Getting Started: Fishing Whiskeytown Lake

Over the course of the past 4 years I have become a regular face on Whiskeytown Lake. Kokanee fishing on Whiskeytown Lake can be a daunting task. There’s times where only 10 yards away, another boat is limiting out while you’re struggling to find fish.

Kokanee Salmon | Whiskeytown Lake | The Trinity Guide Co.
Nice Chrome Kokanee Salmon – Whiskeytown Lake

In this blog post, I will cover some basic techniques and practices that will help you stuff your cooler with chrome Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee salmon.

Let’s Talk Bait Speed On Whiskeytown Lake.

First thing that needs to be addressed is speed of your boat. 1.2-1.6 mph is my magic speed on Whiskeytown Lake.

There are high speed baits and low speed baits. Match your gear to your speed and slow it down. Don’t fish a Macs Sling Blade and a Vance Dodger at the same time. The Sling Blade is for high speed and the Vance Dodger is best fished at low speed. Low and slow speed produces the best action for a Vance Dodger.

Let’s talk color.

For color, keep it simple! On Whiskeytown Lake, Pink, orange and chartreuse are main stays on my boat.

I will have all my colors ready to go. The bit will swing from one color to the next. So, when the bite feels off, I switch fast.


Don’t over think the Kokanee fishing on Whiskeytown Lake. I find Kokanee fishermen can over think and over complicate there day. Stick to a few different colors and a couple baits. Stick with what I recommend. It will work. I recommend fishing Vance Tackle and Paulina Peak on Whiskeytown Lake. They are proven.

That said, go with your gut, or fish the hot bait someone else recommended today. The key is, stick to a system and don’t deviate. Don’t obsess.

Stay at my recommended speed. Run basic colors and fish a couple baits.
For example I will often hand out what I’m catching my fish on to my struggling fishing friends but it doesn’t seem to help them.
What works for me may not work for others. The key is, have confidence in your gear. Confidence is the best bait on Whiskeytown Lake. Confidence gets the limits. If you doubt your gear, your tactic, might as well stop and call it a day.


Use good fresh corn run scent you like or run no scent at all. Doesn’t seem to matter much. I’m a tuna oil guy but that’s just what gives me confidence.


Kokanee Salmon | Whiskeytown Lake | The Trinity Guide Co.
Whiskeytown Lake kicks out great fishing for Kokanee Salmon from Spring through late Summer.

I like short leaders. 7-9 inches is all I run on Whiskeytown Lake. For the speed I go, short leaders out perform longer leaders on my deck any day.

Fish a lot of lines

One thing I can tell you is always fish as meany lines as possible. Stacking line is easy so do it! I have 4-6 down riggers going at a time. Always push yourself. You can fish more lines. Do it.

Don’t wast time! There should never be a moment when you do not have lines in the water ever. Keeping gear in the water is your number one goal.

This stuff takes practice and patience. On Whiskeytown Lake, don’t think you should be a high liner in your first year, or first week. Take your time. Use your fish finder to locate schools of Kokanee. Adjust your gear to the right depth. It’s not rocket science don’t rely on social media to tell you were to fish, how deep to fish. Watch out for those reports telling you what color the Kokanee are biting on. Get out there instead and try different colors until you get into them. Go find them your self, run your gear, find your speed. It’s this process that makes you a fisherman! It’s this process that gives you confidence. It’s this confidence that’s sets you apart from the other boats.

Let me know how your day went fishing on Whiskeytown Lake. Some of the best fishing of the year happens i the Spring through late summer months.

Great Kokanee come out of this lake through September in the best years. You’ll have a great time on this lake. It really is a gem and fin to fish.

Come and spend a day with me on Whiskeytown Lake next spring or pick a day in the summer. I’m easy going and fun to fish with. Let’s fill a cooler!

Contact me below about fishing on Whiskeytown Lake!