Shaver Lake Fishing Report: Fishing during the holidays

This is an example of a pre-spawn kokanee salmon that was caught by Courtney Sorenson, of Sanger, couple years ago with Dick Nichols. The kokanee are currently finishing their life mission, to spawn and die., They are now green tipped nose and tail, with a red girth. (Contributed by Dick’s Fishing Charters)

Cold weather through the holidays decreased the amount of fishing boats and may have had a part in the slow down of the trout and kokanee bite.

Most weekend and holiday boat counts were at about three to four boats a day. Who would want to hop in a boat at 22 degrees at 7 a.m.? Well four guys from Clovis did , three days in a row between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. After having very good successful few weeks before with multi limits of trout, this trip averaged four mixed fish a day. 

Some others reported being skunked. The foursome reported that their best action was in front of the dam this trip, where as it was Stevenson Bay the trip earlier.

This is winter folks! One day chicken, the next, feathers. Part of the reason many of us do not fish the winter months at Shaver. Of course the other is adverse weather.

The bank fishermen have reported good success on trout near the dam, indicating the trout may be feeding close to shore and not out in the normal trolling lanes. Tackle is so important this time of the year.

Bright colors of spinners or hoochies I think are best. There was much overcast during the time the Clovis guys fished, perhaps a gold dodger or bronze flashers were needed. With the winter comes the kokanee spawn.

Hundreds of three-year-old kokanee are gathered at gravel spawning sites to spawn and die. The Sierra Marina ramp has been a popular spot for spawning kokanee. You can smell a slight stinge of decaying fish, but also what I believe are eggs. The smell is similar to that at the Friant Hatchery where eggs are hatched and fish raised. In the incubator area of the hatchery, I smelled a similar fragrance of fish eggs. This brings us to another note on the future of kokanee fishing. Last year, no kokanee fingerling were planted. This means that the 2020 season will not have mature kokanee. Wow, that scares most of us kokanee fishermen.

The 2019 year should be plentiful in mature kokanee with 50,000 fingerling planted a couple years ago. The next plant of kokanee fingerling is being hatched at the Friant Hatchery now. They should be introduced to Shaver Lake about March. Hopefully the Moccasin Creek Hatchery near Sonora will be up and running supplying more trout to the various lakes in the Central Region. The Moccasin hatchery was washed out a year ago from floods and has not produced plants for a while. Perhaps Shaver may be the home to a bigger trout plant that year. Just theory.

The current spawning kokanee are green on the snout and tail and bright red in the middle. I don’t know how long the process will last but check it out if you are interested in the life span of kokanee, which are land lock sockeye salmon.

The prediction for fishing during January, mixed limits can and will be taken. Some days will be better than others. Bright spinners, like Koke Busters or Trout Busters and Mountain Hoochies should be the popular lures. Of course tipped with crawler and corn on the Trout busters and corn on the others. The fish will be up in column due to cold water. I begin my charter season Apr. 20 and should run through Sept. If you are interested in booking a trip with me , contact Shaver Lake Sports at 559-841-2740. Have a great 2019.

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.