catching whiskeytown lake Kokanee Salmon and trout with jeff goodwin
Kokanee fishing report:
12/12- Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee are thriving again this winter and appear to be growing at a great rate. On a scouting trip today, I caught several Kokanee, one of which was 16". Thats very unusual for this time of the year and points to another great season in 2018 with bigger than normal Kokanee. We will start fishing Whiskeytown Lake again in the spring and expect next years Kokanee to be both big and abundant. Check back in April to get a report and to book your Kokanee trip! Big thanks to all of you who came out and fished with me this past year!
Whiskeytown Lake is just 8 miles from Redding, Ca. and it's California's undisputed finest Kokanee salmon fishery. With a reputation of being the best tasting salmon on the planet, and a five fish limit per person, Whiskeytown Lake should certainly be a top consideration for a family or group fishing destination.
Few lakes in California can compare to Whiskeytown’s crystal clear waters, imposing mountain peaks, breathtaking sceneries, pristine mountain creeks, captivating waterfalls, 70 miles of trails, and Californian Gold Rush legends. All of these and the joy of seeing the fish take down your rod are enjoyed by the hundreds of anglers who embark on Whiskeytown Lake guided Kokanee fishing trips.
The smallest in the Shasta-Trinity area, Whiskeytown Lake covers a surface if 3,200 acres, with only 36 miles of shoreline. Even so, it is the best destination for kokanee salmon fishing in California. It is in fact home to two kokanee strains, one spawning towards the end of September and the other one in the second half of November.
WHISKEY TOWN lake Kokanee Salmon Fishing Guide
Kokanee salmon feed mostly on zooplankton that it filters out of the water using its gills. However, it will occasionally ingest small insects and fish, most fishing tactics being based on this habit. Kokanee salmon are best caught by trolling, and spring thru fall is a great period for this technique. These fish scatter at a depth between 10 and 30 feet in the spring. In the summer, the Kokanee will suspend deeper in the water column, towards 40, even 100 feet, so using a downrigger makes it easier to target these Kokanee at the right depth.
The best fishing spots seem to be around the dam, towards the northeast of the lake and in the area between the bridge sustaining Highway 299 and the Oak Bottom buoy 7. Among the most popular baits used when fishing for Kokanee salmon are made by, Dick Nite Spoons, Crystal Basin Tackle, Trinidad Tackle, and some trolling flies we have developed and tie ourselves work great as well. Remember, Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee salmon like orange or pink baits!
The most experienced anglers have discovered a series of tricks that seem to work well on the kokanee salmon in Whyskeytown Lake:
- They will rig typical kokanee set-ups that consist of a dodger or some small flashers 8"-14" ahead of their baits.
- These have to be tied much closer (8"-10") when using flies or mini squid.
- Kokanee trolling is more efficient done at a speed of approximately 1.1-1.5 mph.
- Place a white shoepeg corn kernel on each hook that is scented (garlic), to help attract the Kokanee, its critical!
In terms of tackle, we prefer 8"5" G.Loomis E6X 1012C TKR casting rods with soft tips and 10-pound test line spooled onto a Shimano Calcutta 100B reel. Since the Kokanee salmon have a delicate mouth, instead of setting the hook, it is best to maintain line tension and let the tip of the rod absorb fish strike shock. Long-handled nets are best for landing these fish successfully. They should receive special attention when approaching the boat, as they tend to make their last runs for freedom on the surface and often throw the hook.
The Kokanee salmon in Whiskeytown Lake usually measures between 14 and 18 inches during the seasons duration, but 20-inch specimens have been caught in September and October as well. The secret to catching the big ones is to have a Kokanee salmon guide who knows the Lake intimately and has developed the ability to find these fish after spending numerous days of the year fishing for them.
Unforgettable Guided Kokanee Salmon and trout Fishing Trips at Whiskeytown Lake
There are just a few US National Park Service permitted guides offering their services on the Whiskeytown Lake, but none as passionate and committed to your satisfaction as Jeff Goodwin. Jeff resides just 15 minutes from Whiskeytown Lake so you can be sure that he will take you to the most productive fishing spots on the lake. He will help you improve your skills through instruction, and provide you with important tips and techniques if fishing the lake on your own interests you.
Jeff will not quit fishing until he sees you with a cooler filled with limits of Kokanee you can proudly show to your loved ones with a big smile on your face. With Jeff, Whiskeytown Lake guided Kokanee salmon fishing trips are always an unforgettable adventure you will definitely want to repeat, because most of his clients do. Book your next Kokanee salmon fishing adventure now! The Kokanee bite is very good now and will be through October so you won't be disappointed.