March brown trout on Shasta Lake!

Shasta Lake - Shasta Lake, CA (Shasta County)

March brown trout on Shasta Lake!
Brown trout caught this week on Shasta Lake by some fun clients from Sacramento, Ca.
Photo Credit: Jeff Goodwin Guide Services

by Jeff Goodwin

As Shasta Lake continues to receive some much need water this year, I'm pleased to report that the lake is now only 69' feet from full pool.  We have a lot of wet weather still in the forecast and there's way more snow than normal still sitting on the foothills waiting for a slight raise in the afternoon air temps when we'll see some snow melt which will bring significant run off into the lake.  Most of the wet years we see here in the Redding area end with Shasta Lake sitting between 30'-50' from full pool which seems to be the sweet spot for the lake going into summer.  I think we're on pace to see those levels, if not more, this summer season.  Currently the lake is in fantastic shape and the slow rise has been very accomodating for the fisherman on the lake.  My only complaint is its a bit colder than normal which can slow the trout and salmon bite in some of the cooler areas of the lake.  We are still catching some great fish and we're starting to see some bigger browns coming to the net and it will only keep getting better as we approach spring.  I'm really looking forward to putting our clients onto some more big browns in the coming weeks before the Striped Bass season starts on the Sacramento River in April.  I've been fishing down lower in the lake this year meaning I'm focusing on the section of Shasta between the I-5 bridge and Shasta Dam.  The water is still quite cold but its the warmenst water in the lake at around 45-46 degrees.  I've fished Shasta in similiar temps over the years and its always been best down lower in the system.  I've seen the best fishing action  above the 40' depths both in open water and near shore.  Theres still a lot of Shad in the lower lake and thats what we're seeing in the bellies of the trout we've harvested all winter.  For that reason smaller spoons or any Shad pattern presentations have been good options when looking for trout and salmon.  If you are just looking for the big bites, there's no finer spoon than the #3 & #4 Trinidad Tackle Optimizer spoons.  I like black/white, blue/white, all white, and all black colors this time of the year but many other colors will pull strikes too.  Run them behind side planers at varying depths above 20' or send them down on the downriggers in the 30' zone.  Most of the giant browns we've caught in Shasta over the years have come on the big Optimizer spoons.  Trolling speeds vary from 2.5 mph to 4.0 mph with 3.5 mph being the most productive trolling speed overall.  Faster troll speeds are what the Optimizers are built for and for some reason they really get those big browns excited when nothing else will.  Phils Propeller is the best place to get the Optimizers locally so stop in and grab some on your way to fish Shasta Lake this spring/summer.  I do have a few march dates available still for anyone who wnats a shot at the big browns before they go deep later in the spring and summer months.  Call Jaynie for more information and available dates at (530) 510-2925.  Thank you!

Captain Jeff Goodwin 

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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