Shaver Lake Fishing Report

Leon Jennings, of Clovis, proudly displays his 10.2-pound rainbow he caught a few years ago with Dick Nichols. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project (SLTTP), a non-profit organization that plants trophy-sized trout and promotes fishing education with youth, planted this and other trophy-sized trout over the past nine years. The organization will be planting about 2,000 trophies in 2019. CONTRIBUTED BY DICK’S FISHING CHARTERS

The weather has been right and the fishing for kokanee is bright.

While the kokanee fishing has been the high point lately, the trout bite has been off. A few trout here and there, but nothing to run out on the lake for. It’s the kokanee that will provide you a good time and successful trip.

I ran into an old friend’s son, Kurt Walton, at the lake recently. He had taken his sons Braydon and Brody and his friend Shane Call out for a morning trip. All are from Clovis. Kurt related that the group had caught three limits of kokanee, releasing all but five for dinner. They were using his dad Terry Walton’s tackle – Sierra Gold lures in orange, blue and chartreuse. Kurt said that they fished mostly in front of the dam at 20 to 40 feet deep.

Another Clovis angler, Dan Weaver, and his friend Jeff Crask, of Fresno, fished on the same day and location with good success. They showed me their catch of two limits of kokanee that they hooked 20 to 40 feet down. The duo was using spinners and hoochies tipped with scented corn. All are experienced trollers who target kokanee often.

But, what about the guy in an aluminum boat who is not equipped with downriggers? Yes, he too can catch the kokanee now while the water is cold and the fish are more up in the water column. Using weighted Mountain Flashers, he can get down to 25 feet just using monofilament line. Or, he can use leaded line and go out five to six colors. Using colorful tackle in pink, orange or green can be successful. It’s the colors now along with that scented corn that is going to produce kokanee. Pink, orange, or multi-color Mountain Hoochies – tipped with scented corn – are my pick right now behind an orange and silver Mountain Dodger.

So, where in the heck are the trout? Well, I think the trout can be caught, but you need to troll the back areas of the lake starting from the Island. Continue east through Black Rock, over Eagle Point and into Stevenson Bay – depths from the surface to 20 feet down for trout. Those areas using Trout Busters tipped with crawler on the back hook – and corn on the inside hook behind Mountain Flashers – should provide your best opportunity for a trout or two. Take a run through Boy Scout Cove, too. Some large holdover Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project-planted rainbows are still active in all of the regions I just mentioned.

Let’s do a little recap of this year’s fishing. I am going to give you my take on the monthly fishing activity at Shaver:

I opened up in April with limits of kokanee on each trip. During those two months, we caught and mostly released about two 14 to 15-inch browns each day. They disappeared for the most part after May. May and June produced about the same except that the trout bite picked up in May and continued for a month or so. With exception of a few off days with lower than normal counts, the entire summer was hot with multiple limits of kokanee daily.

As we moved into September, the kokanee bite slowed a little but, oh my, the trout bite was exceptional with multiple quick limits daily in Stevenson Bay and the Tunnel Creek area. My last trips were near the first part of October. We could not miss kokanee in front of Shaver Marina and the Point. Multiple limits each day. Even my wife, Diane, cleaned up on the kokes the day we pulled the boat out of the marina. My friend Craig Davidson, of Selma, collected multiple limits in the same area through October. My guess is we had about five off days this year, but still produced fish.

So what was my grade for 2018 fishing? I would give it an “A.” It was a truly great season of fishing.

My forecast for Shaver: good kokanee fishing most every day into spring. As far as trout, go where you find them. They have not been overly cooperative.

The SLTTP will again make two plants of trophy-sized rainbows in 2019. There are lots of holdovers out there, just keep trying.

For those looking for last-minute gifts for fishing friends or loved ones, Shaver Lake Sports can take your order for one of my 2019 fishing trips and email you a nice gift certificate.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you all!

Dick Nichols will host a Shaver Lake fishing seminar at Turner’s Outdoorsman in February. Stay tuned for more information.