The Fish Sniffer - Lake Tahoe Producing Kokanee and Mackinaw Combos
Lake Tahoe Producing Kokanee and Mackinaw Combos

Written By: Jack Naves, August 27, 2014
Species: Kokanee Mackinaw
Location: Lake Tahoe,

Lake Tahoe Producing Kokanee and Mackinaw Combos
Lake Tahoe Producing Kokanee and Mackinaw Combos Lake Tahoe Producing Kokanee and Mackinaw Combos
Lake Tahoe Producing Kokanee and Mackinaw Combos

I had the pleasure of being invited up to the Tahoe Keys to fish with a buddy of mine last weekend. We found both kokanee and mackinaw stacked between the Tahoe Keys and Emerald Bay. There is no better way to spend a weekend than fishing under the presence of Mt. Tallac in the deep blue waters of Lake Tahoe.

If you follow the shelf in depths between 90 and 180 feet of water, you will see huge schools of kokanee holding at 85 feet deep in the morning and dropping to 110 feet deep later in the day. The fish are running between 12 and 14 inches, but the flesh on these fish runs a deep red color which has no comparison that I’ve seen. Experienced guides have been picking up larger class kokanee as well.

We tempted our kokanee with orange/yellow Uncle Larry’s spinners behind 4.5 inch Sling Blade dodgers. The speeds ranged between .7 and 1.3 mph, with the slower speed range producing more fish. We also ran the classic red with hammered nickel blade Wedding Rings 48 inches behind large nickel flashers. The lures were tipped with corn and set back between 40 and 70 feet.

We changed gears and trolled stick baits at 2.2 to 2.5 mph for mackinaw. The sweet spot was running the downriggers between 140 and 160 feet deep with J13 rainbow trout pattern Rapalas and an old silver and white Rebel minnow. Most of the fish were along the ridge in 140 to 160 feet of water, but we did get one in 300 feet of water running the downrigger at 150 feet. We used 50 to 100 foot setbacks on the lures. We smeared our lures with Pro-Cure herring gel and oil.

The trip was capped off when I caught my personal best 11.5 pound mackinaw on a Rebel minnow. Get up to Tahoe now before the kokanee run up Taylor Creek in October to experience koke-mack combo action at its finest!

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