Shasta county lakes are fishing as good as it gets right now. Whether you head to Whiskeytown Lake for Kokanee salmon or to Shasta Lake for big rainbows and browns, your chances of having a successful day on the water is very likely right now. I've been guiding on both lakes almost daily and my clients are reaping the rewards of fishing with a guide who has spent most of the summer staying on top of these two fisheries. Every season has its trends and fishing often will help identify them, allowing us to make the necessary adjustments to remain successful on the water. With the in river Sacramento River King salmon season off to a slow start, having access to the great fishing on Shasta and Whiskeytown Lakes has filled the gap and has been keeping my clients satisfied with their fishing experience while on my boat.
Shasta Lake has been incredible most days and many of the people who have been fishing with me have been going home with limits of big fillets. The bigger fish are peeling off line and making big jumps at the surface, making for some really great displays behind the boat. I saw the trout bite drop over 30'-40' last week from 65' to as much as 110'. Trout can still be caught up higher, but your big numbers are going to come down deep now. I've been using a variety of baits to attract these trout, but I'm finding that the Mack's Lure Humdingers run behind a UV sling blade about 3' feet is scoring me the most bites. Our largest fish of the season have come from that set up for sure. Trolling a little on the slow side has been productive and most of my bites are coming at the 1.7 mph to 1.9 mph mark. To summarize the tactics for Shasta Lake, troll slow, troll deep, and use Mack's Lure sling blade dodgers and a Humdinger spoon trailing 3' feet behind.
On Whiskeytown Lake, I'm finding a steady bite and my last trip yielded limits of good sized Kokanee for three clients before noon. The quality of the Kokanee is still outstanding, and although I think we have a smaller population of fish than we did last year, the over all population seems to be quite abundant. All the usual places are holding fish, but I'm seeing more and more Kokanee inside the Whiskey Creek arm of late. I caught a few Kokanee at 45' to start the day, but in the deeper water, try the 65' line for your best fishing. The best tackle to use is anyones guess still because it changes daily. Just start with some top producers and keep rotating baits until you find one or two rigs the Kokanee are keying in on. Don't forget to use some shoe peg corn marinated in garlic scents and make sure your leader lengths are giving your baits some good action. I really hope everyone can get out to experience Whiskeytown Lake this season. The Kokanee are as good as I've ever seen them and they are pure fun to catch.
Both lakes should hold up quite well through September for anyone who is interested in getting into some quality fishing. I have some dates that are still available in September. If you are interested in learning, first hand, how to catch these great fish, please do not hesitate to give me call to set up your next Shasta or Whiskeytown Lake fishing trip!