If you’re looking to catch Kokanee spring is the time to start. Spring is be the most productive time to pull out these fun and very tasty fish in both Merwin and Yale. Spring is not the only time you have a chance at these fish. You can find them throughout the entire summer but its going to take a little more effort finding them and a lot more weight, preferably a downrigger to get down to them.
Early Season Kokanee Tactics
Early in the season, March and April, Kokanee are in large, very concentrated schools near the surface of the water. You'll need to fish very shallow with little weight. Troll the west end of Merwin where the water temp is warmer until you start catching fish, then stay in that area and you'll notice patterns in where you catch fish due to the large schools.
May-June Kokanee Fishing
In May and June the fish will follow the water temperature line down deeper into the lake. As the water warms, the fish will go deeper and deeper. For this reason you'll need to fish deeper than you did before. Using a quality depth finder is an easy way of targeting the fish. If you don't have one fish at different depths until you find them. Also, as the water warms, the fish will move to the east end of Merwin where fresh and cooler water enters from the upper Lewis River.
Tips & Techniques
Fishing for kokanee can be done many different ways. Jigging, trolling, and casting are most popular. Trolling will be the easiest way in Merwin and Yale due to their size. Start by trolling ford fender flashers followed by a wedding ring spinner. When fishing on sunny days, use silver flashers, and use copper or brass on overcast days.
Wedding ring spinners come in many colors but only red and green are your must have colors in your tackle box. Use the red early in the season when the kokanee are shallow and green when the kokanee move deeper. Also use Green Giant white shoepeg corn for bait, just one or two kernels per hook. Other bait such as single salmon eggs or a night crawler can work but corn tends to be must productive. Kokanee are strange in that sometimes they will bite best on things that other days they won’t touch. If you aren't catching fish, make a change to your presentation about every 30 minutes, you'll eventually find something that works, then stick with it.