KOKANEE CATCHING ON COEUR D’ALENE LAKE BY BENITA GALLAND | MACK’S LURE PRO STAFF cooler with your favorite beverage, then point yourself in the direction of Coeur d’Alene Lake. Disclaimer: Don’t plan on having the time to dig into the cooler. You will be too busy setting up, reeling in, re-baiting and repeating the process. Here are a few tips for catching kokanee on Lake Couer d’Alene:
times happen very quickly. It can get quite entertaining. With a two-pole permit, all rods may be bouncing at the same time. It’s not uncommon to have a problem keeping a rod in the water. Not a problem one hates to have, however!
Have you ever spent most of the day trolling or casting for an uncooperative fish, only to end up with little or nothing to show for it? Then, to add insult to injury, some “wise” person consoles with the phrase “well, that’s why they call it fishing, not catching.” We all know that fishing is a fantastic way to get out and enjoy a day on the water, but sometimes it is just nice to go catching. If you are into the “catching,” then go after the kokanee on Coeur d’Alene Lake. It’s a hoot! Kokanee, also known as silvers, blue backs and landlocked salmon, are abundant in this lake’s fishery. If you are game to have an enjoyable day of catching, hitch the boat, load up the kids and a
Benita Galland is a Mack’s Lure Pro Staffer
Any time of the year, spring through fall, is a good time. September through mid-October is prime time, though. As soon as the ice leaves the bays and the water temperature moves into the mid-50s, the kokanee wake up and start biting. In the spring, the adult fish are usually in the 9- to 10-inch range. Many anglers love the smaller 9- or 10-inchers because it fits perfectly (minus the head and tail) into a pint canning jar.
IF YOU’RE INTO THE CATCHING FISH, THEN GO AFTER THE KOKANEE ON COEUR D’ALENE LAKE.” — BENITA GALLAND
As the spring and summer months approach fall, the fish grow into the 12- to 15-inch range — just the perfect size for the smoke house or pan. In the fall, prior to spawning, the kokanee get very active. Catching a limit, which is 15 fish per person, can often
WHERE Pick a bay, any bay. The lake is 25 miles long with 130 miles of shoreline to take advantage of. Catching is great throughout the system, from the south end, where its fed by the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe rivers, to the north end, where it flows into the Spokane River. In September and into midOctober, the best catching is on the north end of the lake in Bennett and Wolf Creek bays. A vast majority of the kokanee migrate to that area to spawn, so the bays are loaded with mature adults. Coeur d’Alene Lake is a damcontrolled lake, but the water level is held pretty constant from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Unlike other dam-controlled lakes, the level is slowly reduced in the fall into thew inter. Thus, the water level
doesn’t factor in fall season’s launch availability.
WHAT’S NEEDED 1. Some sort of floating vessel is essential. Good news, though! A $100,000 boat is not needed. In fact, some kayak enthusiasts mount an electric motor. 2. A fish finder or sonor unit is great to have to pinpoint the range the kokanee are favoring. If you don’t have one, follow this rule of thumb: early in the spring, concentrate on the top 35-feet; in the summer the zone is 30- to 45-feet; in the fall the target range is 40- to 60-feet. 3. Use a light 7- to 8-foot rod with an adequate reel. The rod should have lots of play in the tip. Kokanee are tender-mouthed Houdini’s who need lots of flex when hooked. A good kokanee rod can be as little as $25. Look for a line counter reel and rod combo. They are usually available for a bargain. Load up the reel with 10to 12-pound monofilament line and you are set to go. 4. Downriggers are awesome, especially when you want to know exactly where your lure is. When they are running deep, it is tricky to get them without one. That said, many anglers are very successful using leaded line or weights.
tempo often sparks a bite. Just as important is the action of your lure. This is a variable that you may want to tweak to increase the bite. At times, an attractor, such as the Flash Lite® Troll, which is a 24-inch series of 4-inch blades that provides the vibration that sparks interest in the lure. Mack’s Lure Flash Lite® Blades are very successful and have less drag than metal blade attractors. Sling Blade™ dodgers are a favorite because they have a frisky, jerking action and when you hook up, the fish is all you feel. Color and selection are also important. Go with varieties of pinks, greens and oranges. Other colors can be great, too, but those three, however, are the must-haves. Add some UV blades to your collection, too. Four and six inch Sling Blade™ dodgers seem to be the most productive. And don’t forget about the Mack’s Lure Double D™ Dodger 4.4, which works well, too. Let’s talk lure selection. What follows the attractor is critical! Wedding Ring® spinners are a must-have. Make your own color combinations using tapered or round beads or get a finished product from Mack’s Lure with the hook setup you prefer. Sure-bet color combinations are pinks, greens and oranges with glow and/or UV varieties in the mix. Gold, silver, purple and chartreuse are tantalizing colors, too. A Smile Blade® in front is the icing on the cake!
HOW TO HOOK THEM Kokanee like a slow traveling lure with a fair amount of action. Their preferred lure through water speed is 1.2- to 1.4-knots. If they aren’t taking the bait, slow down a touch or bump it up a little. Varying the
The next best lure is a very small hoochie and/or micro squidder or the Mack’s Lure Cha Cha® 1.5” to 2” squidders on a 12- to 14-inch leader. Bait them up with white shoepeg
corn, maggots or even Power Bait. Dying the corn pink is a good trick! For good measure, add a bit of anise scent or sweet corn scent gel. Hopefully, you will be able to take advantage of kokanee catching on Coeur d’Alene Lake before the prime time lapses. If not, make a note on your calendar to enjoy it next year. If fishing ever gets exasperating, give this fishery a try. Catching is believing!
GARY’S FISHING CORNER
FISHING FOR TROUT IN THE FALL BY GARY MIRALLES Fall is my favorite time to fish for trout and Shasta Lake is on the top of my list. Why, you ask? Turnover. That’s right, as night temperatures fall, so does the surface temperature. This cooler water will continue to extend deeper into the water column eventually, drawing the bait and fish to the surface. This triggers a feeding frenzy. The abundant shad schools are an easy target for aggressive trout who are feeding heavily as they bulk up for the winter. Locating these hungry fish is easy; just watch the shoreline looking closely for surface tings left by trout as they gobble up their prey. Shallow points are always a good place to start. Once you locate a shoreline with active fish, you can prepare your presentation. I generally start setting my four rod spread several hundred feet from where I’ll be fishing. This will allow me time to set all four rods. I start
with the downriggers closest to the shore. I’ll set it back 100-feet and five feet deep on the other side, I will set it back 150-feet and then ten feet deep. On the surface, I’ll run on opposite sides, two rods about 200feet back. This distance is important, as it will get your lures back far enough to allow you to draw the bait near shore as you work the points.
“I’ve heard they’re great little trout catchers,” I replied, “but what’s the big deal about the name? They call ‘em Wedding Rings, don’t they?” “Yeah,” my companion grinned. “I got married to ‘em when they first came out years ago and I reckon I’ll still be dragging ‘em around until death do us part.”
The second-most important issue is lure selection. When trolling shallow like this, I do not use flashers or Sling Blade™ dodgers. I simply run the lures by themselves. I’ll tie them directly to my line, three feet behind a snap swivel. This will make my lure WEDDING RING® UV SPINNER look more natural. NEW COLORS AVAILABLE My favorite lures for this setup are small and similar to the size of the baitfish they are feeding on. I like to run Cripplures™ in silver prism or UV fish scale patterns on the deeper rods and Hum Dingers® on the surface rods.
I have to chuckle a bit every time I think about what that old timer had to say that morning. I hadn’t done much trolling at the time for trout or anything else. My older friend, however, was a recognized trout trolling expert in the area where I Remember to troll two miles an then lived. Just being out with him hour ans wing wide on the points, was an educational experience. then return to the shore and draw your lures shallow over the point and It didn’t take me long to realize you will have great success. what my friend had to say that morning contained more truth than poetry. Certainly, no lure has established itself more firmly in the ranks of anglers who troll for trout than the fabled Mack’s Lure Wedding Ring® spinner.
The lure building experts at Mack’s Lure have made a heap of changes and additions over the years to their lineup of lures carrying the Wedding Ring® name. I started fishing them when the Wedding Ring® Classic Original Series was the only one available. If you’re new to trolling and want to get your hands on one of the most effective methods of doing it, the Wedding Ring® Classic is a darn good choice to start. It’s likely you’ll find there are some things about these favorite trout catchers you aren’t aware of. For starters, you’ll find that these fish attractors already come attached to a leader. You’ll also find you’re not restricted when it comes to selecting the hook size or the leader test. You can get them tied on monofilament leaders testing from 6- to 10-pounds and hooks ranging from sizes 4 to 10. You’ll also see that these sparkling little spinners come attached to 48inch leaders.
It would be interesting to know just how many hundreds of thousands of trout they’ve put in the boat. Tens of thousands of these wondrous little baits have been sold ever since they were first put on the market.
SOME BITS ABOUT THE BASICS PART TWO BY HALL OF FAME ANGLER STAN FAGERSTROM “You know,” grunted the old guy in the front seat of the boat as he held up the lure he’d just used to boat a dandy trout, “they sure picked the right name for these things.”
There’s no question that Wedding Rings® are a favorite for trollers who go after these trout as well as those good eating landlocked salmon called kokanee. But, while trolling is where most Wedding Ring® spinners are utilized, there’s no reason in the world why you can’t use them for other approaches to angling, such as casting them from the shore or from the boat.
Best of all is that the Mack’s Lure Wedding Ring® spinners are all rigged and ready to go. The knots are all tied, the hooks are in place and all you need to do is attach it to the line you have on the reel you’ll be using to do your trolling. You’ll need, of course, to be concerned with what bait you may choose to use along with your Wedding Ring® and the distance and depth you’ll want it out there behind your boat. That 48-inch leader length may be fine if you’re trolling, but it’s much
longer than what you’ll want or need if you’re planning to simply use it as a casting lure. Let water conditions be your guide when you determine the appropriate leader length. There are no hard and fast rules as to the exact leader length. I know some darn good fishermen who rarely use less than 18-inches. Some of these anglers simply cut their leaders down to the desired length, then tie a loop in the end of it.
These same experts usually tie a snap swivel to the end of their main line. It’s a simple matter to hang the loop they’ve tied at the end of the Wedding Ring® leader into the snap on the end of their main line. I take a slightly different approach. Instead of tying a loop at the end of my leader, I attached the end of my leader to a small barrel swivel. I clip the snap at the end of my main line into the barrel swivel. I find this set up tends to tangle less than when I’ve just tied a loop in the leader’s end. There’s an advantage in having the lure rigged as it is because there’s no metal involved. Your Wedding Ring® is built right into the leader. You’ll see what that means if you’re using it for casting. Being as light as it is, this sparkling little spinner has more action. You’ll find that you’re better able to manipulate you Wedding Ring® during the retrieve if you choose to do so. As I’ve mentioned, Wedding Ring® spinners are available with different hooks sizes, as well as different test leaders. One of the easiest and best ways to find out exactly what’s avaialble is to get a copy of the current Mack’s Lure catalog,
which was just released for the 2019 season. You’ll find it’s of great assitance in making exactly the selection you want. Sinker size is certainly a consideration if you choose to cast your Wedding Ring®. Use an ultralight spinning rod and 4-pound line and you can get by when not much distance is required. Many newcomers to the arm of stream angling have a tendency to overlook the importance of sinker size. If you’re stream fishing, you’ll want your Wedding Ring® to drift downstream with the curren as naturally as possible. That won’t happen if the weight you’re using is too heavy. Use too much weight and your lure will simply flop to the bottom. You’ll be forever yanking it up to try to get it moving downstream again. It’s just as big of a mistake to use a sinker that’s too light. Do that and your lure is more than likely going to work its way downstream too far above the area where the fish are holding. There are a number of ways to go about easing the task of sinker selection. I’ll share some thoughts in that regard in my next column here beginning next month.
SONIC BAITFISH™ (SBF)
TIPS & TECHNIQUES
FISHING PACIFIC RIVERS FOR SALMON & STEELHEAD WITH THE SONIC BAITFISH BY CAPT. PETE ROSKO Jerry Wright is the owner of Jerry’s Bait and Tackle in Port Angeles, Washington. Jerry loves casting smaller (1/10, 1/6 and 1/4 oz.) Sonic BaitFish™, especially in the Fire Tiger finish. Whether wading or fishing out of his river boat, late summer and early fall is prime time for fishing low and clear water. Jerry sight-fishes deep holes where salmon, steelhead and trout congregate. The slower the water flow, the smaller the lure size used. As long as rivers remain low and clear, Jerry states his amazing success will continue until heavy rains occur. Prior to the removal of the two dams on the Elwha River six years ago, I shoreline cast 1/6 oz. Sonic BaitFish™ for buill trout (Dolly Varden) just above the pool. Since the river bottom was filled with rocky snags, my technique was to slowretrieve as soon as my cast lure hit the water near the opposite shore. Strikes would usually occure as the lure completed its “swing” through the pool. My alternate casting/ retrieval technique is to bottombounce the Sonic BaitFish™ back to me when snags are not a problem. The advantage to fishing the Sonic BaitFish™ is its swimming and darting
action combined with sonic vibration. These are my two primary casting/retrieval techniques wherever I fish across the country, whether on a lake or river. It works well for most species. It’s equally effective whether cast, jigged or trolled. Please remember that the top-of-the-back is an option exclusively for vertical jigging. Attach to the nose connection for casting and trolling — also the main option for vertical jigging. Thank you subscribing to the monthly Mack Attack Magazine. So long until next month. - Capt Pete
WALLEYE FISHING BANKS LAKE IN WASHINGTON STATE BY Mack’s Lure Pro Staffer DANNY COYNE For the serious walleye angler, Banks Lake has to be on the bucket list in Grant and Douglas County in Washington State. It sits a mere five minutes south of Grand Coulee Dam and offers one of the best walleye fisheries in the entire Pacific Northwest. For Canadian anglers, the drive is only 2.5 hours from the Osoyoos border crossing. Stretching close to 27 miles, Banks Lake offers fantastic walleye fishing throughout all regions of the lake from March through October, so there’s still time to take advantage!
The pre-spawn season starts near the end of Feburary and really starts to heat up in mid-March. The north end of the lake near Electric City and Steamboat Rock are great areas to pursue these early and late season walleye. Once the water temperature hits over 43 degrees, the walleye start to spawn and fishing slows down for a couple weeks, usually the first part of April.
what the optimum speed is to start slow and increase until the fish strike.
It is highly recommended and good fishing ethics to release the spawning female walleye during this period. This way, they can complete their spawn to sustain this amazing fishery. But don’t worry — there are plenty of decent-sized male walleye between 15- and 19-inches willing to bite. The current limit of walleye for Banks Lake is eight fish per day, per angler — and a retention slot size of 12- to 22-inches; one fish can be over 22-inches.
You’ll be in awe. Thanks for reading.
As May approaches, the large females have completed their spawn and become active again. Sticking around the north end of the lake near Steamboat Rock until early summer will help you improve your odds of locating the fish. As the summer and fall move in, the fish will be found throughout the entire lake. Right now, you can find them at depths up to 50-feet. The most effective way to target these fish is by bottom bounce trolling with a variety of Mack’s Lure walleye setups, such as the Wally Pop® Crawler and other spinners equipped with Smile Blades® and Slow Death Hooks. The bait of choise is, hands down, good old dew worms. Adding scents to your baits, such as Pro-Cure Trophy Walleye, will give those stubborn fish something they can’t resist. Trolling speed is critical, like in all walleye fisheries. In the early spring, start off trolling less than 1 mph and, as the temperatures rise throughout the seasons, increase your speed. Reverse that thinking as fall begins and temperatures begin dropping once again. The best way to find out
Banks Lake also offers all of the amentities and accomodations to make your trip the perfect excursion. There are numerious boat launch, camping, and facility options for you to use. It’s truly an experience that all anglers should take advantage of and enjoy.
COOK YOUR CATCH CRISPY BAKED WALLEYE
INGREDIENTS • • • • • • •
4 walleye filets 2 eggs 1 tbsp water 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs 1/3 cup mashed potato flakes 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 tsp seasoned salt
DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat an oven to 450 F; grease a baking sheet. 2. Beat the eggs and water together in a bowl until smooth; set aside. Combine the bread crumbs, potato flakes, and Parmesan cheese in a separate bowl with seasoned salt until evenly mixed. Dip the walleye filets into the beaten egg, then press into the bread crumb mixture. Place onto the prepared baking sheet. 3. Bake in the preheated oven until the fish is opaque in the center and flakes easily with a fork. Approximately 15-20 min.
HOT DEAL OF THE MONTH
OF THE MONTH Have a question? We’d love to answer it for you! Shoot us an email at media@ mackslure.com with your question and you may see it featured in an upcoming issue of the Mack Attack Magazine!
Q: You have the Double D™ Dodger and the Sling Blade™. How can you tune these for more action? A: You must remember that the Double D™ Dodger is best used at slow trolling speeds between 0.8- and 1.6 mph. When using this dodger, you can change the action by shortening the leader or attaching your snap swivel into one of the five holes located on the top of the dodger. This can only happen with you are using a maximum of two rods, however. The holes work as a side planer, designed to cover more water, but when changing the placement of the swivel with more than two rods, you run the risk of line tangle. You can also use two Double D™ Dodgers with an 11” leader between them for more action. When using a Sling Blade™, you can actually bend the dodger to dodge mor effectively at slower speeds. Just bend the bottom portion of the blade to whatever angle works best for you. If you’re trolling faster, the need to bend the dodger is less needed.
PHOTO OF THE MONTH Mack’s Lure President Bob Schmidt shows off a gorgeous salmon caught on the lower Columbia with Tony Fisher of Fish Catch Outfitters and his son earlier this month.
CREDIT: TONY FISHER // FISH CATCH OUTFITTERS
VIDEO OF THE MONTH
Angler West TV heads to Shasta Lake (Calif.) to target trout with Mack’s Lure’s Brian Orr, Bob Schmidt, Marc Christophel and more. Join us for some trout goodness.
As a rule of thumb, the shorter the leader, the more action you’ll get out of the lure. Follow Mack’s Lure on Facebook and Instagram and tag us with #MacksLure. Facebook.com/MacksLure @macks_lure To submit your catch, send us an email at email@example.com or tag us on social media using #MacksLure.