ICE FISHING FOR KOKANEE 101 Fishing for kokanee through the ice has exploded in recent years. BCFishn’s Danny Coyne breaks it all down.
deep water. During ice over an angler will locate Kokanee any wheres from 15 feet down as much as 80 feet. The use of sonar will help improve your odds immensely in locating the fish.
BY DANNY COYNE
One fish species that continues to grow in popularity to target during the hardwater fishing season in British Columbia is kokanee salmon. Kokanee are schooling fish and when you locate the active school, it can turn into a fastaction fun-filled day!
If you do not have access to a fish finder (sonar) then start fishing at 10 feet and work your way down. When fishing with other anglers in your group work as a team; have one person start at 10 feet and the other at 15, progress deeper until you find the fish. If you have a line counter on your reel this will help recognize the depths in which you are fishing. If your reel doesn’t have a line counter, simply count out the amount of line in 1 foot pulls that you are using. When you discover the fish you will want to repeat the same depth. If you don’t have a sonar and there are other anglers on the ice catching fish don’t be shy! Ask them what depths they are getting hits at. Don’t forget to return the favour when some asks you.
are schooling fish “ Kokanee and when you locate the active school, it can turn into a fast-action, fun-filled day!” Danny Coyne - BCFishn.com, Mack’s Lure Pro Staff
Ice fishing for Kokanee is much different than fishing for 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
TECHNIQUE & TERMINAL TACKLE If you do not have access to a fish finder (sonar) then start fishing at 10 feet and work your way down. When fishing with other anglers in your group work as a team; have one person start
at 10 feet and the other at 15, progress deeper until you find the fish. If you have a line counter on your reel this will help recognize the depths in which you are fishing. If your reel doesn’t have a line counter, simply count out the amount of line in 1 foot pulls that you are using. When you discover the fish you will want to repeat the same depth. If you don’t have a sonar and there are other anglers on the ice catching fish don’t be shy! Ask them what depths they are getting hits at. Don’t forget to return the favour when some asks you. Mack’s Lure Glo Hooks in red and chartreuse tend to work very well. 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 Sling Blade add a small split shot weight to the middle of the leader. It is best to try multiple presentations until you find a pattern that is working. I recommend a Mack’s Lure Ice Rig. You can’t go wrong. Though, what is working one day doesn’t necessarily mean its going to work the next. No matter what presentation you are using it is best to tip the hook with some sort of bait. Popular baits that work great for Kokanee include Pink Maggots (live or synthetic), Krill, shrimp or dyed corn such as Fire Corn.
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It is possible to “still fish” for Kokanee; which involves suspending the bait with no movement. Sometimes this method can be effective when the fish are somewhat lethargic and not active enough to chase your jigging presentation. When still fishing it is better to position your bait a bit deeper in the water column between 25 to 60 feet; again the use of a sonar will help you locate the fish.
VIDEO: ICE COLD KOKANEE IN BC
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. WHERE TO ICE FISH FOR KOKANEE
Mack’s Lure’s Bob Loomis joins Producer Richy Harrod, Danny Coyne of BC Fishn’ and Mark
Since Kokanee require high levels of oxygen you will mainly find these landlocked salmon beauties in larger lakes within the BC Interior. The Freshwater Fishery Society of BC (FFSBC) has been aggressively stocking numerous lakes around the province with Kokanee and Triploid Kokanee. Triploid fish do not reproduce which means Triploid Kokanee will grow past their regular 4 year life cycle and keep growing. It is not unheard of for these Triploid Kokanee to sometimes reach over 4 pounds.
Region of British Columbia. The gang lands a bunch of kokanee on Mack’s Lure Sling Blades, Glo
To name only a few popular lakes in BC that have been stocked with Kokanee and offer good ice fishing include: Region 3 – Monte Lake, Stump Lake; Region 4 – Moyie Lake, Monroe Lake; Region 5 – Bridge Lake, Deka Lake, 10 Mile Lake; Region 8 – Yellow Lake, Otter Lake. To find more lakes in BC with stocked Kokanee visit the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC’s website page: Fish Stocking Report by Species. 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
Rosenboom of Lone Butte Sporting Goods for an epic episode of kokanee fishing in the Caribou Hooks, Sonic BaitFish and much more. Click here for more episodes of The NW Outdoorsmen.
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. A day out on the hardwater ice fishing for Kokanee can be extremely entertaining! Ice fishing is one of the best social outings that a group can partake in during the winter months. While you are out there don’t forget to take a youngster with you and introduce them to fishing! For more information on ice fishing for Kokanee please feel free to contact us at BC Fishn’ or make a comment below; we would love to hear from you! If you have good fishing stories, photos or tips please share them with us!
GEAR UP FOR THE HOLIDAYS
HOODIES, TEES & MORE NEW GEAR!
Just in time for the holidays, Mack’s Lure has released Team Mack’s Official gear, featuring hoodies, tees and long sleeves. These performance-ready items are available for a limited-time to ensure Christmas delivery. You must pre-order by 12/6. Delivery will be 12/17. Click below to order. Not available on MacksLure.com.
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SONIC BAITFISH™ (SBF)
TIPS & TECHNIQUES
SILVER SBF FINISH Clear, sunny water. Secondary choice to silver-blue. Deadly for Spanish & king mackerel. One of the largest walleyes ever caught through the ice in Lake Erie (14 lbs by 12 year old Will Tibbels, March 2015) was on a 1/3 oz silver SBF attached to the top of the back. GLOW ORANGE SBF FINISH The No. 1 finish for kokanee fishing.
SELECTING THE APPROPRIATE
SONIC BAITFISH FINISH BY PETE ROSKO
SBF TECH GUIDE
The three basic qualities, of a consistently productive metal jig, are flutter, vibration and finish. Finishes include flash (caused by the sun’s reflection off silver, or gold, metal surfaces), fluorescence (an ultraviolet glow paint; functions only in the presence of light) and phosphorescence (an ultraviolet, glow-in-the-dark paint; functions after light is removed). Of these three basic jig qualities, the finish is the only variable that may change continuously, according to light and water conditions. Across the country, the following SBF finishes have been personal consistent producers in fresh and salt water:
FIRE TIGER SBF FINISH Most effective in fresh water with yellow perch populations. Killer for mangrove snapper in the Gulf of Mexico. GLOW WHITE SBF FINISH
multi-species jigging in the Gulf of Mexico or casting for largemouth bass across the country, this UV glow finish catches the eye of fish and triggers strikes. Note: My finish selections work whether casting, jigging or trolling. For casting to shallow water trout and largemouth bass, I prefer the 1/10 and 1/6 oz SBF. For salmon, and other larger fish, I love casting the 1/4 and 1/3 oz sizes. Basically, when fish are suspended near surface, I cast the smallest size SBF to effectively reach my target. Smaller lures fall slower and remain in the strike zone longer. As always, I hope these tips result in more strikes on your future fishing outings. Thank you for being a subscriber to the Mack Attack.
Especially effective during low light periods and dark/deeper water. GLOW CHARTREUSE SBF FINISH If I was forced to pick only a single finish to fish the world it would be glow chartreuse. Whether salmon fishing in the Pacific NW, walleye jigging in Lake Erie/Columbia River,
GOLD SBF FINISH Effective for tea-stained, murky, water and clear or off-colored trout rivers. #1 finish for Gulf of Mexico snapper, redfish, grouper and cobia. SILVER BLUE SBF FINISH Clear, sunny water. Superb flash and natural coloration of a live bait fish. Killer for chinook & coho salmon and most other fresh, and salt, water species — as long as the water is clear and sun reflects off its surface.
JIGGING FOR WALLEYE WITH THE SBF
The Mack’s Lure crew has been spending a bunch of time jigging for walleye with Mack’s Lure Pro Staff Eric Braaten. This is such a fun and effective way to target these late-season walleye! To mimmick small perch and kokanee, we used the 1/4 oz. SBF. And the results speak for themselves. To get your hands on some Sonic BaitFish, visit MacksLure.com or your local tackle shop.
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Have a questions you want answered? Send your inquiry to us and yours may be featured! Simply send an email to email@example.com or reach out to us on social media.
Q: I’ve heard a lot about Glo Hooks , especially for ice fishing. How would you recommend rigging them? A: That’s a good question. And the Glo Hooks are awesome ice fishing lures that can be used in conjunction with other products or as a standalone lure for various panfish.
PHOTO OF THE MONTH Check out this monster walleye caught while jigging the Sonic BaitFish on Banks. Also, the Mack’s Lure Beanie is now available for purchase at MacksLure.com!
Attach a Glo Hook with a 2-inch leader to the tail of a Sonic BaitFish or rig a Glo Hook with a Double D Dodger or Sling Blade to increase your attraction. Be sure to rig your dodger backwards, however, as this will provide the Glo Hook with more action on the rise and fall. Simply attach a 14- to 16-inch leader to a Glo Hook in the color of your choosing. In between the dodger and the hook, attach a couple of split shot weights to help keep the presentation vertical, then slowly jig up 4- to 6-inches, then drop and repeat until your rod starts bouncing. Mack’s Lure also now makes an Ice Rig Value Pack, that has everything you’ll need to target most species through the ice. Click here to shop!
VIDEO OF THE MONTH Spend more time fishing and less time rigging with the Pip’s Leader Caddy and Pip’s Box allowing you to store heftier hooks, double hook riggings, and much more.
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