Fishing Report of the Week: Kokanee at Cavanaugh Lake

This week's featured fishing report from

Angler: rseas
Fished: 07/11/2021
Air°: 66° - 70°
Method: Other
Species: Kokanee
Bait: Corn
Color: Purple
Weather: Sunny
Time: Morning
Water: °71° - 75°
Posted: 07/11/2021

With the MA 7 salmon closure, the MA 6 wind forecast and payday being a few weeks off yet we needed a close to home fishery. Having an appointment in Bellingham Sunday afternoon we decided on a short trip to Lake Cavanaugh. Alarm set for 3:00 we were rolling by 4 and off the trailer by 5:00. With the predawn light and still water the lake was a magical place.

In that it was so peaceful we didn’t blast down the lake but instead casually motored down the lake while looking for schools of fish on the meter. Fish located, kicker down and running we got to business. I had all 4 downriggers on and ready to go but figured that we would kick off our adventure with 2 lead line setups and 2 rods off the downriggers. 4 rods? Yes, we both have the 2-pole endorsement on our licenses so we can run 4 rods.

Had a simple game plan, run our typical kokanee gear while chasing meter marks. Initially we ran painted Poulsen Cascade Tackle Arrow Flash dodgers. After the sun hit the water switched to the same dodgers with a metallic finish. 8-10" behind the dodgers we were running a variety of custom spinners and/or my kokanee trolling flies. All are double hook rigs with either tuna corn or carp spit corn on each hook. The lure color of the day was pink, purple or a combination of the two. All fish were caught at 1 ½ to 2 colors with the lead line rigs or at 36-46’ on the downriggers.

Gear down we started the day with a double. One fish was a very nice cutthroat, not the typical two eyes and a wiggle skinny Cavanaugh cut. The second fish was a slab of a kokanee measuring in at a fat 16". It looked like it was going to be a productive day. For the next few hours, we cycled through multiple doubles, triples and even a couple quads.

It was some crazy good fishing. In complying with the WDFW Freshwater Species Rule for the use of bait which reads "When fishing with bait, all trout (or kokanee) that are lawful to possess and equal to or greater than the minimum size are counted as part of the daily limit whether kept or released." we caught our limits but only kept the larger or injured fish (clickers are our friend…). In the end we put 8, 13-16" cuts and 7, 13-almost 18" kokanee on ice’. We also lost a huge cutt that was probably 21-22’ maybe even bigger with very broad shoulders.

Short lived but a very successful Sunday morning on a tranquil Lake Cavanaugh. While I absolutely love chasing chinook out in MA 7, sometimes a simple trip to a local lake it just what the doctor ordered.

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