July 2011: Living Dangerously…

Fishing for Kokanee in an Oregon Volcano!

July 20-21, 2011

A view of the beautiful lake and surrounding crater rim from Al’s pontoon boat. 

Oregon’s Paulina Lake is the most beautiful lake I’ve ever fished! During a week’s motor home trip to visit family in La Pine, Oregon, my old high school buddy, Al, drove down from Prineville with his pontoon boat. I drove the coach as he led the way with his rig to the lake which is at 6,000 feet.

Our campsite with room enough for all the toys – right on the lake!

The lake view from the coach – for just $16 per night with the old geezer discount.

We lucked into the prettiest campsite at the Little Crater campground that anyone could wish for! It sat right on the water and was large enough for the coach, the van and the boat.

We didn’t start fishing ’til 1000 on the first day, after setting up camp and launching the boat. We gave it the old college try, both jigging and trolling, but managed just two kokanee to the boat – only to lose them before we could net them. They fight like tarpon and have pretty soft mouths, so it’s not hard to lose them.

Captain Al at the helm of his comfy little pontoon boat. It is as comfortable a boat for two old geezers as can be found – with big, soft patio chairs that fit old geezers very well! The little 14′ boat is powered by a Suzuki 9.9 HP 4-stroke.

It was a cool morning on day 2. Here I jig for the elusive kokanee, and actually caught one!

Although the pickins’ were slim, we managed one kokanee while jigging, and another while trolling. Neither were big enough to write home about, but this trip was about good times for old high school buddies, and time on a beautiful lake. We tallied just six hours of fishing on Day 1, and four hours on Day 2. Check out time was 1400, so we had to reel in and head back to civilization at noon.

Here is a short video of the lake as we were fishing.

Al cleaned the two little kokanee we managed to catch, and took ’em home for a single man’s meal. Slim pickins’ for sure, but what fun we had trying!

The kokanee lie in state on the “stairway” to the lake from the coach. They are land-locked sockeye salmon and are known as great table fare.

This Bald Eagle put on quite a show for us as we jigged for kokanee. He made one swooping dive down, talons piercing the surface, but missed. He was having a slow day, too, I reckon.

I’ve never enjoyed a fishing trip more than this brief outing to the remote Newberry Caldera in Central Oregon, about 25 miles south of Bend. There was no phone signal for our cell phones, let alone a 3G signal for getting online. Both Paulina Lake, and nearby East Lake are in the Newberry Caldera.

Paulina Lake hold Oregon’s record brown trout at 28 lbs. 5 oz, and the state record for kokanee at 4 lbs. 2 oz. We were not a threat to either record. For more info on the area, check: http://www.anglerguide.com/oregon/paulinalake.html 

Update: Wallowa Lake in NE Oregon now holds the state and likely the world record at 9.6 Lbs. which is pending:


Another view of our incredible campsite. That’s one of my favorite toys – the magic carpet upon which I’ve traveled the country from coast to coast and border to border – a 2001 Rexhall Vision 315 motorhome. My older RV stories are on my RV site: http://coachpotatosrvsite.synthasite.com/

I have to get better at this kokanee fishing as my buddy Al and I are planning a trip to kokanee Mecca this fall – that would be Flaming Gorge in Utah and Wyoming. What a trip that will be!

Next week I’ll be chasing kokanee on New Melones Lake again, unless I have trouble installing my soon-to-arrive auto-pilot! If so, I’ll get that thing installed and fish the following week. Well… maybe the auto-pilot can wait!

About FishWisher

Over the years I have posted many exciting fishing and boating stories here, but now in my seventies, it was time to sell the boat and find less demanding pastimes. All the fishing stories are still here! I will now post my travels aboard the motorhome and other activities. I hope y'all will still enjoy the fishing and boating adventures and perhaps peek in on my post-boating activities on occasion. Thanks for dropping in and I hope you enjoy your visit.
This entry was posted in Fishin' with ol' buddy Al, Fishing + RVing = Comfort, Fishing Kokanee, Travel: Oregon. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to July 2011: Living Dangerously…

  1. Anonymous says:

    I had forgotten that Paulina previously surrendered a state record kokanee. It has been a couple years since that was the case though, Wallowa Lake in North East Oregon broke the state record several times last year and the year before, then set a new world record at 9.67#. This year there have been a number of big fish caught there but none quite up to the overall State/World record, however there was a 4# test line class record that was over 7#. Sounds like a great trip well done thanks for the pictures.

  2. FishWisher says:

    Anonymous – Thanks for the update. I found out about Wallowa just a couple of days ago as another fella told me of the current record on another fishing site. Al and I have decided to go to Wallowa in September instead of Flaming Gorge as it is much closer and seems the better choice for beauty and – maybe – big kokanee. It’ll be late for kokes, but also has trout and Macks. -Dale

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dale- Will look forward to the report, I certainly wish I could find time to make that trip myself but alas I am relegated to living vicariously through the internet for these wonderful lakes.
    -Jerud (anonymous from above)

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