Kokanee techniques with “Fish On” Jeremy Jahn

kokanee dodgersOne of the most asked questions I get is, “What leader length should I use when trolling for kokanee?”  And although you’ll find many answers to this question, I’m going to share with you what our family has been doing to put limits in the cooler for over 30 years.

Let’s look at the two troll techniques and what leader lengths to use for each.

Longlining is accomplished in-line, usually with the appropriate amount of weight using and in-line sinker. The sinker is then followed by a Lake Troll (Cousin Carl is a must), rubber
snubber (if necessary), and then your lure of choice. When you are targeting kokanee with a longline, the rule of thumb is 28 inches no matter what lure you use.  Yes, long liners have it easy, one leader length and not a lot of hassle when trying to net the fish.

Trolling with a Downrigger is popular because of your ability to control depth and when you fight your fish, it’s you and the fish as you’re not having to lug around any sort of in-line weight.  The most popular of all the attractors when fishing a downrigger is a dodger and your lure selection will dictate your leader length.

Eight inches is the rule of thumb if the lure does not have its own action, this would include such lures as Wedding Rings, Spin N Glo’s, Hoochies, and Beaded Spinners. If the Lure has its
own action like Wiggle Hoochies, Apex and Wee Tads, then you need to go back to 28 inches so your dodger doesn’t interfere with the action already created by this type of lure.  Now,
some will argue that the short leader length will interfere with a spinner blade and you need to have a fifteen inch leader length or greater.  To a degree, this argument holds water.  Yes, it does interfere with the action of the blade, but I can assure you, the erratic behavior of an otherwise stationary spinner, will bring positive results.

kokanee luresWith all the variables that the fish, weather and other conditions can throw at us, why not control what you can control.  Leader length is one of those variables that we can control and it’s important enough to even use a tape measure to take out some of the guess work.  Details catch fish and leader length is a big one.


“Fish On” Jeremy Jahn, is a Kokanee fishing expert and Kokanee tackle creator.  To learn more about the Kokanee Kid and get Kokanee fishing tips, visit kokaneekidfishing.com.