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FlyFlinger2421 10-05-2011 04:27 PM

East River Kokanee
The Kokanee run in the East River is at peak or a little past. lots of fish in the river and still in good shape. I caught 15 yesterday, but only 2 in the mouth. I am still not convinced they can be consistently fair hooked, but still trying! I tried an indicator with split shot and then decided to try a sink tip with an unweighted San Juan worm on a #10 hook. I thought this might be more sensitive. Still foul hooked fish!
You must slowly raise your fly before you cast in order to reduce the chance of foul hooking these guys.
I looked over the egg taking operation while I was there. Very interesting! The fish move up the outflow into a pond and from there up and into the raceways. It was amazing to see how fast they can move up through 4" of fast flowing water and to watch them jump the artificial waterfalls in the raceways.
I have also read some things about fly fishermen snagging and killing so many Kokanee that the DOW cannot make their egg quotas. This is pure bull! No fishing is allowed below the outlet where the fish move into the egg taking raceways. The only fish taken by fly fishermen have overshot the outlet and consequently are not available for egg taking and artificial spawning.

johnjac 12-04-2011 10:28 AM

Re: East River Kokanee
I truly love these fish. Good Post!

FlyFlinger2421 12-04-2011 10:51 AM

Re: East River Kokanee
I also find them very interesting and very underutilized here in Colorado. I am personally very challenged by their seeming lack of interest in flies. I am trying to figure out what exactly it takes to get them to grab a fly!
Next year I am going to try some very small scud and shrimp patterns.

MoscaPescador 12-04-2011 11:55 AM

Re: East River Kokanee
It's pretty fun to watch the big Rainbow or Brown that is chomping their eggs or eating the small Kokes.

Ard 12-04-2011 02:44 PM

Re: East River Kokanee
Actually 2 for 15 sounds about right unless you can bushwhack them as soon as they enter the river. Sockeye salmon here are very much the same, once they have began the run up the rivers there is a low percentage that will chase a fly. Last summer I had the rare experience of watching a 7 pound buck follow my fly at a pretty rapid rate of speed for at least 30 feet before hitting it like a brown trout would. Even when fishing a run which holds as many as 100 fish if I have 3 (the daily limit) whack the fly during 2 - 6 hours of fishing I figure that to be a great day of fishing socks.

This same summer, (just past) we had somewhere around 3.5 million sockeye enter the Kenai River system. I went down to get some fish because AKF&G had raised the limit to 6 / day. Even with that many fish in the river it took 6 hours one day and almost 9 the next to get 12 of them to grab my fly. In that scenario I did have a bunch of fish hooked in various locations from the head to the dorsal fin. With no idea of how many fish were landed to get the 12 keepers I do remember that the fishing actually made me tired. Certainly I could have kept the first 6 each day but with 3.5 million to select from I made my mind up that I would take only males and only those who would take the fly. If I were substicance fishing I would not have been using a fly rod and sporting would have been out of the question. They (males) seem to be the more aggressive anyway, out of the slim percentage of sockeye that do whack the fly I would say 80% of them are males. Some days the hens may surprise you but usually it's a buck stuck on that fly if you get a grab.

For me this is a great part of the mystique of fly fishing for sockeye, the constant anticipation..........

pab1 12-05-2011 12:03 AM

Re: East River Kokanee
I catch a lot of them on small (size 8) streamer patterns. According to what I have read about them that shouldn't be, but they work. One morning in October this year I caught about ten in 15-20 minutes. There were some big rainbows in the shallows and the kokanees were driving me crazy. Normally I would be happy with them, but when I can get a fish twice their size and the kokanees won't stay off the hook it can be annoying.

Ard 12-05-2011 01:33 PM

Re: East River Kokanee

Your post reminds me of something I would say about our silver salmon. When trout fishing I try to keep the fly away from them (salmon) but when fishing through deep runs where I can not see one chasing the fly you can end up catching a lot of salmon when they aren't what you are after.

The sockeye can be funny, although I say that normally they are tough to get on the fly a few years back I had a couple days when they grabbed hold without hesitation. I guess you never know whats gonna happen until it happens........

heck 03-23-2012 04:33 PM

Re: East River Kokanee
still not sure if you can see the pics (tried to follow procedure) but since this salmon run is in my front/back yard I never miss it. these salmon are fighters and worth a trek if anyone is interested in locking line with one of these beautiful fish! Ill be out there next season so give me a shout if anyone is going to be in the area and wants to get into some kokanee!

also will try to get the pics up they are worth the look very beautiful fish!

i was able to get a picture on my profile of me with the small kokanee! check it out

also these fish run up the gunnison the taylor the east river and the slate river some of the best places to get into these fish is on the lower gunnison and they will be stacked up by the hundreds actually quit an amazing site to see so many of them. foul hooking is inevidible with the sheer numbers of fish that run but like what was said pull out your fly as subtle as possible to minimize your chances of doing so. It is very possible to get them to eat try a san juan worm they seemed to work well for me last season!

jeremy wynn

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