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Bunny leeches with heavy lead eyes, fished with a floating or sink tip line. I also recommend fishing mid may thru june, in lakes with good populations of eyes. They aren't exactly easy, but it can be done!
 

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During the Spring damsel and chironomid emergences would be a great time. Buzzers/bombers on a sliding float a foot off the bottom (look into the BC and English/Scottish stillwater methods) or a small bead or cone head olive damsel (#12) fished on a sink-tip, or at least a L-O-N-G de-greased leader would work too.

Shad and baitfish eaters would be easy; Clouser or the like. Consider fishing in low-light or nocturnal conditions. Walleye are almost always at the level of the plankton. Plankton ascend or descend according to sunlight penetration.

Another unique opportunity to get eyes on the wiggle stick is to chase them up river in the spring. A red San Juan, dead drifted like you would for trout, will make your strange dream come true.

Hope this helps.

Shaun
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks for the details, Shaun, will be ready for spring. Didn't realize the plankton moved, thought they just stayed deep. Does that mean that Kokanee move, too? By time of day, or just time of year?
 

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Sure kokes move. Or rather, make vertical adjustments in the water column.

Phytoplankton make adjustments in depth according to sunlight penetration to allow for optimal photosynthesis. Zooplankton follow them, and so on.

Plankton density is typically greatest during late summer/early fall before the cold snaps. Of course, it all depends on water chemistry. So time of year has a correlation to the ease with which we can observe the diurnal/nocturnal movements of plankton, but they occur year round.

Phytoplankton levels drop very low during winter, especially in lakes with a lid. The factors effecting zooplankton migration under ice are, I believe, not very well understood. Obviously wind and wave action is not a factor, particulates drop out of suspension and turbidity decreases. Predators of zooplankton are thought to be a driver of zooplankton distribution in ice covered lakes, but again, much has yet to be discovered about that dynamic.

You can observe plankton distribution changing throughout the day under ice with an underwater camera, especially one equipped with an IR array. Daphnia and even smaller critters show up clearly. A mysis shrimp looks like the Kraken.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Very interesting - what I'm interested in is the effect on my fishing - do the zooplankton move during the day, meaning, if I want to catch Kokanee, will they be closer to the surface early and late? I am going to have to start lake fishing, and would like to target Kokes, but thought I would need a boat and deep water gear to get to them.
 

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I am going to have to start lake fishing, and would like to target Kokes, but thought I would need a boat and deep water gear to get to them.
Most of the year you do, fly guys get to have there way with them when they run the rivers.
 

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Just to be clear, I am not captain kokanee. I am not the dude to ask koke questions to. Having said that, kokes are filter-feeders, and plankton eaters, and all things being the same, plankton dive by day and ascend by night, or at least by lower light levels.

The thing is, if you are limited to shore fishing, well, lets just say here is wishing you all the best if you want to target kokes. Your best bet is to hit fall runs, in rivers, with a fly rod.

With all due apologies to Russians everywhere, I want to state, for the record, that KOKES CAN BE CAUGHT IN THE MOUTH WITH FLIES WHEN THEY ARE RUNNING. You don't have to snag them.

Red Copper Johns, red, chartreuse or pink San Juan worms, and any variation on the theme of Glo-Bug will work. Skip the "salmon flies" like they use in Alaska, those suck up there for sockeyes (kokes are sockeyes) and they suck down here for them too.

Good luck.

Shaun
 

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Bunny leeches are good for pretty much anything. Theyre super easy to tie and have amazing movement. If youre a serious fly fisherman, you should have an assortment of them in different colors and sizes(IMO). Black, white, brown and chartreuse are the top colors that come to mind. Just caught my first lake trout on one this past weekend.
 

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Bunny leeches are good for pretty much anything. Theyre super easy to tie and have amazing movement. If youre a serious fly fisherman, you should have an assortment of them in different colors and sizes(IMO). Black, white, brown and chartreuse are the top colors that come to mind. Just caught my first lake trout on one this past weekend.
^^^^^ someone's gotta say it... Pics or it didn't happen ;)

And to the OP - My best tip would be (like others have said) find out when/where they run and target them in a river system. Especially if you don't have a boat, a river is going to give you a much better chance at catching one. What I caught them on this year was (heavily weighted flies) Money Bug - Large bright 20 incher - and large stone fly patterns. Fish a tandem rig way WAY under an indicator. My rig had at least 8 feet between indicator and split shot (I used two of the 3/0 water gremlin split shot) and you'll probably need a 1&1/4" thingamabobber to keep your indicator from sinking. The Kokes aren't trying to eat your flies, they strike out of aggression. So the brighter and bigger the better, you want to piss them off so they bite. And when they do you better be ready to run. I hooked up on a big male, he hit the fast water and before I knew it I was almost out of backing... Strong, strong fish man. It is definitely a blast
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yeah, done the river thing - East at Hatchery, and all up and down the Gunny - much fun watching them make the turn at Almont. But there's the rest of the year, and I guess that'll just have to be trout in the summer and walleye down south in spring. Guess that leaves winter for tying more bunnies. I also tie a leech with pine squirrel strips that is equally effective - kind of a mini slumpbuster.
 

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Limited to shore fishing, any suggestions on what to use?
Try Carter, about start an hour after sunset; cast fire tiger baitfish streamers parallel to the shore along rocky areas, don't have your fly more than 2 foot from shore & you should hook up some eye's and an occasional bass as the work the edges.
 
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