Jeremy Jahn, aka the Kokanee Kid, has a website ( kokaneekidfishing.com) with a mission statement “to convert all fishermen into kokanee addicts.”
Although he’s from Salem, Jahn believes some kokanee basics apply to virtually all lakes holding the sometimes finicky landlocked sockeyes, at one time or another.
They strike tackle because it irritates them, not because they are hungry, although he readily admits a lure without corn on the hook will catch very little.
Since the goal is to irritate fish, gear that works erratically in the water is preferred.
Certain lures, like hoochies, do not generate their own action and need to be paired with a dodger.
Tie the leaders short. “Eight inches is as long as you want to go with a hoochie behind a dodger,” he said. “I’ve fished them as short as 4 inches.”
Many lures create their own action. Among them are Shasta Tackle’s Wiggle Hoochies, Mack’s Wedding Ring spinners, other spinners and Yakima Bait’s Spin-N-Glo.
Because they create their action, they can be fished behind “lake trolls,” which are several spinner blades and a rudder. But, Jahn said, lures such as a spinner also can be fished behind a dodger.
“Some say a spinner won’t rotate properly behind a dodger,” he said. “In my opinion, that’s awesome. I want that spinner to kind of flicker, flutter, make some kind of oddball turn and be more of an irritant to that fish.”
Other observations include:
• Depth – Kokanee have a large air bladder and show up well with good electronics. “They are very easy to spot on your sonar,” he said. “If you fish 5 to 10 feet below the school you usually end up picking up bigger kokanee. … The bigger ones are usually holding below the school.”
• Trolling speed – For “longlining” (without downriggers), he suggested 0.8 to 1.2 mph. When using downriggers, try from 0.8 to 1.9 mph.
“Turns are extremely important when longlining,” Jahn said. “It does a couple of things for you. A turn is going to drop gear on one side of the boat. If you’re turning your boat toward the right, the gear on the right-hand side is going to drop in the water and it’s going to raise the stuff on the left-hand side of the boat. It’s also going to slow down the stuff on the right and speed up the stuff on the left. That causes automatic erratic action.”
• Colors – His top five favorites are silver, gold, pink, orange and chartreuse.” As soon as you find that magic combination, switch out all your rods to it as fast as possible and ride it. That can last 10 minutes or all day. It can last into the next day.”