by Jeff Goodwin
Shasta Lake has been a consistent producer of trout this winter season. I've had some really good days, especially when targeting rainbow trout in the 14"-16" range. The bigger fish days are intentional and we do catch fewer fish, but the quality is exceptional right now. We're seeing a lot of browns returning to the lake after spawning and some have already filled out very nicely.
I've been trolling all over and can say most of my bigger fish are coming early and right on top. If you want to get the big browns to come up for your baits, bump up your trolling speeds in the early hours of the day. When the sun comes up and covers the lake, I slow down a bit and drop the baits down 10'-20', especially if the surface is glassed over. If it's windy, its not as important to go down for the trout.
For fun fishing and catching good numbers of rainbows, try trolling some flies with action discs 0"-6" in front of them, like the one pictured above. Troll at around 2 mph and you should get bites. For you bait fishermen out there, add a piece of nightcrawler to your presentations for more bites. 5'-15' feet is a good depth to start at in the morning, but just like I said earlier, drop your presentations down when the sun comes up and covers the lake surface. If you happen to see some good fish marks on the sonar in the 20'-40' range, drop down and go after them. Those fish will bite if they like what swims by.
Conditions are always changing and the fish are moving around the lake following food and comfortable water temps. With that being said, if you find some good fishing spots, don't leave fish to find fish. You're better off staying in one area. Those trout are there for a reason. If they leave after you've caught a few, work the shoreline. The fish will move near shore when they get disturbed. These trout will bite a lot of presentations so if a bait isn't working, try something new. Sometimes it really pays off. I have openings in March if you'd like a first hand lesson, or if you just want to have a fun day on the lake catching trout, give me a call or send me a message to set something up!
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.