Redding area lakes fishing report

Shasta Lake - Shasta Lake, CA (Shasta County)

Shasta Lake winter brown trout!
Photo Credit: Jeff Goodwin

by Jeff Goodwin

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 it's 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 it's largely a spoon trophy hunters use to catch these bigger class of fish. Optimizer lures 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 it's 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 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 it's 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.  It's 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 has been productive for planter size rainbows near the dam on recent trips, but it's a late starter because 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.

Jeff Goodwin is a full time Northern California fishing guide.  He guides year round for salmon, trout, steelhead, Kokanee, and bass on Northern California rivers and lakes. He fishes many bodies of water in the Redding area, but also guides the Sacramento River and Feather River during certain times of the year. Jeff can also be found on the California coast chasing ocean fresh King salmon and steelhead each year. To learn more about the fishing trips Jeff has to offer, please visit Jeff Goodwin's Guide Service.  You can also find him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or please feel free to call him anytime at (707) 616-1905.

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