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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Finally got my boat in the water and headed out to fish for Kokanee. Caught these two salmon this morning about 30' down. I marked a lot of fish in the entire water column in the area between Shore point and the Narrows. Tried a couple of other areas and found a lot of empty water. Fishing for Kokanee should really pick up in the next few weeks. Well I'm going to have some fresh grilled salmon and fresh baked "cat head" biscuits tonight:)

Remember the Big Choga launch ramp is closed for renovations. You will have to use Rocky Branch.
 

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I would love to get on some of these this summer. What method do you use? Trolling a spoon? And would it be possible from a kayak?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I would love to get on some of these this summer. What method do you use? Trolling a spoon? And would it be possible from a kayak?
Yes I think it is possible to catch a kokanee from a kayak especially if you have a pedal propelled yak like my wife's 13' Native Slayer. You can troll all day with that yak and have your hands free to fish. You should also have a downrigger. Scotty makes small inexpensive downrigger with weights that can easily be attached to the yak. A decent fish finder is also a must. The trolling terminal tackle for kokanee typically consists of a dodger and a squid/hoochie type lure(run a search if you are not familiar with these terms). You will need some information about Nantahala lake as the kokanee will only be found in certain parts of the lake. The best times to catch is from mid May through July.
 

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If the fish are 30 feet down now, what's the absolute deepest they'll get by July? I'd like to try for 'em this season. I've had some success using hoochies for Rainbows in Chilhowee Lake. I got a downrigger last fall. It goes to 225 feet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Depends on the July weather and the thermocline location. I would say 40' to 65'. Your fish finder should give you a good place to start. My fish finder shows the thermocline. I usually start there. The kokanee will go deeper as the temperature goes up. I have marked them at 75+'. You need heavy cannon balls(8+lbs) and glow/fluorescent dodgers/squids etc. at those depths. I generally do not do well in August/September for kokanee.(too deep and more spread out) I plan to fish/troll Calderwood and Cheoah for trout in August and September. Run a long line or planer board in addition your down rigger. Hope you get a lake trout at Chillhowee. I would Troll deep in the river channel.
 

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I have a nice variety of hoochies. My ball is 8 pounds. I don't have a terrific fish finder. It looks like a 70's Pong game but it spots fish. I don't think that it marks the thermocline. Do the Kokanee like the hoochies without a wiggle lip? The 'Bows sure like the wiggle lip ones and I've even caught two Smallies on 'em.

The trolling for Lakers is harder than ever. It's bad enough that it's shallow and clear. Now it's shallower. There is an undisclosed problem with Chilhowee Dam and they've lowered the lake 4.5 feet. It might be a gate problem. The gate closest to U.S. 129 looked like it was leaking back in March. There's no apparent outdoor work.

A friend was at Calderwood with his boys yesterday. They caught Brookies at the launch, Rainbows near the dam, and he said a Brown at Slickrock Creek. I may try Calderwood soon. Another friend who was at Calderwood said he marked quite a few fish at 120 feet near the dam. It sounds like there's still a few Lakers in there. I don't know if Browns would sit that deep...??? I'm gonna troll a Michigan Stinger Spoon, Watermelon colour, that looks rainbow-y down there in the deep part. I think I'll start at about 60 feet. Chilhowee is really too shallow for downriggers. You need so much line out on Chilhowee that lead-core works better there.

I trolled Watauga for Lakers last week without a strike. The fish were all way deeper than 100 feet and wouldn't come up, but it was good practice at using my downrigger. I'm anxious to catch something, anything with it. I could troll Rapalas deep in Calderwood with it too. The Browns like those but probably shallower.... I might hit Calderwood this week. I'm gonna let Chilhowee rest. I caught nothing there last week and huge Carp were frolicking all over the top end looking for lovers. Chilhowee seems out of sorts lately.... I was catching fish there back in March and April before the draw-down. I went fishin' twice last week and all I caught was one little Smallie. The sun, the earth, and the moon must of been lined up wrong!

This week must surely be better...?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have used those lipped hootchies. Had success with them especially hot pink and chartreuse on the kokanee. I will use them at Cheoha and Calderwood targeting the trout. Glad to hear they are still catching brookies and browns at Calderwood. Carp and lake trout! Chilhowee seems like a paradox.
 

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I have used those lipped hootchies. Had success with them especially hot pink and chartreuse on the kokanee. I will use them at Cheoha and Calderwood targeting the trout. Glad to hear they are still catching brookies and browns at Calderwood. Carp and lake trout! Chilhowee seems like a paradox.
Does Tennessee have some deal with Carolina, such as TN will stock the Rainbows if Carolina does the Brookies...at Calderwood? TN has Brookies available but the Brookies always seem to be thick at the top end where I'm sure they must stock 'em. I've talked to somebody who watched TN stock with the pipe beyond the portage dock down near the dam. He said it looked like all 'Bows. They all spread out eventually but I bet both states stocked late and the fish have not spread that much yet. It's good to see the Brookies back in Calderwood. Somebody could set a TN state record for Brook Trout in the next few years. The TN record is just 3 pounds, 14 ounces. That's darn approachable in Calderwood, or should be. A friend caught one that was 2-14 down near the dam about 5 years ago when there were lots of Brookies in the lake. If anybody breaks the record be sure and do it in Tanase! ;)
 

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Chilhowee isn't that paradoxical, it's shallow, light bounces back up in so many areas and the Lakers have the best eyesight in the lake. They will hit spoon-like thingies. Sometimes I troll cowbell attractors with a night crawler about 2.5 feet back. I've had two massive strikes on this outfit where the crawler wasn't touched. I had the rod in my hand on the one this spring. It felt like two big head shakes. I may get some minnows and put one behind the attractor sometime soon. I saw this work on TV but it was way deeper....I may try a minnow behind a mini-flasher so they don't have as much to think about.

I've had two differnt guys tell me they've caught Lakers on small and medium sized, gold Rapalas. Both of 'em told me they used 4 pound test line. I hate to go below 6 but if that's what it takes to get a strike....maybe. Actually, I tried a gold Rapala on 4 last summer. It didn't work but I caught two Walleyes.
 

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Would like to pull my boat up or bring the propel kayak for a few days of camping and fishing on this lake. Sounds like a lot of fun.

When is the best time for the salmon?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Would like to pull my boat up or bring the propel kayak for a few days of camping and fishing on this lake. Sounds like a lot of fun.

When is the best time for the salmon?
Now through July with June probably the best month. The dam area is usually quite good in June. Work(troll) the forestry side from the dam block houses to the point. The Rocky Creek abyss is also productive. Be patient. Some nice camping sites on forestry land.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I found Rocky Creek on the map. Is this abyss back in the creek's cove or at it's mouth?
The abyss is the Rocky Branch river channel. It starts at about the boat launch ramp and begins to get deeper. It is approx. 180' deep at it's max. Pay attention to your fish finder as the abyss is narrow and steep. It is easy to run your cannon balls/tackle up the shallow sides of the abyss especially on the right side. The abyss leads to the deep Nantahala river channel and ultimately to the dam. Good kokanee and trout fishing in this area.
 

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Troutgirl.

A little birdie told me a story about trolling Rapalas at night on Watauga and catching Lake Trout during the last new moon.

6# line/1 small split shot. Barely fast enough to get a wiggle. A lot of line out, 220'-250'. ~18' deep

Your hooks need to be sharp, not package sharp, not needle sharp, hypodermic needle sharp. Light strikes, hold the rod.

Expect a long fight. They are there, go get 'em.

rgarbar, Thanks for the report. I always enjoy them from you.

Fishscalz
 

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The abyss is the Rocky Branch river channel. It starts at about the boat launch ramp and begins to get deeper. It is approx. 180' deep at it's max. Pay attention to your fish finder as the abyss is narrow and steep. It is easy to run your cannon balls/tackle up the shallow sides of the abyss especially on the right side. The abyss leads to the deep Nantahala river channel and ultimately to the dam. Good kokanee and trout fishing in this area.
So, the best technique would be to go back to the launch in the back and troll out and then turn right and point towards the dam....? ....then repeat the circuit....
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Nantahala River Channels

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zqZLx_YLGxyk.kZ2aQjqEjWz8

Troutgirl

Refer to this map. Using your fish finder, locate the red channels and fish in their proximity. Most other color channels will also produce fish as well. You will probably launch at Rocky Branch#2 on map. The abyss starts there. Watch the points they rise quickly and extend far into the lake. Was out today but got the skunk. A cold front blew through last night. Very windy, cool and a bit too bright. Marked a lot of air bubbles rising on the FF. Perhaps the lake is starting to turn over.
 

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Troutgirl.

A little birdie told me a story about trolling Rapalas at night on Watauga and catching Lake Trout during the last new moon.

6# line/1 small split shot. Barely fast enough to get a wiggle. A lot of line out, 220'-250'. ~18' deep

Your hooks need to be sharp, not package sharp, not needle sharp, hypodermic needle sharp. Light strikes, hold the rod.

Expect a long fight. They are there, go get 'em.

rgarbar, Thanks for the report. I always enjoy them from you.

Fishscalz
I've heard similar stuff about Chilhowee. One guy said it was best when the moon was full or near full. He didn't seem to know the difference between Lakers and 'Bows though. All the articles from up north say that Lakers don't feed at night. I'm thinking that nobody there fishes at night. The one Laker I had on the line was hooked about 15 minutes after dark. 18 feet seems rather shallow at Watauga. I was marking what I thought were Lakers at 100-160 feet when I was recently there. I was told that they will come up when they're feeding. I fished as deep as 82 feet.

I'm gonna experiment with night trolling at Chilhowee before I try it at Watauga. Chilhowee is 90 miles closer to home. Thanks for the tip!
 
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