KSL Outdoors: Flaming Gorge kokanee and smallmouth

I’m Adam Eakle, Welcome to KSL Outdoors. If you like fishing you are going to love tonights show. We hope to show you three different species and the techniques to catch them. And we are kicking it off with the smokanee up at Flaming Gorge.”

“we in the secret spot? “no it’s not a secret spot. “where are we?” we’re in King Fisher, King Fisher Canyon.”

“alright lets get this gear in the water.”

Watching Ryan set the gear is like watching a Nascar pit crew in action as the rods are baited and readied in just minutes.

“ok, we are all set up, all we need now is for the kokanee to show up.”

We are marking fish about 40, 60 feet. We’ve got a fish right there at 50. See if we can buy one.”

Ryan has invited us up for what some are calling the best kokanee year at Flaming Gorge on record and now is the time to target them.

“fish on the left.” “fish on.”

you know in 2009, we had really good recruitment in the reservoir and that’s what we are seeing this year is a lot of age three kokanee. It’s been phenomenal catch rates lake wide, especially on the Wyoming end but even down here in where we are today and”

If these fish can continue to survive and do well, next year should be phenomenal for four year olds. It’s great to see the kokanee fishery responding really well. Because we had really low numbers, record low numbers of kokanee in the reservoir in 07, 08.”

“nice smokanee.”

“well that’s a two year old, little bit smaller koke. We’ve been getting lots of threes this year. They’ll be 2-3 inches bigger than this and the occasional four but. This is a two year old kokanee. A lot of guys will release them. I’d just recommend that if you are going to release them they try to do it in the water. But they are still good eating so we are going to keep this one.”

“how about that fish right there?” is that a fish? “yeah get him, stick him.”

“can’t even get our rods back in the water.”

“that’s a better fish, 3 year old.”

Rocky Mountain Serpent spoon, the vibrant colors, kokanee just love them.”

To see these Rocky Mountain lures in action, we’ve sent our underwater camera down to 50 feet, right above the downrigger ball. Watch as the kokanee eyes the lure from below, and lashes out at this pink squid we’re trailing behind a Rocky Mountain Tackle, Hyper Plaid dodger.

“but it’s not very common.” “fish!” “oh.”

“kokanee, nice one actually.” “nice net job.”

if you have the ability to get more rods in the water. You know we have three in right now, we have the capability to put four. But the more rods you can put in the water the better, you can mix it up, use some different type of tackle. We are running dodgers and squids, dodgers and kokanuts, we’ve got spoons on. You can chance up the color. Pink seems to be the go to color this year, but that can change also.”

“there he is.” “wow.” “good fish?” “it’s already in the air.” “look at him go.”

boat speed, I usually troll about 1.6-2.2 MPH. Like you were indicating, I’ll also do turns and if they are picking up on the inside, I’ll go a little slower. If they are picking up on the outside, I’ll go faster.”

“another silver bullet Adam.”

“Really watch your graph, make sure you are putting the lures where the fish are.”

“Some of the key locations from the bottom of the reservoir to the top would be Jarvies Bay, Hideout, Sheep Creek Bay, Linwood Bay, Pipeline, Anvil Draw, Holmes Crossing and Buckboard, those are probably some of the hot spots. But really anglers can get out away from those hot spots and still find fish and that’s where it’s essential to have a good fish finder.”

“With all the fish in the reservoir right now, it’s a good time to come out and learn what’s going on and pick up some of these kokanee techniques, you’ve got a lot of opportunity.

The limit for kokes on the Wyoming side and Utah side is three a piece, come up, figure them out and have one heck of a morning. We’re back to the gorge in a minute, but first tonights quiz and we’re still talking kokanee.


“stuck him.” “very nice.”

The Gorge is on fire right now, not only for kokanee and smallmouth.

but also because of a lightning caused fire that broke out between Mustang and Jarvies this past weekend. Fire crews responded and quickly put out the 275 acre blaze. But the fishing will continue to be hot through the summer.

for smallmouth bass at Flaming Gorge, just look for rocky structure and of course down here in the canyon reach or the Utah portion of the reservoir there’s lots of that. Basically there’s a smallmouth bass behind every rock.”

“rainbow?” “smallie.”

lots of things to target them with, jerkbaits work really well at times. Topwater is really fun, especially early in the morning and late afternoon, evening. and the jigs, it’s just the go to lure. Smallmouth bass fantastic fish to fish for, great fish to introduce kids to, especially here because there is a lot of small ones and they are really easy to coheres and they are fantastic eating.”

“This is the size i usually take home and eat. I’ll keep 10 of these and it will feed my family of four. We love it, we fry them, do ceviche, fish tacos. Fantastic eaters out of the gorge and you know keeping a limit, 10 fish of these smaller smallmouth and letting those bigger ones go, is only going to benefit the resource. There is just so many fish down in this lower end of the lake.”

The limit on smallmouth in Utah is still 10, but on the Wyoming side, starting this year it’s only 6. Biologists in Wyoming have seen a decline in the smallmouth population in part they believe because of burbot predation and competition for the smallmouths favorite food, the crayfish. Burbot are not as prevalent on the Utah side and so biologists reccommended staying at a 10 smallmouth limit.

“oh that’s a pretty fish isn’t it. “what did you catch that rainbow on? “hula grub, fishing smallies.

You’ll also find plenty of rainbows cruising in that 10-20 foot range. That’s what is so great about the fishery, you never know what you’re going to catch. The best lure today, was actually pitching a rainbow looking crankbait towards shore, and while we didn’t catch a smallmouth over 2 pounds, like we’d hoped, we still caught a grundle.

“Nice, good job Ryno.”

“Catches a lot of rainbows too. I’ve even caught lake trout on these.”

“Hula grub, getting a little hammered, oh, see that release. “clean.” “that’s how the professionals do it.”

boy you can sure tell it’s summer, the jet skiers are out, the pleasure boaters are out. The water may only be about 62-64 degrees, somewhere in that area, still a great time to come up to Flaming Gorge and experience some great smallmouth, kokanee, even some rainbow action. Hey coming up on KSL Outdoors, we are going to head down to Starvation Reservoir for some walleye action, but first lets go to my buddy, Brad Cutler now with some walleye tips on how to bottom bounce.”

Add comment

Get In Touch

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.