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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Once the weather clears and I’m comfortable towing from Astoria back to Prineville, I’ll be getting a new to me boat. After a lifetime of salmon fishing I’ll be changing gears to Kokanee and crappie.
The boat is a Hewescraft Sea Runner, 20 foot. It comes with 2 manual downriggers so until I swap those for electric I’ll at least be able to get down to them.
My question to those that live Kokanee, what are some odds and ends that I need to start getting together to outfit the boat?
Any information would be appreciated. Anything from tackle storage to net style/length to depth finder options like dual screens and is it even possible to get a bow mounted electric on one?
I figure that if I start getting gear now, it won’t cost me a fortune all at once.
 

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I just got my new NR Seahawk and went all Garmin on it including the trolling motor. You have two choices either the TM on the bow or the Garmin reactor autopilot on the kicker. Both are great. Get some stick weights for your downriggers. Line counter reels for when you are long lining. If you are going to become a kokaholic then lots of tackle storage. :) Garmin Panoptics is great for finding schools out in front of the boat. Jig rods, Downrigger rods, Long line rods. Santiam Fishing has all these rods for kokanee for reasonable prices and they are great rods. All I'm using now. Join the Kokanee Power of Oregon. Lots of great information and fun derbies. Look them up on Facebook.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I do love my Smokercraft. It’s killed a lot of fish. Just tired of feeling like I’m falling in every time I reach for a rod. That and the grandkids are getting to an age to start fishing. Make the trips to grandpas house a lot better when I can say yes to a fishing trip with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Gills92 I went from 15’ smoker to 20’ Stryker😉🥃🇺🇸 View attachment 974914


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I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve ran bigger boats all over the Columbia and Willamette so I’m not concerned about operation. I’m just excited to get it over here and start outfitting it for the lakes and reservoirs. I live about 15 minutes from Prineville reservoir. I’m hoping there is enough water in it by the time I get the boat over here.
 

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If you're going to be fishing the manual downriggers or more then two rods on your downriggers I'd consider making some of these droppers for stacking. Clip the carabiner onto the cable and the release to the line. Drop it down to the desired depth using a line counter reel as a reference. When you set the rod the dropper goes to the downrigger weight and hangs up there. Once all of your weights are at the ball you bring them back up and restart.
I have electric downriggers and use these a lot. I keep staking and dropping gear until I'm out. It's a much quicker process.
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Bow mounts are a must! I can't imagine living without mine for pretty much any species. When trolling for kokanee I use the kicker for propulsion as well to minimize power draw.

If you're running downriggers I really like the Ugly Stick UL bait casters. They're durable, sensitive, and cheap (the cheapest I own by a long shot!). If you're going to run lead there's a few popular cheaper options out there none of which I particularly like (Eagle Claw, Tica, etc).

Fishfinder is a must since they're key to locating where kokanee are in the water column. Rather than buying two units I'd recommend buying one like the Garmin GPSmaps that connect via WIFI to your tablet and will mirror the screen. Allows me to have a screen front and back.

There' s a recent thread out there about kokanee tackle dealers. Kokanee are simple creatures and you really don't need too much gear:
Get a dozen or so dodgers of various colors and brands. I like the arrow dodgers (Poulsen Cascade or Paulin Peak). As you look at dodgers many are the same as they all use the same blanks so mixing it up with the designer models won't buy you much.
A selection of smaller beads in pink/green/purple.
A few small pink/orange blades (smile or Colorado style)
And a bunch of #2 hooks (I like the pink ones by Angler Innovations). Once you can tie a egg loop it goes quick and easy.
Keep them SIMPLE. There is no 'matching the hatch'. I really just like a small plain spinner or maybe a micro hoochie. Hoochies are all about adding a little motion and color.

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As for speed drive like a drunken sailor as you can go anywhere from .8-1.8. See a school turn left....Then turn right....That will change your speed and invite them to bite. I find that speed and leader length are closely related and more important than just about everything. If you go slower shorten your leaders up. If you go faster lengthen your leaders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow. That was a world of great advice. Appreciate it.
I have several steelhead rods that should work for Downrigger rods and my collection of Kokanee rods is growing by the week. I’ve been taking all my line counter reels off my salmon rods and transferring them over to lighter rods.
Every trip to town I grab an assortment of Kokanee gear. Heck, I even cured up several batches of white shoe corn. Haha
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The boat has everything to fish, for salmon. I’ve fished out of it uncountable times. Once I get it home I can pick it apart and start the swap over to lake fishing.
For now, I’m figuring out how to budget for accessories. Back to top Raman and tuna fish for a few months to save for a bow mount electric with ipilot. Haha
 

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Ask 10 Kokanee fishermen how to fish and you will get 10 answers. Kokanee can drive you to distraction trying to figure them out. You will notice I use the word "usually" a lot because they are always changing.
In the 40 years I have fished for them the tackle seems to get modified every few years so eventually you will have a whole bunch of gear that you seldom use, but it can all still work, it is just new stuff comes along. Also each body of water can fish different. On some lakes the weather has an affect or the full moon (Odell seems to react to this) and so on. An east wind on Odell throws the bite off. Some lakes "usually" fish well only in the very early morning others can fish all day. Kokanee usually are light shy and go deeper as it gets brighter. Some lakes are better for jigging at certain times. Fortunately most Kokanee fishermen are willing to share what is working for them at the time if you ask.

Basics are the right size hook (I like #4 octopus, pink or red), bait....for most is it canned shoepeg corn, scent for the corn...tuna oil, garlic, annise. Attractors used vary from Ford fenders to a huge variety of dodgers...my current choice is a gold Arrow half fast. I have even caught them on just a red hook with corn on it or colored beads above the hook and corn....no attractors. Leader length can get critical at time but is usually 8" to 18".....but sometimes I use 4' effectively.
A 7' to 8' rod with a light tip. It doesn't have to be one of those Kokanee "noodle" rods....I find I have less control of the fish as it reaches the boat with those.
A long handled rubberized (to avoid hook tangle) net (8' extension type) so you can reach the fish before it reaches the boat where they fight harder and you lose them.....they have tender mouths.
Also, go slow....1 to 1.5 mph but varying the speed can stimulate strikes. Use an S pattern if fishing is slow. If you get hits on the inside of the curve slow down; on the outside speed up.
I mentioned jigging, you might want to have some kokanee jigs handy, orange, pink, pink & white are standard, green sometimes works and of course corn bait.

As mentioned people are getting attached to front mount electric motors. They are great if you can keep you batteries charged on longer trips and are most effective for staying on a trolling track if there is a breeze pushing the boat around because they pull and steer from the front instead of pushing from the rear. They can also be effective for staying on top of a school of fish if you are jigging.
Kokanee usually move around a constantly so a sophisticated fish finders are great but a basic one works well to locate fish to start fishing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think I might just grab a bag of gear and a couple rods and hang out at the ramp to see if I can beg my way onto a boat of someone that knows what they’re doing. Haha

Assuming the forecast is close to correct, next week should get me at least one day on the water with my Smokercraft to get a feel for it.

Keep the tips and tricks coming. I’ve searched the internet to its end trying to find information like this all in one place. Appreciate it.
 

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Let’s hope prineville fills enough to launch a boat and then hope a few crappie survived. That is my first choice lately.

On the koke front lots of good advice so far nothing really to add. I was Looking at my koke gear just the other day and realized how many 1000’s of $ I have amassed. Glad my wife isn’t on ifish to see this . CO has taken a hit on koke lakes last couple of years. From prineville paulina and east or lbc are closest. And can be productive. East was a major disappointment last couple of years. Lbc and paulina always produce and are easy to learn fisheries. Almost like put and take trout lakes. Odell will give you #s and a little larger fish. But it’s. Drive for you. Crane has bigger fish but is an enigma as it is so shallow and kokes compete with the trout Crescent will get you numbers but lake level ther has been an issue too. (And even with best efforts by KPO, kokes are on the small side.

Whatever you choose I’m sure you will enjoy it.


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Kokanee are very soft mouthed so rods with a lot of flex and an autopilot would be my top two suggestions. I had both Tr-1 and minn kota on my last boat. Never really cared for the minnkota, it didn’t control as well or have as much power as the Tr-1. Opinions vary. My new boat only has Autopilot on the kicker.

-Scott
 

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Don’t need much power on the bow mount motor. Lock the kicker straight and use the bow mount to steer. I have a Motorguide, and set it to just go straight and when I want to turn, use the remote. Unless there is a lot of wind blowing, run the Motorguide fairly low speed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I’ll have to see what depth finder is on the boat. It was upgraded a few years ago to a gps unit after a disorientation situation out at 10 in the fog. Cell phones saved that day. Haha
 

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I’ll have to see what depth finder is on the boat. It was upgraded a few years ago to a gps unit after a disorientation situation out at 10 in the fog. Cell phones saved that day. Haha
Hit the GPS mark everytime you get hit if you catch two or three fish in an area it helps define your target. I just sit on them and spin until the schools disperse. But if you don't keep getting bites quickly move on.
Over multiple years you'll be surprised at how close they stick to the same spots even in open water.
I use short (15-20') setbacks on my riggers. Let's me detect the light bites and most importantly spin on schools a lot easier.
 
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