Help for kokanee anglers

Allen Thomas / The Vancouver Columbian /

Jeremy Jahn says lakes and reservoirs containing kokanee generally have plenty of the tasty landlocked sockeye salmon for anglers to catch.

His message to anglers: Lighten up and share your information.

“If you’re having a good day and somebody’s having a bad day, make their day by helping them out,” said Jahn, of Salem, whose other moniker is “Kokanee Kid.”

Jahn even has a website (www.kokaneekidfishing.com) with a mission statement: “To convert all fishermen into kokanee addicts.”

Jahn has not fished at Southwest Washington’s two kokanee waters — Merwin and Yale reservoirs on the North Fork of the Lewis River. So far, he’s limited himself to Oregon.

But Jahn offered his insights from fishing in Oregon at the May meeting of Southwest Washington Anglers, a Vancouver sportsmen’s group.

Jahn said he believes kokanee strike tackle because it irritates them, not because of hunger.

Since the goal is to irritate fish, gear that works erratically in the water is great. Certain lures, like hoochies, do not generate their own action and need to be paired with a dodger, Jahn said.

Tie the leaders short.

“Eight inches is as long as you want to go with a hoochie behind a dodger,’’ he said. “I’ve fished them as short as 4 inches.’’

Many lures create their own action. Among them are Shasta Tackle’s Wiggle Hoochies, Mack’s Wedding Ring spinners, other spinners and Yakima Bait’s Spin-N-Glo.

Because they create their action, they can be fished behind “lake trolls,” which are several spinner blades and a rudder. But, Jahn said, lures such as a spinner also can be fished behind a dodger.

“Some say a spinner won’t rotate properly behind a dodger,” he said. “In my opinion, that’s awesome. I want that spinner to kind of flicker, flutter, make some kind of oddball turn and be more of an irritant to that fish.”

Here are several other pieces of advice from Jahn:

• Depth. Kokanee have a large air bladder and show up well with good electronics.

“They are very easy to spot on your sonar,” he said. “If you fish 5 to 10 feet below the school you usually end up picking up bigger kokanee. The bigger ones are usually holding below the school.”

• Trolling speed. For “longlining” (without downriggers), he suggested 0.8 to 1.2 mph. When using downriggers, try from 0.8 to 1.9 mph.

• Colors. His Top 5 favorites are silver, gold, pink, orange and chartreuse.

“As soon as you find that magic combination, switch out all your rods to it as fast as possible and ride it. That can last 10 minutes or all day.”

A gold-silver dodger is a good color to begin with.

• Corn. Jahn, like most kokanee anglers, prefers Green Giant white shoepeg corn. He uses a combination of products to toughen and scent the corn.

“I have the fat part of the corn on the hook with the part that was on the cob facing directly back,” he said. “It makes the lure work better in the water.”

“I believe the scent is the irritant on the corn. I’m not quite sure what they think it is, but if you’re fishing without corn you’re really going to have a hard time catching any.”

• Lake trolls. A “Cousin Carl” lake troll by Half Fast is his favorite.

“It has a lot of drag and is not much fun, but is really effective if you want meat in the boat.”