Well 2017 has officially arrived and as usual, January brings tournament bass fishing season to Shasta Lake. Shasta Lake is looking very good and water levels are above average for this time of the year. The boat ramps are seeing some good activity from bass anglers and on any given day you will see several rigs in the parking lots at Shasta. Access is available at nearly every launch and this is helping spread out the crowds. I've been launching at Packers Bay and its in great shape.
I had the opportunity to get out last week and do some bass fishing on Shasta Lake and while its far from red hot, the bass fishing is pretty darn good for this time of the year. Mornings have been a bit windy on the main body and in the straights of the Sac and McCloud arms. I started out looking for bass on the main points and found that the wind against my big boat was a bit too much to deal with. fishing finesse baits for winter bass can be tough when your boat is getting blown off every point you try to fish. It didn't take long before I was headed into some calm water areas in search of some biters laying in calm water. As luck would have it, my first stop produced a nice 16" bass and my Lowrance was showing lots of bass below.
Lots of anglers are finding success with jigs and Senkos right now. Drop shot baits are also a top offering right now as well, but I ended up finding a swim bait bite that was producing bass so thats what I stuck with. The Shasta Bass Baits 3.5" aqua rainbow ring bait was getting bit consistently when slow rolled along the bank in 10'-40' of water. I've been using the new Pro-Cure Super Sauce "bass" scent on my baits and it is definitely helping my baits get bit. I kept mixing up my retrieve and that seemed to do the trick. I could see fish stacked from the bottom up to 10' above bottom so I would work the baits right on the bottom looking for bites. When the bites slowed, I would fish for the suspended bass until I found biters in the water column above bottom. It was a steady, slow grind, but getting a couple limits of bass wasn't a problem.
As I mentioned before, the water looks great and the temps were right around 52 degrees. The water did warm up to 53 degrees by days end. Visibility is good, perhaps too good. Shasta could use a little color to help these bass relax a bit and to move up out of deeper water. With at least a week of lows in the 20's ahead, I fear Shasta Lake water temps will drop a few more degrees in the days ahead. This will undoubtedly play a role in how active these bass will become looking forward. I would look for the bass fishing to remain good this next week and I think winter bass fishing tactics will continue to be deployed by anglers fishing Shasta Lake. Remember to fish green baits, very slowly, add scent, and use your electronics to locate schooling bass. Following these simple steps will help you catch more Shasta Lake bass on your next trip out. Good luck and tight lines in 2017!