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Okay, here's where you go: Odell, Timothy, Crescent, Detroit, Green Peter, Wallowa, Paulina. Each lake has its quirks. For example, the kokanee in Detroit are deeper than at Green Peter, and the flesh is more pale and not as flavorful than the fish at Green Peter. If you want to go, time is running out this year. My suggestion is Odell or Green Peter.

Here's what you do when you get there: If you have a fish finder, it is easier. No matter what you're fishing with, if it's not at the same depth as the fish, you're simply out for a boat ride. Which brings up the necessity of a boat. What to do if you don't have a boat will be at the end of this post. If you don't have a fish finder, this time of year start at 40 feet, and go deeper at five foot intervals until you start hooking up, then keep it up. If you have a downrigger, great. If you don't have a downrigger, pick up the smallest Deep Six diving sinker at GI Joe's or Sportsman's Warehouse. Preferably clear or pink. The reason you need one of those is so you can accurately get your lure down to the appropriate depth. You're basic setup will be either a gang troll or a dodger. I prefer using a dodger because I don't have a downrigger to hang a gang troll off of, and a gang troll creates a lot of resistance in the water when you're reeling in the fish. I use the smallest silver Luhr-Jensen dodger. About 12-18 inches behind that, use a wedding-ring, a triple teaser, kokanee kandee (available at Walmart, and a great lure), needlefish, or similar thin-bladed trolling spoon. Good colors are pink, white, chartreuse, and orange, in that order. Sometimes midnight blue works if nothing else does. Tip your hook with white corn soaked in anise scent. If your rod isn't like a buggy whip, use a rubber snubber, or use a very sturdy, thick rubber band between your dodger and your leader. Kokanee have tender mouths, and often come unhooked. You'll need a snubber as a shock absorber. If your rod is really light and you're using a downrigger, you may be able to get by without the snubber. Otherwise, you'll lose half your fish.

Troll S L O W L Y. Alter your speed at irregular intervals, and troll in an S pattern. Often the fish will take coming out of a turn or at a change of speed. At Detroit and Green Peter, try near islands, points, and where there are steep drop offs. Lots of those at Green Peter. When you hook a fish, or get a bite, troll back through the same area, as the fish school up in the summer. Where you find one, you'll find more, until you finally spook the school away and have to find it again.

Use a net to land your fish. Don't take them out of the water, or you run the risk of it coming off. Again, they have very fragile mouths. When you get a kokanee, sometimes it will feel like you've lost the fish. Keep reeling. Sometimes they are simply following the dodger up to the boat, even though they've been hooked. When they get closer to the surface, they'll start fighting again. Often they go absolutely berserk on the surface.

If you don't have a boat, you can try off a dam or where there is a very steep drop off. Simply tie on a 1/4 or 1/2 oz. crescent sinker, then about 18 inches of leader to the same lure you'd use trolling. Cast out, and let it sink, counting about one second per foot till it gets where you think the fish are. Example: If you want it at fifty feet, count to fifty like you would counting off seconds. Then start reeling slowly. It's not perfect, but it works. Or jig a small pink, white or chartreuse buzz bomb. I've actually seen schools of kokanee following in a lure casting off of Green Peter dam in the spring when the fish are near the surface. If you're fishing off a dam, alternate your lure every 15-20 minutes if it's not producing within that time frame. Sometimes if they see it over and over again, they lose interest in it.

Good luck! Kokanee are a blast! I hope you get some!

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