Shaver Lake Fishing Report: Good Weekend of Fishing, Multiple Limits on Kokes and Trout

The California golden trout plant at Shaver Lake in early 2019, will be of catchable size (approximately 12 inches) in two years. Anglers may start catching California golden trout in 2020, if using small terminal tackle. (Photo courtesy of Ken Johnson/California Department of Fish and Wildlife)

In our last edition, I mentioned that on the day the next edition came out, which was October 30, kokanee fishermen could still catch kokanee in Rock Heaven Cove.

Well, Manny and Jared Romero from Clovis proved that to be correct on the following Sunday. The Romero’s went straight to Rock Haven Cove from their launch. They dropped pink and orange hoochies down 12 to 22 feet and immediately had a double hook up of near spawning kokanee.

They caught five keepers, fish that were still good to eat, and then headed to Stevenson Cove for two limits of trout. The father and son duo then returned to Rock Haven Cove for an additional 12 kokanee. The total for the day for the Romero’s was 10 trout and 17 kokanee, keeping five edible kokes.

The kokanee are stacked on each other in the cove in preparation to spawn. I talked to Steven Riggs and Cindy Garcia, both from Hanford, on Saturday at the Sierra ramp. They had just returned from Stevenson Bay, where they caught their limits of yearling trout to 16 inches. They were trolling a special made fly that Riggs had made, behind a dodger. They also used hoochies.

Another boat with the Mingo brothers, Bill and Russell from Visalia, pulled up to the dock and reported that they had limited on trout in Stevenson with Speedy Shiners.

All in all, it was a good weekend for anglers at Shaver. Plus, the weather was simply beautiful. So, I think it is safe to say that this report will continue to the next issue of the Roundup.

Obviously, the kokanee bite will decrease as more spawn and die and the chances of catching an edible koke will decrease.

Now for the report on golden trout that I promised. Earlier this year, The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) planted 12,000 golden trout fingerling in Shaver Lake, that will be catchable by 2020. This was a first for planting golden trout in Shaver or in any mid elevation lake that I know of, since CDFW has always planted golden fingerling in the higher lakes by plane.

So, what can we expect from this plant? I spoke with CDFW environmental scientist Ken Johnson, who specializes in golden trout. He told me that this strain of California Golden Trout  will grow considerably larger in Shaver Lake than in the high Sierra creeks where they are native.

In reading up on the California Golden Trout, I found that in the high Sierra streams they will grow to an average of 7 to 8 inches. In lakes like Shaver, they will grow 13 to 17 inches with a maximum of 27.9 inches.

The average life of a golden is five to nine years, and in one year they will lay 300 to 2,300 eggs. The goldens planted at Shaver are diploid, meaning they do not spawn but instead grow faster. Ken Johnson advised that the golden trout planted this year should reach catchable sizes of 12 inches in 2021. He said in 2020, fishermen will start catching some of them on smaller lures.

A reminder! Please release them safely for 2021 when they will be of catchable size.

In research, I found that on June 22, 2012, Rick Mickelson of Wyoming landed a potential all tackle golden trout in Golden Lake, Wyoming. He was fishing with a nymph fly and it took him 15 minutes to land a 21.26 inch golden. He measured and photographed it and then released it back into the lake.

Also, I read that the biggest golden trout caught was in Wyoming as well and weighed about 11 pounds. Ken Johnson says the largest California Golden Trout was caught in Virginia Lakes, in Fresno County, and weighed 9.8 pounds. Don’t forget that at the time of the 50,000 golden trout plant, there was an equal plant of brown trout fingerling!

So, we will see what happens. I think it will be a great opportunity for Shaver anglers to catch one of California’s official trout, a golden! If you are interested in a Christmas gift certificate for a charter fishing trip, contact Debby at Shaver Lake Sports, 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.