Kokanee General Information

The kokanee, the landlocked form of the sockeye salmon, is native to Oregon, Idaho, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska. Kokanee were introduced into California reservoirs as a forage fish for trout. Kokanee have been transplanted into many lakes in the western US. Kokanee are the only Pacific salmon to mature in fresh water.

Kokanee salmon mature in 2 to 4 years depending on the strain, and growing conditions, with the average fish weighing between 2 to 3 pounds. Kokanee prefer well oxygenated water 50 to 59 degrees F. They will inhabit surface waters as long as the temperature remains within their preferred range or cooler. In summer months they can be found congregating at depths up to 150'. Their primary source of food is zooplankton but they do eat water fleas, coepods, emerging aquatic insects, and larval fish when abundant.

Kokanee will mass close to the outlets of streams in late summer and slowly move into the stream to their site of birth by smell. If suitable stream habitat is not available, kokanee can reproduce in lakes. The female builds the nest and defends it from other females, laying from 200 to 2000 eggs, while the male defends the nest from other males. The males assume the same reddish color and humped back as their anadromous brothers. The adults die soon after spawning. The eggs hatch in April and the fry move downstream immediately.

The most common method is to troll small lures at the depth the fish are congregating. When the fish are massed at stream mouths prior to the spawning run, they can be taken with common trout fishing techniques.

Recent Kokanee Articles & Reports

Mother Lode Roundup

Written By: Garry Erck, Dan Bacher,
September 17, 2014

Amador

(Ione) The water temperature is still too warm for planting trout at Lake Amador. The lake management is expected to start planting trout in mid October after the water cools down. Catfish, bluegill and largemouth bass are the main...

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Whiskeytown Kokanee Top 15 Inches

Written By: Cal Kellogg,
September 16, 2014

(Redding) Both Shasta and Whiskeytown are offering top notch action for north state trollers. At Whiskeytown the kokanee bite is raging as the fish continue to grow larger. At Shasta the rainbows are stacked in deep water and feeding...

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Trollers Hook Macks And ‘Kokes

Written By: Cal Kellogg,
September 15, 2014

(South Lake Tahoe) You can’t go wrong by planning a trip to Lake Tahoe. The weather has been great, the summer crowds are thinning and the fishing is outstanding for both mackinaw and kokanee salmon.

The team at Tahoe Sportfishing has...

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Tips & Tactics for Kokanee
Salmon, Trout, Lingcod, Kokanee, Halibut And More: Are YOU Using Gulp! And PowerBait?

Salmon, Trout, Lingcod, Kokanee, Halibut And More: Are YOU Using Gulp! And PowerBait?

Written By: Cal Kellogg

I’m of the opinion that in most situations well-presented natural baits will outperform artificials. Following this philosophy, when the...

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Trout And Salmon Dodger Basics

Trout And Salmon Dodger Basics

Written By: Cal Kellogg

Basic Aspects Of Using Trout And Salmon Dodgers!




Trout And Salmon Trolling With Natural Baits: Part Two

Trout And Salmon Trolling With Natural Baits: Part Two

Written By: Cal Kellogg

We kicked off this discussion of natural bait trolling in the last issue of the Fish Sniffer. Here’s the conclusion-Cal Kellogg.

Over the...

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Kokanee Locations
Kokanee Locations


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