By: Sam Baird
The beginning of spring tends to mark the start of kokanee season in the Northwest and California. This is a time to organize and restock our lures and dodgers. Kokanee anglers are gear junkies. We have an unlimited combination of squid, flies, spoons, blades and spinners along with every shape of dodger imaginable.
Meanwhile, once you chose a weapon it’s time to decide what you’re going to tip your hooks with. Though other baits are used successfully it’s well known that shoe peg corn is a must for kokanee, which leaves anglers two options when it comes to tipping baits with corn. Anglers can cure and scent their or corn or purchase a pre-dyed, scented and cured corn like Fire Corn.
Fire Corn does a great job and will put tons of kokanee in the box. On the other hand, there are days where kokanee want something else, perhaps a different scent. Here are a few ideas that I use to super charge your Fire Corn for more success.
Nectar Fire Corn:
Hardcore kokanee guys know what Pautzke Nectar is and it’s hard to argue against using pure salmon egg juice (which Nectar is). Adding the Nectar scent is simple. Fill the jar of Fire Corn halfway with Nectar and close and shake to mix. This is a great early season scent.
Krill Fire Corn:
Kokanee not only eat zooplankton, but also fresh water shrimp. Krill is a dominant scent for me. I like to take a bottle of Liquid Krill and fill the jar of Fire Corn halfway before shaking. This is a great scent from early to late season.
Anise Fire Corn:
Anise is a kokanee killer. However, be careful because a little goes a long way. Make sure and buy pure anise from your local grocery store. Squeezing 10 drops to a jar of Fire Corn is sufficient. This is perfect for later season, but also works now.
Garlic Fire Corn:
Do fish love or hate garlic? In my experience I’ve found kokanee love to hate garlic. This is the one scent I can’t live without. Buy some McCormick’s Garlic Salt from a grocery store and add one teaspoon to Fire Corn. Use caution not add more garlic salt even if it doesn’t smell strong. It will get stronger with time. Give it a shake to spread it out in the jar. The best late season scent.
Tuna Fire Corn:
Tuna has become one of the most popular kokanee scents. Why? I have no idea. Not many kokanee eat tuna. If you want to use tuna grab a can of Oil Can tuna and drain the oil into a dish. Use three or four teaspoons of this oil in your Fire Corn and shake. This is best early season but also works late.
Be creative. Tuna/garlic, krill/anise, Nectar/garlic and another options are effective. Options are unlimited. I’ve also been successful with vanilla, strawberry extract, herring and shrimp oil, sugar and sardine. Experiment and find the best mixture for your lake.
These are my favorite scents to mix with Fire Corn and more than 1,000 kokanee agreed and ended up on my boat in last year’s three month kokanee season on Washington’s Lake Chelan. That’s not to say you won’t find something that works better. The key is to be creative and find what works best for you. I hope these ideas help you to put more kokanee in the cooler this season!
Editor’s Note: Sam Baird operates Slamming Salmon Guide Service in North Central Washington. For more info on his Lake Chelan kokanee trips please visit https://www.facebook.com/SlamminSalmonGuideService.