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how to catch kokanee salmon ice fishing插图

Key Tips for Kokanee Ice Fishing SuccessProcure a Fish Finder As previously stated,Kokanee salmon like to go deep. …Use the Jigging Method We really want to touch on the jigging method once more because it is often the most effective method of ice fishing for kokanee salmon. …Take Advantage of Attractors Seriously,an attractor is going to be your best friend when ice fishing for Kokanee. …Follow Safety Practices …

How do you catch kokanee fish?

During the early spring and midsummer times, when the water is colder, jigging is the way to go. Kokanee swim in schools, which makes targeting them easier than lone fish. The easiest way to find a school of fish that is deep in the water is with an electronic fish finder. These can get expensive, but they are worth every cent.

When is the best time to catch kokanee salmon?

While Kokanee salmon can be caught during the wither via ice fishing, the best times to catch Kokanee salmon are in between spring and fall. These warmer months mean that the fish will be closer to the middle of the lake, where there is a good temperature, but the light is still dim enough not to irritate them.

Where can I find a kokanee salmon?

For finding the location of the Kokanee Salmon, go where the fish can get the most reward for the least amount of effort. These locations will be at the edges of strong currents where the fish will be able to strike out at passing food and be able to return to the calmer waters to just the edge of the currents.

How to jig for kokanee salmon?

After a school of fish is found, position your boat right over the school. Once you’re in position, you will be able to drop your lure down directly into the school of fish. There is a certain method to jigging for Kokanee salmon. Kokanee salmon usually bite when the jig is falling down in the water.

How thick should ice be for fishing?

Repeatedly make sure that any ice you’re settling on is at l4-5 inches thick you’re going solo. When fishing with others, the ice should be a minimum of 12 inches thick. Before treading the ice, lob a few sizable rocks out into the area you intend to fish upon. If the rocks shatter the ice, stay away. If the rocks don’t make a difference, gently walk out and form a test hole. Plant something into the hole to certify diameter before going any further.

How deep do Kokanee salmon go?

As previously stated, Kokanee salmon like to go deep. Often as deep as 80 feet. Since these salmon love to feed on zooplankton in deep water columns, finding them is like ascertaining that coveted needle in a haystack. Thankfully, Kokanee almost always travels in a school. Once you know where the school is located, you’ll be guaranteed to land more than a few. While you can do this by drilling several holes and testing your luck, you can also purchase a fish finder to figure out how deep the water is in a given area and where the Kokanee salmon are hunkering down.

Can you fish for Kokanee salmon?

As mentioned above, ice fishing for Kokanee salmon is quite different than ice fishing for rainbow trout or a more common species of fish. This means you’ll need to employ distinct lures in order to make the most impact. There are several disparate lures you can take advantage of to catch Kokanee. Most of the time, light lures work best, but certainly different anglers experience different types of success with each lure.

What Changes?

While many things will stay the same or similar, there will be some fundamental changes that you’ll need to learn about and make in order to really be a successful fisherman out on the ice.

What is jigging from a boat?

The process of jigging from a boat often involves a weighted line, with multiple baited hooks on each line, being jer ked up and down , giving the impression of erratic, injured prey. Sometimes this is done by individual people, other times it’s done by a machine.

Can you still fish in the winter?

You can also have some success in the winter by “still fishing” or “still jigging”. This involves simply adding weight and bait to your line, and leaving it still in the water. This specifically is good for the fish who are too lethargic to devote energy to chasing a moving or jerking lure. If you’re trying this style though, there are two things you need to consider first.

Do you need a buddy system when ice fishing?

I’m sure your parents have told you since the beginning of forever that, whenever you’re going somewhere, especially somewhere with any risk, you need to “use the buddy system”. This is important when you’re ice fishing. While it doesn’t particularly have an effect on your fishing, there is an inherent risk that exists with ice fishing. Whether it’s slipping on the ice and suffering a break or a sprain, or falling through the ice, there isn’t a situation where it would hurt you to have a friend with you while you fish.

Is it safe to fish for kokanee salmon?

Ice fishing for kokanee salmon may be a bit more inherently dangerous than ice fishing for many other fish, especially when it comes to landlocked ice fishing. Kokanee salmon spend their time suspended over deep water, where their food is most plentiful. This means you’ll more than likely need to be fishing over the deepest parts of the lake.

How to use tipups for salmon?

Vary your depth. If using tipups with bait for landlocked salmon, place the bait at different depths until you have success. Then adjust the other rigs up or down so they are at the same level of the tipup that produced.

Do kokanee eat salmon?

Kokanee are plankton feeders. Since they don’t eat smaller fish, there’s no need for live bait , although they may be caught on salmon eggs and hooks or lures tipped with mealworms, corn, or some form of processed bait. They are also curious. Small colorful spoons are useful, and some anglers jig using small flashers without hooks as attractors, connected to a leader and a fly or baited hook.

Can you fish for salmon with ice fishing?

Ice fishing for salmon is not unlike ice fishing for trout, at least in the case of landlocked Atlantic salmon, and there can be overlap of species landed in some bodies of water. Lake trout, in particular, may be caught while ice fishing for landlocked salmon. There are similarities as well as differences in how to fish for both salmon species. Here are some things to consider about how to catch salmon ice fishing:

How old do Kokanee salmon get?

Kokanee salmon, like other types of salmon, mature around the age of 3 to 5 years of age. During this time they do not attempt to get to the ocean.

Why do Kokanee bite?

Kokanee bite because of smells. Its pretty simple. If it smells irritating, which can mean a few different things, then the Kokanee will bite out at it, trying to kill it and get it away from themselves.

Why do baitfish turn?

The turns work well because one side of the boat’s lures will drop and travel a tiny bit slower, which is what baitfish do when slowing to eat something.

What bait do kokanees eat?

The best baits that work well are corn, maggots, shrimp, and salmon eggs. If they are pink, then the Kokanee will be more likely to bite it. The corn is used not because it smells bad, but because it can keep in substances that smell strongly very well.

What is the most aggressive fish?

Kokanee are very aggressive fish and, as long as it is not scaring them, the Kokanee are more likely to strike out at an annoying fish or debris floating in the water. There are a few things that the Kokanee Salmon hate the most, and those things are pinks, zigzag-ing lures, and stinky bait.

How do dodgers work?

The action of the dodger acts as a fish that is swimming in a school when paired with multiple dodgers . The shape of the dodger also creates water disruption. Fish will notice this and follow the lures around.

When did Kokanee salmon come to the ocean?

Kokanee Salmon came from the ocean around 15,000 years ago when there were more lakes and rivers over the America. As the rivers retreated and the lakes separated from some streams, there were sockeye salmon that were not able to get back to the ocean.

How fragile are Kokanee fish?

Kokanee are a fragile fish compared to rainbow trout. They require a well balanced water system of numerous contributing factors to survive. They do not handle catch and release well and their mortality rate is high even when handled and released with extra care and attention. Releasing the fish while still in the water is the best way to help with their survival rate when not being selected for harvest. The FFSBC does stock the lakes with Kokanee as a put and take fishery; which means they are there for harvesting. It is good etiquette to limit fishing for Kokanee to the casual appetite for table fare and not just to fill a freezer. It is always recommended to check the fishing regulations before heading out fishing.

What fish species are in hardwater in BC?

Written by: Danny. One fish species that continues to grow in popularity to target during the hardwater fishing season in BC is Kokanee Salmon. Kokanee are schooling fish and when you locate the active school it can turn into a fast action fun filled day! Ice fishing for Kokanee is much different than fishing for trout.

What hook to use for a bite?

If you are using a regular hook choosing colours such as chartreuse or red will sometimes help entice the bite. If the hook is tangling with the flasher add a small split shot weight to the middle of the leader. Some anglers even use small trolling Kokanee spoons such as Kokanee Kings or even small flies.

What fish are schooling in BC?

One fish species that continues to grow in popularity to target during the hardwater fishing season in BC is Kokanee Salmon. Kokanee are schooling fish and when you locate the active school it can turn into a fast action fun filled day!

What type of rod do you use for a Kokanee?

The fishing rod type isn’t as important as the presentation, however a softer tip rod will help you land more fish as Kokanee have soft mouths. A small 5 foot casting rod or an ice fishing rod is adequate, really it’s up to you and what you have within your fishing arsenal.

How deep can you fish for Kokanee trout?

Rather than fishing in shallow water, you will typically be fishing over deep water between 70 to 120 feet. The reason for this is because Kokanee primarily feed on Zooplankton that is located higher within the water column suspended over deep water.

What size spoons do you use for ice fishing?

The technique consist of using 4 to 6 inch hook-less spoons as flashers and leaders between 14 and 18 inches. Spoons such as Williams Wablers, Williams Whitefish and Gibbs Stewart or Croc spoons work excellent. There are also ice fishing flashers on the market that can work just as well.

How to attract kokanees to bait?

In order to attract them, use a dodger between your main line and lure. Use 12 to 16 inches of leader from the dodger to the bait.

How to see if fish swim by?

Drop your transducer in the hole and watch for a few minutes to see if fish swim by. You can start jigging your gear while you wait but once you see a ping on the sonar, drop your gear to the appropriate depth. In lakes with less depth, keep an eye out for fish hugging the bottom.

How deep can a Kokanee be in water?

Locate areas near key structure in 70 to 120 feet of water. Most kokanee will be suspended above deep water anywhere from 10 to 80 feet in the water column. Start shallow during low light hours and work your way deeper.

What is the best tip for a Kokanee?

The most important thing is to have a soft tip. Kokanee are light biters and have soft mouths. The soft tip helps to detect bites and the flex of a lighter power rod prevents hook sets from tearing through the fish’s mouth. Match the rod with a good quality reel.

How does light affect zooplankton?

Zooplankton movement is light dependent. More light drives them deeper into the water column and higher in low light conditions. From first ice until just before the melt, kokanee stay in loose schools on the prowl for concentrated pockets of zooplankton. Even under the ice water currents exist.

What bait do you use to lure kokanees?

The right combination gets kokanee to bite, even on the slowest days. The most popular baits are pink maggots and dye-cured shoepeg corn in pink, orange or chartreuse. My preference is pink shoepeg corn.

Do kokanees have soft mouths?

A kokanee’s soft mouth adds a bit of extra challenge once you have one hooked. You won’t land every fish but with the right habits you can improve your odds. Learn from my mistakes with these tips.

Biology of a Kokanee

To start, let’s look at the simple biology of a Kokanee. Kokanee are landlocked Sockeye Salmon. Like Sockeye, Kokanee mature between 3 to 5 years of age and then die once they have spawned. They feed almost exclusively on Zooplankton. They strain zooplankton from the water by means of many fine combs on their gills called “ gill rakers ”.

Locating Kokanee

Kokanee can be scattered throughout the lake, so where they were one day doesn’t mean they will be there today. Using good sonar will stack the odds in your favor to locate the fish. Kokanee are a schooling fish that makes them easy to locate once you travel over top of the group.

Kokanee Tackle

There has been a lot of innovation and advancement in Kokanee tackle over the past decade. The old Gang Trolls and Ford Fenders which were once favored by anglers are now quickly becoming a thing of the past.


There are a variety of Kokanee lures on the market today and majority of the tackle that we present to a Kokanee are not imitating something natural that they will eat.

Dodgers & Flashers

As a dodger travels through the water it moves side-to-side creating flash and water displacement ( sound to a Kokanee ). Dodgers get the Kokanee’s attention and call the fish in from a far. Once the Kokanee comes in, it’s your lure that encourages the strike.

Scent & Bait

Tipping your lure with a piece of bait will help close the deal once the Kokanee approaches your lure. Popular Kokanee baits are Pink Maggots ( real or synthetic ), dyed-cured shrimp and dyed-cured White Shoepeg Corn. Be sure not to put too much bait on the hook as it will take away from the lure’s action.

Trolling Speeds & Tactics

Establishing the correct trolling speeds is necessary when it comes to Kokanee fishing. Much slower speeds are used when trolling for Kokanee. Unlike when fishing for Rainbow Trout where the average speed is over 2mph, speeds for Kokanee range from .8 to 1.8 mph.