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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good morning, The state of North Carolina stocked approximately 80000 Kokanee Salmon in Nantahala Lake four years ago and two years ago. The four year old fish should be large enough this season to catch and will spawn if they made it. It is important to catch these salmon and report your catch to the state. June is probably the best month, 50’ down with downriggers. These salmon are not carnivores as we know it so trout trolling tactics with spoons and crankbaits is not very effective. Dodgers will 1-11/2” Hoothies (little rubber squid) and salmon spinners are effective. Tie your lure above 10-18” behind the dodge so the action on the dodge works the lure. Shoepeg corn or Gulp maggots on the hook will improve your catch rate. Run the dodge lure combination 10-25” behind the ball for fewer tangles and more strikes. Troll at approximately 1.5 mph. Fish a very light drag. Do not attempt to release the fish unless you can return them to 50’ immediately. The surface water temperature will be 76-78 degrees which will kill the salmon considerably the temperature at 50’ 50-55 degrees. If you see a black Ranger bowrider with a gray top that is me.
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Great information, never used Hoothies but caught a couple of 20 in Salmon on small Honeybee spoons green/silver. Only fish Nantahala in late July or early August & usually only once a year, have done really well on Rainbows and Walleyes last few years, shared pics with Amanda/Powell, still can post! All fish before 10am & between 40-50ft on Mi Scorpions, also got large Smallmouth on leadcore with Evileye spoons! Sold Mt house of 18 years in December so new focus will be the most productive deep water trolling lake in Southeast, Dale Hollow!
 

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Good information. The only cold water salmonids I've chased my whole adult life have lived in streams and I've been trying to learn trolling for cold water fish just since last summer. The Kokanee are intriguing. Any particular "structure" or underwater features that would prove productive starting points?
 

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Good information. The only cold water salmonids I've chased my whole adult life have lived in streams and I've been trying to learn trolling for cold water fish just since last summer. The Kokanee are intriguing. Any particular "structure" or underwater features that would prove productive starting points?
A now deceased member of this gave me this advice. Follow the river channel. They stay in the deep water. Change hoochie colors until you find one they want that day. Tip the hoochies with white corn, maggots, or meal worms. Fake maggots or meal worms are OK. Use small dodgers and keep the leader short, never more than 18". He also advised trolling using electric. He said motor noise scares them and it's such a small lake that you can't go looking for "fresh" water.

I went once about 5-6 years ago when the Kokanee population was crashing. I didn't catch one but I caught a Nice Rainbow, a Smallmouth, and a Yellow Perch. I trolled 2 lines. The Rainbow hit the hoochie tipped with corn. The second line was tipped with one inch pieces of night crawler. The other fishes hit that.

I had to quit fishing at 11 a.m. Tourists came out of the cabins like a locust plague starting about 10:30. Boats were everywhere. One lady in an about 25 foot speedboat scared me witless. She came within about 6 feet of me and washed a wave over the side of my boat. I had my little dog in my arms and was ready to jump overboard if necessary. I went home and had a Trout dinner with my little doggie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good information. The only cold water salmonids I've chased my whole adult life have lived in streams and I've been trying to learn trolling for cold water fish just since last summer. The Kokanee are intriguing. Any particular "structure" or underwater features that would prove productive starting points?
Follow the old river bottom on your fishfinder.
 

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Good morning, The state of North Carolina stocked approximately 80000 Kokanee Salmon in Nantahala Lake four years ago and two years ago. The four year old fish should be large enough this season to catch and will spawn if they made it. It is important to catch these salmon and report your catch to the state. June is probably the best month, 50’ down with downriggers. These salmon are not carnivores as we know it so trout trolling tactics with spoons and crankbaits is not very effective. Dodgers will 1-11/2” Hoothies (little rubber squid) and salmon spinners are effective. Tie your lure above 10-18” behind the dodge so the action on the dodge works the lure. Shoepeg corn or Gulp maggots on the hook will improve your catch rate. Run the dodge lure combination 10-25” behind the ball for fewer tangles and more strikes. Troll at approximately 1.5 mph. Fish a very light drag. Do not attempt to release the fish unless you can return them to 50’ immediately. The surface water temperature will be 76-78 degrees which will kill the salmon considerably the temperature at 50’ 50-55 degrees. If you see a black Ranger bowrider with a gray top that is me.
Have you tried using descender devices SW anglers use for reef fish to get the fish back to 50' when releasing them? Or the weighted milk crates method?
 

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Hey Fred, do you know of ANYONE that's had success? Ron used to start catching them about now. We will be up that way in July but staying on another lake. May make the trip over for old time's sake if we can squeeze it in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I am planning to fish for Kokanee this coming Wednesday with Jeff Smith but I may have to go out of town. Might try tomorrow. I trout trolled a week ago and caught a peanut brown and a nice smallmouth. Saw very little life on the fishfinder but that’s not unusual for the lake. What lake are you going to?
 

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Fished Nantahala Lake this past Sunday from 7:00 am through about Noon. Ran a dodger and wedding ring tipped with white shoepeg corn at 50', and a dodger and bug tipped with the same corn
at 45'. Corn was marinated in Anise oil. Stacked 2 1/2" colored spoons on each rigger at 30' and 25' respectively. Also ran 2 leadcore lines with spoons and crankbaits to tempt walleye or trout. Had 3 hits on spoons that were stacked on riggers. Landed 2 nice rainbows and lost another that I feel was also a rainbow. Had ribeyes and Rainbows on grill for dinner. Never had any Salmon hits. Used to catch a lot in May and June. Haven't caught a Koke since 2015. Hoping this unique fishery will hopefully rebound one day!!
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We will be staying on L Chatuge this year. Will fish for spots & hybrids there. Gonna take a side trip to Apalachia one day for smallmouths and browns. Might go to Nottely to striper fish as well. Really depressed by the 2 reports. Sadly, doesn't look like the Koke stocking was very successful. 3 yr old fish should be present and catchable if they survived in any numbers. Still too early to tell, but not very encouraged by your reports. Its my understanding that the state will stock them for 2 more years and reassess the program. Best of luck if you go again
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
There’s only been three reports. Jeff Smith and I are going to do our best to catch a salmon. We encourage everyone to do so. 35 to 50’ down most of the time. Dodgers and 1 1/2” pink, orange and green hoochies (rubber squid). You can use crappie curly and paddle tails. Maybe ad a spinner blade. You can use a large spoon as a dodger. Leave the hook on. You might catch a salmon eating trout. Tie the lure about 8-10” behind the dodger. You want the bait to be snatched around. Use number 8 octopus hooks two in tandem. You don’t need to hide the hooks. The salmon are hitting out of aggression not hunger.
Downriggers work best but leadcore line or a planer or Dipsy will get you down. I saw a guy catch two from a kayak with a sinker while paddling. About 1 1/2 miles per hour. A couple buckets can slow you down. The salmon are not very leader shy, affected by an outboard motor or setback off the ball like trout. You are trying to piss them off so they kill the lure. I have used my trolling motor until the batteries are running down then start my outboard and use it as a generator to charge the batteries. Shoepeg corn or Berkeley’s Margot in red or natural helps. Keep your eye on the fishfinder. Don’t run out of water and get snagged. If you are on the lake and catching salmon, look for me in your prop wash.
 

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There’s only been three reports. Jeff Smith and I are going to do our best to catch a salmon. We encourage everyone to do so. 35 to 50’ down most of the time. Dodgers and 1 1/2” pink, orange and green hoochies (rubber squid). You can use crappie curly and paddle tails. Maybe ad a spinner blade. You can use a large spoon as a dodger. Leave the hook on. You might catch a salmon eating trout. Tie the lure about 8-10” behind the dodger. You want the bait to be snatched around. Use number 8 octopus hooks two in tandem. You don’t need to hide the hooks. The salmon are hitting out of aggression not hunger.
Downriggers work best but leadcore line or a planer or Dipsy will get you down. I saw a guy catch two from a kayak with a sinker while paddling. About 1 1/2 miles per hour. A couple buckets can slow you down. The salmon are not very leader shy, affected by an outboard motor or setback off the ball like trout. You are trying to piss them off so they kill the lure. I have used my trolling motor until the batteries are running down then start my outboard and use it as a generator to charge the batteries. Shoepeg corn or Berkeley’s Margot in red or natural helps. Keep your eye on the fishfinder. Don’t run out of water and get snagged. If you are on the lake and catching salmon, look for me in your prop wash.
Also can catch
There’s only been three reports. Jeff Smith and I are going to do our best to catch a salmon. We encourage everyone to do so. 35 to 50’ down most of the time. Dodgers and 1 1/2” pink, orange and green hoochies (rubber squid). You can use crappie curly and paddle tails. Maybe ad a spinner blade. You can use a large spoon as a dodger. Leave the hook on. You might catch a salmon eating trout. Tie the lure about 8-10” behind the dodger. You want the bait to be snatched around. Use number 8 octopus hooks two in tandem. You don’t need to hide the hooks. The salmon are hitting out of aggression not hunger.
Downriggers work best but leadcore line or a planer or Dipsy will get you down. I saw a guy catch two from a kayak with a sinker while paddling. About 1 1/2 miles per hour. A couple buckets can slow you down. The salmon are not very leader shy, affected by an outboard motor or setback off the ball like trout. You are trying to piss them off so they kill the lure. I have used my trolling motor until the batteries are running down then start my outboard and use it as a generator to charge the batteries. Shoepeg corn or Berkeley’s Margot in red or natural helps. Keep your eye on the fishfinder. Don’t run out of water and get snagged. If you are on the lake and catching salmon, look for me in your prop wash.
Also have caught large Nantahala Salmon on small spoons, 2.5 in Honeybee Stingers, Silver/ bright Green best! Hopefully, can post two recent Rainbows, 26 & 25 in. Wishing great success!
 
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