A Kokanee is a Sockeye Salmon that does not migrate to the sea but lives its life in freshwater. Kokanee are about the size of a trout and are often mistaken by novice fishermen as trout. They are native to the Northwest, parts of Canada, Japan and Russia.
Over the years Kokanee has been introduced to other parts or the US, including the New England states, Montana, North Dakota, California and a handful of other states. In Oregon and Washington Kokanee are found in numerous reservoirs and lakes. They have flourished in many of these fisheries and in some areas the limit is 25 fish per day per fisherman.
The main difference between Sockeye salmon and Kokanee are their size. Most Kokanee grow to between 9 - 12 inches and weigh about a pound. There are exceptions and there are some lakes you can catch Kokanee up to about 18 inches.
Most fishermen use a typical trout setup to catch Kokanee. A 8’+ spinning rod and a spinning reel with 6-8 pound test line is the norm. At times you can catch Kokanee from shore but most serious Kokanee fishermen use a boat and troll for them. A spinner setup such as a wedding ring is very popular. On the hook place a small piece of bait such as Night Crawlers, Power Bait and even a kernal of corn will work well. Some fishermen get creative and use a combination of baits which some people call a Kokanee sandwich.
Some consider Sockeye salmon as some of the best eating salmon there is. The same goes for Kokanee, these smaller versions are pink meated fish with a very delicious delicate flavor. Most people will prepare Kokanee like they do trout and bake or fry them. Smoked Kokanee is also amazing and nothing goes better with your favorite cold frosty beverage than a piece of smoked Kokanee.
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