Koke Fishing CO

griffinohara

New member
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
9
Location
RMNP and Littleton, CO
Anybody a master kokanee angler here? I have never caught one and would love to learn how. Am willing to chip in for gas and beer, or drive a couple hours for some good kokanee fishing in CO. I will be working in Rocky Mountain National Park, so any place within a couple hours of there would be ideal.
 

Ajax2744

Active member
Joined
Feb 8, 2018
Messages
132
Location
Northern Colorado
Dillon reservoir and eleven mile are the best from what I've heard. Best chance at catching a boat load is very first fishable ice in the fall since they will be spawning and aggressive. Pink and white jigs work great for Kokanee. Other than that I know in the summer you can do pretty good trolling for Kokanee with squid jigs and spinners.
 

BuzzH

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 9, 2001
Messages
10,665
Location
Laramie, WY
I wouldn't even want to guess how many thousands of kokanee salmon my family and I have caught over the years...none in Colorado though. Caught them trolling and jigging (jigging for them on both open water and through the ice). Maribou jigs work at times, but I've done better jigging Swedish pimples and stingers, orange dominates the show but have done good on green and chartreus. Trolling, we use orange, chartreus, green, and cerise martens, which you cant buy anymore. Dad and I probably have a couple hundred of them, swept up every one we could find in Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho years ago. I haven't seen any for sale in at least 20 years, might try ebay? There are times that particular lure is the ONLY thing you can catch them on an I've seen times when one color and one color only works. We had a day fishing on Holter reservoir using green martins, that is the only thing they were hitting...and those salmon were all 20-24 inch footballs and fought like crazy. Sometimes we'd have 2-3 on at one time, which is common since kokanee are tight schooling fish. We caught so many we had to throw ice out of the cooler to get the lid closed. The larger males were at least 4 pounds some pushing 5. Have had OK luck with the luhr Jensen kokanee killers too, usually orange. Have also used Canadian wonders, not sure if you can get those anymore either, triple teasers, and dick nites also work. There is a half brass/half silver dick nite and Canadian wonder that we have had good luck on. But, usually the hot colors are best, pink, chartreus, cerise. You'll see people trolling with cowbells and flashers with wedding rings, etc. but that crap drags like an anvil and the fish don't fight for chit. We use lead core line with 30ish feet of mono leaders...usually 15 lb test from the lead core, tapering down to 8-10 lb test.

Another thing, is if its legal, white shoe peg corn on jigging spoons and your trolling lures is the chit. There are times they wont hit a bare lure at all. Attach one single piece of shoe peg corn on the bend of the hook (ONE, and only ONE piece) so you don't kill the action of the lure. This works well for trout as well. Never, ever leave home without a can of shoe peg corn if you're fishing kokanee.

If all else fails, be a copy cat...use what the locals are using. I learned long ago not to be stubborn, if I'm fishing and I see a guy knocking the crap out of the fish using an old boot for a lure...I'll find an old boot to tie on.

My experience and 2 cents...good luck.
 

griffinohara

New member
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
9
Location
RMNP and Littleton, CO
Ajax, I've been to 11 mile a bunch of times, but never tried fishing for kokes. I'm usually shorebound and in the winter, people recommend some sort of motorized jigging machine to attract the kokes, going as far as to say that it's the only way to fish for them on ice.

BuzzH, Shoepeg corn is legal here as far as I know. I will definitely try and do that. Any tips for shore fishermen? I have a canoe that I take out from time to time, but if I were to take it to 11 mile, I would get blown off the lake in a heartbeat. Do you usually jig for them after locating them with a fish finder?
 

BuzzH

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 9, 2001
Messages
10,665
Location
Laramie, WY
Catching them from shore is going to be tough. I would suggest finding the deepest water area you can access from shore and snapping 1/8 ounce maribou jigs. You can use some medium sized split shot about 18 inches in front of the maribou jigs to give you more casting distance and also to get you down in the water column quicker.

Pretty common for kokanee to suspend in 30-50 feet of water and not at all unusual for them to be right in the middle of the lakes...at least the ones I fish.

As for jigging for them in the summer and winter, yep find them with a fish finder and/or keep on the move. They tend to school quite tight. Another thing we do, is to let the first one we catch "fight" a lot and flash around rather than just pulling them straight up. Also, if you're fishing with a few friends, fish close together, it keeps them around longer and biting longer. When you get a school attracted, keep them around as long as you can, jig constantly. Having watched them in one lake we ice fish for them, the fish you hook lose quite a few scales when they fight...I've watched kokanee hundreds of times hit those scales as they float through the water. There are times when they wont hit a jig unless its moving, sometimes they'll hit better when you let the jig sit for just a second after snapping it. When they do hit when the jig is just sitting there, its very light usually, many times the only thing you'll feel is the weight of the jig change. My Dad always says, "if you're not anticipating the bite of a kokanee, you're too late"...as odd as that sounds, he's pretty much correct. Be willing to change things up, try short snaps on the jig, longer snaps, let it sit for a second between snaps...you'll find what they like eventually. Also, if you're fishing with friends, have each person use a different color or size of jig. But, once they start hitting something or hitting it a certain way...switch everyone to the same thing and fish it the same. There are also those rare days, when they'll hit about anything.

Its a lot of fun and they fight well when you get into them.
 

griffinohara

New member
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
9
Location
RMNP and Littleton, CO
Hmm interesting. Been mostly shore fishing, and the Kokanee seems to be the fish that you most need a boat for. I might have to try jigging with one of those marabou jigs in my canoe.

How does a summer Koke taste in comparison to a spawning Koke? Interesting thing about the scales... I guess goes to show the small size of their usual diet.
 
Top