Shaver Lake Fishing Report: Families taking advantage before back to school

The Castanos family from left to right: Son Wyland, mother Monique and dad Peter joined Dick Nichols last week for a great morning of fishing. The Clovis family not only picked up their limits, they released another 23 fish. (Contributed by Dick’s Fishing Charters)

As we enter the last few weeks of school being out, I am amazed how many grandparents and parents took advantage of taking the kids fishing before school starts. I am talking about Clovis residents like: Dr. Scott De Shields taking his daughter Kathryn, Peter and Monique Castanos with their son Wyland, Joe Bailey and his sons, Dave Aguirre and his son Steve, Mike Martin and his sons, and LeRoy Cook and his grandchildren. Doctors Jim and Angela of Fresno took their son Henry, Jeff Ritchie and his grandson Jeffrey from Visalia, Dr. Mike Henry of Visalia and his children, Jack and Claire and Gary Foth of Madera Ranchos, taking his daughter Ashley Porter and her son Cash. And there were many more from all over California. Yep, it’s been my kind of month being able to help kid’s enjoy fishing and mother nature. I can tell by the bookings when school starts.

We are booked solid into mid August and then school begins. A tip of the hat to all of you who think enough of your youngsters to take them fishing. Out of our 25 trips in July, 14 were with families. Now, here is another good part, the kids all caught fish and most caught their limits. Wyland Castanos of Clovis, has fished with me since he was a kid and has become an exceptional fisherman for the ripe old age of ten. You get my point, kid’s are important and fishing is an important part of their young life experience. It’s not too late to get them out.

The fishing has been exceptional. We had been catching kokanee all summer then Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (DF&W) comes in and makes a big plant of rainbows. So, throw in good limits of rainbows too. These past three days, we have caught and kept or released 96 combinations of trout and kokanee. For those of us who fish Shaver, we must thank the good Lord for providing us this outstanding fishing season and it does not end in July.

During the month of August, we will find the kokanee going down into really deep depths, like five feet off the bottom of the lake. The kokanee are now showing stages of pre-spawn and will really be making drastic changes in their appearance over the next six weeks. I can tell you there are many down rigger balls laying on the lakes bottom due to us trying to get down where the fish are and getting hung up on structures near the bottom. So far, we have been catching them at about 28 feet this month.

My report. The kokanee bite has been tremendous as I said. We continue to get them in depths of 28 to 33 feet deep. I have found the Point to the dam good and out in front of the island. We are using pink or orange Dick’s Mountain Hoochies or pink or orange Apex, tipped with scented corn, behind a Dick’s Mountain Dodger in purple and silver or orange and silver. We have caught a lot of kokanee with our side poles using Dick’s Koke Busters in orange or pink or Trout Busters in chartreuse, pink or orange, tipped with corn, behind a weighted Dick’s Mountain Flasher. The side poles are out 120 feet back of the boat which equates to about 24 feet deep. Multiple limits are the norm. We shared that DF&W made a tremendous plant this past week. That plant provides regular hooks up now, where before we were getting few.

We are finding the trout at the same depths we are fishing for kokanee, using the same tackle and bait. I confess to being what my fellow guide, Todd Whittwer, labels me, “Meat man”. I love catching combinations of fish. 10 kokes and 10 trout, make my day. Both species provide their own experience. I think the combination of the two fishing, is tremendous. If you do not have a boat, go to one of our well equipped marinas and rent a fishing boat. You should do well.

The future predictions for the months of August and September. The kokanee are going to hunker near the bottom in heavy schools. You will need a down rigger to experience this Pre-spawn time. As September arrives, the kokanee will be turning apricot and then red. At red, most are soft and not great to eat. The same tackle mentioned above should satisfy your needs. The trout bite will fall down some in August and most trout will be found on the same tackle at about 20 feet deep. It’s very attainable with a weighted Mountain Flasher or lead line. In latter August and September, the trout move toward the creeks in Stevenson Bay. Both the inlets to the South and North forks of the Stevenson creeks should be red hot during that time. We have caught multiple limits every day back there each year.

I am booked to the middle of August and then there are good dates through September. I pull the boat out October 1st for a trip to Pyramid Nevada with my friends Wayne Snell and Keith Matsumura. Both are accomplished fishermen who have caught cutts to 14 pounds. I have been fishing there for 37 years. Following that trip, it’s time to clean and put ol’ Betsy away for the 2020 season opener May 1st.

If you are interested in a reservation to fish with me, call Shaver Lake Sports at 559-841-2740.

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.