Monday, July 18, 2011

Wallowa Lake Kokanee

We had our Isaacson Family Rendezvous, two weeks ago, at Wallowa Lake, Oregon. It is one of my favorite places in this world...........and like most it has been adulterated by money, popularity and tourism. As long as I can remember we have gone to Wallowa Lake to feed the deer, which is now illegal. We have many pictures of us feeding deer apple slices out of our mouths. Huge bucks standing next to us as we shared a bag of extra salty potato chips, or even the occasional Oreo. Thanks to people who are out of touch with reality and the basics of this world, the deer have become "dangerous". They have always been dangerous, you just had to be smart enough to not get hurt. If a doe is becoming overly aggressive, you sucker it in close with an apple slice and when she reaches her neck out to take a bite, you throw her in a headlock and punch her in the forehead a few times...............she won't paw at you or even come near you again, honest! She loses her confidence that we are easy push overs and she behaves! If a young buck is being inappropriate, grabbing them by one antler can be a lot of fun for both of you. Typically they stand up on their back two legs and pogo stick around while you hang on tightly and laugh........they leave afterwards and don't come back. They learn their place in this we have to protect stupid people from themselves! SAD!!!!!

Overall, the park has become over regulated, like most everything else in this world, but thankfully not as bad as places like Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, and any of the National Forests. But I digress..........this is supposed to be a nice story, not a complaint forum!

We spent 3 nights and 4 days at the park. I slept, ate, fished, ate, fished, ate, fished, ate, and visited some. Most everyone else visited lots, ate, played miniature golf, rode the go-carts, visited some more, played games, ate, slept, and were mad at me for fishing so much! But, in the end, I became the fishing guide for the family, helping everyone that wanted to, catch a Kokanee. This kept me in good standings with the family and on the WILL and off the disowned list. Tyler and I were the only ones willing to go out and figure it all out, everyone else wanted to go out AFTER we had invested the time and money to catch fish.

I have never in my life fished for Kokanee, but have always wanted to, nor have I ever hooked one while fishing for another species of fish. We fished the lake with all out favorite lures and found that we really needed to change tactics. Everyone around us was catching fish, we just wasted gas! SO, I headed to the marina on the south end of the lake, one morning after I launched the boat, and spent a small fortune on the basic tackle; a troll, wedding ring, snubber, heavy lead weight for getting everything down, maggots, and some smelly jelly. It worked! Tyler and I caught Kokanee. Our first was about 4.5 inches and we drug it around for a very long time before realizing we had actually caught one! We laughed at our success and stupidity! Tyler landed 3 that morning, none of which were big enough to keep. But it got things stirred up in camp and we made big plans for that evening; well, Corey, Tyler, Jantzen and I had plans.

All the keepers from Friday night.

We caught 21 Kokanee that night between 4 and 14 inches. Jantzen caught the most, Corey the 2nd most, and Tyler caught more than I did--I landed one. We fished until dark and had a blast. We became expert at seeing the timid strikes on heavy gear and we got lucky, finding fish without a fish finder. We just happened into fish, then trolled circles through the area, picking up more fish as we went. We fillet the fish that night and I planned a trip for the other kids the following morning.

The 3 hogs..........with their nice Kokanee!

Saturday dawned bright, clear and warm. I had Kim, Jantzen the guide, Jakey, Addalee, Cole, Jared, and Lyndie in the boat. Jantzen came to help spot the takes and to set rods up in the holders and let out the big trolling rigs; he did a great job!

Everyone caught a fish that morning! Lyndie got the biggest 'coat-nee', she says, "it was big and fat"! A few of the kids landed more than one, but they got off at the boat or we let them go because they were so small. I didn't even think about getting pictures of them with their fish before we released them, so Jared and Addalee don't have pictures of their catch.

Cole's keeper Kokanee, his first ever!

This sequence is of Lyndie's "coat-nee", the big, fat one! Yes, she is kissing it in picture #2!

Lyndie had to get her fix after catching her fish. She sucked the fish slime right off her fingers, removed my hat and "softied" my hair while I ran the motor. This made her day complete; mine too!

Lyndie, my little fisher girl. She loves to fish. Uncle Seth bought her a pink fishing rod for her birthday and she caught the "big, fat, coat-nee" on her new rod! She was very excited and can't wait to go again!

Jakey with his keeper Kokanee, also his first ever.