JIGGING FOR KOKANEE
school of fishing
Jigging is most often used when ice fishing, but can also give good results on the open water.
When jigging for kokanee through the ice or on the open water, there are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing your set up. Kokanee love very bright colours, so choose your flasher carefully. Generally speaking, your favourite flasher for trolling will probably also be your favourite flasher for jigging. A simple flasher like a dodger or a big spoon is all you need.
When jigging, carefully consider your choice in lures. Wedding band-style lures and hoochies are great for attracting attention when trolling, but don't work as well when jigging. Try using about 8 to 15 inches of leader to a small jig head or another small spoon, tipped with bait. Pink maggots (real or synthetic), or shoepeg corn with scents such as krill, shrimp, tuna and garlic are all good kokanee baits. I find that glow hooks also work very well. You may need a small split shot weight in the middle of your leader to prevent line tangles.
Sometimes when the fish are aggressive using a 2 - 3 inch spoon or a buzz bomb tipped with bait can prove very effective.
If you are jigging on open water you may need to use an anchor. If your boat is drifting too much your line will not go straight down making it hard to get to your desired depth. A slow controlled jig every 3 to 10 seconds is usually best. Jig up between 6 to 24 inches followed by a free drop to allow the spoon or dodger to flutter. This is just a guideline, sometimes you may want to try small quick jigs up and down. Whatever jigging technique you are using pay close attention because the kokanee’s bite is very soft.
Having an underwater camera is a huge advantage when you are jigging, it allows you to dial in the jigging technique that is going to make the fish bite. Check out the video below of some underwater kokanee action that I filmed this while jigging for kokanee through the ice.
What do you do if the bite is slow? Change things up! If you're not seeing many fish then it might be time to change your flasher and see if you can attract more fish. Alternately, when ice fishing, you can drill another hole about two or three feet away and send down a second flasher without a hook attached to try and get the fish's attention. Try different depths as well. Asking others where the fish are is also a good idea. If you find that there are lots of fish but they're not biting, then you will need to try all of your arsenal of baits until you find the one they can't resist!
For gear ideas check out Chrome's kokanee lure reviews.