Winter Trophy Kokanee

What it takes to to put these awesome fish in the boat is perseverance, a heater and some warm clothes. There is no substitute for time on the water and building a relationship with other local anglers can be very beneficial in finding Kokanee in winter. Kokanee in winter on Lake Roosevelt are aggressive feeders. The hardest part is finding them. These fish are on the surface, and when I say surface I meet the top fifteen feet of the water column. When you drive through a pod of fish they scatter and go around the boat not under it. So these Kokanee do not show up on your display. Electronics are not as helpful for finding fish as they are for returning to where they have been found. When you hook a Kokanee many times you will get one or two on at the same time. I have had up to six rods at one time hooked up with these aggressive fish. When that happens I immediately mark a waypoint on my Lowrance so that I can return to that spot and hopefully pick up a few more out of that pod of Kokanee. This is my favorite time of the year to fish Kokanee. I love a plug bite and when you flatline Mag Lip 2.5 is payed out 150-200 feet behind the boat the bite is explosive with acrobatic jumps and runs. Keeping a tight line at this stage in the battle can be a fun challenge. I also will run side-planers with either fast limit Dodgers and tight line spinners or plugs. Side-planers are a very important tool in my winter fishery to spread my gear out, to cover more water and get my lures away from the boat. This will also help to run more rods with less tangles. On my boat I generally will run six rods. Two side-planers on the front rods, the two middle rods on Downriggers and the back two corner rods flatlined.

Being setup this way I can run any combination of lures such as Mag Lip on side-planers, Trout and Kokanee dodgers with silver magic spinners on downriggers or Fast limit Dodgers with tight line spinners or streamer flies flatlined out the back. When targeting surface feeding Kokanee it’s very important to get your lures away from the boat a minimum of 100 feet behind the boat, but don’t be afraid to put your spread back as fair as 200 feet. Died, brined, scented corn and maggots are a must in my boat. It’s important to have several different color combinations in your boat. Pink, orange and purple are all kokanee killing colors even green on some days. Line counter reels will help you in this fishery as well as many other fisheries repeatability is the key to success accurately knowing the distance of line payed out when you catch a fish along with the speed of the boat will help you to repeat the pattern that is putting fish in your net. In short the more tools you have in your tool box and the repeatability of your success will make you a better angler. Good luck and tight lines on your next fishing adventures.

Austin Moser

Austin’s Northwest Adventures

Wenatchee, WA 98801