Trinity Lake Kokanee and more
Article and photo by John Higley
8/28/11 -- When I hear mention of Trinity Lake visions of lunker smallmouth bass come to mind first. However, while smallmouths have drawing power on Trinity, especially in the spring, Trinity has more to offer. I found that out again last Friday, August 26, during a morning trip with Mike Elster of Mike’s Fishing Guide Service.
At 6:30 a.m. we launched Mike’s 20 foot Duckworth at the Fairview ramp and motored north to the Stuart Fork Arm where we planned to spend most of our time. Our goal was to sample Trinity’s largely unheralded population of kokanee salmon (small landlocked sockeye salmon), and for me it was a real eye opener. Using downriggers, we trolled slowly with Apex and Hum Dinger spoons and Wiggle Hoochies behind Sling Blade dodgers. Elster embellished the lures with Pro- Cure’s Predator gel and one piece of Green Giant shoe peg corn on each hook. Soon we were catching fat, bright foot long kokanee from 40 to 70 feet down. We long arm released a couple and eventually kept five that had great fish dinners written all over them.
In addition, we landed two king salmon in the 17-inch class and a rainbow trout bigger than the salmon. It was a delightful mixed bag typical of the action Elster has enjoyed at Trinity for a couple of weeks. On the trip before ours he limited two customers out on the Papoose Arm.
Trinity is still full and, with mountains all around, as picturesque as it can get. It is also the least pressured of northern California’s big three reservoirs, Shasta and Whiskeytown being the other two. We had no angling competition on the Stuart Fork as the other fishing boats on the water, at least the couple we saw, were those of bass anglers headed to other locations.
One reason we were on Trinity, instead of Whiskeytown, which is well known for its bigger than average kokanee, is because many Whiskeytown kokes are loaded with copepods this year and they look terrible. At Trinity one koke had a single copepod mark but was otherwise clean as a newly minted dime. I’m thinking a lot of us are missing a good bet by not visiting Trinity more often. Kokanee fishing should remain good there until the fish assume their spawning mode in a few weeks.
To hook-up with Elster call (916) 215-6330 or look him up online at mikesfishingguideservice.com.
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