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PILLAR LAKE

fishing reports

Pillar Lake is best known for its hike to a unique stone pillar and  it's rainbow trout fishery. Now stocked with kokanee, Pillar Lake's kokanee fishing is quickly growing in popularity. Learn more about Pillar Lake here.

Dec 6, 2022

December 6, 2022

I have been waiting somewhat impatiently for the ice to be safe on Pillar Lake and was hoping today would be the day! I did not expect to find 8 inches of ice at the boat launch after finding only 1 inch just a week ago.

I carried my ice picks and wore my PFD anyway as I ventured out to deeper waters.

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I headed north from the boat launch and drilled test holes along the way, just in case. Today was a classic example of how easy it is to become complacent to the possibility of changing ice conditions.

 

I tested 5 different spots and the ice was consistently 8 inches. When I arrived at the location where I wanted to fish, I was surprised to find that I was standing on 3.5 inches. My previous test hole was only about 50 feet away with 8 inches of good ice. I backed off a bit and set up my tent over about 4.5 inches of ice, just north of the resort and in the middle.

I was set up over 54 feet of water and started fishing at 25 feet deep. I jigged for about 10 minutes and marked 3 fish at 45 feet deep, and no fish in the shallower water. I lowered my camera and hook to 45 feet. The fish were coming in every 5 to 10 minutes, but only 1 to 2 at a time. At exactly 10:30 I got into a nice 16.5 inch chromer. It was fairly slow fishing, but by 2 p.m. I had caught 4 rainbows and 3 kokanee. Unfortunately, I also lost 3 kokanee, one of which was larger than the others and got lost right by the hole. I would have caught several more rainbows but because I was targeting kokanee I strategically pulled my jig away from some of the rainbows.  I saw 5 other good-sized kokanee on the camera. It is nice to know that there are some big ones still in the lake!

the Strategy

Rod one:  A 2.5 inch williams wobbler with 12 inches of leader to a Chrome Catchers' hand-tied pink tungsten jig (jig can be seen in the gallery)

The bait: shoepeg corn scented with a Pautzke brine and anise oil.

THE CATCH

It was a bit slow today but I still managed to put 3 nice chromers on the ice! 

kokanee: 3
rainbows: 4

PHOTO GALLERY

click to enlarge

ICE UPDATE

November 29, 2022

I was very optimistic that I might be able to get out on Pillar Lake today. I figured worst case scenario, I could fish at nearby Joyce Lake. I saw two ice huts on the south end of the lake but when I tested the ice at the south end I found 3 inches of ice, only 1 of which was good clear ice. The ice off the main day use area was only 1 inch thick.  Off to Joyce Lake!

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October 3, 2022

It was a perfect October day. There was not even a ripple on the water when I arrived at Pillar Lake.

This time of year, red and green kokanee can be seen near the shorelines of many local lakes. I decided to go to Pillar because it is one of the three local lakes that currently contains adult triploid kokanee. About 10% of triploids spawn after four years while the rest often live a couple of years longer. Because of this, Pillar Lake will still have a large number of chrome adult kokanee.

Pillar Lake kokanee.jpg

The first thing I saw when I arrived was a school of bright red kokanee right beside the boat launch. I always like watching the spawning fish!

I headed toward the north end of the lake and trolled along the way at 30 feet deep. I was using a pink and chrome Chrome's dodger and a Chrome's single spinner (bubble butt) on one rod and the same dodger with a pink wiggle hoochie on the other rod. The single spinner got a fish on almost immediately, and then two more bites within about 20 min. The wiggle hoochie caught one.

Most of the fish were marking between 25 to 35 feet. I switched out the wiggle hoochie for a pink micro spinner hoochie and lowered it to 30 feet and caught a nice kokanee soon after. I then changed the single spinner to another micro spinner hoochie and I became very busy- a good kind of busy! I was reeling in fish and downrigger weights with very little downtime. I hit my limit in about an hour and lost about the same amount. Most of the kokanee were about 14 inches, but one was a hog! All of the fish were caught close to 30 feet deep and at a speed of 1.2 MPH.

the Strategy

Rod one: A Chrome's pink and chrome dodger with 14 inches of leader to a micro spinner hoochie.

 

Rod two: A Chrome's pink and  chrome dodger with 14 inches of leader to a micro spinner hoochie.

THE CATCH

Lots of kokanee biting the spinner hoochies today! 

kokanee: 5
rainbows: 0

PHOTO GALLERY

click to enlarge

October 3, 2022

January 19, 2022

One year ago today I was out on the ice at Pillar Lake searching for kokanee. I managed to catch only one, along with a bunch of rainbows. I was determined to do better this year.

 

One of the issues with targeting kokanee in Pillar Lake is that the rainbows outnumber the kokanee by a little better than 5 to 1. The underwater camera really helps with this if you are targeting only kokanee, because you can strategically pull your jig away if you see the rainbows coming in.

Pillar Lake kokanee

I set up right in front of the resort where the lake widens. I was in 56 feet of water and the fish were consistently marking at 45 to 50 feet.

After getting my gear down I could see on the camera that most of the marks were rainbow trout. Every so often the fish finder screen became heavy with marks as a school of kokanee would come in and mingle with the rainbows. I tried a variety of baits and small jigging spoons but the tiny pink grub tail worked best.

I was on the lake from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The rainbow trout were fairly aggressive and would strike readily, but the kokanee needed a constant jig or they would lose interest and swim away. I caught 5 rainbows (even while trying to avoid them!) and three chrome kokanee, all at about 45 feet deep. I was very impressed by the size of the kokanee- nearly 18 inches! I saw several good sized kokanee on the camera but only managed to catch one of the big ones.

the Strategy

The set up: a 3.5 inch chrome with pink and green glow flasher with 12 inches of leader to a small jig head and small pink grub tail.

 

 

The bait: I tried meal worms, pink gulp maggots, and scented shoepeg corn. It seemed as though no bait worked just as good.

THE CATCH

I was very happy to catch a kokanee that measured just shy of 18 inches!!!

kokanee: 3
rainbows: 5

PHOTO GALLERY

click to enlarge