fun to catch.

Kelly.
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Re: [kglissmeyer] Fly fishing Kokanee? In reply to
Thanks for the pic. I'm in Idaho, but was just trying Lucky Peak. As with most things, streams are probably more fun.
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Re: [kglissmeyer] Fly fishing Kokanee? In reply to
Nice pics! Question, though. Those fish look to be fairly large for kokanee ....... my experience with kokanee (which I admit is very limited) is they are rarely over 12 to 14 inches. Are these not ocean going Sockeye??
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Re: [kglissmeyer] Fly fishing Kokanee? In reply to
Those are some nice big kokes. Do you ever run into any of the bears up there that are reputed to be in the area during the koke runs?
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Re: [eagleflyfshr] Fly fishing Kokanee? In reply to
They look normal to me. That is what is swimming around my legs this time of year.



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Re: [eagleflyfshr] Fly fishing Kokanee? In reply to
They are nice sized, but not ocean Sockeye. They are from a large reservoir in eastern Idaho.


I should have said that they run up a stream to spawn from a large reservoir.
(This post was edited by cpierce on Sep 9, 2011, 9:57 AM)
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Re: [cpierce] Fly fishing Kokanee? In reply to
Goes to show how ignorant I am about kokanee. Went back and looked at the Idaho state record on kokes and found the record Idaho kokanee is 24.5" while the state record on a sockeye is only 24". Utah is 25" for a koke. The male that Kglissmeyer is holding up with 2 hands looks to be pushing 23 inches or so. Maybe I am wrong, but I just havent seen anything approaching that size in our Southwest Idaho waters. My perception of kokanee has been upgraded!
(This post was edited by eagleflyfshr on Sep 9, 2011, 8:44 AM)