The ‘joys’ of jigging for kokanee salmon

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Last weekend’s beautiful weather provided me with a great opportunity to put the boat in the water and chase some kokanee salmon.

And also reminded me that boat things can go bad even when the boat isn’t on the water.

First thing I noticed was the tilt/trim gauge wasn’t working. This fix is a must-do with this year’s lower water levels.

And, secondly, and more important to my kokanee jigging success, was a smashed fuse coupling leading to the sonar unit. Must’ve smashed it when taking the battery out for winter.

Without sonar I couldn’t find schools of kokanee or determine their depth even when fishing near other boats.

For some unknown reason, kokanee salmon move to water less than 40 feet deep in May and June. And tend to use the same areas every year.

But what’s even harder to understand is how you can be sitting above a huge school of kokes and not get a bite!

Then, within minutes, it’s impossible to lower your baited jig through the school without it getting attacked.

Or, even more interesting, how sometimes fish will follow your jig within 15 feet of the surface, then stay and get caught at that level.

Every time I think my three-year old grandson could catch kokanee, I struggle.

Jigging for kokes is a great way to enjoy spring in the Flathead Valley and the rewards go far beyond a limit of tasty fish.

Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

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