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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 18, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Lake Stevens Kokanee Derby on tap for this Saturday, and its not too late to get in on the action

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The highly popular Kokanee Fishing Derby at Lake Stevens is tomorrow (Saturday, May 19), and while the bite hasn’t been as fast and furious in past seasons there is enough interest around to keep anglers happy.

“To be very honest it hasn’t been smoking hot, and folks are having to work hard for them and even the really good kokanee guys are struggling to catch them,” said Mike Chamberlain at Ted’s Sports Center in Lynnwood.

Retired state Fish and Wildlife biologist Curt Kraemer says the bite in recent days has been really early and pretty over by 7:30 a.m.

Many attribute the “early action” to the brighter sunny days we’ve had this past week.

“We’ve got overcast skies in the forecast for tomorrow so I think it will be ideal of conditions that we are going to get,” Chamberlain said. “The die-hards like Kraemer and others feel the population isn’t as robust as in the past years.”

With that said anglers who are plugging away were still finding fair action for kokanee in the 13 ½- to 14-inch range with a few up to 16 inches.

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Chamberlain says many anglers claim the key to catching these fish are a single kernel of white shoe-peg corn, plus a Berkley GULP maggot or a live maggot. Some type of liquid scent slathered on the bait will also attract the kokanee like anise and krill.

Next rule of thumb is a small 4-inch type dodger like a Dick Nite with an 18-inch leader and wedding ring (no not your wife’s) or pink mini-hootchie skirt. Many will use two and in some cases three size 3 or 4 hooks spread a few inches apart.

Chamberlain says he expects about 100 boats to be on the water Saturday morning when the derby starts with about 180 to 200 adult participants and around 50 kids.

“That crowd is pretty typical of what we’ve had in the last couple of years, and we do have some military veterans coming up from Lewis-McChord (in honor of Armed Forces Day) to fish with some people who were kind enough to donate space on their boats,” Chamberlain said.

Largest kokanee is worth $1,000; biggest kokanee limit (up to 10 kokanee) is $500; and the biggest trout is worth $500.

The first-place kids’ prize is $100 for largest kokanee, but $75 for second largest and $50 for third largest and can be any species caught.

Derby tickets are $20 (youth under age 14 fish for free with their own prizes), and still available at Ted’s Sports Center in Lynnwood until 7 p.m. tonight (Friday, May 18), and Chamberlain says there should be some for sale on Saturday morning at the derby headquarters at Lake Stevens. For details, call 425-743-9505.

Tickets are also available at Three Rivers Marine and Tackle; Triangle Bait and Tackle; Greg’s Sporting Goods; John’s Sporting Goods; McDaniel’s Do-It Center; Hook Line and Sinker; and Holiday Sports.

(Photos by Seattle Times staff photographers Mike Siegel and Mark Harrison)

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