This year has been one for the record books. The tragedy of Covid-19 has truly changed the way we live, work, interact, and take care of ourselves.
My wife, Jeri and I have spent most of the past six month self-isolating in our home in Manila, next to Flaming Gorge Reservoir. And, to be perfectly honest, these last six months have allowed me to fish at least five days a week, hike the beautiful Uinta Mountains, discover new lakes, new baits, and new ways to catch fish.
So, the tragedy of Covid-19 has made me a better angler. Go figure.
I shot a Go-Pro video about deep jigging for rainbow and cutthroat trout (https://youtu.be/3BFdX_tDa3M) just this week, and a viewer asked if jigging spoons might work at Strawberry.
Let’s discuss this subject based on my last few months of “spooning.”
I first started using spoons (an easy way to describe lures that essentially sink when dropped into water) probably 50 years ago. My first spoons were “Daredevils” and from there I moved to Jake’s Spin-A-Lures and literally scores of other such lures.
Some spoons create unique movements while they sink while others are simply pieces of steel or lead attached to a single or treble hook that can be dropped to the exact level of where the fish are holding, as long as they have a fish finder on their boat and know how to use it.
Last year, I started jigging for kokanee salmon on Flaming Gorge with a small “spoon” called a Tasmanian Devil in the quarter-ounce version.
I would find the schools of “kokes” on the finder, drop the spoon (tipped with a Berkley Maggot) down to the fish and shake the rod tip, lift the spoon between two and three feet, let it drop back down to the school and repeat the process.
I absolutely LOVE that lure in the Rainbow color. However, as the year progressed, the schools of kokanees began moving very quickly and I needed to get down quicker before they left the scene.
P-Line makes some incredible spoons and one series is called the “Kokanator Jig.” They come in several weights but I like the half-ounce and three quarter-ounce versions because even at 50 to 80 feet, they scoot to the bottom in a flash.
In 2020, I began using my Tasmanian Devil and had great success on kokanees, lake trout, and surprisingly, rainbows.
But, since I was fishing almost every day, I began experimenting with pink and even chartreuse Kokanators in the half-ounce weight and discovered they worked incredibly well on all species mentioned above. I also began to experiment tipping my spoons with various colors of corn with great results too.
Since March, I have become a “spooning son of a gun.” I would have no problem taking what I have learned and applying it to Strawberry Reservoir, and I plan to do just that in about three weeks.
A lot of Strawberry, especially in the Narrows, the Ladders, the Meadows, or even in Strawberry Bay, set up just like Flaming Gorge. The cutthroats and rainbows follow schools of kokanee salmon, and hang around above, below, and sometimes in the middle of kokanee schools.
Depending on weather, the fish will be deep in at least the early part of September and will be still looking for deep minnows and “sensing” the kokanee spawn is approaching so as schools of kokes work their way towards their spawning areas, rainbows and cutthroats will be hanging around looking to react to something.
I would look in the 30 to 70-foot depth range, locate schools of fish and drop down a spoon tipped with corn and see what happens. It seems obvious that it would work but until I feel a fish on the spoon end of my line, I will not know for sure.
Though Covid-19 has been life changing, I am thankful to be still healthy, safe, and happily becoming a better angler thanks to self-isolating.
Can jigging spoons work on Strawberr? You bet!