Shaver Lake Fishing Report: Frozen lake with more storms to follow

Shaver Lake chef, Kevin Kato, is a master shore angler. Kato, has braved the subfreezing cold and breaking ice from the shores of Shaver Lake and catching multiple rainbow and brown trout like this 23 inch rainbow.
(Contributed by Dick’s Fishing Charters)

Shaver Lake is mostly frozen over. That means that no one is fishing from a boat. I did see a picture of a guy with his pickup at the Sierra ramp driving on the frozen lake’s surface. Someone remarked that he must be looking to get a new pick up. In my 17 years as a resident up here and 13 years of charter fishing on Shaver, I have never seen the lake iced over like this. Eight degrees will do that to water. With more and more storms on the horizon, I do not think Shaver will be fished much in the near future. Don’t ask, “Will there be enough water?” Be more concerned about where that huge snowpack in the Sierra will go. Boaters may not hit the water soon. Although, this may not be all that bad.

I spoke with the Department of Fish and Wildlife manager at the Friant Hatchery recently. He shared some interesting news with me. Some I questioned and subsequently had him put in writing. He said that due to the Moccasin Creek Hatchery, located near Don Pedro lake, being washed out in a flood a couple years ago, Friant is having to ship much of their fish to the waters that Moccasin Creek normally planted. Moccasin Creek will be out of service this year, too. Ron, the DFW Friant Hatchery manager, said that Shaver’s allotment this year will be: 4,000 two-pound rainbows; 10,000 five-inch brown trout; 2,000 pounds of four to seven pound rainbow; and, get this, 48,000 five-inch golden trout. Yep, you read it right. I did not know that golden trout could survive in Shaver, but DFW must know.

A photo taken by Dick Nichols of the frozen Shaver Lake after the last storm.
(Contributed by Dick’s Fishing Charters)

The bad news is he did not mention any normal planter-sized trout this year. Normally, under the right conditions, Shaver would have an allotment of about 18,000 pounds of catchables, which equates to about 32,000 trout. I don’t see that happening this year. But, let me tell you, Ron the hatchery manager, is a card-carrying Shaver Lake guy and would do anything in his power to put fish in Shaver. So, I respect his position on this year. I know he has fed us some quality trout for this season, many two to seven pounders. It is just supply and demand without the help of the Moccasin Hatchery. In addition, the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project, SLTTP, will be planting our annual donation to the lake of 2,000 trophy-sized trout. So, back to the frozen lake and what the good part is. Last year, Shaver was fished heavily for kokanee and some trout most of last winter. Lots of the kokanee and trout were taken. This year, no one is fishing, so the fish that were harvested last winter aren’t this year. And folks, that is good news.

I think we will have a good 2019 season and anglers are going to have more opportunity to catch a quality fish. The fishing update for now is, grab a big rock, break the ice near shore and fish for some really nice trophy sized rainbow and brown trout. They are hungry and are canvasing the shore line looking for food. Shaver chef, Kevin Kato, is one of those who has caught some quality trout this past few weeks. Kato, uses a secrete set up and blend of bait. I consider him to be one of the best shore fishermen around.

Until the next edition of the Roundup, get the tackle and boats ready for the upcoming season. The kokanee bite looks to be one of the best and the big trout, both rainbow and browns is to be excited about.

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.