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Another Day in Central Oregon

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Another Day in Central Oregon

Postby oldranger » Thu Jun 02, 2016 10:55 pm

While fishing for 10 to 13 inch kokanee I caught this bad girl. Guess it is better to be lucky than good!
big mac.jpg
33" Mackinaw
Mike

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Re: Another Day in Central Oregon

Postby Snowtrout » Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:38 am

Nice Laker!! Must have been a fun fight on koke gear. :)
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Re: Another Day in Central Oregon

Postby oldranger » Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:00 pm

I wouldn't say fun but in retrospect funny! So I let out 100 feet of line then hooked into the downrigger and dropped the ball to 90 feet because thats where the kokanee were hanging out. The line tripped out of the downrigger and I grabbed the rod quickly to take out the slack. It was quickly apparent that it was not a kokanee on the line. First I assumed that it was a 5 lb mack which I have caught before when fishing for kokanee but clearly it was not. Was the dodger and hootchie dragging bottom? no the sonar indicated over 200 feet deep. Besides there was a pounding sensation on the end of the line. With over 200 feet of line out by now I tightened the drag a little and began to pull the rod up so I could reel in as I dropped the rod tip. This went ok until the line counter indicated 74 feet and the fish refused to budge for about 10 minutes. It even gained a little line! Then it seemed to give up and pulling up, dropping the rod tip, and reeling the fish came into view. It was a real "holy sh!t" moment. Especially when I realized my little kokanee net was not nearly big enough to handle this 3 foot long behemoth. I called my friend who was at his cabin on the lake a couple of miles away but he did not answer. Looking around for help there was no other boats within hailing distance so I began to pull the mack toward the closest boat but it was moving away faster than I dared drag the mack with only 10lb test leader. For another 15 minutes I dragged the fish toward the marina, frantically waving my one free hand whenever I thought a boat might notice me. Desperate I finally grabbed my emergency whistle and waved and blew simultaneously, still to no avail. Finally a boat speeding back to the boat dock noticed my desperate waving. When they approached I asked if they had a net big enough for a 3 foot mack. They pulled out a net only a few inches in diameter wider than mine but the net itself was much deeper. After a couple of failed attempts they netted my biggest fish ever, on the lightest rod in my boat that day. It wasn't quite 3 feet and weighed far less than the biggest the lake has produced but non the less it was my BIG MAC. and it is on the smoker as I process this account.

And now you know the rest of the story.

Epilog: this was the second consecutive trip that I overcame a calamity. On another lake where the kokanee are much larger my first hookup was a koke that measured 18 1/2 inches. But the story isn't about the size of the fish but what a dufus I can be but still catch fish. So as the fish was reeled in close to the boat I slid the extendable net into the water underneath the fish. But the net end of the handle just kept going down into the water. I forgot to lock it in! Now for small kokes I just pull them over the gunnel of the boat smoothly and quickly (at least in theory) but that won't work with a 2 lb+ fish. I decided that I could grab the fish with my neopreme palmed glove. After a couple of attempts I actually managed to get the fish in the boat. Gotta picture an old man on his knees reaching over the side of the boat and trying to get a grip on a fish that he can get his hand only 1/3 of the way around the fish! But what if I hooked another? Could I continue to be lucky. I rummaged thru my storage box and found a pair of cloth gloves with plastic bumps on them. I figured that would help me hold a fish and I guess It did as hooked 5 more and landed them all. The previous week I hooked 9 and landed 3 with a net. Go figure!

Tight lines to all you anglers on the forum (good eating to)

A note about kokanee. There are 3 lakes in central oregon with self sustaining kokanee populations. Two of them have what amounts to a 30 fish per day kokanee limit and there has been no reduction in the fishery due to over fishing. Kokes are landlocked sockeye salmon and taste at least as good as the famous Copper river Sockeye you can buy in the store for $15/lb. The problem is my fish given my investment in Boat, motors, electronics, specialized fishing gear, maintenance, and gas makes probably cost over $100 a pound. But then what else am I going to spend my retirement money on?

Mike
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Re: Another Day in Central Oregon

Postby rlown » Sat Jun 04, 2016 10:44 am

did you buy a bigger net for such "emergencies?"
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Re: Another Day in Central Oregon

Postby maverick » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:56 am

Thanks for the story Mike, really enjoyed the breakdown of the catch, it almost felt like I was there. If I were on an island and had to pick only one source of protein, it would be salmon. :yummy:
Been playing with different salmon recipes (my own), Maple-Pecan-Nutmeg is a really one. :nod:
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Re: Another Day in Central Oregon

Postby oldranger » Sat Jun 04, 2016 1:59 pm

Russ,

I have 3 larger nets, any of which would have done the job, but stopped taking them since I've been targeting kokes.

Maverick

My go to dry brine has been 4 to one ratio of brown sugar to non iodized salt, liberal amounts of dill and garlic powder then about an hour before the end of smoking basting with maple syrup.

Mike

ps. wasn't particularly pleased with the taste of mack. The 29" 7 lb mack I caught earlier this year tasted much better. My favorite is still the kokanee (landlocked sockeye)
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Re: Another Day in Central Oregon

Postby Snowtrout » Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:48 am

Great story. Net size can be tricky when fishing lakes with multiple species. Even though most kokanee do not get over 18", rainbows, browns, cutts, and mac's all can and will sometimes hit the koke gear. A few years ago down here, a guy caught a 19.5lb brown while fishing for kokes. Took him 1:45 min to get it in.....talk about a surprise catch.

Mac meat will differ. If it's red to orange, yum, especially with cajun seasoning (high oil and fat content). If it's opaque to green, blah. All depends on what they are feeding on. Kokes are also my favorite freshwater fish to eat followed closely by a backcountry brook trout.
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