The best kokanee lures are also some of the most odd looking things you'll ever see in a freshwater fisherman's tackle box.
Glow Tubes, hoochies and blades are somewhat unique to kokanee fishing.
Kokanee salmon are prone to hitting lures that lake trout, steelhead and sockeye wouldn't dare. The reason for this is that they are in fact plankton feeders.
Their main natural food source is a mix of mainly zooplankton, small sub-aquatic insects ad fresh water shrimp.
They have even evolved specialist combs on the back of the gills called "gill rakers" that they use to filter out the tiny plankton from the water.
Most kokanne lures will in fact not imitate their normal food sources instead they wil force them into a strike, essentially taking advantage of their naturally aggressive behavior.
Best Kokanee Lures
1. Pro-Troll Kokanee Killer
The newer version of an all time classic the Kokanee Killer contains an EChip electronic attractor that sends out a small electronic pulse which kokanee seem to find irresistible.
They have added 3D eyes for an extra life like appearance and are available in a range of about 14 different colors.
They can be rigged two ways one of which is for ultra-slow trolling. Dual tandem red hooks ensure a higher hook up rate than a standard single.
2. Mack's Lure Double Whammy
The Mack's Double Whammy features a small spinning smile blade at the front with half the body split between contrasting beads that are separated by a gold wedding ring.
They come with two extremely sharp tandem single hooks. There is added action through the lure due to a flexible leader that runs full length from hook to tie on point.
3. Luhr Jensen Hydro Vibe Hoochie
A classic combination of soft hoochie tail and spinner head, the Luhr Jensen Hydro Vibe Hoochie is particularly suited to slow trolling.
The blade on this kokanee lure has a vented blade which as water passes through the small section of the blade creates even more vibration over a standard blade.
4. Mack's Lures Kokanee Killer
This is the single hooked variation of the Kokanee Killer. A more basic spinner with long beaded body. Each half of the body is separated by the classic wedding ring that Mack's Lures have become famous for.
5. Mack's Lure Cha Cha
A combination of hoochie skirt and smile spinner. These have a tandem hook formation of single hooks that are arranged in opposing directions which is said to improve hook ups.
Kokanee lures are all about attraction whether that's an added wobble to your lure or a extra bit of flash using a dodger or flasher.
When fishing with hoochies for example they absolutely need to be used with a dodger. Without the use of a dodger the hoochie will be all but lifeless as it move through the water.
That added bit of movement is what attracts the kokanee in from a distance but it is also what forces them to strike once they are in closer range.
Although some of the more modern hoochies have started to incorporate action into the lure.
Spinners and spoons of course are all action
What trolling speed for Kokanee ?
You will generally be trolling in one of two different configurations, although a lot of fishermen will actually use both:
- Downrigger - when using a donwrigger you are going to be using a much shorter line out off the reel. You can run the kokanee lures a little bit faster than when longlining say in the 1 to 2 mile per hour range.
- Longlining - when longlining I always prefer to run a little bit slower than when exclusively using the dowrigger. Anywhere from 0.75 mph to 1.5 mph.
When running both downriggers and longlines then you can run the speed somewhere in the middle.
What Gear to Use?
The preferred setup for trolling is an ultralight rod and a baitcast or conventional/trolling reel.
The best kokanee rods will have an ultralight power rating with a moderate action.
These are not your regular kind of trolling rods that you are used to seeing. Kokanee have unusually soft mouths and because of this fishermen made a change to ultralight tackle in an effort to reduce the amount of lost fish because of hooks tearing through the Kokanee's soft jaw.
Reel wise you will need to look for a small trolling or baitcast reel that can take a decent amount of line.
Line counters are very popular especially if you are long lining.
If you are using a heavy trolling reel you need to be very careful to make sure that the drag is not set too high.
A heavy drag rating will result in lost fish.