KSL Outdoors: Flaming Gorge Kokes

We’re headed out with fishing guide Clark Sabey and his older brother Phil. Both of these guys spend a lot of time chasing the monster macks here at the gorge, but today we are after those tasty silver bullets.

(Phil) they say the top three picks are pink orange and green and I’ve been running the same two squids for two years, literally the same two. So yeah a dodger and a squid, that’s all I’ve ever used.

(Clark) Put a little flavor on it to and again, kokanee fisherman they all have their picks. I just run a maggot, seems to work.

(Clark) We were here two days ago, I had three clients on board and we limited out in about an hour and a half. They were actually just ahead a little bit. So we’ll fish around, but as soon as we start getting bit, we’ll stay in a nice tight little area.

(Clark) This time of the year they tend to be a little closer to the surface. We are running about 25 feet today. Typically as the year goes on they are going to go down in the water column and that is what that fish finder is nice for. On a day to day basis. I just fish to depth. If I mark a little deeper, i set a little deeper.

(Adam) What’s the size you’ve been seeing here? This is just slightly less than average. We are fishing pretty far south and the kokanee tend to be a little smaller down here, but this year they are looking good.

(Ryan Mosley, Flaming Gorge Project Leader, UDWR) We are seeing really good catch rates for kokanee, it’s really early this year but as you know it’s kind of an abnormal year. We’ve been extremely warm, a lot of precipitation.

We had really good recruitment in 2011 and so we should be seeing some larger fish in the catch this year.

(nats taking rod out) Well phil is living up to not catching any kokes. (laughs) You’ve got to love them, you’ve got to say nice things about them Phil. The only thing you ever say is they are good for feeding lake trout. Jumper.

Oh he’s a zippy little bugger. (net fish) that’s more what we are used to seeing down here.

Three agencies stock Flaming Gorge with kokanee, the Utah DWR, Wyoming Game and Fish and the US Fish and wildlife service out of Jones Hole.

(Ryan) collectively in 2014 we stocked 1.6 million, kokanee are still being stocked right now, so I don’t have those totals, but we had a surplus of fish in the Utah System and I think Wyoming Game and Fish did also, so we’ll probably going to be consistent with 1.6 million or maybe a little bit higher. I expect a little bit of a bump. So we were glad to have good numbers of fish going back into the gorge.

Breaking the curse? Got to be a rainbow Adam. Rainbow or lake trout.

Both Clark and Phil grew up in Heber on the shores of Deer Creek. This is where they found their love of fishing. Clark then turned his passion into his job. He’s here on the gorge year round, guiding fisherman to all different species of fish from rainbows, to kokanee and the elusive monster lake trout.

(Clark) I get the biggest thrill anymore watching peoples eyes when that fish comes underneath the boat. It’s a lot of fun.

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