2018 summer fishing forecast!

 2018 Trinity Lake King salmon!

2018 Trinity Lake King salmon!

We've started to see our summer fishing patterns develop and now its officially time to get settled into our summer fishing season.  We have been and will continue to fish on Shasta, Trinity, and Whiskeytown lakes.  The fish are plentiful and we're seeing some great catch rates already.  The water thermoclines are developing still, but we should have some hard temperature lines develop with the really warm weather headed our way.  We've already started to land some impressive fish across the board, and its only going to get better as time marches on into July-September.  The King salmon in Trinity Lake are impressive, but the Kokanee up there are smaller than we saw last season.  Whiskeytown has some great size to the Kokanee salmon and some in the 3 lb range have been weighted in recently.  Shasta Lake is full of rainbows and brown trout again, but the salmon numbers are down a bit from years past due to light stocking the past two years.  The Kings being caught are 4-5 lbs though and that should improve as summer Shad populations help them grow again this year.  This should be another exceptional summer season so if your interested in getting in on this great fishing action, get in touch with me so we can get your fishing days locked down.  I'm working on my July-August schedule on the lakes and will be looking at river King salmon possibilities in Sept-October.  It looks like we may have some good numbers of fish in the ocean, but a (1) salmon per person limit may reduce interest in this fishery.  If so, not a problem, we have nice fat trout, Kokanee and Kings (5) per person limits to pick up the slack for all of you who like to eat fish.  I'll be sure to update everyone on how the in river salmon fishing shapes up by mid August.  September-October is the best time to fish for river salmon in the Anderson area.  Tight lines, and thank you all for your support again this year!

Captain Jeff Goodwin

Shasta Lake fishing report and more!

fullsizeoutput_3771.jpeg

Shasta Lake crested at around 12' below full pool this week and is now slowly dropping after a very successful water storage year.  The spring water releases from Shasta Lake have begun and the lake is in great shape for the summer fishing season.  Trout and bass fishing is excellent and we've started to see good numbers of adult rainbows back in the system after the spring spawn in the Shasta Lake tributaries.  The bass are staging and with water temps rising above 63 degrees every day now, the bass will be spawning through this month.  Brown trout fishing remains good, but we're now averaging two to three hook ups a day.  The trout are feeding on shad so any sort of lure representing a shad has a good shot at getting bit.  I've been finding most of the rainbows and browns in the 20'-30' range most frequently.  

fullsizeoutput_3754.jpeg

Keswick Reservoir is now getting flows from Shasta lake and has kicked into action for some excellent big trout fishing opportunities. The upper section fished like a river where back trolling steelhead plugs or drifting small spoons works quite well.  As the water slows its flow and enters wider/deeper sections of Keswick, trolling becomes the best method for taking trout on conventional trolling gear.  Because Keswick maintains cool water temps year round, the trout are always near the surface and deep trolling isn't really required.

IMG_2951.JPG

Whiskeytown Lake is almost to full pool, but has a foot or so to go.  Its fishing ok some days, but its far from the lights out Kokanee fishing we are often used to this time of the year.  Its 63 degrees on the surface though and after it settles down during its fill stage, the Kokanee fishing should really pick up.  I expect great fishing to begin around June after the thermocline in the lake develops.  We're still catching fish every trip, but if our hook to loss ratio is lopsided, some days fall short of limits.  Right now most Kokanee are being caught around 20-25' because those Kokanee tend to be the biters.  The Kokanee are still scattered, but will be schooling up as the water temps increase making them easier to catch.

fullsizeoutput_3786.jpeg

Trinity Lake is warming up as well, but its known for its best start in another month or so.  The Kokanee and King salmon fishing will come to life when the anglers start to drop more and more line in around the Memorial Day weekend.  I'm headed up next week to find some Kings so I'll have better information for the readers next week.

 Way to go Susie!!  Great brown trout!

Way to go Susie!!  Great brown trout!

As another point of possible point of interest, lake Britton off of hwy 89 near Cayton, is producing fast action Crappie fishing.  Anglers are getting easy limits and its a great place for families to get the kids out on the water and onto some really, really good fishing!

Shasta Lake brown trout fishing going strong!

I've been really busy on Shasta Lake so far this year and its been an incredible tear already!  We are catching big German browns every trip this winter/spring with the exception of one day during a really slow bite.  browns are scaling up to 10.5 lbs, but most are averaging 5-6 lbs.  Yesterdays group hooked seven browns and 5 rainbows making for a great day on the water.  Side planers were the hot presentation, but we did get some bites on the downriggers as well.  Optimizer spoons were our hot bait again.  15-30' seemed to be a great zone to run baits all day.

 Optimizer spoons are making a big splash on the western lakes!

Optimizer spoons are making a big splash on the western lakes!

The rainbow trout fishing has been quite good as well and we've started catching some of the bigger rainbows again this past week.  The smaller 14-16" trout are easy to come by and most can be caught throughout the lake.  I'm trolling smaller baits for them at 2.5 mph from the surface to 35' most days.  I'm mostly trolling single spoons or Arctic Fox Trolling Flies, but in some of the dirtier water adding a UV Sling Blade helps draw the trout to the spoon or fly.  I expect the good fishing to continue well into spring and know this summer will be great!

 Another nice Shasta Lake rainbow caught on an Optimizer spoon!

Another nice Shasta Lake rainbow caught on an Optimizer spoon!

Rise of the Trinidad Tackle Optimizer spoon!

 Mark Simons with his 10.5 pound Shasta Lake German brown!

Mark Simons with his 10.5 pound Shasta Lake German brown!

Not so long ago, I had the privilege to get a call from a local tackle business owner who was looking for a local fishing guide to represent his line of fishing tackle products.  Stan Kulak who is the owner of Trinidad Tackle, gave me his pitch on a number of tackle items that he thought I could use while guiding my fishing clients.  I was interested in what he had to say and accepted his offer to send me some of the items he sells.  He has many effective fishing products that he markets, but this article is about one of his rising stars in the fishing tackle industry, the Optimizer spoon.

The Optimizer spoon has a long history in the Great Lakes area, but the previous owner of the Optimizer had stopped making the spoon and it soon became forgotten in the Great Lakes fishing scene.  Stan had some knowledge of the Optimizers previous existence and its fish catching ability.  Stan negotiated a deal with the owner and started to produce them for Trinidad Tackle.  Stan gave me a bunch of the Optimizers during a lunch meeting and asked me to give them a try.  I had just finished my 2016 salmon season and wasn't spending much time on the lakes chasing trout.  Some time had passed and Stan invited me to come along on a trout fishing trip on Shasta Lake.

 10.5 pound German brown trout caught with me by Mark Simons while trolling a #3 Optimizer spoon.

10.5 pound German brown trout caught with me by Mark Simons while trolling a #3 Optimizer spoon.

 I showed up at the Packers Bay boat launch ready and eager to go catch some fish.  Stan had told me he intended to run the Optimizers all day and was going to be looking for big fish.  We covered a lot of water that day and I heard a lot of story's about the big browns and rainbows that Stan had caught with the Optimizers and of course, the ones that got away.  I listened and watched Stan fishing these Optimizer spoons all day.  I will admit that I thought he was out of his mind and I couldn't see myself fishing with them while fishing clients.  His techniques and trolling gear in his boat seemed unconventional and were quite foreign to me.  Stan spent time in the Great Lakes region learning from some of the best and most successful Captains and his gear reflected his knowledge of that fishery and the techniques used there. We only caught one fish that day, a small rainbow, but I left that day with a bunch of new knowledge and a new perspective on a technique I had only seen on tv.

My experience that day planted a seed in my mind and I have since spent 100's of hours both fishing and studying the Great Lakes trolling systems and techniques.  You see, the charter captains back there have advanced their skill levels far beyond what I have ever imagined.  After learning more and more about their approach to fishing for lake salmon and trout, it became my obsession to use what I had learned from Stan and my own time on our lakes here in northern California.  Its hard to step outside of the box you are accustomed to, but sometimes it opens some new doors and suddenly you are twice as good as you used to be.

 Tovin Schwartz of San Diego with a big German brown caught with an Optimizer spoon.

Tovin Schwartz of San Diego with a big German brown caught with an Optimizer spoon.

I stayed close to my roots and mostly used what I was used to in the way of tackle, but would give the Optimizers time in the water when I didn't have clients in the boat.  I just hadn't gained the confidence I needed to fish them with paying customers.  I spent the better part of the 2017 summer season on Shasta Lake running small spoons and other tackle quite successfully.  I was enjoying one of my most productive seasons ever and some of my new knowledge was paying off in a big way.  I still had the Optimizer at the ready and noticed a fellow angler who was fishing Shasta and he was coming in with some impressive catches, especially the brown trout that are somewhat difficult to find in the summer months.  Mike Fisher of Cottonwood had seemingly dedicated his days on Shasta to trolling with the Optimizer spoon.  I paid attention and became impressed with his ability to catch big browns and rainbows in the cool deep waters of Shasta Lake during the summer months.

 Yet another big German brown caught on Shasta Lake trolling an Optimizer spoon.

Yet another big German brown caught on Shasta Lake trolling an Optimizer spoon.

As fall arrived and the lake turned over I had the opportunity to fish with Stan and Mike.  We were chasing big browns on the McCloud arm and were fishing solely with the Optimizer spoons.  Mike had spent a lot of time fishing them and had discovered some color patterns that consistently produced when he fished them.  Fall is typically a slow month for fishing guides on the lakes so I took advantage of my free time and fished the Optimizer spoons.  Stan and I went out one day in November and hooked seven browns before we had put in a full day on the water.  That was all it took for me to buy into fishing the Optimizer spoons on most of my trips out on Shasta Lake.  I still used some of my old techniques and hardware to catch some great trout during the fall/winter, but some of my biggest browns were being caught on the Optimizer.

I wrote reports about fishing with Optimizers and over time anglers from all over started to talk about these seemingly new spoons and wanted to get their hands on them.  The popularity of these spoons has grown to epic proportions, especially with the anglers trolling for big browns and rainbows. Stan has worked tirelessly to keep up with the demand. but its been tough.  He has increased production and has streamlined some if his manufacturing tasks which will surely help him keep up with the demand.  Locally these spoons can be found at Phils Propeller in Shasta Lake City or online at www.optimizerlure.com.  These Optimizer spoons are the real deal, but for those of you that may have doubts, just ask Mark Simons of Redding, Ca. about the 10.5 pound German brown he caught a week ago while we were trolling a #3 blue and whits Trinidad Tackle Optimizer spoon.

 

Redding area lakes fishing report!

 Shasta Lake winter brown trout!

Shasta Lake winter brown trout!

Shasta Lake is fishing very well right now for both rainbow trout and German browns to 8 lbs.  The fish are near the surface in the 50 degree water and its remaining consistent that they bite up high in the morning and drop to 25-35' feet by mid day.  We are mostly trolling Trinidad Tackle Optimizer spoons at 3.8 mph which has revealed itself as a deadly technique for catching browns on Shasta Lake.  Big rainbows will chase them too, and so its largely a spoon trophy hunters use to catch these bigger class of fish.  www.optimizer.com offers many color combinations, but #3 or #4 spoons which include white have proven so far to be the hot baits on Shasta.  Black, orange, and red is a safe bet as well.  I'm catching browns all over the lake, but some of the areas such as the McCloud Arm are really good right now.  If its limits of trout you're after, look to the upper reaches of the arms in Shasta for fast action trout in the 1-2 pound range.  We've been averaging about 40 fish a day when we are just fishing for numbers.  The smaller rainbows are biting 2" inch spoons and Arctic Fox Trolling Flies.  Tip your flies with nightcrawler for the best results.  White, rust, or black trolling flies are dynamite!  I find that these trout will be in the top 15' of the water column and I have great success in the 2.5 mph trolling range. 

 Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee limits for this father son team!

Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee limits for this father son team!

Whiskeytown Lake is still producing good numbers of Kokanee salmon to 17" inches, but most are in the 12"-14" range right now.  I'm finding them out over deeper water in 5'-25' depending on the sunlight.  The Kokanee will drop down a bit when its sunny, especially when the lake surface glasses over.  I mainly use Mack's Lure Kokanee product along with Brads Killer Baits when fishing Kokanee, but Arctic Fox Trolling Flies are very productive as well.  the three most important components to Kokanee fishing success is, trolling speed (1.1-1.5 mph), proper depth, lure color and scent.  Key in on depth and color when you get bites.  Adjust your other lines to the same depth if possible and stick with a hot color until it stops producing.  If your bite shuts off, mix up your presentations again but maintain speed and depth.  I know there are some out there that will disagree, but I won't go Kokanee fishing without Pautzke Bait Co. Fire Corn.  I usually add tuna oil, krill powder, or garlic scent to the jar of Pautzkes Fire Corn.  Its durable, and the bite stimulants Pautzke puts in their corn doesn't hurt either.  I use the natural color a lot but the other colors such as pink or chartreuse work as well.  

 Trinity Lake winter rainbows.

Trinity Lake winter rainbows.

Trinity Lake has been productive for planter size rainbows near the dam on recent trips, but its a late starter because of the fishing down on Shasta and Whiskeytown is so good early on in the year.  With an increased limit of salmon on Trinity Lake (10) per person, Trinity will surely gain more popularity this season with anglers who are on a meat run!  I'll also be fishing Lewiston Lake this summer, but with very low flows right now, fishing will be slow until the spring releases begin.  The same goes for Keswick Reservoir, which like Lewiston, fishes best when there is current on those bodies of water.

Shasta Lake trout fishing is very good!

 Matthew and Morgan with their trout stringer for the morning on Shasta Lake!

Matthew and Morgan with their trout stringer for the morning on Shasta Lake!

Shasta Lake has been a consistent producer of trout this winter season.  I've had some really good days, especially when targeting rainbow trout in the 14"-16" range.  The bigger fish days are intentional and we do catch fewer fish, but the quality is exceptional right now.  We're seeing a lot of browns returning to the lake after spawning and some have already filled out very nicely.  

 Shasta Lake browns are making a move back into the main arms of the lake and we're catching them consistently.

Shasta Lake browns are making a move back into the main arms of the lake and we're catching them consistently.

  I've been trolling all over and can say most of my bigger fish are coming early and right on top.  If you want to get the big browns to come up for your baits, bump up your trolling speeds in the early hours of the day.  When the sun comes up and covers the lake, I slow down a bit and drop the baits down 10'-20', especially if the surface is glassed over.  If its windy, its not as important to go down for the trout.

 This fly is a hot one for Shasta Lake rainbows and browns, and so is its equal in white.  See www.trollingflies.com to order!

This fly is a hot one for Shasta Lake rainbows and browns, and so is its equal in white.  See www.trollingflies.com to order!

For fun fishing and catching good numbers of rainbows, try trolling some Arctic Fox Trolling flies with action discs 0"-6" in front of them, like the one pictured above.  Troll at around 2 mph and you should get bites.  For you bait fishermen out there, add a piece of nightcrawler to your presentations for more bites.  5'-15' feet is a good depth to start at in the morning, but just like I said earlier, drop your presentations down when the sun comes up and covers the lake surface.  If you happen to see some good fish marks on the sonar in the 20'-40' range, drop down and go after them.  Those fish will bite if they like what swims by.

 This rig has been deadly lately.  Try a Mack's Lure Smile Blade in front of the small hoochie as well as I really like them.  Try different color Mack's Lure 4" dodgers, especially in the UV colors for great results.

This rig has been deadly lately.  Try a Mack's Lure Smile Blade in front of the small hoochie as well as I really like them.  Try different color Mack's Lure 4" dodgers, especially in the UV colors for great results.

Conditions are always changing and the fish are moving around the lake following food and comfortable water temps.  With that being said, if you find some good fishing spots, don't leave fish to find fish.  You're better off staying in one area.  Those trout are there for a reason.  If they leave after you've caught a few, work the shoreline.  The fish will move near shore when they get disturbed.  These trout will bite a lot of presentations so if a bait isn't working, try something new.  Sometimes it really pays off.  I have openings in March if you'd like a first hand lesson, or if you just want to have a fun day on the lake catching trout, give me a call or send me a message to set something up!

 Do you want to share the pure joy of catching a fish with friends or family?  We can help make that happen.  The smiles on the faces of family and loved ones are priceless.  I've never seen a frown on the face of someone fighting a fish to the net!

Do you want to share the pure joy of catching a fish with friends or family?  We can help make that happen.  The smiles on the faces of family and loved ones are priceless.  I've never seen a frown on the face of someone fighting a fish to the net!

Redding area lakes bite improves!

 Beautiful brown caught this week trolling big spoons on Shasta Lake!

Beautiful brown caught this week trolling big spoons on Shasta Lake!

With spring like conditions in the Redding area, we have seen a steady weather pattern and its noticeably improved the bite on Shasta, Trinity, and Whiskeytown Lakes.  Keswick Reservoir has also been producing some great rainbows and the occasional brown trout.  We are still seeing a good surface bite early, but dropping down 15'-20' on our brighter days is a good move when trolling for trout, especially when light winds keep the surface flat.  

 Rainbow trout have been destroying this fly to the point most of the material is gone, yet it is still catching fish.

Rainbow trout have been destroying this fly to the point most of the material is gone, yet it is still catching fish.

I continue to find success trolling a variety of presentations, but have been finding the most success with medium (2 1/2") to large (3 5/8") spoons and Arctic Fox Trolling Flies.  Minnow patterns have been working great, but I'm finding bites on orange or red presentations consistently.  White Arctic Fox Trolling flies (www.trollingflies.com) have been absolutely deadly on the rainbows trolled at 10'-15'.  Tipping them with a small piece of nightcrawler doesn't hurt either.  If I had to choose only one color to fish right now, it would be white.

 This great Keswick Reservoir brown trout hit a metallic gold Mag Lip plug trolled at 2.5 mph.

This great Keswick Reservoir brown trout hit a metallic gold Mag Lip plug trolled at 2.5 mph.

Kokanee salmon fishing on Whiskeytown Lake is also off to a good start and I expect it to heat up with rising water temps in the lake.  Water managers will fill Whiskeytown in early April.  When its full and the Kokanee have time to adjust, it should provide excellent fishing through September!  The fishing is good now and we're still a few months away from taking off.  I fished a trip this weekend and we landed ten Kokanee and lost several more, making for a fun day on the water.

 We're catching some great Kokanee now we're only going to see bigger fish in the coming months as they continue to grow!

We're catching some great Kokanee now we're only going to see bigger fish in the coming months as they continue to grow!

Im already booking trips for our spring, summer, and fall lake fishing trips.  I have plenty of open dates year round, but its best to get your trips reserved sooner than later, giving you a chance to book the most convenient days for your party.  I can easily book large parties and multi day trips for your group and can even schedule days on different bodies of water seeking a variety of fish species making for an unforgettable trip for all involved.  Leave a contact message on this site or give mea call to reserve your fishing trip this season.  Its going to be another great year!

A new year ahead for Redding area fishing.

Well, its here!  2018!  Most of the fishing we did last year ended up being on the three lakes, (Shasta-Trinity-Whiskeytown), located near Redding, Ca., but we fished many other areas as well. 

2017 started with some excellent Striped Bass fishing in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, but with a massive run due to high water in the Sacramento River system, we also found some great Striper fishing on the Feather River, where we ended our "line side" season.  

 Mokolumne River morning trip for Stripers!

Mokolumne River morning trip for Stripers!

By May, Whiskeytown and Trinity Lakes were producing some excellent landlocked salmon (Kokanee & King) fishing. Most days were action packed and the Kokanee were above average in size this past year making for some pretty impressive bags of fresh salmon fillets at the end of the day.  

 Whiskeytown Lake 18" average Kokanee salmon!

Whiskeytown Lake 18" average Kokanee salmon!

By July, Shasta Lake trout fishing was red hot, and we landed numerous trout on every trip which included some trophy rainbows and browns in the 5-7 lb. class.  August revealed some bad news for us on the Sacramento River steelhead/trout fishery, in that we saw a major decline in the numbers of fish we were used to catching on our daily trips.  We still had fun and caught 20-30 fish most days, but thats a low number compared to what we are used to.  It didn't end up being a problem because the lakes were still producing some very good fishing.  

 Shasta Lake rainbows were big and plentiful in 2017!

Shasta Lake rainbows were big and plentiful in 2017!

By September, we started to see some descent numbers of Sacramento River King salmon.  Catch rates were better than expected, but we saw a lot of two year old's which meant our days were yielding salmon in the 7-10 lb. range.  With 5-10 fish limits on our local lakes, a lot of our clients opted for lake fishing in lieu of a cane at a few small salmon.  

 Average size Sacramento River King salmon in 2017...  Ugh!

Average size Sacramento River King salmon in 2017...  Ugh!

By the end of October we made a move to chase trophy class German Browns on Shasta Lake and I'm so glad we did!  We missed out on a pretty good late fall salmon season, but its been very slow in recent years so it was unexpected to say the least.  Fortunately our German Brown trout trips produced some great specimens to 7 lbs. and we only had one trip where we didn't land at least one big brown.

 The fall spawning migration for the big browns is a great way to end the year!

The fall spawning migration for the big browns is a great way to end the year!

Overall we were very pleased with how our year came together and we had some very memorable days on the waters we fished.  Each and every one of our clients contributed to the season we had and I am so very grateful they chose us to fish with.  We learned a lot about the areas we fish and have continued to upgrade our boat and equipment we use to get our clients into as many fish as possible.  I'm looking forward to our 2018 fishing season and am especially looking forward to seeing this years clients, both new and old!  Now lets go fishing!

Shasta Lake brown bite still good!

Well its been one heck of a month and I'm happy to report that the fishing has been very good nearly every trip.  We've concentrated on bigger fish and have spent a lot time hunting for the big German Brown trout.  We've landed a handful of browns in the 6-7 lb. class and have caught quite a few in the 3-5 lb. range.  Overall its been a great fall/winter season and it looks like its going to continue as we head into the new year.

 German browns are moving up and down the Shasta Lake arms and we're catching them every trip.

German browns are moving up and down the Shasta Lake arms and we're catching them every trip.

The rainbow trout have also shown up in the mix and I'm starting to find some bigger rainbows than I had been the past few weeks.  I'm mixing up my trolling lure spread so I'll attract both browns and rainbows and it seems to be working out just fine.  Trolling fast with big spoons has been good for big browns, and slowing it down and sizing down my presentations is getting more attention from the rainbows.  Meet somewhere in the middle and we're catching both at the same time.

 We started to see some of the big rainbows this week and should continue to see them more often as they start to make their push up to their spawning grounds in early spring.

We started to see some of the big rainbows this week and should continue to see them more often as they start to make their push up to their spawning grounds in early spring.

I wil continue to run trips on Shasta Lake for rainbows and browns, but I've had some good days on Whiskeytown Lake for Kokanee salmon as well.  With Kokanee in the 15"-16" size category now, we're in for some great fishing this summer.  Its still possible to get limits of Kokanee so let me know if you'd like to get out early in the year and get some fish for the smoker!

fullsizeoutput_3213.jpeg

Shasta Lake winter trout bite continues.

 Randy with his first Shasta Lake German Brown of the morning.  This brown was caught trolling 2.5 mph on the surface with a Mack's Tackle 1/2 oz. Hum Dinger spoon.

Randy with his first Shasta Lake German Brown of the morning.  This brown was caught trolling 2.5 mph on the surface with a Mack's Tackle 1/2 oz. Hum Dinger spoon.

Fishing for rainbow and German Brown trout on Shasta Lake continues to be productive most days.  I think a lot of the browns are up the tributaries spawning, but its clear that they don't all spawn at the same time.  We are catching a mix of pre spawn and post spawn browns in the McCloud arm near Hirz Bay.  Trolling techniques vary, but trolling above 3.5 mph using 3"-4" spoons seem to be producing the best numbers of bigger browns.  For rainbows, smaller spoons trolled at 20-2.5 mph has been productive.  Almost all of our bites are coming near the surface, although running a few weight rods down 10-15' can produce strikes as well.  

 Shasta Lake rainbow trout caught on a recent trip this past week.

Shasta Lake rainbow trout caught on a recent trip this past week.

Most bites are coming early in the morning and late in the afternoon, with some pretty slow bite action late morning into mid day.  Fishing the shorelines should be your first option, but if you are not getting bites, try fishing out in the open water and you'll sometimes find a few bites.  Trout fishing on Shasta Lake is slower this time of the year so be patient and keep your lines wet.  Cover lots of water and keep trying different lures.  The trout will love a gold spoon one day and won't give it a second look the next. Chances are, if you put in some time on the water, you'll get into a bite at some point in the day.  Tight lines!

 Gold and red mack's Tackle Hum Dinger 1/2 oz spoon top line trolled at 2.5 mph!  This color is my top big fish producer when the fish are looking for smaller presentations.

Gold and red mack's Tackle Hum Dinger 1/2 oz spoon top line trolled at 2.5 mph!  This color is my top big fish producer when the fish are looking for smaller presentations.

Shasta Lake trophy trout!

 Good friend and owner of Trinidad Tackle Co. (Stan Kulak) with a big brown he caught with me while trolling a white Optimizer Spoon!  Check out www.trinidadtackle.com and the whole line of Optimizer Spoons.  These are killer big fish spoons!

Good friend and owner of Trinidad Tackle Co. (Stan Kulak) with a big brown he caught with me while trolling a white Optimizer Spoon!  Check out www.trinidadtackle.com and the whole line of Optimizer Spoons.  These are killer big fish spoons!

Fall is in full swing now and although we have seen mostly mild weather, winter is right around the corner.  I've been spending a lot of time on Shasta Lake hunting big trout.  I'm catching some multi pound German Browns of late and we've hooked some real monsters!  We're seeing a mix of big adult browns heading up into the McCloud Arm to spawn and some big hens (females) this week that have already spawned and are migrating back down the arm to fatten up on shad.  We are running big spoons at fast speeds which tends to get the attention of these bigger Shasta Lake trout.  We aren't seeing the big numbers our summer fishery provides, but we are hooking trout that are above average for anyone who fishes for trout out there.  As the spawning ends and these adult size browns head back into the deep waters of the lake to feed, we'll surly see some impressive fish come to the net!  If this sounds like your kind of a trip, give me a call and we'll set a date for your trip provided I think the fishing and water conditions will be viable.  Tight Lines!

 Nice female German Brown caught this week in the McCloud arm of Shasta Lake.

Nice female German Brown caught this week in the McCloud arm of Shasta Lake.

Sacramento River steelhead season begins!

 Sacramento River hatchery steelhead caught by Pat Young in the Anderson area on 11/1...

Sacramento River hatchery steelhead caught by Pat Young in the Anderson area on 11/1...

The Sacramento River steelhead season is off to a good start!  We have our wild steelhead in the Redding area, but we have already seen a good number of Coleman Hatchery steelhead returning the past few weeks.  This is great news because we normally see the biggest push of steelhead in January-February.  This is when Coleman Hatchery sees its best numbers of steelhead show up at the Battle Creek fish ladder.  Good reports of big numbers of steelhead as far down river as Butte City and Los Molinos continue to come in so its just a matter of time before we start to see more arrive above Red Bluff.  

We are back trolling plugs, pulling bait with divers, and side drifting Pautzke BorX o Fire Natural cured roe to catch these steelhead.  Drifting and plugging shallow rifles, current seams, and pushing steelhead into tail outs have been the most productive.  We do hook steelhead in the deeper sections of the Sacramento River, but they are usually incidentally caught while fishing for King salmon.

 This hatchery steelhead was recently caught below Battle Creek on the Sacramento River!

This hatchery steelhead was recently caught below Battle Creek on the Sacramento River!

We have some rain in the forecast so I expect it will pull some new fish up into my area of operation.  Keep an eye out for future reports or visit www.norcalfishreports.com for my frequent reports.  I have available dates through out the winter season so if you want to get out and experience fishing for these great fish, fill out the contact me info and I'll get back to you asap.  I can also be reached at (707) 616-1905 if you have more questions or want to book a trip.

Sacramento River Kings and steelhead!

The Upper reaches of the Sacramento River near Anderson, Ca. has been hot and cold the past few weeks.  On big wind days anglers are struggling and when opposite conditions prevail, fishing tends t be pretty good.  We will see the tail end of the King fishery by the end of the month, but theres no rain in sight anytime soon so that will keep some of them around for sure.

 A few big Kings are around, but we're still seeing mostly two year olds in the 7-10 lb range.

A few big Kings are around, but we're still seeing mostly two year olds in the 7-10 lb range.

The steelhead season has been on an early start and I hear there are some good numbers of them headed up river. As salmon fishing slows, I will be focusing on the steelhead from Red Bluff to Anderson.  We still have late fall Kings to look forward to, but that typically starts to get good around Thanksgiving.  Until then and after the Sac closes to salmon fishing on December 16th, I'll be out fishing for steelhead!

 

 10/14 Hatchery steelhead caught with Pautzke Fire Cure roe.  Hatchery steelhead are now being caught below Battle Creek.  Coleman has already seen a good number of them return so the season may contain some extra good steelhead fishing.

10/14 Hatchery steelhead caught with Pautzke Fire Cure roe.  Hatchery steelhead are now being caught below Battle Creek.  Coleman has already seen a good number of them return so the season may contain some extra good steelhead fishing.

Sacramento River King salmon fishing is still a good option for anglers!

 Robert with his 20 pound King he caught with me on 10/7 drifting roe in the Barge Hole in Anderson, Ca.

Robert with his 20 pound King he caught with me on 10/7 drifting roe in the Barge Hole in Anderson, Ca.

Its been fairly steady fishing for King salmon on the Sacramento River near Anderson, Ca. pretty much all season.  Some days produce lots of fish and then you have some days that don't.  Thats salmon fishing on The Sacramento River this year folks.  I've caught more fish this year for sure, but our returns are still down from even a year ago.  We're starting to see some larger salmon higher in the system and the full October moon usually signals the last big push of salmon up towards Coleman Hatchery.  The tail end of the fall run will arrive in the next few weeks, lets hope its a bigger number than we've seen so far this year, although I'm grateful for the fish we do have.  Flows on the Feather river have been cut to 3,000 cfs and the Sacramento River is still pushing 9,000 cfs.  Its possible more Coleman salmon will push up river instead of making the right turn into the Feather now.

 Some of the Sacramento River Kings are still in great shape and their meat quality is very good for this time of the year.

Some of the Sacramento River Kings are still in great shape and their meat quality is very good for this time of the year.

We're also still hearing of salmon being caught in SF Bay and in the lower Sacramento River.  Thats good news and helps restore some hope for the final month of the fall season.  Either way, we'll take what we can get and all indicators are present for a good return of salmon to the Coleman Hatchery in 2018.  Prime time is September 1st thru October 15th so mark your calendars and get your trip with me reserved.  I was quite busy this season and it will surely be even busier next year with a big run of big (18-25 lb,) 3 year old King salmon!  Tight lines and stay tuned for my late fall/winter steelhead fishing reports!

Sacramento River King salmon fishing report

 We're still seeing some quality salmon in the upper reaches of the Sac River near Red Bluff.

We're still seeing some quality salmon in the upper reaches of the Sac River near Red Bluff.

Its been a few weeks since my last salmon fishing report, and although Its been a good season so far, our worst fears for this years salmon season near the Coleman salmon hatchery have proven to be a reality.  Once again the straying of the Coleman Hatchery salmon into the Feather River system down river due to the trucking of these fish as juveniles to Rio Vista has left us with dismal returns of 3 year olds returning to spawn.  The one thing that saved our up river salmon season was the return of 2 year old salmon (Jacks) that have provided some pretty steady action near the Barge Hole near Coleman Hatchery.  These 2 year olds were not trucked to the delta and released so they are the indicator of a strong return of larger 3 year old fish for us next year.  If current conditions and hatchery releases remain back to normal, the coming years should include some great Sacramento River King salmon fishing.  For now, it has just been some good days and some slower days for sure.  Most days we're averaging a fish per rod and you can't beat fishing on this beautiful section of the Sacramento River.  I will be fishing for King salmon near Anderson, Ca. until mid October and then I'll be focusing on Sac River steelhead and Shasta Lake trout.  Keep checking back to stay informed with my reports about fishing in the Redding area throughout the winter!  Thank you, and tight lines to you all!

 These jack salmon were caught on back to back drifts on the Sacramento River this week!

These jack salmon were caught on back to back drifts on the Sacramento River this week!

Sacramento River King salmon fishing!

 We've been catching King salmon on every trip this year!

We've been catching King salmon on every trip this year!

The Sacramento River King salmon season is in full swing now and we're seeing some pretty good numbers of fish in the upper river near Red Bluff.  Anglers who are putting in some time on the water are taking home fresh salmon.  Plugs and bait seem to be working equally as well right now and water conditions couldn't be more perfect.  The bulk of this years run consists of two year old salmon that are averaging 7-10 pounds.  There are some bigger fish around, but they are definitely fewer in numbers right now.  I personally haven't seen this many jacks in the Sacramento River since I started guiding over here, although I hear there was a big run of them in 2011.  If current trends prove to be accurate, the Sacramento River will see a good run of salmon returning next year as three year olds that average 18-25 pounds.  After two devastating years of a smolt (juvenile salmon) trucking program from Coleman NFH to the California Delta, we should once again see the lions share of the salmon in the upper sections of the Sacramento River.

 Happy clients from a trip earlier this week!  

Happy clients from a trip earlier this week!  

With the Feather River seeing such good fishing this year, just a handful of local guides and anglers have been fishing the upper river making for some very roomy conditions on the water.  Its been a late start up here near Redding this year, but if the current conditions and continued numbers of salmon hold steady, we will end up calling the 2017 salmon season a good one!  I have September 26,27,28th available right now if anyone is interested in some Sacramento River salmon fishing this month.  The run should peak sometime around the end of the month, but we should see some good fishing through mid October if we avert any big rains between now and then.  Tight lines and enjoy the rest of the summer, its almost over!

Shasta trout and Whiskeytown Kokanee salmon report!

 We're catching some great trout on Shasta Lake this week!

We're catching some great trout on Shasta Lake this week!

Shasta Lake is really fishing great right now!  We are seeing limits of big rainbows and browns daily and theres no chance of things slowing down anytime soon.  We are digging deep for these fish in the warm waters of Shasta, but anything below 70' feet is producing good numbers of fish!  I'm running Mack's Lure tackle for these trout and honestly, theres no need to use anything else.  4" Sling Blade or Double D dodgers with UV tape are a top producer and a shad pattern Humdinger or Criplure  tied on a 3' foot leader behind the dodger will definitely get bites.  I have been trolling 4 rods at about 1.5-2.0 mph to get most of my bites.  I'm also kicking the motor out of gear after hooking up and we're seeing doubles and triple hook ups as the dodgers fall behind the down rigger weights.  The fishing is really good folks and now is the time to get on Shasta to catch limits of these great fish.

 Limits of Whiskeytown lake Kokanee salmon this week!

Limits of Whiskeytown lake Kokanee salmon this week!

Whiskeytown Lake is also producing limits of great Kokanee salmon to 17" inches.  Its go time on this lake as the quality of these great fish begins to diminish in mid September as they prepare to spawn in late October when we typically see the first good rain periods.  The fishing is good at the green bridge and in the Whiskey Creek arm right now.  I expect this area to just get better from here on out.  Deep in the Whiskey Creek arm, I'm starting my troll 45' feet deep.  As I make my way out into the channel, I'll drop down to as much as 65' feet to consistently get bites.  In the main body, I'm dropping two rods at 65' feet and two at 63'.  There is a tight bite window and you'll find that once you find it, the fish will come a lot quicker.  I'm running Mack's Lure UV Sling Blades and an assortment of Mack's hoochies and wedding ring lures.  Use a .8" smile blade above your hoochie for more bites.  Lures that have their own action can be run on longer leaders, but I like the hoochie rigs to be around 8" inches from the top of the bait rig.  Don't forget to marinate with some garlic scent, krill powder, or oil canned tuna on your shoe peg corn.  Some days it makes a world of difference to have a few different scent smells for these Kokanee.  I'll be booking Kokanee trips through mid September and still have a few available dates if you would like to load the cooler with Kokanee or would just like to learn more about how to effectively fish Whiskeytown Lake.  Tight lines!

Nor Cal fishing buffet!!

 Gracie showing off one of her Shasta Lake rainbows she caught this week!

Gracie showing off one of her Shasta Lake rainbows she caught this week!

Pick any of the bodies of water I fish right now and I'll put you on some great fishing!  Shasta Lake is by far my favorite right now because of the size and numbers of fish we are seeing each and every trip out.  I'm trolling down to 70' with a lot of success and the trout are running from 3-5 pounds a piece.  Easy limits have been the rule on Shasta and its not going to change any time soon.

 Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee salmon are worth your effort and then some this season!

Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee salmon are worth your effort and then some this season!

Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee salmon fishing has been amazing this year, and although some anglers are having trouble catching them, we are not.  Its definitely limits style fishing and the Kokanee are above average in size this year with most coming to the net at about 2 pounds each. I'm trolling down to about 65' feet for these fish and most are coming on UV dodgers and small hoochies or spin gloves rigs.  Not much more to say here, but the fishing is great and will be through September.

 Sacramento River steelhead trout is pretty good still and there are some quality fish being caught every trip!

Sacramento River steelhead trout is pretty good still and there are some quality fish being caught every trip!

Sacramento River steelhead trout fishing is pretty good still and there are some quality fish being caught every trip!  I'm fishing from just below Lake Redding down to Cypress St most days and we are coming in with double digit days on just about every trip.  I've been having success drift fishing Dick Nite spoons and more recently, catching some great steelhead with natural cured roe.  Its not as good as I would expect for this time of the year, but you have to take the bad after the good sometimes.  The continuous high water on the Sac River last winter has most certainly impacted this fishery to an unknown extent, but there are plenty of great fish still around to provide my clients with plenty of hook ups!

Salmon fishing trips are right around the corner but we're still waiting to see a big push of fish above Hamilton city.  When we do start to see good numbers of salmon in the system, I'm sure we will have some great fishing in the months ahead.

Sacramento River steelhead/trout report 8/3

 Sacramento River rainbow steelhead trout fishing is a great time for the whole family!

Sacramento River rainbow steelhead trout fishing is a great time for the whole family!

The Sacramento River continues to fish very well for steelhead and rainbows.  The section from Keswick Dam to the SR 44 bridge is open again giving back 5.5 miles of trophy trout water to anglers who enjoy fishing this section of the river.  Steelhead trout to 5 lbs have been caught recently and anyone who's ever caught one of these supercharged rainbows knows how much fun they are to catch, especially on our ultra light G.Loomis rods.  Many techniques will take these fish, but I most often drift small Dick Nite spoons, back troll plugs, or have even been bobber doggin egg presentations (cured roe or pegged beads) to catch the most fish daily.

 Ultra light G.Loomis spin rods makes fighting these fish pure fun!

Ultra light G.Loomis spin rods makes fighting these fish pure fun!

There are salmon in the system spawning and there are also salmon smelt and fry throughout the upper Sacramento system.  Thats why the eggs and the spoons are so effective most days I fish.  The trout love the protein rich salmon eggs dropped by spawning king salmon and feed on them heavily.  The small Dick Nite spoons are a great salmon fry imitation, and like the salmon eggs, the trout feed heavily on the salmon fry as well.  Both the roe and spoons can be fished on standard drift rigs while side drifting or boon doggin.  A very popular and effective technique called bobber doggin is starting to catch on as well and many guides have gone to this technique as there first option for catching steelhead and trout. 

 Big tails and torpedo shaped bodies help these fish fight hard, and boy do they!

Big tails and torpedo shaped bodies help these fish fight hard, and boy do they!

The Sacramento River steelhead trout fishing will remain very good and I will be guiding my guests on this great fishery well into December.  If you would like to experience this great steelhead trout fishing on the Sacramento River in Redding, Ca. please don't hesitate to give me a call or send a contact message to get your day of fishing reserved.  I can accommodate fishing trips for friends, family, or even large groups.  This trip is very popular and is always a great day on the water for everyone on the boat!

Shasta-Whiskeytown Lake fishing report 7/28

 We're still catching limits of beautiful Kokanee salmon on Whiskeytown Lake!

We're still catching limits of beautiful Kokanee salmon on Whiskeytown Lake!

Fishing here in the Redding area has been good again this week and the size and quality of the fish we are catching is impressive to say the least.  Many of our trips are yielding limits of salmon or trout within the early part of the day creating an opportunity to head for the boat launch when the heat of the day starts to wear on everyone in the boat.  Whiskeytown continues to be the best lake for catching big Kokanee salmon and Shasta Lake is definitely the place to fish if jumbo rainbows are the target fish.  

 Shasta Lake rainbow trout fishing has been very good this week!

Shasta Lake rainbow trout fishing has been very good this week!

We will continue to fish these lakes into fall and expect the great fishing to remain strong for months to come.  Some of our success has come from staying on the water daily and establishing bite patterns and locations of these great fish.  The Shasta trout seem to have dropped down a bit and we are now finding the best bite to be in the 60'-70' range trolling at 1.7-2.0 mph.  The most important factor seems to be finding the schools of shad that these trout are feeding on, and thats not too difficult right now as they are just about everywhere.  Every big rainbow we catch is absolutely stuffed with 1.5" shad.  With that in mind, we are finding success attracting these fish with like size (1.5"-2.0") spoons.  We are running them behind Dick Nite UV dodgers on a 36" leader.  Nickel/holo tape, silver, and white spoons are catching a lot of nice trout, but other colors will work as well depending on the mood of the fish.

 Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee salmon are coming in at about 17" inches now, but some 19" fish have been caught already!

Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee salmon are coming in at about 17" inches now, but some 19" fish have been caught already!

Whiskeytown Lake has been fishing much the same for most of the summer and with a continued inflow of cold water from Lewiston Lake, I doubt if the Kokanee will go too much deeper this year.  55' feet has been a good depth to target these Kokanee for much of the June and will likely be a good number into August.  The only real challenge for anglers on Whiskeytown has been the consistent bite that we saw last year.  I continue to experience that its not a slow bite as much as its that the Kokanee are very picky about what they will chase this year.  I've had some days that had me trying anything and everything I could think of in the way of bait presentations.  It has been frustrating at times, but I've certainly been enlightened in a sense that I have found baits that these Kokanee will take that I would have never imagined they would.  I continue to tell people to show these fish the tackle box this year to be successful and to avoid running the same baits all day because they will change what they will bite throughout the day.  If a bait stops getting bites, change it out for something different.

Good fishing will continue on Shasta and Whiskeytown Lakes this next week so get on out there and take advantage of this years bumper crop of big Kokanee salmon!  The Kokanee Power fishing tournament will be held on Whiskeytown Lake on August 5th so be prepared for a big crowd on the lake that day.  Last year they held the event out of Brandy Creek so there wasn't too much of a parking problem at Whiskey Creek or Oak Bottom boat launches.  If you would like to participate in the tournament on August 5th, check out www.kokaneepower.com for registration information and tournament details.