What a fantastic year of fishing it has been at Shaver Lake, but the last two weeks of my season have not gone well. On September 4th, we picked up multiple limits of kokanee. After that it went down to eight fish, then seven fish and three to five fish. This past week we are lucky to pick up one limit of kokanee.
The kokanee are all in their spawning mode right now, but are still edible. I warned all my clients of the slow fishing, but the fishing fever were in them and they all decided to stay and give it a try. Everyone went home with some fish but not the abundance we once experienced. The trout bite is totally off. What a comparison, last year we were averaging 15 trout per trip in September. This year 2 trout out of 10 trips. Why? Well, Department of Fish and Wildlife (DF&W) did not plant the normal amount of catchable trout this year. That had a significant impact on Shavers fishery as most all boat fishermen focused on kokanee. Don’t get me wrong, there were days of excellent trout fishing following one of their plants. But the heavy fishing soon decreased their count. DF&W did plant 50,000 fingerling golden trout and 50,000 fingerling brown trout. But they won’t be mature enough to catch and keep for at least 2 more years.
Two years ago DF&W did not plant any fingerling kokanee in any of California’s waters. That means we will not have a third year kokanee fishery. Fortunately, Shaver and Huntington kokanee have a pretty good normal spawn history. So, we could be down 80% in kokanee next year.
The 2020 fishing season will rely on heavy and regular plants of catchable rainbow trout. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout’ Projects two plants of about 1,800 trophy sized trout will also be a boost.
Going out on a limb, I would think that May, June and July will be decent trout fishing in DFW figures out that the central sections most fished lake needs help to maintain the lakes reputation for good fishing. Anything short of that will result in a good water skiing year and no fishing boats. Places like Courtright and Wishon will receive the biggest plants for the region. On the plus side, our native brown trout have come alive in April, May and very early June. So, that can be enjoyable.
After fishing the last weekend of September, I pulled my boat out of the lake, marking the close of my 14th charter fishing season. Yep, I will be back for the 15th season, but will work Monday through Friday, with a couple exceptions. I was surprised how many of this year’s near 90 charter trips were gift certificates provided by loved ones and friends. Fishing makes a nice gift. If you are interested in a Christmas gift certificate for someone you care for, contact Debby, at Shaver Lake Sports 559-841-2740. Mastercard and visa can be used on the phone and your gift certificate will be mailed in a timely manner to you.
Although my fishing season ended October 1st, this column will continue through the winter with fishing reports and updates on what’s going on.