Kokanee Fishing Wood Lake British Columbia

British Columbia is a very attractive place for most Albertan’s to head during the summer months. “Why?” some people may ask since Alberta has it's own stunning outdoors. If you haven’t been to Alberta I’ll fill you in…. Mosquitoes! There are a few other reasons my family enjoys going to the Okanagan Valley including tasty fresh fruit, hotter days, beautiful lakes to water ski on and camp at without that Alberta algae. So what is an avid angler to do surrounded by the watersport center of British Columbia? Quite simply put, they fish! We usually stay in Oyama, which is a town between two adjoining lakes, Kalamalka and Wood Lake.

Kalamalka is known for its spectacular blue green waters that make you feel like you’re some place tropical. Fishermen on the other hand will tell you it is well known to hold some monster lake trout in its depths and fair sized rainbow trout. Wood lake on the other hand is known for a population of fat kokanee that school in the lake. While the lake trout fishing seems tempting we often head out after kokanee salmon to take a little break from water skiing. There is one small problem. The best fishing and calm water skiing times seem to coincide in the early am hours. Lucky for me the kokanee in Wood Lake usually are eager to bite most of the day and later afternoon.

Sadly this past summer (2013) the kokanee fishing was closed on wood lake due to a population collapse from a couple of bad spawning years and fishing pressure.  So hopefully the fisherman leave them alone and let the fish rebound so we can once again catch some kokanee in the years to come.

Like I've said the best fishing is usually in the early am hours when the sun peaks over the mountain.  Fish are readily caught almost all over the lake in depths ranging from 60-120 feet of water.  These fish are usually suspended somewhere between the surface and 60 feet down.

Our typical set up is very simple and goes to show that likely anyone will be able to catch them.  Just get any sort of lake troll or Ford Fender flasher rig.  Then put a kokanee shock leader which helps prevent the hook from being torn out of these soft mouthed fish.  Next you need some sort of lure.  They will bite on all sorts of lure from small spinners, spoons, plastics, and plugs.  Our favorite to use on this lake is the watermelon colored Apex by Hot Spot.  These are killer tipped with a few maggots or just fished bare.  We find these keep the fish hitting even when they've not been biting anything else.  When the fish are biting you can't go wrong with a pink wedding band and a few maggots.

Once you are set up we usually had 1-3 ounces of weight to the front of the lake troll to get it down to the fish.  Typically you want to let out 40-60 pulls of line to start.  Then add more or less if nothing seems to be happening.  One of the most important things is slow trolling.  Go about as slow as possible.  If your boat wont go slow enough then just take it in and out of gear or drag a sea anchor.  The slowing and speeding up action which causes the lure to rise and fall through the water column often causes strikes.  Another way to slow the lines is to troll in an S pattern or make frequent turns.  The inside rod on a turn will often catch the fish as it is moving the slowest.

Having a landing net is a good idea if you want to get more fish in the boat since they like to go air-born beside the boat and will get off right beside the boat if you aren't ready.

Best of all they taste great!  I can't wait till they re-open the lake so we can get back out there and catch some.


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