Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee still biting!

Whiskeytown Reservoir - Whiskeytown, CA (Shasta County)

Natalie Richardson and her family had a great time fishing for Kokanee salmon on Whiskeytown Lake with Jeff Goodwin.
Photo Credit: Jeff Goodwin's Guide Service

by Jeff Goodwin

Whiskeytown Lake in Redding, Ca. has undoubtedly been the premier Kokanee salmon fishing destination in California this year. It has produced limits for me and many other guides and anglers every trip since early May. The numbers of Kokanee in Whiskeytown Lake is simply staggering, which says a lot for a lake that is not currently supplemented with hatchery raised Kokanee. These are wild Kokanee salmon that are self-sustaining through natural spawning in the three tributaries that flow into Whiskeytown Lake.

I have been very impressed with the number of anglers who have come out to fish Whiskeytown, filling the Whiskey Creek parking lot nearly every weekend of the summer. Weekdays on Whiskeytown Lake have also shown a solid number of anglers all summer long, it’s unlike anything I've seen there before this year. The amount of revenue this fishery has generated for the Redding area has likely been considerable, and in light of a lack luster Sacramento River salmon season this year, it couldn't have come at a better time.

Whiskeytown Lake will likely continue to produce some great Kokanee fishing into October, but will likely come to a standstill when the first of the fall rains fall in the region. I am already seeing some of the Kokanee taking on their spawning colors, which means they will be losing quality of their table fare soon. It’s best when these fish turn to let them live to make their short journey into the tributaries to spawn. Their offspring will thank you, and in two short years you will be rewarded with another awesome Kokanee salmon fishery in Whiskeytown Lake.

My latest outings have been very productive leading to limits each and every trip. I am trolling Dick Nite Dodgers with UV colors in pink and orange. Mini squids, Spin-n-glos, and Kokanee flies, in pink and orange have been the best for me although white and blue baits have worked as well. Hands down, orange is by far my best color. I'm dropping my downriggers down to 45'-55' and getting the most bites. You can find them deeper, but my action has been best at the aforementioned depths. Trolling speed is 1.1-1.5 mph and it’s still important to tip your hooks with garlic scented shoe peg corn. The end is near for this Kokanee season folks so get on out there and take advantage of this great fishing season while you still can!

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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