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Hayden Lake Report
Kootenai County, ID


71° - 75°
Mack's Wedding Ring
All Day
61° - 65°

Last year, Hayden Lake was just on fire. Limits most every time I went out, taking me 5-6 hours typically to finish.

But man, this year I'm struggling. On the water yesterday from 8:30am to 4:30pm and only boated 7, 6 of which were keepers. Lost at least that many other bites, typical of Kokanee. Very similar to the result I got 4 days prior, also on Hayden.

My general strategy is to troll around until I find them and get a bite, then stay on them. Which I did. But even when I found them and worked an area like this, it seemed like I had a hard time getting them to bite. And after going over the school a couple times, the bites would just stop. On to finding them again. It sucks up a lot of time.

I know some guys are well dialed in and having big success, but I suspect there are more who are like me, getting some fish but not really killing them.

I used a variety of presentations, and most everything I tried got some attention. Pink hoochies (the go-to for this lake), orange wedding rings, red wedding rings, a couple different color Arctic Fox flies. None really stood out over the others, although if I had to pick a winner it was the red wedding ring. But they all got bites. All were tipped with shoepeg corn. Krill anise scent.

Used all my favorite sling blade dodgers. Also used Ford Fenders and the Mack's twirly things. The Mack's seem to work a little better, as well as having a lot less drag.

I run two rods, with the endorsement of course. I generally have better success off the downriggers than using divers or lead, but not always. The shallower the fish are hanging out, the more I tilt toward divers and lead. I'm a believer in putting the presentation well behind the boat regardless - 80 to 120 feet. Although if you're fishing deep, it's less critical. But don't listen to me. Obviously I'm not nearly as good at this as some guys.

My Fishhawk said the ideal zone was 30-40 feet. And that's typically where I catch the most fish through the summer. But I couldn't get any bites that deep. All the bites came in 15-20 foot range. Surface temp was low to mid 60's depending on where I was and the time of day.

Hopefully it'll get better as we get into summer. Love this little lake. Some really nice fish. But for me at least, so far it's a lot tougher than it was last year, for whatever reason.


6/12/2017 9:54:05 AM
I hear you man. Just keep the faith. I look at it like this. I live 5min from the lake at CDA but would rather drive 30min and catch 5 decent size Kokes than a limit of 8-10” fish.
Did you mark any schools last time? And what temp did you get off the Fishhawk at 30-40’?
I was only marking individual fish. Caught 5, all shallow. 50’ back with 3/8 oz on a slider. Tried the same with 2oz with no luck. The people I spoke to coming in at the launch had the similar results as you and I, some even less.
I don’t cover the same amount of water as you as I’m fishing from a kayak, which is one of the reasons my setback is not longer. It is very stealthy. Especially when the wind is pushing you faster than you want to go, haha.
I haven’t fished Hayden that much but when I have, I haven’t marked the size schools that I see on CDA. Maybe thats why they are so much smaller in CDA. Hmn!
6/13/2017 7:00:45 AM
LOL I'm with you on the drive. I live in Sandpoint, and we have lots of Kokanee in our lake and there are places where the catching is almost non-stop. But the fish at Hayden are worth the drive and the putting up with the congested boat ramp and generally denser recreational traffic. Not only are the fish bigger but they're tastier too.

I don't pay a huge amount of attention to the fish finder when fishing for Kokanee, just because I've never found it to be a reliable indicator of where I might get bites. That's especially true when the biting is going on up high in the water column. I think the boat kind of scatters them, and they don't get marked, which is one reason why I put my lines so far back. I do a lot of "S" turns, too, to spread things around and to cause some variation in speed. I pay attention to whether I'm getting bites on the inside or outside of the turn and adjust my speed accordingly. The fish finder in these conditions is about 90% a navigation tool for me. I mark where I got bites so that I have a reference point when I decide to work an area.

The couple times I sent the Fish Hawk down, the desirable 50-54 degree range was 30-40 feet. But like I said, I couldn't get a bite down there to save my life.

I'm hoping that as the weather and the water both warm up, the fish will go deeper and the fishing will get better. Mid June to early August has worked best for me in the few years I've been fishing this lake.
Known Kokanee Killer
6/13/2017 8:43:59 AM
The best fishing was back in April and early may ice fishing took out big numbers. Also outflow has fish confused
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Available Guide

Available Fishing Guide:
Website: Snake Dancer Excursions

Phone: (800) 234-1941