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Lake: Wolford Mountain Reservoir
Fish: Kokanee

Wolford is on fire....

Post By: Toon      Posted: 9/25/2018 3:23:29 PM     Points: 112    
After a few unsuccessful trips last month, we went to Wolford to try it again. The lake is on fire right now in two ways.....

Be aware if you are going up there, the Spring Creek fire is still burning nearby on Gore Pass and depending on the wind direction, air conditions can be bad. Luckily it would blowing out of the South and all the smoke was going towards Steamboat Springs.

Secondly, we fished it on Friday the 21'st. The last two trips I made up there last month were pretty unsuccessful. The water is pretty low but shouldn't be getting any lower they say. They dropped it extra to get some equipment off the bottom from a study they have been doing.

Water temp is in the upper 50s and dropping with nighttime temps dropping into the low 30s and high 20s. There were 6 of us on the boat and we limited out on Kokes in about 4 1/2 hours. That was a lot of fish in a hurry. We caught all of ours vertically jigging small slab spoons and Kokanators. Fish were very aggressive. The schools weren't real big or thick, but we were able to sit on one spot the whole time. It seemed there were always some fish below us. Active fish were 42ft to 50ft deep. We didn't get to the lake til 0930 and it was a little slow until about 1100. After that, many times you couldn't get your line let all the way out and you already had one pulling on it. White or Silver/Pink seemed to be the best colors. Corn is a must, we wouldn't really get a hit without it. Even with other scent added to the lure.

Spoke to a few others who limited out trolling as well (2 or 3 on their boats), but it sounded a little slower than our jig bite. Most had been out most of the day. They caught theirs in the same depth range. 40ft to 50ft.

The fish were all descent sized for Wolford. They have put on some weight and length in the last two months. I saw one at the fish cleaning station that a guy caught that was over 20in, very big Kokanee for Wolford. With all the other lakes in the area struggling with their Kokanee populations, hopefully that is a good sign for things at Wolford.

Good Luck!!!
 Reply by: JIGORNAUT      Posted: 9/25/2018 5:36:15 PM     Points: 321    
Just wondering if the fire is actually the silver creek fire?
 Reply by: Toon      Posted: 9/25/2018 6:46:08 PM     Points: 112    
Sorry, yes i meant Silver Creek. Not Spring Creek.
 Reply by: hunter creek      Posted: 9/26/2018 9:30:02 AM     Points: 2226    
I'm guessing there will be "bumper boats", ala Blue Mesa, up there by this weekend. Glad you nailed 'em. Must be a late spawn up there this year.
 Reply by: not too old to fish      Posted: 9/26/2018 9:43:43 AM     Points: 4655    
Congrats on your successful trip this time and thanks for sharing. Very good report with good information for those who have a boat and want some fast action. Are going to smoke some or do you eat them fresh grilled?
 Reply by: FastLayne      Posted: 9/26/2018 11:43:37 AM     Points: 895    
Great Report and Congrats on the success !!
Did you find that 1/2 oz or 3/4 oz jigs were better for jigging that day?
 Reply by: TeamGR3      Posted: 9/26/2018 12:03:42 PM     Points: 1534    
great post-show me a pic of the finished cooked fish-share a new recipe/ I am always looking for the new recipes-thanks...
 Reply by: Toon      Posted: 9/26/2018 12:27:30 PM     Points: 112    
We were the only boat on the lake jigging. I was shocked. Lots of boats came by trolling while we were catching them. They trolled around us and a few stopped to watch for a minute, but they seemed perplexed as to what we were doing. No one ever asked or I would have given them the tip and invited them over. One boat watched us throughout the day and came off the lake at the same time to ask me what we were doing to catch them. They were impressed even my 4 and 6 year old kids were catching them one after another. I took the time to show them the lures we were using and what we were doing. Another guy approached us while I was cleaning the fish and asked how we caught them. He was (self labeled) more of an "old school" Kokanee guy and never used scents or corn. Just normal trout lures. He had two little boys with him so I gave them some of my leftover corn in the hopes he could get into them with his boys like I did with my kids. To me taking the kids out and having the memories is what it's all about.

If the trollers were using downriggers and went down between 40ft and 50ft, they caught fish. We saw quite a few in our area catching them. Most had riggers though.

I was down near the dam area, SE part. The fish were spread out/moving around, not in real thick schools, but there were were so many in the area it was easy to jig. We never had to move and the action was pretty much non stop. Most sharp drop offs in deeper water (70ft-80ft) had pretty large quantities of Kokanee holding around them. Just find the ledges. We only caught a few that were fairly red. Most were silver still with a light pink/red color to them. Jaws on the males are starting to hook now as well.

As far as the lures, we used 1/2 ounce Slab Spoons and Kokanators. We didn't need the heavy ones because we only had to go 45 feet. The scented corn was the key. Lures with the scent got a few hits here and there, but you know when they knocked your corn off. Hits would just stop. As soon as you threw a little scented corn on, they were all over it. **I attached photos of the lures I was using.** I order them through Sportsman's Warehouse. Bass Pro and Cabelas carry similar stuff, a little cheaper through Sportsman's Warehouse though.

I have a smoker, that's the only way I eat them. I smoke about 15-20 at a time. The guys at work appreciate it (LOL). Growing up, a friend of the family turned a small shed into a smoker on Green Mountain Res. That's the way I grew up eating them so that's what I am used to and know how to do.

Good Luck! If anyone goes to Wolford in the near future let me know how you do!!! I'll be back as soon as I eat these ones. I'm smoking another batch tonight!

 Reply by: Toon      Posted: 9/26/2018 12:40:50 PM     Points: 112    
Recipe is very easy.... when I clean them I cut the head off and cut up the stomach. I clean out the insides and leave them whole (skin on).

I cover them in olive oil so it doesn't stick to the smoker. I use normal salmon seasoning along with a seasoning called roasted garlic and herb inside it. A piece of toothpick to hold it open.

I turn my smoker (mesquite pellets) as low as I can, usually about 160-180 (outside temp varies it), and let it smoke. At the low temp the meat doesn't usually dry out but it grabs the smoke. When it's to my liking (i like heavier smoke flavor) I crank up the heat to about 220 until the skin starts getting brittle/flaky to finish cooking them. You will be able to pull the fins off very easy. You know its done. Usually only takes a few extra minutes. If it is hot outside the lower temps will cook it faster so you have to watch. If the edges of the meat start getting dry, they are done. You don't want to dry the whole thing out.

I clean them this way because once cooked and hot, you can grab the backbone where the head was and pull up on it slowly. The backbone and all the rib bones come out really easy. The meat mostly stays with the skin, but some will be be on the ribs (but it comes off really easy. You then slide the meat off the skin with a fork and almost all the bones are gone. I will attach a few pics tonight when I get them done.

I can't get the link to work but on Youtube look up "How To Debone Trout and Kokanee, Using A Traeger To Smoke". It is very similar to what I do but I don't cut the tail off. In the video they don't quite look done all the way. He has a little trouble with the bones/meat. It is easier then what he shows. Same concept though......

 Reply by: Gunny Airborne      Posted: 9/26/2018 3:30:39 PM     Points: 3987    
Now that was a very good post. Very informative and you sound like your a pretty good dude.

I donít do cold but for the guy who never catches any you have helped a great deal.

Fins up for sure...
 Reply by: hunter creek      Posted: 9/26/2018 4:59:37 PM     Points: 2226    
Excellent and informative post, Toon! Thank you!
 Reply by: Toon      Posted: 9/26/2018 8:13:32 PM     Points: 112    
Smoking complete!
 Reply by: catfishking      Posted: 9/26/2018 8:23:59 PM     Points: 742    
Nice good eats
 Reply by: Jdhusk65      Posted: 9/27/2018 11:00:02 PM     Points: 669    
Toon, was there a specific jigging cadence or style that worked best? Thanks
 Reply by: Toon      Posted: 9/28/2018 7:56:46 AM     Points: 112    
Not really. I was almost dead sticking it and slowly moving it 6-8 inches every 5 seconds or so most of the time, keeping the line tight to stay in contact with the lure. A few hits while it was stationary but most on the fall.

Others were doing a constant 3 foot up slow and let it flutter down. They would hit it on the fall and when they went to lift it back up they would hook up.

Then you have my 4 and 6 year old that were putting the tip of the pole in the water and lifting the pole vertically over their head (sometimes very wildly) and letting it fall (7 foot rods). They were getting them as well, mostly on the fall.

The rhythm didn't seem to matter. The big thing was the scented corn. Plain lures caught nothing, lures with Kokanee gel caught a couple but not many hits, and adding scented corn on it.....well you couldn't keep them off. The gel was pretty much the same scent I used in the corn, I don't know why the big difference but it made a bunch.

White or yellow sweet/shoe peg corn from the store scented. I attached pictures of what I use to scent it.

Happy Hunting!!!!!!
 Reply by: Jdhusk65      Posted: 9/29/2018 4:39:45 AM     Points: 669    
Thanks toon, appreciate the tips.
 Reply by: pug      Posted: 10/5/2018 9:47:12 AM     Points: 7    
Has anyone seen them starting yet?
 Reply by: catfishking      Posted: 10/5/2018 7:07:35 PM     Points: 742    
They started awhile ago Iíve been catching them from shore since August 31
 Reply by: Troutman      Posted: 10/6/2018 11:04:28 AM     Points: 62    
Iíve been up a few times and havenít caught any from shore yet this year. I know catfish king knows his stuff. And has the lake dialed in. I will keep trying.
 Reply by: catfishking      Posted: 10/6/2018 8:21:27 PM     Points: 742    
I fished wolford today caught limit of kokes a few trout and suckers near dam early am
 Reply by: JimmyRig      Posted: 10/20/2018 12:02:20 AM     Points: 55    
Is the dam still closed? I was up there last week and hiked the rocks but only a few 3 year spawners around. Not the big reds i'm used to.
 Reply by: riper69      Posted: 10/21/2018 7:38:03 PM     Points: 2475    
Never fished wolford
Can you walk along the dam or walk across the top to fish the other side of the lake
 Reply by: IceFishingFool      Posted: 10/22/2018 11:17:50 AM     Points: 8544    
IDK, I've always been in the boat, Seems I have seen people on it though.
 Reply by: riper69      Posted: 10/22/2018 11:28:19 AM     Points: 2475    
 Reply by: Troutman      Posted: 10/22/2018 11:40:15 AM     Points: 62    
Yes you can usually walk across the dam. And access the other side. There also is a 4wd trail from kremmling that gets you to other side.
This year they are working on the dam and there is a lot of heavy equipment up there. So Iam not sure about access to the dam at the moment.

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