Sweet Walk with the Kokanee Salmon

Have you ever eaten a kokanee salmon? Some will say yes. But have you ever walked with kokanne salmon? Well dang it, that’s exactly what I did on last Thursday in the South Fork of the Boise River of Idaho. Not only did I walk with the salmon, I caught them and then cleaned and filleted one. Toni then took over and cooked up a meal for the two of us when we got home.

Walking, Wading and fishing for Idaho salmon

How Did It Happen?
Toni and I headed up to the Pine, Idaho area. Me with my fishing pole and Toni in her hiking shoes and both of us in our regulation Idaho pick-up truck. The drive up to and into our local mountains was almost surreal as heavy smoke from California moved in to the region. The hazy, smokey backdrop and near calm winds around Anderson Ranch Reservoir made for a near perfection water/mountain reflection scene. Amazing sight for both of us.

Anderson Ranch Reservoir water reflection

Our destination was a nice dirt road that follows the Boise River. About 10 minutes of dirt road driving put us in the middle of a cool, dark and forested area with a great pull-out spot. I left Toni in the truck to do whatever girls do before heading out to a walk along a beautiful stream. Okay, I was just in a hurry to get fishing. Within 30 seconds I was standing in knee deep water hoping to catch a nice big 14 incher or bigger trout or a kokanee salmon.

Walking, Wading and Talking to the Salmon
Within 3 minutes of wading into the South Fork of the Boise River, I had a nice big kokanee on my line. I reeled it up to my legs but the whole time I was hollering at Toni to come see what I caught. But no answer was coming from my wife. I looked through the trees in the distance just before she rounded a curve in the road 100 yards upstream. And just 3 seconds later the salmon spit the hook out and was free to spawn another day.

I fished this first spot for another 10 minutes but caught nothing. However, it was fun watching these red/orange beasts swimming around and even between my feet as I stood in thigh deep water. And anyone who knows me, knows I have a habit of talking to myself except today I was talking to the kokanee. Maybe they heard me and knew I was out for fillet today.

Salmon swimming in Boise River waiting for our dinner table

I got back in the pick-up truck, drove down the road and stopped long enough for Toni to jump in. I was on a salmon fishing mission and needed to get to the next good looking spot. We continued upstream, stopping occasionally at promising looking fishing holes. I saw a lot of fish but only managed a catch a few small trout.

These are my go-to, must have outdoor equipment items.

The Catch of the Day
We headed to a spot only about ½ mile from Featherville, Idaho and a very scenic spot on the Boise River. I waded into the stream while Toni offered soft mumbling encouragement (some might say ridicule) as she settled into her comfy lounge chair on the riverbank. I was casting upstream, downstream and cross-stream as salmon where jumping, rising and all around mocking me. Finally, I hooked into a nice orange/black kokanee salmon.

Kokanee Salmon on the hook


I reeled the beast in while heading for shore, sure I would lose the highly agitated fish. But the hook held and the rest, as they say, is fillets

The kokanee salmon measured in at just under 16 inches long.

I gutted this beautiful fish and got two nice fillets from it. A word to the wise if you are fishing for this fish…bring a sharp knife. The rib bones on kokanee are a little tricky to carve out cleanly but the task is made much more difficult with a dull blade.

Equipment Used on Trip
– 5’ 0” Ultra Light Shakespeare Ugly Stik Fishing Rod
– Shakespeare Cirrus CR025 Reel
– 6lb Test Trilene® XT® – Low Vis Green Color Fishing Line
– Teva Water Sandles and Dickey socks
– Columbia Swimming Trunks
– Toni’s special Coleman Comfy Lounge Chair

Coleman Chair for Salmon Fishing

Food Blog and No Recipe?
Hey, I’m just the catcher of the fish. I might have put those two kokanee salmon fillets on the grill like back in my caveman bachelor days. But being the first Idaho salmon my wife ever saw caught and filleted, she thought it best I just take a shower and get out of the kitchen while she did her magic.

So I turn the prep, cooking and eating directions over to the Best Dang Wife in the whole Dang World. I’d tell you how good it was but…


Tim “In pursuit of a dang good life” Bondy


    • Toni says

      Hi Mary!
      I cooked part of it and turned the other big fillet into gravlax so we could enjoy some bagels and lox. I’ll be featuring both recipes, along with lots of pictures, on the blog next week, so hang in there, ok?
      Ohhhh, and it was YUMMY!

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