Catching Kokanee From Shore: The Complete Guide

Kokanee fishing is the main thing I’ve done in my fishing career and have always trolled behind a boat. I heard catching them from the shore was super tough so I wanted to give it a try and in this post, I’ll talk about how to catch kokanee from the bank.

Kokanee tends to be in schools in the middle of the lake and don’t come to the shallows very often. I’ve caught all types of fish from the shore but kokanee has definitely been the toughest. A lot of the common baits and lures didn’t work for me and there was really only one setup that actually did.

I’ll be showing you what type of rod/reel I was using, what type of fishing line is best, the bait and lure I’d recommend, and a few other tips to help you get going. I’m not saying it’s the only way to catch kokanee but it’s the only thing that really worked for me. Let’s get started.

Kokanee Rigs & Setup

The first and most obvious thing you’ll need is a casting rod. It’ll all depend on what type of rod you like best but either a spinning or baitcasting reel/rod will do the trick. Spinning rods are an easy way to go because nothing ever goes wrong. Baitcasters are a little bit more fun in my opinion but they aren’t as easy to use. There are more moving parts and tangles are likely to happen. Why use one then? You can cover more water and they’re more exciting.

kokanee rod

After that, we’ll need to pick the right fishing line. I pretty much use the same setup for everything I go after because it’s easy and it works. I almost always use a braided line as my main fishing line and then I’ll attach a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader.

The braided line I use is normally 10 lb test (same thickness as 4 lb mono) and then a 4-15 lb fluoro leader (you’re fine with 4-6 lb for kokanee). I like braided line because it’s stronger, more sensitive, and lasts 3-4x longer than the standard line. I’ll use monofilament for kokanee because it has some stretch and won’t rip the hook out of the mouth.

The next thing we’ll need to do is tie the two lines together. If you’re just using fluoro then you won’t need to do this. If you’re using two separate lines then you can attach them directly or use a swivel. I’ll also put a weight (normally a split shot) between the hook and the bobber to add a bit of weight for casting. Here’s how to tie the lines together:

The final thing we’ll need to put on is a hook. I normally use a #6 circle hook because it’s better at catching the fish in the side of the mouth. I normally catch and release so this makes it much easier to take the hook out. It’s easier for me and safer for the fish. See some of our favorite gear here.

Kokanee Bait & Lures

Now that everything is set up and ready to go, the next thing we have to do is decide what type of lure or bait to use. I’ve tried using a number of things but most of them didn’t catch a single fish. I’ve used different things in a boat but fishing from the shore is a different animal.

The only thing that seemed to work for me was a good old fashion bobber and nightcrawler (worm). This is what I used back in the day and I guess going back to basics really does work. I’ve tried Powerbait and a number of other things but the worm is the only thing that really worked.

kokanee bait

The distance you put your bobber from the hook will depend on what depth water you’re in but normally 2-4 feet worked well. You don’t want to have it super long (might hit the ground) and you don’t want it way too short (won’t be deep enough). Experiment with different distances to see what works best.

How To Fish Kokanee From The Shore

The final thing to do is rig everything up and start casting. Kokanee normally stays in deeper water so you’ll want to look for a drop-off. If you can find that, they’ll normally be sitting a little deeper on that hill. There’s been an odd time where I got one in the shallows but it didn’t happen often.

All you have to do with a worm and bobber is cast it out and wait. You don’t need to reel in and you don’t need to twitch the rod. The worm will have enough action on it and if there’s something in the area, it should take an interest.

What you have to do now is sit back and wait. Kokanee stays in schools so it’s either going to be hit or miss. A big school of them might swim by or you might get skunked. More times than not, I got skunked. Patience will win here.

Until next time, happy fishing. If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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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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