Pillar Lake kokanee.jpg


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.

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.


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

kokanee: 3
rainbows: 5


click to enlarge