The late summer kokanee fishing has been heating up recently on Lake Pend Oreille. This comes as a nice surprise because Fish and Game biologists were expecting kokanee to be abundant, but also on the small side, and kokanee smaller than about 8-inches long tend to be hard to catch. When fish get over 8 inches and closer to 9 inches, fishing can start to get good.
Biologists have been operating creel surveys at public boat launches around the lake for the last few weeks, and the folks that are finding the fish are having excellent catch rates. The creel surveys have shown catch rates as high as five fish per hour per rod, but most folks are averaging about two fish per hour per rod.
Fishing Lake Pend Oreille for kokanee
Several anglers returned with 15-fish limits of fish averaging about 9 inches, with some fish as big as 10 to 11.5 inches. You won’t put a big fillet on the grill with fish that size, but when smoked they make great snacks and many anglers like to pack smaller kokanee in a jar and pressure can them.
Most of the anglers interviewed have been fishing from Idlewild Bay to Lakeview, although there have been reports of anglers doing well in the middle and northern portions of the lake as well. Anglers are finding that hitting the right depth seems to be the key to success. One angler was willing to divulge that 40-50 feet deep was where he found a hot bite, but keep an eye out for fish getting shallower in the evenings and changing depths with the cooler weather predicted for the upcoming weekend.