One of the best ways to improve your hook up success while Kokanee fishing is by using a dodger as the main attractant. Do lake trolls such as the Willow Leaf, Ford Fender and Gang Trolls work? Yes, but there is a time and place to use them, such as early spring when long lining on the surface while the Kokanee are in the upper water column. Once the water temperature starts to warm the fish tend to go deeper; this is when using Kokanee dodgers will put the odds in your favour.
Mack’s Double D Dodger
This dodger comes in 2 different sizes, 4.4 inches and 7.6 inches. The 4.4 inch is the most effective to use when Kokanee fishing. This dodger has features like no other. At the top of the dodger it has 5 small holes to set your mainline. Each hole will make the dodger swing away from the boat. The diagram on how to use these holes is right on the dodger for easy reference. This feature is great when you are fishing near the surface because it acts like a side planer and takes your presentation away from the path of the boat. As the fish move away from the boat they are pushed to the side directly into your presentation. This feature also comes in handy when you are stacking lines off the downrigger. Each line can be offset from the other to help avoid line tangles.
The Double D Dodger also has a speed up and slow down action to it, similar to the action that you get when you make ‘S’ turns in your boat. This erratic action really entices the Kokanee to strike your lure!
Shasta Sling Blade Dodger
This dodger also comes in multiple sizes, we find that the 4.5 inch and 5.5 inch sizes are most effective for Kokanee in majority of the lakes within the Pacific Northwest. What is great about these Sling Blade Dodger compared to other dodgers on the market is that they are made from light stainless steel that can be tuned. The dodger is somewhat flexible and can be tuned for different levels of action by simply bending the dodger. The faster the troll the less of a bend, the slower the troll more the bend.
Dodgers come in numerous amounts of colour variations and sometimes it can be overwhelming on which colours you should have within your arsenal of tackle. Some of the most important items to take into consideration when choosing dodger colours are the water clarity, depth in which you are fishing and the light conditions. Think of contrast rather than colours. The less light available the more contrast is needed which is produced by darker colours. The lighter days the brighter colours will prove to work as the light will reflect well. Dodgers with UV are an excellent option as UV requires less light to hold colours. It really comes down to establishing a pattern. Keep switching colours out between your dodgers and lures until you find the winning formula.
Leader lengths is one of the most important parts of an effective presentation for Kokanee. The leader length will determine the amount of action that is transferred from the dodger to the lure. To determine leader lengths it comes down to the type of lure that you will be using. There are essentially 2 types of lures that you will be using when Kokanee fishing 1) A Lure with its own side to side action such as a Apex, Spoon, or Wiggle Hoochie 2) A Lure that doesn’t have its own side to side action such as a Hoochie, Spin N’Glo, Flies, Wedding Rings, etc.
Here’s a simple formula to help you choose the correct leader length when fishing behind a dodger. This formula is used for lures that don’t have their own (side to side) action such as Hoochies, Spinners and Spin & Glos.
Late Winter & Early Spring:
The fish are not as active and slow trolling with slower action lures is usually the key in getting these lethargic Kokanee to strike. Since we want to slow down the action of the lure you will want to run a bit longer leaders than you would in the late spring and summer periods.
Leader Formula for Late Winter & Early Spring: 2.5 to 3.5 times the length of the dodger.
Late Spring & Summer:
As the warmer weather rolls in and the water temps jump up the Kokanee will become more active and will strike a more aggressive moving lure. This is the time of year we shorten our leaders up so that the action from the dodger can really transfer to the lure.
Leader Formula for Late Spring & Summer: 2 to 2.5 times the length of the dodger.
For lures that have their own action such as a small plug, Apex or spoon; we run longer leaders so that the dodger doesn’t interrupt the lures own action.
Leader Formula for using a lure with its own action: 4 to 5.5 times the length of the dodger.
If running lures behind a set of gang troll or lake troll flashers, leader lengths from 24’ to 30 inches can be effective.