If you’re looking for the perfect kokanee fishing setup for when they’re deeper in the water, a dodger is going to be your best bet. In this post, I’m going to be talking about how to pick the right dodger for kokanee fishing and how to set it up the right way.
If they’re sitting near the top of the water column, a dodger probably isn’t going to be the best option (a willow leaf or ford fender should do better). If they’re much deeper in the water (summer and winter), I’ve had much better results using a dodger or flasher.
We’re going to be talking about what colors work best, my favorite brands, how long your leader should be, how deep to troll, and a few other things to help you get started. Continue reading or watch the video below for the full details on how to set up your kokanee dodger.
Best Kokanee Dodgers
There are a number of different dodgers out there and the majority of them that I’ve tried have caught fish. I don’t think it’s a huge deal what brand you go with but I think what matters the most is how you rig it up. We’ll talk about the color in a second but I’ve had the best results with a dodger that’s between 4-4.5 inches long.
Here are my favorite kokanee dodgers:
- Mack’s Double D Dodger.
- Shasta Sling Blade Dodger.
The Double D dodger from Mack’s is a great option and is one of the more unique dodgers on the market. It has a constant speed up/slow down action to it so it’ll do a lot of the work for you. I also like it because it has 4 different holes on the top so you can adjust how far out you want it to do. If you want to keep it as far away from the boat as possible (if you’re running a line out the back too) then you can clip it on at the very left or right. Check it out on Amazon.
The Sling Blade is another high-quality dodger that I’ve used quite a bit. They come in a few different sizes and colors (we’ll talk about this next) but the one I prefer is just over 4 inches long (I think it’s the #3). What I like about this one is that you can bend it a bit to change up the action. If you want to troll slow, you can bend it a bit more. If you want to troll fast, you can have it straighter. See our favorite one here.
If you don’t want to spend money on a dodger, you can just use a similar-sized spoon. All you have to do is take off the hook and use that as your dodger. It works really well and it’ll save you some money.
What Color Dodger Works Best For Kokanee
The best dodger color for kokanee is going to be all silver or silver with a bit of red. I don’t think it’s a huge deal and you’ll still be able to catch fish if you use something different but either of those will increase the odds slightly.
If you don’t have a silver and red dodger, you can always use silver and green or something chartreuse. Those seem to work well too but the main thing you’ll want to look at is how bright the conditions are.
If you’re fishing in the morning, evening, or on a cloudy day, you’ll want to use something that’s not overly bright. Something that has more red than silver would be ideal. On a darker day, there won’t be enough light to reflect off a silver dodger and it’s not going to be as visible to the kokanee.
If you’re fishing on a bright day, you’ll want to use a dodger that’s all silver or silver with a bit of red. There’s a lot more light out and your dodger will reflect really well and draw in the fish. Again, it’s not make or break, but anything you can do to increase the odds of catching something, you should do.
How Long Should Your Leader Be
This is the part that really matters in my opinion. You could do everything the right way but if you don’t get this right, you might not catch a thing. If you don’t know what a leader is, it’s the line that goes from your dodger to your lure. What you want to figure out first is how much action your lure already has.
If you’re using something that doesn’t have its own action (hoochie, spinner, etc), you can have your leader shorter. If you’re using something that has its own action (spoon, plug, etc), you’ll want to have your leader longer so it doesn’t interfere.
If you’re using a lure that doesn’t have its own action, you’ll want your leader length to be around 12 inches long. Having it pretty close will cause the dodger to give some action to your lure. If it’s too close, it could scare off the right. If it’s too far away, your lure will just float through the water and it won’t look too intriguing.
If you’re using a lure that has its own action, you’ll want your leader length to be around 22-24 inches long. Having it a bit longer will make sure your dodger doesn’t interfere with your lure’s action. It’s already designed to have good movement through the water so you really don’t want to mess with that.
Setting Up Your Kokanee Dodger
Now that you have everything you need to get started, we’ll put everything together and set up our rig. I’m going to be talking about what line you should be using if you need any weight, and a few other things you might find helpful.
Let’s start with what fishing line you should use. I almost always use a 20 lb braided line on all my rods (with a fluoro or mono leader). You don’t have to if you don’t want, but I feel like it performs the best for me. I like using braid because it’s thinner than mono or fluoro of the same strength and it’s much more sensitive for feeling the bites.
If you’re going to be using weight, you’ll want to put a sliding weight clip on your braided line and then attach a swivel. The weight will help you get deep (without a downrigger) and the swivel will prevent your line from twisting. I like using the Uni knot to attach line to my swivel.
The next thing you’ll have to do is attach some fishing line to the other end of your swivel and then tie on your dodger. I like using a heavier fluoro or mono (12 lbs or so) and I like to have the length of the line around 3 feet. I use the heavier line so I don’t lose my dodger if I get snagged and I like it being 3 feet long because it’ll allow the dodger to swing freely.
The final thing you’ll have to do is attach your leader and lure. I’ll generally use an 8 lb monofilament for my leader and the length will all depend on what lure you’re using (see the section above). I like using the Surgeon’s knot to attach my leader.
Once you have everything tied on, you’re ready to get out on the water and start catching some fish. You can learn how to troll for kokanee without downriggers here.