By Chris Henderson
I will confess I am addicted to kokanee. They are a land locked sockeye salmon and IMHO are the best tasting fresh water salmonid. They are a challenge to catch in that they are very picky. The right color that they will bite on will change from hour to hour, so you have to have an arsenal ready when you go out. They can even get picky over how you flavor your corn. White shoepeg corn is the preferred bait, however, some add tuna oil, shrimp oil, even garlic. One day they will like one thing and the next day in the same lake, they will hit something else! In addition, they are very temperature selective, and will school at very specific depths.
It is early yet but they are starting to be caught at American Lake in Washington. I had yesterday off so I loaded up the Wavewalk W500 NWDR. The NWDR (Northwest Downriggin) is our favorite (and most popular) way to rig the W500 to turn these kayaks into fishing beasts. The downrigger (basically a weight with its own reel) allows for precise depth control. With the two front rod holders I am able to fish two lines at very different depths and the rocketlaunchers in the back hold the net and the Gopro. Because it is early the fish are very near the surface so I had one line clipped in at 19feet and the other I was just trolling on the surface. This was in 80-90 feet of water. This is a big lake and wind and waves can come up, but in the Wavewalk I am not concerned. I was trolling (.8 to 1.5 mph) all day from 6:30 am until I got back to the ramp at 2pm in a variable 5-10 mph wind and had no problems whatsoever.
Unfortunately I was not able to locate any kokanee yesterday. But the trout saved the day by being very willing and hungry. I released them at the beginning of the day, but after realizing that the kokanee were not going to bite what I had brought I decided to take what I was given and have something to take home for dinner. I ended the day with my 5 trout limit of 1 cutthroat trout and 4 rainbows. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the meat!
Fun to be fishing again.