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Hayden Lake Report
Kootenai County, ID



86° - 90°
All Day
71° - 75°

Fished from about 10am until 5ish. It was a tough day, I couldn't seem to figure out what they wanted. Everything seemed to work mediocre, nothing was really banging them. Occasionally I'd find a school and boat a couple, but there were long periods with no bites.

Fishing two lines off downriggers. Caught fish from 35 to 55 feet. Got maybe a dozen one and two year-olds over the course of the day, but I tossed them all back. I didn't go there to catch small one. Only boated one mature fish the entire day - see attached pic. Got another one all the way to the boat but while I was holding the rod with one hand and messing with the net with the other hand, he shook off. That's the nature of blueback fishing. Anyway, as you can see, she was really red. But the meat is still very orange color.

It seems like this lake is getting progressively tougher. And the ratio of small to big fish is definitely growing. Not sure if the mature fish are just fished out, or if they're developing lockjaw as they head into the end of their life cycle. But they're definitely getting harder to come by. 6 weeks ago, they were the majority of what I was catching. This trip they were less than one in ten.

I got the big fish on the NW side of Yellowstone point. The one I missed, that was in the bay after leaving the Honeysuckle boat launch, essentially due north of the launch in 170 feet of so of water. Most of the small fish were caught in a corridor extending from south of Yellowstone point (almost to the opposite shore) over to English point.

I tried hoochies in pink, orange, and yellow/orange. Nothing really stood out from the rest. Tried wedding rings in orange and red. No bites on the wedding rings at all. Also tried a variety of dodger colors. On one downrigger, I was trailing the dodger lure by 60+ feet. On the other, I had about 4 feet of flashers tied directly to the downrigger ball, and then used a stacker clip to put my line about a foot above it. I lined up it's dodger with about the end of the flashers. This line, with the flashers off the downrigger ball and everything almost directly under the boat, was more effective than the long line hanging off the other downrigger. Probably 3 to 1 in terms of bites. But neither of them were really killing it this trip. It was fairly slow fishing.

I think I'm just about done with this lake for the year. I might give it one more shot, but if the slowing and shrinking trend continues, that'll be it.

FYI this species of Kokanee aren't lake spawners. They'll head up Hayden creek, and won't likely be successful. IDFG chose this species specifically so that they could control the Kokanee population with stocking, to keep them from taking over the lake and crowding out the warm water fish from the food. So there's no reason not to take these mature fish out of the lake. They're going to die anyway, without reproducing. The smaller fish, on the other hand, those will be our big fish next year. So even though it's tempting to take them and eat them (they also have the dark orange meat), I put them all back. I want to catch them next year.


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