Kinda like Peanut Butter Jelly, except “Lake Shasta” with maybe a sandwich of that kind for lunch? Look, I like Lake Shasta and really enjoy the productive fishing the largest reservoir in the State of California provides.
Lake Shasta is the most rewarding rainbow trout trolling fishery right now. I beleive it’s the best on the West Coast at the momment.
With endless shoreline, up to 30,000 arces of fishing potential, 3 major rivers dumping feed and baitfish into the main body 24/7 you would think it would be like shooting fish in a barrel. Well, it’s not quite that easy.
For those of you who have spent time on the lake trolling for trout, it doesn’t take long to realize the fishing can be a real stumper! Tuff!
It’s so big it can be overwhelming so let’s cover a bit of when, we’re and how in this short Lake Shasta blog post.
In the wintertime (which is a great time to fish this lake) I tend to stick to the upper river arms like The Pit River or The McCloud River. The Upper Sacramento River arm is an excellent option as well. All produce fish during the winter months. When we have cold winter temperatures, we expect to find trout(rainbow and brown) cruizing the edges of temperature transitions. Often, the fish are found near the surface or along the shallower edges of the lake where concentrations of other smaller baitfish or food can be found.
Fish are always found on edges from temperature edges to structural edges. Current edges, light .vs shadow. Show me an edge and I’ll show you fish.
In the early summer, the fish are typically found along deeper edges in Lake Shasta. Much deeper than where a fly rod can reach for example. To get to say 70′ depths, I use planer boards and downriggers with long setbacks, high-speed trolling (3-5mph) with big spoons, and stick baits. Pretty simple if you know where to look. That’s the key. Productive fishing is all about “Location, Location, Location”. And then the experience of what tactic or technique to deploy is half the puzzle. So, a lot to know really.
As mid temperatures warm the Lake Shasta’s surface, sometimes up to 80°, tactics are as follows:
Fishing happens 50′ below the surface. My tools of choice are dypsy divers, planner boards as well as downriggers.
Some days all methods work others only 1 of 3 will have success. Sometimes I switch each hour. I always fish baits that can be fished from 1.6-2.5 mph. This speed is the range I work at while fishing spoons and plugs.
There are some colors I find to be more consistent than others. White and green, blue and chrome and, chrome and black have done very well for me in the past couple of seasons. Sometimes gold is a winner.
I have to be flexible. Water conditions, levels, temperature, weather all create variables. Changing tactics, lurers, trolling speed are the key to changing your “luck”. There isn’t a “silver bullet”. Experience and and a selection of options deliver the goods.
Avoid hvaing a standard. Make sure to fish baits that are versatile. See you on lake Shasta!!