How Fast & Deep Should You Troll For Kokanee Salmon

If you don’t have a fish finder the only way you’ll be able to find the school of kokanee is by trolling for them. In this post, I’m going to be talking about the depth and speed I’ve had the best results when it comes to trolling for kokanee salmon.

When you’re trolling for kokanee, the speed that works the best is somewhere around 1.2 MPH. I’ll almost always troll at this speed and then the only thing I’ll have to worry about is changing the depth. The depth you’ll want to troll will normally be between 20 and 40 feet. If you don’t have a fish finder then you’ll have to add or remove weight to find the right depth.

The reason I don’t like messing with the speed is that it messes with two variables instead of one. If you speed up, your lure will change depth. Same thing if you slow down. If you keep the speed the same it’ll be much easier to pinpoint the right depth. A lot of it will depend on the time of day and year as well and if you want to know more about that, continue reading.

Is Trolling The Best Way To Catch Kokanee

If you don’t have a fish finder then trolling is the best way to find where kokanee are schooled up.

Some fish will swim by themselves and trolling might not be necessary, but kokanee is the opposite. They don’t really stay in the same spots all the time and you will have to do some work to find them.

I don’t usually have a fish finder myself so what I’ll do is troll around until I find them. Once I know where they are I’ll drop an anchor and start jigging. I used to only do trolling but I found this to work a lot better. If you know the general area where they are they there’s no point trolling around.

If you do have a fish finder then I’d recommend finding them on that and then jigging.

I prefer the challenge of having to find them first but not everyone is like that. I also find jigging a bit more entertaining but I do know people who just want to sit there and wait. Whatever you’re into. Learn how to jig for kokanee here.

How Fast Should You Troll For Kokanee Salmon

If you’re trolling for kokanee you’ll want to go somewhere around 1.2 MPH.

This is the speed I’ve caught the most myself but I have still caught them going slower and faster. I don’t really think the speed is a huge deal because if you’re in the right area, kokanee should bite.

One thing to keep in mind is the time of year you’re fishing. When the water is cold, fish don’t want to chase after stuff because they’ve lowered their body temperature. The opposite is true in the summer.

If you’re trolling at 1.2 MPH and nothing is biting you might want to change speed slightly (only after you’ve experimented with depth). You could slow down to 1 MPH in the winter and speed up to 1.4 MPH in the summer.

If you don’t know how fast you’re going you’ll have to go based on looks and feel.

What you’ll have to do is look at your rod and see how it’s acting. If there’s no bend in your rod you’ll need to speed up. If it’s pretty much maxed out you’ll have to slow down. You’ll also want to make sure your rod tip has some action. It should be pulsing, and if it’s not, you’ll probably need to speed up a bit.

How Deep Should You Troll For Kokanee Salmon

When trolling for kokanee, the depth I’ve caught the most was between 20 and 40 feet of water.

I’ve caught them in deeper and shallower water as well but I’d say 80% have been in this depth. A lot of it will depend on the time of day and year you’re fishing. Kokanee will be deeper in the summer and winter and shallower in the spring.

The water temperature they prefer is just under 54 degrees Fahrenheit. All you have to do is figure out where that is throughout the year and you’ll most likely find them (if you’re in the right area). If you want to learn more about where to find fish using contours you can click here.

What I like to do is use clip-on weights when I’m trolling for kokanee. I’ll troll around 1.2 MPH and then I’ll start messing with the weight I’m using. I’ll try whatever I think will work and if nothing bites in 10-15 minutes then I’ll add a bit more weight. I like the clip-on ones because it’s super simple (I use a 3-way swivel). Learn more here.

Even if you add a 1/4 oz of weight, it’ll make a pretty big difference with the depth of your lure.

Again, if you have a fish finder it’ll make everything a lot easier because you’ll be able to see how deep they are. If you don’t have one you’ll have to learn to be patient.

Kokanee Trolling Tips

  1. Line counter reels can make your life a lot easier. These will tell you exactly how much line you have out and that’ll help a lot with knowing the depth you’re trolling at. See some of our favorite kokanee rods here.
  2. Use braided line as your main fishing line. I started using braided line not too long ago and it’s been way better. I use it on pretty much all my rods and I like it because it’s thin, strong, and sensitive. I can use 10 or 20 lb braided line and it’s a lot thinner than 10/20 lb fluoro or mono. This will help it sink deeper. It also doesn’t stretch so it has more sensitivity. Here is my favorite.
  3. Use corn on your hooks. If you’re using a lure that doesn’t have live bait on it (spoon, spinner, hoochie), try putting one or two pieces of corn on the hook. I’m pretty confident that it’ll increase your hookups by quite a bit.
  4. Use the right rod. If you’re not using much weight then you can get away with using a light fishing rod. If you’re fishing deep then you’ll want to get some bigger gear. If the weight you have on is maxing out your rod then you’ll have a tough time feeling the bite. Your rod should be around halfway bent.

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. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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