Shasta Lake Reort from Jeff Goodwin of Jeff Goodwin’s Guide Service
The Carr Fire in and around Redding wreaked havoc on our local lake fishing scene. Trinity Lake, Whiskeytown Lake, and Keswick Reservoir were and still are inaccessible as far as my fishing trips go. Numerous days were cancelled on the different aforementioned lakes and my schedule lightened up a whole lot in a short period of time. Fortunately Shasta Lake is producing some killer fishing so I'm starting to see my schedule fill back up again. We were fire victims in a sense that we were evacuated from our home for five continuous days. While staying at Bridge Bay Lodge on our last day of evacuation, I ran into some nice folks who were visiting Shasta Lake and wanted to fish. I was there and I had my boat in the water so I agreed to run a half day trip the following morning.
Since that day, I have run another couple of trips on Shasta and would describe the fishing to be excellent. We've been getting over 20 hook ups per outing and if the clients don't lose too many fish, they end up taking home limits of nice rainbow and brown trout. We're fishing 60-70' feet now and that seems to be the sweet spot for now. The surface temps are hovering around 83 degrees, but thats partially due to the smokey conditions on the lake that is keeping the sun off the water. Its much cooler fishing this past week, but the air has been thick on occasion. Its really not that bad and the light winds we have had the past few days has improved the air quality on Shasta Lake considerably. The great trout fishing will remain good through September. I will likely break away from the lake fishing to run salmon trips for six weeks on the Sacramento River. I haven't fished for river Kings yet, but i hear its shaping up to be a great year for salmon on the Sac!
Lake Pardee continues to plant rainbow trout, and 1000 pounds of Calaveras Trout Farm rainbows ranging from 1 to 5 pounds was released into the lake on August 2nd. Kokanee fishing has slowed down, but there are quality rainbows to be had.
Captain Joe Aksamit of Joefish Guide Service put his clients Jim and Annabel Rile from Placerville onto limits of rainbows on a ½ day trip this past week. He said, “We ran another ½ day trip, not so much for the heat, but more for the smoke from the wildfires. We had a hard time getting the kokanee in the net, but the trout were willing to play, though. We found the fish running Rocky Mountain Tackle hoochies tipped with shoepeg corn scented with Pro-Cure’s Bloody Tuna behind a RMT Moonshine dodger at 45 to 75 feet near the river mouth. The Jared Johnson signature kokanee rod by Velocity Fishing International is a blast for customers reeling in these husky trout.”
Silva Rodger of the Rocky River Recreation Company said, “One of our customers, Frank Witte of Rancho Cordova, was thrilled by landing two big rainbows and a brown at the mouth of the river on a Speedy Shiner. We released 1000 pounds this week for a total of 45,750 pounds for the season. Catfishing has been outstanding, and bank fishermen are finding excellent action at night with a variety of baits including trout dough bait. One angler picked up four catfish weighing a total of 16 pounds near the Logjam on trout dough bait.”
The lake is at 99 percent.
The water temperatures at Lake Camanche have risen to over 80 degrees, and the bass have gone into deep water seeking comfort. Holdover rainbow trout are still a possibility for those willing to get on the lake early in order to beat the boat traffic arriving after 10:00 a.m.
Beau Courtroul of the Lake Camanche Recreation Company said, “The bass have gone deep to the 38-foot range and working the bottom with wacky-rigged Senkos in blue/black have been the best technique. The crankbait bite that I was experiencing a few weeks ago has slowed, and overall the bass fishing is slow due to the combination of hot water and heavy boat traffic changing the water color to muddy along the shorelines. The best bet is catfishing at night with cut baits.”
For holdover rainbows, Robbie Dunham of ‘Koke Machine’ Guide Service took out Walt from Sacramento on his 71st birthday this week, and he said, “Walt wanted some tips and details on trolling Speedy Shiners at Camanche so we left the dock at 5:45 a.m. to drop lines in from the North Shore Marina. We headed for the dam, and it wasn’t long before the rod at 45 feet went off of the clip. It was a spotted bass that was released, and the next five to six fish came off. We stuck it out and finished up with our 10-fish limit by 12:30 p.m. I am running the Speedy Shiners from 40 to 55 feet, stacking them at various depths to determine where the fish are holding.”
There is no gasoline available at either marina at the present time as a leak was detected in the North Shore Marina, resulting in shutting off the pump to avoid contamination of the lake. In the interim period of time until the lake drops enough to repair the pipe, there is no gasoline available.
The lake is at 86 percent.
Kokanee action continues to improve on a weekly basis at Don Pedro, and experienced trollers are finding limits of both kokanee and rainbow trout.
WON Field Reporter, Andre Fontenot of San Francisco, has been on the lake three times in the past week, and he said, “I’m starting to like this lake as this was my third time there this week. It is hard not to like when you come away with limits of kokanee and rainbow trout over the previous two trips. On my last trip, I kept a five-fish limit of kokanee from the 12 landed along with releasing 7 rainbow trout, keeping three rainbows. I fished the Graveyard and just north of there at depths from 40 to 60 feet with a variety of pink or purple hoochies or Shasta Tackle’s pink/purple Humdingers. The kokanee have averaged from 14 to 15 inches up to a high of 16 inches with the rainbows to 22 inches.
It’s nice to find a lake with decent-sized kokanee without having to travel up to Whiskeytown or Stampede. On my last trip, I moved out into the coves.”
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing confirmed the solid bite, saying, “It has been pretty much the same deal with 15 kokanee and 10 rainbow trout on my last trip with clients. I have been running solely kokanee gear of pink or orange micro-hoochies behind a Shasta Tackle Sling Blade along with a few Apex lures at depths from 45- to 60-feet. I will be on the lake three times this week and will stay on Pedro until the Sacramento River salmon season heat up.”
The Annual Lake Amador Catfish Derby was held this past week with 162 participants, but the big fish were missing for the most part with the winning whiskerfish weighing 9.8 pounds. Chicken livers at 10 to 12 feet are the top technique. Bass fishing is best with Senkos. The annual Moonlighter Bass Tournament is August 25th with a cutoff date for registration on August 22nd. The lake remains high at only 12 feet from spilling.
Lake McClure –
Recreational boat traffic remains high, but bass fishing remains solid with plastics on the drop-shot with watermelon/red flake or similar crawdad colors working best. There is a topwater bite in the early mornings or late evenings, but the daytime bite is slow. Catfishing is excellent with cut baits including hot dogs from the shorelines in the evenings. Crappie fishing has slowed. The lake dropped from 78 to 75 percent.
The last trout plant was July 3, and trout fishing is slow as a result. A trout plant is anticipated within the coming week. A few rainbows are taken in the early mornings or late evenings from the normal locations of the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, or the campgrounds with Power Eggs, trout dough bait in garlic, or inflated nightcrawlers. The new water feature has increased boat rentals and attendance since its opening in May.
Bass fishing has been outstanding at night with the full moon with topwater lures, Brush Hogs on brass n’ class, small swimbaits, or plastics on a Texas-rig or drop-shot. Catfishing is improving from the banks in the evenings with cut baits or stinkbaits, Crappie are found near structure or in the evenings under lights while trout fishermen are also soaking live bait under lights. Trout and kokanee are a possibility but catching is a challenge with the fish holding between the dam, spillway, and Rose Island at depths to 90 feet. The lake held at 78 percent.
Eastman has consistently produced the largest grade of largemouth bass from the Central Valley low elevation lakes. It continues to are recover from recent algae blooms, and although there are remains of the bloom remaining in the lake, bass fishing remains solid.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Eastman is most productive at night, and this is true for all of our lakes right now with the triple-digit heat. There is a solid night bite with wakebaits in bluegill patterns along with single- or double-bladed buzzbaits. The bass are liking the noise of the buzzbaits. There is a crankbait bite near the dam at night as well, and during the daytime, big 10-inch plastics or lizards on a Carolina- or Texas-rig are working best. The smoke engulfing the Central Valley has kept overcast and darker conditions during the daytime.”
The River Rats Bass Club held their third ‘Saturday Night Shootout’ on Saturday night from 6:00 p.m. to midnight, and the winning weights were half of what they have been during the first two events. The first place team came in with a four-fish limit of 9.78 pounds with a big fish at 3.55 pounds. The second place team came in with 9.55 pounds with the largest fish out of the 24 boats at 4.77 pounds. A total of 13 four-fish limits were weighed in. The final ‘Saturday Night Shootout’ of the summer will be on August 25th.
Eastman dropping from 54 to 49 percent.
Trollers continue to make the trek up the hill to 5,500 feet Shaver Lake to load up on kokanee and/or rainbow trout, and now you can add smallmouth bass into the mix as bank anglers are finding non-stop action on 3/4th to 1-pound smallies.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, "It has definitely slowed for us this past week at Shaver. In two weeks, we have dropped from an average of three limits to 1.5 to 2.5 on this week’s trips. The lake is overwhelmed by smoke from the Ferguson fire which does not help our concentration. Nearly all our kokanee have come from 5:15 to 6:45 am., and this week, they dropped to 50 feet deep in the water column. We are marking plenty of fish from the the Point to the dam area, and my best kokanee lure this week has been an orange Koke Buster tipped with scented corn behind a Mountain Dodger ran close to a Dick's Ball Troll. The next best bet has been a champagne pink with purple spinner Mountain Hoochie with the same scent and dodger. The trout bite is off, but what we have found are with Trout Busters tipped with crawler and corn behind a weighted Mountain Flasher around 20 feet in depth. I think you will find better trout fishing near Tunnel Creek, but we have been concentrating on kokanee at the Point and dam.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, “There are good numbers of kokanee in the lake, and although it has slowed down a bit, we are averaging around 2 to 3 limits depending upon whether we can hang onto the fish. There have been a number of kokanee in the 15-inch range this week with even a 16 incher. I have been running the Rocky Mountain Tackle orange Hornet Spinner behind the orange Moonshine dodger behind a Dick’s Ball Troll at depths from 38 to 55 feet in the main channel from the Sierra Marina to the Point. The green Assassin spinner behind a watermelon Moonshine dodger is also working as well as the double-glow orange hoochie behind an orange Moonshine dodger. Regular clients Carson and Sunny Wong were out for 13 quality kokanee this week, and the key is to find active fish.”
Smallmouth bass action is on the upswing, leading Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis to say, “Shaver has been a really good location to take children fishing from the banks as you can catch and released unlimited numbers of smallies in the 3/4th- to 1-pound range using Yamamoto twin tail grubs in green pumpkin or watermelon/black flake. There are some large smallmouth approaching 4 pounds that have the bass guys drooling right now.”
San Luis Reservoir/O’Neill Forebay
The weather has been merely hot at best in the desolate stretches of the Central Valley, and San Luis Reservoir has minimal protection from the sun or the winds. As a result, anglers are heading to the lake early in the mornings or late in the evenings for an improving striped bass bite.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Some of our customers are heading to the lake both mornings and evenings, and we have seen some quality stripers taken by bank anglers ripping white flukes on a ½-ounce jig head off of main lake points. The fact that they are using flukes or ripbaits show that the stripers are not chasing shad on the surface as few are using topwater lures. Others are soaking anchovies or cut baits from the shorelines, and the bite has improved during the past two to three weeks. The lake levels continue to drop, and when this happens, there is more access for shore fishing although they have to travel farther to the shoreline. With the heat, mornings and evenings remain the most popular times.”
Trolling is also improving, and Travis Porter and K.C. Wilson of Hollister found good action for stripers to 7 pounds trolling shad-patterned jerkbaits at depths from 45 to 60 feet in 120 feet of water. Porter said, “The lake has dropped, and the coves we normally work are now out of the water.”
Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported good action with white flukes in the O’Neill Forebay for small, legal striped bass along with a majority of undersized fish. The weed growth has enveloped many of the shoreline areas, and anglers will have to get out into deeper water. Jumbo minnows are still unavailable in area shops, but most shops have a grade of minnow from medium to extra-large.
The lake dropped slightly to 44 percent.
The boat dock was damaged by the dropping and rising water levels, and it may not be available for some time as major repairs are necessary. Trolling is best with blade/’crawlers or Thomas Buoyants in brass/red at 3 to 4 colors of leadcore at the upper end of the lake or straight across from the launch ramp. Shore fishing is slow with an occasional rainbow trout taken on trout dough bait in yellow, red, or orange near the boat launch. The lake is rising and dropping on a regular basis in response to higher electrical needs in the Central Valley.
Trollers are finding limits of rainbow trout running blade/’crawler combinations at 20 feet or 3 to 4 colors of lead core. If boaters are not trolling, they are drifting trout dough bait in pink or orange around the mouth of Wood Chuck Creek. Shore fishing is slow overall with a fish ‘here or there’ with trout dough bait in red or orange around Short Hair Creek. The river inlet has been much slower for fly fishermen as the rainbows and browns are limited to a few deep holes. The lake remains relatively full and launching a boat is easy.