Summer Tactics for Kokanee

As the weather starts to warm up and the surface temperatures begin to rise in our local lakes, the kokanee population will retreat to the lake’s thermocline layer. This can cause the average kokanee fisherman major obstacles to overcome unless he is prepared to “go deep or go home”.  With the advancement of electronics and downriggers it has not only made it possible to see fish, but also to see your gear to make sure it is in the strike zone.

summer kokanee depth finder

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using downriggers for kokanee fishing during the summer:

  • Finding kokanee is very easy to do because they have enlarged air bladders and are very easy to spot on a sounder no matter how small they might be.  On a colored sounder they will show up as a bright color on the screen, unlike other species that in the lake.  I like turning up the sensitivity on the sounder so I can see exactly where my lines are in the water to make sure they are going past my potential targets.  By knowing that the gear is passing or has passed by kokanee I have the ability to get prepared for a strike or to know that the gear I am running is not working and it’s time for a change up.
  • I like to stack two rods on my downriggers and this is very easy to do with a stacker clip that attaches to the downrigger cable.  I like to attach my bottom rod directly to my ball troll which is attached to the downrigger weight.  I will then drop the weight down about ten feet in the water column and then attach a stacker clip to the cable, and then I am ready to send both rods to the desired depth.
  • I will do the same thing to the other side of the boat but drop that side five feet deeper as this will stagger the lines in the water column every five feet allowing a kokanee to follow the gear and then if it moves up or down there is something else ready to catch it’s attention.  Also remember the deeper you go the shorter the setback.  During early season tactics I arm fishing way behind the boat (50 to 100 feet) as the fish move down the water column I need to shorten up the amount of line I let out before I attach it to the clip.

summer kokaneeHere are some ideas for proper setbacks for the depth of kokanee:

  • Surface – 20 feet down – 50’ to 100’ setback
  • 20 – 40 feet down 35’ to 50’ setback
  • 40 – 80 feet down 15’ to 35’ setback
  • 80 – 120 feet down 6’ to 15’ setback

The deeper you go the more you have to rely on your ball trolls to catch the attention of the kokanee and bring them in to investigate what is invading their territory and with less light you’ll need your gear up close and personal to that attractor.  By making sure your gear is in the strike zone, using the proper setback, and staggering your gear through the water column you’ll be setting yourself up for a very productive day of kokanee fishing.

Fish On Jeremy Jahn

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