How to Catch Kokanee
One of the most popular game fish in the Western States is the Kokanee. Kokanee are Sockeye Salmon that are landlocked or planted into freshwater lakes. Sockeye Salmon are one of the most delicious of the salmon species and the kokanee is no exception. Kokanee have dark red flesh, full of fat and Omega 3 oils which make them great for barbecuing, smoking or any other way that you would like to cook them. Most kokanee reach sexual maturity after 3 years, during the last year of their life they put on extra bulk and fat preparing for the spawn; this pre-spawn is the best opportunity to catch these little salmon as they school up and stage for the end of their life cycle.
Kokanee are very temperature sensitive and move to different depths of water as summer heats up to stay in a certain temperate zone. The best piece of equipment that you can have in your boat is a good fish finder as it will take a lot of the guesswork out of where the kokanee are schooled. Generally there are hundreds if not thousands schooled together late summer early fall which can make catching a limit pretty darn easy.
Any method of fishing can produce results, but the two most popular methods are trolling and jigging. To successfully troll for kokanee you must know how deep the kokanee are and then be able to troll your tackle at the correct speed and depth. Jigging for kokanee is a simple technique that entices the territorial instinct of schooling kokaneee. Using a shiny, or brightly colored lead jig, such as a Buzz Bomb or Gibbs Minnow or anything else that is shiny and sinks like a rock, you lower the jig to the correct depth (within the school of fish) and quickly and briskly (much like setting a hook) snap your rod tip upward every 15-30 seconds. Most of the hits are after your jig settles back down, often times they will tap it gently, other times they slam it hard.
Kokanee have very soft mouths so whether you are trolling or jigging, the longer you play the fish the better chance it has of getting off the hook; so some of the best advice is to get the fish in the net or boat as soon as possible.