Stampede Kokanee Starting To Show

By Rick Kennedy | 07/22/2013

The kokanee fishing at Stampede the last couple of years was not necessarily the best in the state. Therefore I pursued other opportunities such as Tahoe and Berryessa kokanee. Now, I bought this new boat with the plan of going back to the Sacramento and Feather River for the salmon season, however, until the run gets started good, which hopefully, will be the first part of August, I moved some of my clients to Stampede after hearing good reports of numbers and the improved quality of the fish.
The kokanee at Berryessa are definitely some of the largest in the state again this year. However, the quality of fish at Stampede is definitely better than we’ve seen in the last couple of years and with clientele vacationing in the Tahoe-Donner area it allows the perfect opportunity to catch good numbers of nice kokanee.

We are seeing fish averaging 13 inches. However, they are fat, clean (no copopods) and although we have not landed any yet, we have witnessed 16-inch kokanee come out of Stampede this year. I don’t think we are going to see 17-inch fish, though. I think you are going to continue to see nice fish in the 13-14 inch range with an occasional 16 mixed in. The kokanee bite should persist through August. It’s very good right now.
The kokanee are starting to school. The schools are getting tighter each week. There’s a large school between the boat ramp and island and there’s another school behind the island. I’m starting out catching my fish at 35-40 feet and dropping down to 60 once the sun hits the water. Based on water temperature and low water conditions, I don’t think the fish are going to go much deeper this summer.
Unlike years in the past where the standard setup for me was a 4/0 Sep’s dodger and a Ted’s bug, this year the smaller Strike Master series of dodgers with spinners has been the most productive.
I’ve been tipping all my spinners with Pautzke’s corn, but honestly my best results this year have been on canned shoepeg corn cured in pink Pautzke’s FireCure. I’ve been using almost pink corn exclusively up there for a few years now. Sometimes I’ll use some red, too.

Editor’s Note: Rick Kennedy operates Tight Lines Guide Service, which offers Stampede kokanee trips throughout the summer months. To learn more please visit Anglers may keep 5-fish per person. Early limits have been the rule.