These Are The Best Rods And Reels For Kokanee Fishing

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If you’re trolling for kokanee you can use pretty much any rod and reel out there because they’re not the biggest fish. You might want something that’s made specifically for trolling smaller fish and in this post, I’m going to be talking about the best rods and reels for kokanee fishing.

Here are my favorite kokanee rods:

  • Okuma SST Kokanee (trolling).
  • Lamiglas Team Kokanee (trolling).
  • Cadence CR7 (spinning).

Here are my favorite kokanee reels:

  • Okuma Magda Pro (trolling).
  • Okuma Cold Water (trolling).
  • Cadence CS10 (spinning).

I’m not saying these are the best possible options out there because they might not be. They are my favorite though and have always done the job for me. They aren’t overly expensive either so that’s a big plus. All of them can be used for all sizes of kokanee as well as other fish such as trout, walleye, and whatever else is swimming your waters.

The Entry-Level Setup

I’m only calling this “entry-level” because the rod and reel are both inexpensive. It’s a little over 100 bucks for the combo but it still works great and I’ve been really impressed with the quality. The rod is the Okuma SST (see it on Amazon) and the reel is the Okuma Magda Pro (check the price on Amazon).

The rod comes in a spinning or casting version and has the option to get a 7 or 7.5-foot rod. I’d recommend the casting rod but the size really doesn’t matter. Model SST-C-702L is the 7-foot light action rod and model SST-C-762L is the 7.5-foot light action rod. If you’d prefer a spinning rod then you’ll have to get a spinning reel and not the Magda Pro.

The reel is specifically for trolling and it comes in a few different sizes. If you’re just going to be fishing for kokanee sizes fish then the 20DX model will do the job. It comes with a line counter as well which definitely comes in handy. The only difference between the 20DX and the 30DX is how much line it holds. The 30 will hold a bit more fishing line.

This setup isn’t going to perform as smoothly as something more expensive but it’ll still get the job done every time. The rod isn’t as sensitive as some and the reel isn’t the smoothest on the market. You can always use this rod with the more expensive reel or vice versa. It’s not set in stone so you can mix it up (just be sure to use the right reel for the rod).

One thing I’ll say about this rod is that you’ll want to use a good braided line on it. It doesn’t have any stretch in it so it’ll improve the sensitivity of your rod by a lot. I almost always use braid as my main fishing line and then I’ll toss on a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader. For kokanee fishing, I’ll usually use monofilament because it has some stretch.

The Middle Of The Range Setup

The next combo I’m going to talk about is a little bit more expensive but the rod is going to be a bit more sensitive and the reel is going to be a bit smoother. The entire combo is going to cost around 170 bucks. The rod is the Lamiglas Team Kokanee (see it on Amazon) and the reel is the Okuma Cold Water (check the price on Amazon).

This rod only comes in the trolling version but I really like it because it’s light enough to handle small kokanee but you can still land bigger fish as well (caught a 10-pound trout no problem). It’s an 8-foot rod that has a moderate fast action and can be used to troll with or without downriggers. I’m not really the biggest fan of the way the rod looks (candy cane?) but I can’t deny how well it performs.

The reel is pretty hard to beat for the price. I haven’t been able to find a reel like this under $100 that performed the same and was the same quality. If you can pay a bit more, I’d recommend this reel over the previous Okuma. The 203D version will be perfect for kokanee and trout but you can upgrade to the 303 if you want to put more line on. The handle is nice and big so you’ll be able to handle all types of fish.

The Advanced Setup

If you’re looking for a high-quality spinning rod, this will be the one for you. The problem with trolling rods is kind of obvious, you can only use them for trolling. If you only want one rod then you’ll probably want a spinning rod because you can still cast from the shore.

The rod is the Cadence CR7 (see it on Amazon) and the reel is the Cadence CS10 (check the price on Amazon). The only reason I’m calling it the “advanced” setup is that they’re the most expensive of the 3. They might be a bit more sensitive and smooth but all 3 will catch kokanee.

The rod comes in a bunch of different sizes but the one I’d recommend is the 7 or 7.5-foot medium-light rod. You could use a heavier rod but you won’t feel the bite as well. I always thought all rods were the same until I actually tried an expensive one. You can definitely feel how light, sturdy, and sensitive they are compared to cheaper options. I haven’t tested every other higher-end rod out there but from the ones I have, this has been my favorite.

cadence spinning reel

The reel comes in a few different sizes but the 1000 model will be plenty for kokanee fishing. If you know you might be going after bigger fish (musky, chinook, etc) you might want the next size up but for rainbow and kokanee, the 1000 will be plenty. I’ve always been a big fan of Shimano products and this one didn’t’ disappoint. It feels super sturdy, is nice and smooth, and is very simple to use.

Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. This site is where I test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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