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.
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 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.