One of the finest freshwater Sockeye fisheries in British Columbia is not found only in the lower mainland, but in the Okanagan in Osoyoos Lake. Thanks to combined efforts by the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA), Nation Leaders on both sides of the border and Department of Fisheries, Osoyoos Lake is now experiencing incredible sized Sockeye runs.
How to Fish for Osoyoos Sockeye – Video (Recorded in August 2014)
The Okanagan Nation Alliance and the department of fisheries are closely monitoring this fishery as their primary goal is to ensure there are salmon runs for the future generations. The sockeye salmon play an integral role in First Nation culture, not only as a regular food source but as a cultural and spiritual icon. The ONA deserves much credit for restoring this fantastic fishery!
Each year the ONA fisheries department and the BC Department of Fisheries reviews the expected Sockeye run numbers to determine if the Osoyoos Sockeye sport fishery will be opened. The opening can range from 10 days to 30 days, depending the number of returning Sockeye in the water system and water temperatures.
How to Fish for these Sockeye:
An angler can experience much success for these Sockeye by following traditional and basic Sockeye trolling methods.
You can use either a Flasher or a Dodger to target these fish. We find that when the fish are scattered the larger rotating flashers attract the fish in and intrigue a strike. If the fish are stacked within 10 feet of each other than a Dodger will usually produce best.
- Flasher: Gibbs Highliner UV Moonjelly Flashers
- Dodgers: Mack’s Lure Double D Dodger 7.6 inch
- Lure: Solid pink or red hoochies such as the Mack’s Cha Cha Squiders, add a Mack’s Lure Smile Blade to the front of the hoochie for added attraction.
- Leaders on Flashers:16 – 22 inch 20lbs test leader between the flasher and hoochie. The shorter leader worked best in the early morning, as the water temp increased we increased our leader length.
- Leaders on Dodgers: 8-12 inches.
- Hook:4/0 Red Barbless Hook. Sickle or Octopus Hooks work best.
- Weight:We used downriggers and inline 4 to 6 ounce weights. Less weight in the morning and more weight as the water temp increased. Approx 5 to 6 feet between the weight and the flasher.
- Trolling speed & pattern:Sockeye like slower trolling speeds. Troll between 1 to 1.8 mph. If you find that you can’t slow your boat down enough tie a bucket out of the back of your boat; we used our mop bucket! To help cover more depths troll in big ‘S’ patterns. Each time you turn the lure will sink deeper, most of your strikes will occur on the rod that is on the inside of the turn.
- Depths:The fish are found at all depths in the lake, from the surface to the bottom. We discovered that most of our success came from fishing depths between 30 to 65 feet. Shallower in the morning and as the temp increased we had better success trolling deeper. The water depths where we marked most of the fish were between 120 to 160 feet.
- Time of Day:6am to approx. 11am each day. The best time to be on the lake is right when the sunrise makes its way up over the hill and starts to shine on the water.
- Catch and Release: Catch and Release is NOT recommended! Sockeye have a very high mortality rate (over 90%) when caught and released during these warm water conditions.
- Pro Cure Scents tend to work the best. Krill, Shrimp and Garlic
Osoyoos is located at the junction of Hwy 3 and Hwy 97 S. The best place to launch your boat for a day trip is at the Osoyoos Marina in the heart of downtown Osoyoos. On the main street of Osoyoos as you head east, follow the main street to the bottom of the hill. The road turns right (Hwy 3 East) or left into residential and beach area of Osoyoos. Take a left at the interaction and you will find the boat launch less than 1km on your right. Many campgrounds such as Nk’Mip Campground and Haynes Point Campground also offer good boat launches.
Good luck and enjoy this world class fishery! Don’t forget to send us your pics or post them on our BC FISHN Facebook Page at facebook.com/bcfishn!
Tight lines & Conserve our Waters!