Five Reasons to Like Kokanee Salmon
• They’re easy to catch right now. Matter of fact, with all the rivers still blown out and water too cold for most insect hatches, kokanee salmon are pretty much the only game in town!
The only negative is you’ll need a boat, preferably with an electronic fish finder.
Look for groups of boats or motor slowly until you locate a school of kokes, then anchor.
Traditional set-ups of a Glo-hook about 6 inches below a Swedish Pimple works fine. Sweeten the hook with a maggot or kernel of corn, then lower the bait to the same level as the fish.
Jigging, sometimes subtle, sometimes wildly, will attract fish and when you feel a bite, jerk hard.
• You don’t have to get early to catch them. This time of year the kokes can bite anytime during the day.
One of the mysteries is why they will refuse to bite for hours, then suddenly it seems like every fish in the lake wants your maggot.
• You don’t have to drive across the state to find them.
Many area lakes have fishable populations of kokanee salmon.
Good choices are Little Bitterroot Lake, Ashley Lake, Lower and Middle Thompson Lakes, Lake Five, and Lake Mary Ronan.
• You can keep a bunch. Limits are liberal, ranging from 10 to 35, depending on lake.
Be sure you check the current fishing regulations.
• They taste fantastic! And they contain plenty of those good-for-you fish oils.
Popular ways to prepare kokanee salmon range from just placing them on the barbecue grill, to smoking and canning. Salmon tacos are awesome.
Regardless of how you like to eat kokanee salmon, now is a good time to get out there and catch a bunch.
Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.