Fishing is limited

Shasta Lake - Shasta Lake, CA (Shasta County)

by Gary Heffley

Last year, everyone was rubbing the magic lamp wishing for a rainy, snow-laden winter. Well, the genie answered that wish, and then some. We now have an overabundance of water that has lakes filled to the brim, causing serious and dangerous infrastructure issues with levees, dams and spillways, as well as blown out and flooded rivers and creeks.  Few are thinking they'll be fishing anytime soon.  And the serious snow melt has yet to begin as snow continues to pack the upper elevations as the continuous storm patterns we have been experiencing hammer the north state.

Most lakes are still fishable but muddy inflows and debris can cause issues and make for a tough day on the water. At Shasta, many ramps are hampered by debris lining the ramp at the water line, making launching and retrieving boats a tough proposition.  And running Shasta, or any lake at high speed, is not recommended as lakes are filled with logs and other debris. I have seen just a stick showing above the water where just below the surface a waterlogged log is waiting to rip off a motor or lower unit. So use extreme caution when boating on any body of water, especially now! Lower speeds will get you there safely. 

The bottom line is that personal safety should be on the minds of everyone looking to fish. Wearing a PFD is a must. 

Most anglers at Shasta and nearby Whiskeytown are finding tough going with the bass bite off for the most part. Trout and salmon are tough as well. Some anglers are still doing well at Baum Lake and I have “heard” of some success at Lake Siskiyou. 

Many jurisdictions, such as Shasta County, prohibit any river boating, or on the water recreational activities, due to safety concerns.

For valley river anglers it may be awhile before either the Sacramento or Feather come into fishing shape. 

Steelheaders may find some access and success on the Upper Trinity River around Lewiston and Douglas City as soon as the rain runoff lessens and allows the river to clear. Trinity Lake is not yet full, still having 44 feet to go, so there are no releases for water control at this time on the river. 

The Smith River on the upper coast is also a fast clearing river, usually fishable a few days after a storm event. Always call into the area before making the trip, and with current highway issues, check road conditions before heading out. 

When the rains cease and they will, sometime, and when the rivers drop to a manageable level, the lakes stabilize and clear.

This should be a great year for fishing, so for right now I'll try to be patient. In the meanwhile, like a lot of readers,  I'll sort out the tackle boxes, check and service my reels, as well as re-spool new line. I might even tie some flies. No reason not to be ready when opportunity arises!

Gary Heffley has been a valued contributor to MyOutdoorBuddy for over 10 years serving as manager, sales representative and reporter for much of Northern California. He is an avid outdoorsman and loves to fish and write about his adventures. He has a long history in the Sporting Goods field and uses that extensive experience to impart his wisdom in his writing. 

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