Ryan Mosley, UDWR Project Leader at Flaming Gorge, sent in this report.
As with most fishing, it's all about ups and downs. With fall approaching, many of the adult kokanee have "other things on their mind" as they prepare for the spawn. Some kokes are being caught that have already started their spawning transformation - both males and females turn red, and males develop a large hump on their back, hook jaw or kype, and even a nice set of canine teeth. As a result of the spawn, kokanee fishing will be less consistent up until the close of the season (September 10th), where one day or location they're on, the next day or location they're not.
Kokanee in the lower reservoir are mostly found between 40-60 ft, but the bigger kokes can be caught much deeper (60-80 ft). The same gear that's worked all summer will produce fish, but larger spoons or lures will also become more productive. This past weekend, I received successful reports from anglers using Rocky Mountain Tackle dodger in "hyperplaid" rigged with a pink squid, RMT Viper Serpent spoons in Tequila Sunrise, Apex Kokanee Killers, and Humdingers. Change the boat speed (1.6-2.2 mph) and lure depth until you find a successful pattern.
As the kokanee fishing tapers off the lake trout fishing is filling the void. Lake trout catching is on the rise, and both trolling and jigging have been very successful. Most of the lake trout are hanging between 70-100 ft along main channel structure. Troll over schools repeatedly or hold the boat and drop a jig in front of them for some fun action. Lots of spoons work for trolling, but I really like the Viper spoon in Tequila Sunrise and the Northland Forage Minnows in rainbow trout or firetiger. Crankbaits like Rapala Husky Jerks and Flatfish will also work well. Troll the lures just above the fish (5-10 ft), as lake trout tend to look up and ambush their prey from below. When jigging try 3/8-1/2 oz jighead rigged with tube jigs (white w/ black flake or crayfish colors) or Berkley Gulp minnows. Tip tube jigs with a small chunk of sucker meat for scent. Jigging spoons such as Crippled Herrings, Hopkins, Buckshots, etc. will also work well at times. Drop the spoon to the depth of the fish and give a quick 3-4 ft pull followed by a few jingles. Most of the hits come at the bottom of the jigging stroke or while jingling. Once again, some sucker meat will add a flavorful enticement.
Smallmouth bass and rainbow trout still occupy the shoreline and shallower water and offer quick fishing for children or those that like more active fishing. Expect fishing for these species to only get better once the water starts to cool down.
Current surface temps are still in the low 70s.
See picture of Ralph Avis and Ken Arave with a mixed bag of lake trout, kokanee, and rainbow trout caught while trolling in Jarvies Bay.
See picture of Ken Arave with a red kokanee.