Second year in a row we camped at Bonaparte lake on the 4th of July. This time we got a rv slot at the resort with full hookup. Not really impressed there. Next time I'm bringing the generator and staying at the forest service run site again, way better set up , more space between sites and clean bathrooms. Which the resort cannot say... so we sold our spensive Wooldridge bad ass boat and had started our shopping for a bran spanken new pontoon again. A fishing one right! Well i jave great credit and was ready to buy. Got really upset with like 3 boat dealers, got lies too. And then i found elephant boys in spokane valley. Great guys! Didnt buy a pontoon. Went into left field purchased a 1976 bayliner mosquito. Closed bow walk through windshield. Cheep. Starts like a car ez. But its a force 50, works great for now. Got a bran spaken new minn kota powerdrive with Ipilot. Its a 24v bad ass. I wont be taking my kicker motor with my ever again. Ultimate control, convenience is out of this world. Done! Purchased from Elephant boys at a great price. Add bait table, downriggers, hummingbird, dual bank charger, bunch of 8 guage wire, a hella key and we are set. And payed for. And its a kokanee slayer. Benthook bayliner is born!
This is one of my favorite lakes ever. It is special to me. Its the first lake I ever went to as a kid. We watched the fireworks there until the barge caught on fire and sank one year, that was the last year of that. The loons, the views, the speed limit on the lake make this a special place.
Now on to the fishing. The Kokanee population is prevalent. I was able to find schools of 12-16” fat kokanee in the large end of the lake with the heaviest concentrations in front of the boy-scout camp. Fish ranged from 25-40 feet down with the majority in the 25-30 foot range. We fished at 25 feet on the wire. We had no luck on the long lines at all so gave up on those after the first day and had such steady action on the 2 downrigger rods we kept the 4 of us busy with just 2 rods towards the end. At this point we are a well oiled fishing team. The boys are great young anglers and my wife is a kick in the pants backing boat trailers in at the launch for me and navigating the boat. We sure have a lot of fun.
So we got buckets of Very nice kokanee filets, vacuum sealed and put away, and a pile ready to be smoked this was our most successful trip i feep of all time with the new 10 fish limits... great trip. The real highlight was watching the tip of a kokanee rod dip about a foot under the surface of the water from the most savage takedown i think that rod could withstand. The line popes out of the downrigger clip and just stayed strait down!?! Im thinking did we just hit bottom? No way im in 76 feet of water? My oldest son grabs the rod out of the rod holder and lets us know that what ever is on the other end is big. I can see the head shakes. Its on a line counter but we can see its just not coming in... a little more drag... it starts coming to the boat, slowly. At 15 feet down we can see it, its a Tiger trout! We didn’t weigh it but my cooler is 24” and it was all of 22” and it didnt have a neck its shoulders where so big.
What a trip. We had to fish when the weather let us, stormed every day off and on but when it was nice it was nice! We got pinned down by a hail storm with nickel size hail. The two guys in the paddle boat going out when we came in got caught in it... there is a savage video on the Bonaparte lake Resort Facebook page. They couldn’t bail the water out fast enough...