June 20, 2022
Chironomid jigging for kokanee has wrapped up and trolling lures is back in full swing. The kokanee have transitioned their diet from chironomids exclusively to daphnia.
The weather was a little unsettled today but the wind stayed fairly calm.
I got out on the water by 9:30 and started fishing near the houses that are just a little southeast from the main boat launch. This time of the season most of the fish are high in the water column which can make it a little hard to figure out where the bigger schools are because they often don't show up on the fish finder. There are two reasons for this: one, the fish close to the surface are often spooked by the boat; and two, the sonar scans a very narrow area at shallow depths. Luckily for me the area I was in today was pretty good. I used a 75' set back and went down 12'. I trolled between 1.2 mph and 1.6 mph and made several turns. See "the strategy" (below) for my gear setup.
I managed two good-sized chrome kokanee in the first 45 minutes and lost another. There were a few other boats close by that were also doing well. By 12:30 I had my limit and had lost three. All the fish I had on today seemed to put up a good scrappy fight!
While out on the water I ran into a few different groups of fishers, including two who were using Chrome Catchers' lures. The first group were using Chromes' wiggle hoochies, and it seemed like every time I saw them their net was scooping a kokanee. The second group recognized me and they were looking for some info because it was their first time out. Anyone who knows me knows that I love to talk about fishing and so this was the highlight of my day :) !!! I told them what had been working for me and tossed them a couple of Chrome's single spinners, a little bag of scented shoepeg corn and some pink synthetic maggots. About five minutes later they were into their first kokanee of the season. It was an all round great day on the water!
Rod one: A Chrome's pink and UV flasher with 14 inches of leader to a Chrome's single pink spinner.
Rod two: A chrome and pink flasher with 14 inches of leader to a Chrome's single pink spinner
The bait: scented shoepeg corn and pink gulp maggots
I caught my limit by noon and lost three others.
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May 30, 2022
Today was one of the calmest days this month that I have been able to make it out on to the water.
I was very excited to get out because I had a new lure I wanted to try. But to be honest, I was even more excited to try out my other new toy: a new bow-mount Minn Kota with autopilot. Would you look at that beauty?
Earlier this May I had super good success while trolling through a wind storm on the north end of the lake. Today I headed straight back to that spot.
I geared up with my Chrome's dodger and the new lure: a pink spin n'glo with a pink grub tail. On my other rod I used Chrome's dodger and a pink smile spinner. Unfortunately I forgot my scented shoepeg corn at home, so I went with pink gulp synthetic maggots.
I put my gear down to 15 and 30 feet and trolled from the north west to the north east. The new electric motor was amazing! It didn't take long to figure out how to use it and once the boat was set on a course the motor maintained it automatically! This gave me lots of time to tend to my rods and adjust the depths of the downriggers. It also gave me time to put my feet up and enjoy my coffee. As I got closer to the north east side I was marking more and more fish and soon I landed two kokanee, one on each lure, at 25 feet deep. Soon after resetting, my rod came unclipped from the downrigger release and the line went screaming out. I think it was a monster rainbow. As I was battling the monster my second rod was bouncing in the rod holder. Unfortunately I lost both fish before I could see them. I reset and got right into another fish that I also lost. All the action was within 45 minutes and then the kokanee closed their mouths. They were marking everywhere but I couldn't entice a bite.
After a couple hours of trolling with no bites, I reeled my lines in and tested out another feature on the new bow mount: spot lock or anchor mode. The motor uses GPS to keep you anchored in one spot. This is an absolute game changer when it comes to jigging kokanee in the open water. Although it was a calm day when I started out, by afternoon the wind was starting to pick up a bit. Jigging in the wind in deep water can be difficult, because you get blown off track and end up spending more time adjusting the motor than jigging. But the bow mount kept me right on anchor with no additional input from me.
I found an area on the north east side of the lake in 55 feet of water where I was consistently marking several fish from 30 feet down to the bottom. The first two kokanee revealed throats full of chironomids. I used a williams wobbler and 8 inches of leader to a chironomid that somewhat matched the hatch. I put my line down to 50 feet and made a few quick jigs to bring in the fish. When the marks showed up on the finder I simply raised my gear very slowly. This proved to be amazing: 3 kokanee caught and 3 fish lost in 30 minutes! I wanted to fish more but I had my 5 kokanee already so I packed up.
Rod one: A Chrome's pink and glow flasher with 12 inches of leader to a pink spin n'glo with a pink grub tail
Rod two: A chrome and pink flasher with 14 inches of leader to a pink Chrome's smile spinner
Jigging setup: a williams wobbler with 8 inches of leader to a home-tied chironomid.
A nice calm day on the water! 2 kokanee trolling and 3 jigging.
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May 11, 2022
When I arrived at Stump Lake today, the wind was blowing hard and the waves were big, but that didn't stop an incredible amount of freshly hatched chironomids from flying all around the boat launch. Seeing this got me very excited! This often means that the fish are feeding heavily.
I zipped over to the bay near the campground to see if I could mark any fish but there was very little to see on the fish finder.
From here I let the wind and waves dictate my next move. I started trolling down the east side of the lake en route to the north end. It is far easier to troll with the wind when it is blowing hard. I had two bites on my way to the north end, even though I didn't mark many fish. When I got to the northeast end in 28 feet of water my fish finder lit up- and so did both of my rods, which were trolling at 15 and 20 feet deep. I caught one kokanee but lost the other. I took a quick throat sample and found that it was completely stuffed with tiny size 18 - 20 green chironomids.
I immediately attempted to set anchor and jig a flasher with a tiny green chironomid, but again the wind dictated that this was not possible with 3-foot waves pushing me off anchor.
I resumed trolling my Chrome's pink dodger with 14 inches of leader to a Chrome's pink and purple spinner.
This time I only fished one rod because it was tough in the wavy conditions to manage two rods on down riggers, especially when the fish were biting. I took a few more passes through the big school of fish with the downrigger set to 17 feet. Within 40 minutes I caught four more and had my limit of kokanee.
Windy but fun! Once I found them ithey were not hard to catch!
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March 3, 2022
What a beauty day to be out ice fishing! It is always nice when you have to unzip the tent a little because it's too warm! On the flip side, the warmer weather also means that the ice is getting thinner and weaker.
The ice right near shore was not great today, but out where I was fishing it was 10 inches thick. The first 5 inches was pretty firm but the last 5 inches was soft and the auger went through it quite quickly.
With the weather starting to warm up, I strongly suggest taking extra precautions if you are planning on going out on the ice. Wear a PFD and carry ice picks. If you fall through there is a very good chance those two pieces of equipment will save your life. The end of the season is often when people will fall through the ice, and it happens every year.
The water I was fishing in was 70 feet deep. I set my camera up at 18 feet and started jigging. The kokanee were coming in singles and pairs, but no big schools. I caught one about 20 minutes after setting up, and a second one right after. Unfortunately, the second fish came through the ice fishing hole, wriggled off the hook, and dove right back down the hole the transducer was in before I could grab it. I noticed the fish seemed to be coming in above my gear, so I reeled up to 10 feet. This seemed to be a good move. The fish were coming in about every 10 to 20 minutes.
It took a little bit of effort, but I managed my limit in 2.5 hours. It would have been a little quicker if I didn't let one slip back down the hole.
The setup: A chrome and pink 3.5 inch flasher with 14 inches of leader to a size 12 pink tungsten jig.
The bait: I caught three without bait and two with the jig tipped with pink maggots
Six kokanee through the ice fishing hole, but one escaped down the hole before I could grab it.
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February 25, 2022
I have read several good reports about the fishing at Stump Lake recently, and I hoped that they would prove to be accurate!
I arrived at the lake at 9:30 a.m. and counted 22 tents on the lake. I parked at the main launch and set up my tent closer to shore than all the other anglers. I drilled three holes in my tent: one for the camera, one for the transducer, and one for fishing.
The water was 70 feet deep, and I sent my gear down to 18 feet. I was using a chrome and brass 4 inch flasher with 12 inches of leader to a size 12 pink tungsten jig that I had tied up the night before. I always get a little excited to try out new lures and jigs. I didn't add any bait because I wanted to know if the jig would work bait-less.
The first two fish that I saw on the fish finder and camera hammered the new tungsten jig, giving me two fish on the ice in the first 10 minutes. The fish were very aggressive today! I watched my flasher freefall into the side of a kokanee and it turned and attacked the flasher and then my jig. Normally that would scare a fish off, not provoke an attack.
I marked 7 single fish at 20 feet deep over 45 minutes and was able to catch 5 of them. I limited out by 10:15 a.m.
The water was a little cloudy today compared to the last time I fished Stump and I found it odd that the fish were coming in one at a time. As I was packing up I finally marked a very large school of kokanee. I talked to a few other anglers who had caught a couple of fish and they were also catching mostly in the top 20 feet of water.
The setup: A chrome and brass 4 inch flasher with 12 inches of leader to a size 12 pink tungsten jig.
The bait: None required today!
The kokanee were very aggressive today making them easy to catch!
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