Some would argue that walleye and perch are better, but the kokanee salmon caught at Flaming Gorge Reservoir are easily the best tasting fish in Utah. Ryan Mosley, Flaming Gorge Project Leader for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, sent in this report to let anglers know there may have never been a better time to fish for the land-locked salmon in Utah.
Whether I'm reading the forums, talking to anglers, or looking at my own catch, the one common denominator right now is kokanee fishing is "red hot" on the Gorge this year. Some anglers are even going as far as saying it's the best they've ever seen.
Annual monitoring showed record-high kokanee recruitment in 2009, and that year class has carried through to provide abundant Age-3 kokanee in the reservoir this season. This means there's currently lots of 15-18 inch kokanee swimming around in the Gorge, providing anglers with lots of opportunities.
There's likely very few wrong spots to try but anglers can start by looking at traditional areas like Jarvies Bay, Hideout, Sheep Creek Bay, Pipeline, Anvil Draw, Holmes Crossing, Big Bend, and Buckboard. Lots of tackle is working, but "pink" seems to be the hot color this year. Dodger/squid combos are working really well, including Rocky Mountain Tackle (RMT) Signature dodgers in "fusion" or "hyperplaid" followed by RMT squids or Demons, Shasta Kokanuts, Radical Glow tubes, etc. in pink. Spoons also work well, and seem to produce some of the bigger fish. Triple Teazers, Needlefish, and Serpent spoons are all good choices and have provided personal success. Most of the kokanee are now being caught deeper and anglers should target between 30-50 ft. The occasional rainbow trout will also be caught while trolling for kokanee, and dropping deeper (50-75 ft) will be more productive for lake trout. As always, watch the sonar and adjust lure depth(s) accordingly.
Water temps have climbed into the low-60s and smallmouth bass are spawning in the shallows. Tube jigs, curly-tails, jerk baits, Senkos, and top waters should all provide some fun! Some rainbows are still hugging the shoreline and will also be caught while targeting bass.
Here's a picture of a buddy, Clint Sampson, doing a big fish pose to make an already big kokanee look even bigger! He hit the water with me this past weekend and learned the fine art of getting kokanee in the boat.
Hope it helps and good luck on the water! Ryan