First serious Kokanee trip of the year in the books. I thought with the Lake Stevens derby going on to the south I would have an opportunity to get the lake to myself, but when I turned into the parking lot at 4:40am I realized that a bass tournament was taking place and the parking lot was already starting to fill up. No problem though, the bass guys were all very respectful and we hardly noticed their presence on the lake. It was my first AIS inspection of the year, luckily I had remembered to take the online class the night before, so I got $10 off the annual pass. I finished inflating the boat and splashed in by 5:00am without a hitch.
Between 5 and 6:30 I was reminded over and over just how frustrating kokanee fishing can be. I had many drive-bys and several solid fighting fish on that inexplicably popped off 50' from the boat. I felt like a corn charity as the fish continually got away with my bait and left nothing on the hooks. At 6:30 my 2 fishing buddies that slept in arrived at the boat launch and I picked them up ready for a much needed reset. Once I got them in the boat and got 5 rods out we started getting fish in the net slowly but consistently. By 10:30am we had 8 fish in the boat and had about half hour left to fish. I had seen many fish schooled up near the bottom around the boat launch, so I suggested we tie on some jigs and give it a go. Quickly I realized though, that the fish schooled up near the bottom were not kokanee, but perch. The perch were returned to the water unharmed and we called it a day.
It was hard to pick out a best lure or flasher because the bites were well distributed across all of our rods. We caught fish on an Orange Wedding Ring, a Blue Wedding Ring, a Pink Hootchie with Smile Blade, a Pink kokanee bug and an Orange kokanee bug. Doesn't seem to matter what you are towing as long as you get something in front of their faces. Only lures we tried that did not get bit were a red wedding ring and a gold/silver god's tooth (kokanee rigged). My boat has never caught more than 8 kokanee on Lake Samish, and we tied that record again today. It was a fun morning on the water and the Kokanee were delicious for dinner. 6-7 other boats were also out there targeting kokanee and we saw nearly every one of them catch fish at some point.