Kokanee salmon are an interesting fish to target. The rods used to catch Kokanee don’t always make sense. Because they are such aggressive fish, it would be reasonable to think that they have tough mouths that can handle attacking the things they do. However, Kokanee salmon have very soft mouths that require certain hooks, if you want to catch one.
So, what are the seven best Kokanee fishing rods, and which did I pick?
- G-Loomis E6X Kokanee Trolling Series
- Okuma Kokanee SST Kokanee Rod
- Tica KLEA Kokanee Glass Fishing Rod
- Velocity Elite Blue Glass Rod
- Okuma Celilo Kokanee Pro Trolling Rod
- Eagle Claw Featherlight Kokanee Trolling Rod
- Lamiglas CGR762L Tournament Kokanee Special Rod
My Pick: Okuma Kokanee SST Kokanee Rod
Extra Rod: 13 Fishing Whiteout Rod by the Thornebros
Kokanee Rods come in a variety of sizes and actions. Most of these rods are trolling rods, meant to be loaded with a dodger and a lure, and trailed behind a boat. But just because these rods were designed to do a certain job doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to do the things that it would need to do.
1. G-Loomis E6X Kokanee Trolling Series
Many of these rods will be very extremely light action rods and will not seem like trolling rods at all. But the fact is that they work, and they do so quite well. In my time targeting Kokanee Salmon, I have noticed a few reoccurring rods in the hands of my superiors.
The G-Loomis series is one that should not be taken lightly. This specific rod has the best of everything for a price under $200. G-Loomis is known for having very high-end fishing rods.
They always deliver the best possible quality and effectiveness in their rods, so no one has complained too much as they dropped $500 on one rod.
The quality of the E6X series is nothing to question. When the rod series came out, there were questions of whether this line was going to hurt the reputation of the brand. But as soon as these hit the market, there was a new standard for Kokanee Salmon trolling.
When paired with a downrigger, these rods are very sensitive and show a bit better than any other rod.
After a few uses, you’ll be able to tell the difference in the current playing with your dodger and the smallest Kokanee Salmon breathing on the hook.
The trolling rods can be paired with the best trolling gear for great results. There isn’t much that the E6X can’t do. This rod can be used for different types of fishing, too.
My buddy who likes to fish in the Willamette River in Oregon quite frequently says that he uses this rod for bass and throwing around frogs.
The action, the aesthetics, and the handle are all a 10/10 in my book. My only problem with this rod is the reel seat. After a few days of continuous fishing, the reel seat came loose and my reel was moving around a little. It was an easy fix, just tightening the sides again, but it was the first time I had done it on a rod.
2. Okuma Kokanee SST Kokanee Rod
Okuma has a very solid reputation. There isn’t a lot of negative things that you can say about Okuma, whether it’s a Casting or Spinner Rod. Their gear is cheap enough for most beginners to go to in the beginning, but still has the quality that keeps the old timers around for a long, long time.
This is the rod that I use. To be honest, this might be a little biased because I am one of those longtime fishermen who swears by Okuma Gear, but hey. It works for me.
In my humble opinion, Okuma has the best handles on their rods. The high-quality cork just feels right in my hand. The grips and set up of the location on the casting rods are always very nice. This is a very fishable rod and I never get tired of using it reeling in those Kokanee Salmon.
The one downside to this rod is the fact that it is very species specific. Something that Okuma is known for, as some other companies are as well, is that their rods aren’t very versatile when it comes to other types of fishing.
Their steelhead rods are only good for catching steelhead in deeper rivers, and their Kokanee Rods are really only good for trolling for Kokes.
But at $60, they are a good rod to get for trolling. They still give you enough space to buy another rod and not make it seem like you dropped a ton of money on fishing gear again. It’s a good quality rod for an inexpensive price.
3. Tica KLEA Kokanee Glass Fishing Rod
This rod has received a lot of praise in the past, and it still lives up to its reputation. One of the best Kokanee Rods out there, the Tica KLEA Kokanee Glass Fishing Rod is one of the best. The action that the rod provides is rarely seen elsewhere.
Sensitive yet strong, this fiberglass rod can withstand some serious bending. It is a two piece rod, but where the two pieces connect has been reinforced and tightened to make sure the two pieces aren’t separated when casting.
The rod comes with 12 guides along the rod. This makes it very sensitive and, as one customer said, it is easy to tell if the pull was a fish bumping the hook or the wind putting on pressure.
There is a slight problem with the guides, however. Some have had issues with the guides needing replacement after usage.
This can be bad because if the guides are not completely smooth, they can put added friction on the line and, after a short while, snap the line. This could happen during a fight, or just retrieving a lure.
4. Velocity Elite Blue Glass Rod
Velocity Fishing is not a brand that I have noticed in the past few years. With only 6 lines of rods, in trolling, salmon, and trout rods, there isn’t a whole lot to discuss. But the Elite Color Glass rod series meant for trolling is actually a very good series. The line has a total of three colors: blue, green, and pink.
The rods are ultra light, meaning they are very good for trolling Kokanee. The bend they have is sensitive and has the correct balance over the water.
They are sold at a pretty reasonable price, too. At $80, they are at the higher side of an average trolling rod, but that is still very good compared to some of the more expensive rods with not much of an increase in quality.
The Velocity Elite Blue Glass Rods are made of a graphite blank, while the eyelets and guides are titanium oxide. The handle is grade AA cork and is capped at the end with a rubber cork end.
As most graphite rods are, these rods are strong and durable. They are able to stand up to the fiercest Kokanee and keep them on the hook.
A friend of mine who used one of these said that they are durable, but they are still very sensitive. He said that his brother uses the Velocity’s Elite line more than anything else when trolling Kokanee, but he likes to spend a while wearing out the fish before bringing in them in.
Overall, this is a very good rod. It fits well in your hand and is very aesthetically pleasing. The blue blank is a very good color, and the cork is naturally pleasing as well.
You can fish in style with this rod. The sensitivity is great, as well as the durability with a great backbone. It makes for an easy catch.
5. Okuma Celilo Kokanee Pro Trolling Rod
Another Okuma rod, the Celilo Kokanee Pro Trolling Rod is a favorite of a lot of fishermen. I’ve seen a lot of guides use these in their trolling businesses because they are very sensitive, but have a very strong backbone.
This rod is best used when paired with a downrigger. It is sensitive enough to catch small fish but is also strong and durable enough to fight the bigger fish.
Trolling rods need to be able to last under constant stress, and not break once a fish is on the line. I’ve had an experience when using a rod that looked like the rod was doing alright with the downrigger.
It started to feel the pressure as the boat began to move. Once a fish got on, the rod broke and I lost the fish. The rod I had been using was one of the more expensive rods and was not suited for trolling.
This rod couldn’t be better suited for trolling. It won’t break under the constant stress, but even if it did, it wouldn’t matter too much; the rod runs for a solid $39.99. The rod comes in either 7′ or 8′, the perfect lengths for trolling rods.
6. Eagle Claw Featherlight Kokanee Trolling Rod
As most things are with the Eagle Claw brand, this rod is cheap but very effective. It doesn’t have the sensitivity of the other, more expensive, rods but it makes up in that with other things.
The rod is durable and will last for a long time. It’s a great rod to slap onto your boat if you’re running low on money for fishing supplies and still be able to catch something.
Eagle Claw’s Featherlight series has been around for a while. The series came out sometime before the ’90s and have been strong since then. The price of these things is kind of ridiculous. They run online for about $25 and in stores, the rods can be bought for $18.
The fiberglass blanks are not very sensitive, as fiberglass tends to be, but the durability of the rod makes it a good fighter against the bigger Kokanee Salmon in the lakes. It works well as a trolling rod, though.
The rods usually come in a very bold yellow, and while it can seem sort of ugly, just know that the color is a very ugly color. But like most of the downfalls of the Featherweight, the price makes all of those seem like nothing. The rod is a great quality for the price that is offered.
Overall, this isn’t the best rod, but it shares a lot of the same qualities as the top tier rods. Where it lacks in sensitivity, it makes up for in durability. If you decide to buy one of these rods, it’ll be around for a while.
7. Lamiglas CGR762L Tournament Kokanee Special Rod
This is a rod that I have not heard anything about until I asked my buddy what his favorite Kokanee Trolling rod was. He had just bought one in January getting ready for the April Kokanee trolling runs. (He loves Kokanee) He told me to look it up online and what I could find, most people have a love of this rod.
Most reviews that I read online said that this rod has a very strong backbone and works very on a downrigger. One individual even went as far as to say that this rod made the rest of his trolling rods go obsolete.
I am hesitant to recommend this rod, however. After getting into the reviews a bit deeper, I noticed that a lot of people were having problems with the rod just completely breaking on them.
The break was in the same spot for every one-star review. The rod is a two-piece, which can be beneficial, but they also tend to snap where they were connected.
Overall, however, it seems like a very good rod. On paper, it seems like a very good rod that will serve its purpose. The price on these, though, is $115 and with the fear of it breaking, this rod was moved down the list quite a bit.
8. Best Ice Fishing Rod
Up until this point, the rods have all been for trolling Kokanee Salmon. While this is a very popular method of catching Kokanee Salmon, there are other ways of catching Kokanee Salmon.
Ice fishing is done during the winter when the lakes are frozen over and you can walk out over the surface of the water. After a small hole is drilled, a line is dropped using an ice rod, a tiny version of a fishing rod meant to jig the bottom of a lake or suspend a hook in the mid levels.
There are cheaper ones, but they have less quality to them. There are also more expensive ones, but even those sometimes are worse than the 13 Fishing Whiteout rod.
The tiny rod is very sensitive meant for noticing the smallest changes in the water. The blank is completely carbon, meaning that it is very durable, but still has a very high level of sensitivity. It’s comfortable in your hand and looks nice with its sleek black design.
The rod doesn’t have any history of breaking, which is a great thing to say about the tiny ice rods. They can only bend so much.
What is the best bait for Kokanee Salmon? Smell-treated corn on a hook or lure is the best bait that can be used for both trolling or jigging. Even during the winter time, corn that has been treated with garlic will be able to catch more Kokanee than any other method.
What is a downrigger rod? A downrigger rod differs from the usual rod as it tends to be able to bend exactly at the correct angle and pressure that the downrigger device will put onto the line. These rods were created especially for downriggers, but can be used for other types of fishing.