Shaver Lake Fishing Report: Cold and snow are slowing things down

Kevin Kato, of Shaver, shows one of the brown fingerling that he has caught and released recently. This is most likely one of them of the 40,000 brown fingerlings that were planted a few years ago by the DF&W. 10,000 smaller versions of browns are in the plans to be planted by DF&W in the near future.
(Contributed by Dick’s Fishing Charters)

There’s not much going on here in Shaver. The cold and snow have kept the boats off the lake for the most part. And, Southern California Edison, has dropped the lake level drastically. SCE is correct in their keeping a close eye on the lake’s level, as the huge snowpack in the Sierras could bring too much water into the SCE-run lakes. Because of the low water levels, I may be late in getting my season started as Shaver Marina remains anchored near the Point. It takes about a 50 percent level to get our marina in place. So, the normal April kickoff will perhaps be delayed to May 1. We will learn more when SCE hosts an SCE lake level presentation on March 27 in Big Creek.

It’s shore fishing that is paying off now. Local chef, Kevin Kato, continues to pick up some nice fish from the shores using Berkley’s Mouse Tails and his secret setups. Kato is a very good shore fisherman with ample patience. During the past couple weeks, he’s caught trophy-sized rainbows and browns from shore.

Other shore guys like Jack Benigno, of Visalia, have become masters of shore fishing. Understanding the geographical areas of the lake, including the structures near the shore, are their common ground for success. Both use “secret setups” and both use bait that many do not use. So, shore fishing over the next couple of weeks may be the best for fishing.

Certainly, trolling has not been that great for the boats that have launched. One of my fishing informants during the winter fished this past week and could not buy a hit from a fish. He was trolling near the banks of Shaver trying to pick up one of these trophy-sized fish that have been hugging the shoreline. He said two other boats went to the back of the lake. Unfortunately, I did not receive a report from them, but my guess is they probably did not find success.

The kokanee trollers that were out in numbers this time last year say it’s too cold to fish for kokanee. I think that is correct. The Department of Fish and Wildlife hatchery at Friant has planted about 48,000 5- to 9-inch golden trout already and have or soon will be planting about 2,000 pounds of 4- to 7-pound rainbows. I don’t think that has happened as I am not hearing of those big fish being caught. DFW said that when the ramp cleared of snow they planned the big fish dump. DFW will also be planting 2,000 – 2-pound rainbows as well as 10,000 browns in Shaver. But again, we are going to miss most of our catchable size trout plants as Friant must share their fish with lakes normally serviced by the Moccasin Creek hatchery that is out of commission now due to flooding. The mature kokanee will show up soon, maybe when the water warms a bit on the surface. Fifty thousand were planted three years ago and should provide good action this summer.

Speaking of kokanee, my mentor and long time friend, the legend of Shaver Lake, Captain Jack Yandell, could use your prayers as he navigates some serious times with his health. Captain Jack, along with myself, co-founded the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout and due to his initial fundraising, the SLTTP continues strong today. Get well Captain, we want to see you on the lake again. The Captain and I conducted Shaver fishing seminars in the Fresno/Clovis areas for over a decade. I missed him at our recent seminar in Fresno, where two other Shaver guides, Todd Wittwer and Tom Oliveria, joined me for an evening in front of over 125 attendees.

The fishing forecast at Shaver is slow times on the lake for a while, but give the shore fishing a chance. The big trout are hungry and are swimming the shores in search of food.

Dick Nichols
Dick Nichols has been with us since the beginning. With decades of experience, he writes and provide insights about the Shaver Lake fishing game.