Shaver Lake Fishing Report: Great fishing season thus far, good biting will continue through September

The Giubbini family: Bob, Kriss, Mike and Rick, all from Paso Robles. All avid fishermen and regulars to Shaver Lake. They scored limits of kokanee on all their trips including this recent trip. (Contributed by Dick’s Fishing Charters)

It’s been a long and very successful fishing season at Shaver Lake. We continue to knock out multiple limits of mostly kokanee. People from all around like Dave Smith of Tehachapi come to Shaver to catch these lively-landlocked salmon. Dave fished with me this week after successful weeks of float fishing in the Kern River for trophy-sized trout and archery deer season. Why do these guys like Dave travel so far for kokanee. He says it is the action of the lake salmon and more to the point, he loves the meat of this great fresh-water fish – everyone does. Thank goodness there are plenty of kokanee to provide limits for fishermen each day. But, what about next year when there are no third-year kokanee. Yep, that’s correct. DF&W did not plant any kokanee two years ago anywhere in California. That means that next year things are going to be tough.

The landlocked salmon are planted one year as fingerling. They live in the lake until the third year when they spawn and die. Next year fishermen, you must rely on TROUT! That’s right, but there could be some third-year kokanee thanks to a normal spawn by some two years ago. I only hope that DF&W realizes that Shaver Lake is the most fished lake in the Central Region. They have to plan for regular good plants of trout. If not, Shaver will be a sad lake in 2020.

On the plus side, DF&W did plant 50,000 golden trout fingerlings this year. Not much help there as the biggest may be seven inches next year. They also planted 50,000 brown fingerlings, but again seven inches? So, it’s basically up to DF&W to supply Shaver with enough catchable size trout to make it worth while to trek to Shaver to fish. What does this mean to us fishing guides. Less than two limit days will be the norm when there are no DF&W plantings. We are at the mercy of politics and budgets this year.

The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project will be planting up to 2,000 trophy sized trout this next year, but history says they will bite for a while and disappear to unknown parts of the lake. So, setting that aside for the moment, let’s give thanks for one of the best kokanee bites in years. Get up here and enjoy it as it will be awhile before you will be barbecuing any kokanee.   

We continue to catch multiple limits, although there are days we must hang out there longer than normal to finish our limits for all. Right now, we are hitting the lake at about 5:45 a.m. each morning to catch kokanee before the sun hits the water. Once that happens, it slows big time. We shoot for seven by 7 a.m. and 10 by 10 a.m. Dave Smith, fished with me today and did just that. I can’t tell you enough that the early bird gets the koke right now. Some of the fish have entered pre-spawn time, but several look like June fish. Most males have hooked jaws, lost their scales and have a tinted color, but the female still look a month younger. They are packed with eggs and hopefully they will find a mate and go to one of the Stevenson Creeks and spawn.

The trout bite now is slow. In fact, it’s 20 kokanee to one trout in our boat. When this story hit the newsstands, I think you will find an excellent kokanee bite near the point at 90-feet down. Right now we are getting mixed fish finder messages as the fish are from 20 to 98-feet deep. You can’t cover all the territory, but right now 35 to 45 feet has been the norm. Orange is the color right now. I have orange Mountain Hoochies tipped with corn behind purple and black Mountain Dodgers on two poles and a very successful orange Mountain Bug tipped with corn behind the same type dodger. The side poles amaze me. Out 125 feet with Trout Busters or Koke Busters tipped with corn behind weighted Mountain Flashers has been hot. Dave Smith today caught over two limits keeping one limit, but half were on the side poles at an estimated 24-feet deep.

My forecast. Kokanee fishing will stay good through all of September. Trout fishing in Stevenson Bay may pay dividends in mid to late September, that’s when the trout head for the creeks thinking they may be in for a spawn. We know they won’t, but they annually are located in the bay. Continue to fish the kokes at Shaver now and the trout in three weeks. orange or pink will be the go to color. I will be fishing to October this year. Contact Shaver Lake Sports at 841-2740 if you would like a reservation for one of my trips.

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.