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, 2021
Pillar Lake is not my first choice of kokanee lakes to fish, because most years it is stocked with fewer than one kokanee for every five rainbow trout. This can make it a challenge to target kokanee between the rainbows. For whatever reason, they seem to hang out in the same spots on Pillar Lake.
Since ice quality is limiting my options, I thought I would give it a try.
Today I spent the first 45 minutes of my time at the lake deciding where to fish. I would drill one hole and stick the camera down and scan it with the fish finder, move to another spot and do it again. After six holes and about a kilometer of walking I found the spot I wanted to try. It looked good, 55 feet of water, marking fish, and lots of aquatic invertebrates showing up on the ice fishing camera.
Three times I saw a kokanee mixed in with some rainbow on the underwater camera, and each time I hooked a rainbow before I could entice a bite from the kokanee. I was using a green and glow Gibbs Gator with nine inches of leader to a a small red jig tipped with an array of baits like pink maggots, shoepeg corn, meal worms and dew worms. Each bait caught fish. I caught seven rainbows and one kokanee. The kokanee was caught with a meal worm.
It was a great day! I am glad I went out.
Jigging at 45 feet deep
The set-up: A green and glow Gibbs Gator with nine inches of leader to a small red jig with various baits.
All fairly small fish today. The kokanee was the largest of all the fish I caught at around one pound.
click to enlarge
I was able to take a quick trip out to Pillar Lake to drill some test holes and found 5 - 6 inches of solid hard ice. I talked to a few fishers on the lake who all reported slow fishing.