What a great year for fishing at Shaver Lake 2018 has been so far. Limits! Limits! Limits!
Yep, we have socked it to them, so to speak, but where did the fish come from? Well, Department of Fish and Wildlife (DF&W) has been a great provider of fine rainbow trout this year. Unlike a few years past, they have delivered to us a good amount of quality trout. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project (SLTTP) still maintains a twice annual plant of trophy sized rainbows. A total of 2,000 were planted this year by SLTTP treasurer Bob Bernier and his committee.
But, there are plenty from past plants. I believe that each plant has a survival rate of 50 percent over the years. They don’t die, well maybe they do, but only about 50 percent are caught.
Next, is the annual kokanee fingerling plant that makes Shaver a primary destination for kokanee fishermen. According to sources, Shaver is the No. 1 kokanee lake in the central section, maybe the state. We, as well as most, are catching nice kokes in record numbers. This will come to an end in two years because DF&W did not plant fingerling kokes this year.
What does that mean? Well, kokanee, like any other salmon, have a life span of three years. There are exceptions, but three years is the normal. So, no plants this year means that two years from now there will be no mature kokanee.
There might be some two-year-old fish if DF&W plants fingerling next year. That is going to spell trouble for Shaver Lake and any other kokanee lakes in California. Kokanee in their third year spawn and die. I have no idea what happened. I guess there were no available kokanee eggs.
But don’t be hard on DF&W. Their budget is way down and their planting program suffers from it. The folks over at the Friant hatchery are aware and they do their best to provide you quality catchable trout. So, you “koke busters” better learn to fish for trout or take up knitting in two years. As a guide I hate it. We rely on a combination of kokanee and trout to fill our daily limits on our charter boats. This will definitely have an adverse effect on on our production.
Let’s return to the present. Shaver in Week 3 of July had a drop in kokanee catches. So, after a slow early morning of kokanee fishing, I took my good friend and fellow guide, Roger Georges advice to “never give up.” With five kokanee on board at 9 a.m., far from the normal, we went in search of trout. Yep, good ole DF&W planted trout. After an hour of looking, we hit the bonanza and picked up three more limits competing a very satisfying and successful day. Thank you Rog for the advice.
The message here: If you burn your normal fishing hole, start changing tackle, depths and location. Chances are they are out there, they just need to be found. Our productive kokanee water for the past three months just was not good today. I don’t know what it will be on tomorrow’s charter. Most likely I will lay awake tonight in concern.
For the kokes, they are about 33 to 45 feet down and have been near The Point, Shaver Marina and the Island. They have grown about an inch or so. I can see signs of the upcoming fall spawn in the male. The jaws are enlarging. I have found my Mountain hoochies in champagne pink, orange or white, tipped with scented corn behind a Mountain Dodger have worked best for me.
My pink koke busters were the best performer on this date. The trout are hitting Trout Busters in orange and chartreuse or green and orange, behind a weighted Mountain Flasher at 20 feet down. The Mountain Flashers on mono line will sink to 20 feet at 100 feet back. Deeper further back. I have found 20 feet deep to be best for trout this time of the year. Black Rock was my best trout location on this date.
The forecast is for good kokanee fishing to continue, yeah today was slower. Trout should be very good for trollers using the right tackle and the right depth.
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