There are times in the sport of fishing where destination opportunities present themselves. One's where peak timing has aligned and the fish are large. These chances when presented cannot be passed up or the conversations of should have been here yesterday will sure to be told. I stumbled upon a trip of such occasion. When kokanee are the size of footballs and rainbows are not just in the sky, fishing is bound to be epic. We are talking the kokanee mecca of Washington state and the current state record holder: Lake Roosevelt. Matt and I loaded up the sled and headed over the pass Friday evening. We arrived just as the sun was peaking over the mountains, 4 hrs of driving and no sleep we were ready to get after what we came for. Football sized Kokanee.
From the Intel we gathered a few days prior, (Thank you Dan and Jordan!) we knew the fish were down in the lower portion of the lake by the Grand Coulee Dam. Spring Canyon Campground has a very nice set of accommodations that launch you right into a prime time fishing zone. (We also got a camp site here for the weekend as well. Very nice facility and right near the action). Some of the advice we received was to run up lake from the launch and troll down stream and to use very long set backs on the rods. Given the lake clarity we used 150ft setbacks all the way to 200ft to keep our gear away from the boat. Gear of choice was a variety of Rocky Mountain Tackle dodgers and Hoochie king squids. We shortly found out that the watermelon RMT Mamba dodger was the hot rod on the left side of the boat and an orange UV hoochie king squid. For bait we were using white shoepeg corn with tuna oil and anise from AN sporting.
Our first fish was a fat chunky 3lb rainbow trout just in front of the boat launch. With high fives and smiles all around we kept our track down lake. Not more than 100yrds down stream we hook into a monster kokanee. Matt got the first hawg of the trip. And let me tell you these fish live up to their reputation. Big and chunky! Just over 21" and close to 4 lbs! By far the biggest kokanee I have ever seen, let alone netted.
Not long after I was in the game with a slab!
The wind picked up and we found some protection in the cove area and went on a tear! In an hours time we had close to 10 bites and broke 2 fish off before we finally got our limits. Absolutely amazing to see that kind of fishing. Line peeling off the rod and a 4lb kokanee doing backflips out of the water like a summer run. Never have I seen that. But we did it! First trip and first day, limited out on some awesome fish!
To kill some time (since it was only 11am), we decided to run over to banks lake and try for some walleye. Wouldn't you know we brought the wind with us. Unfortunately the wind made it really tough for the sled to keep straight and troll the slow speed we needed. I did however get my first walleye and a keeper at that! 17" and a new fish to check off the bucket list. I caught it on a home made nightcrawler rig with a pink smile blade. We tried a little while longer but with lack of sleep and the crazy wind, we decided to call it for the day.
Day 2 brought anticipation and excitement given what we found the day before. We knew to start we should be further up lake and work our way down finding the fish. Wouldn't you know that was a great move, as almost immediately of setting lines we were hooked up once more!
We found these fish up lake sitting in 30-70ft of the water near shore anywhere from the surface to 20ft. Even was able to get some awesome underwater shots.
We found the pattern uplake and were into our last fish just as the wind started to pick up. Putting the limit fish in the boat two days in a row could not have been more rewarding.
We even made a couple casts for smallies before heading out and bam! Slammed the jerk bait first cast.
All in all, such an awesome trip with a great buddy. We got to catch fish of a lifetime and had a blast doing it. So pleased with how all of the velocity rods and reels performed, as well as the business end with the RMT dogers and hoochie king squids. They were the hot ticket and so glad I had them with us. Thank you Matt for tagging a long, and thank you to all the helpful tips that were shared before our trip.
Until a real soon next time Roosevelt, God Bless and fish on!