Shaver Lake Fishing Report: Looking Forward to the 2020 Season

Jim Allen caught two of these Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project rainbows while fishing with Dick Nichols last year. (Courtesy of Dick Nichols/Dick’s Fishing Charters)

Merry Christmas to all of you out there. I hope your Holiday season has been safe and fun. I am going to jump into the present fishing conditions at Shaver Lake.

Fishing has not changed much, but the weather has been much better. A few boats are hitting the lake in search for trout and I think a limit per boat average is the norm. From those who provide me reports, many are following the underwater Stevenson Creek path from the island to Stevenson Bay. This entire area has been fairly productive for trout. Most are reporting 12 to 25 feet deep, with blade flasher combos. Those that have used my Trout Busters have had the best luck with chartreuse and orange or orange and green with a tip of crawler. They are towing them behind a weighted Mountain Flasher to get the depth. Some are using Apex in orange or Thomas Bouyants.

I don’t expect fishing to change much until the spring when Department of Fish and Wildlife (DF&W), make their first plant for 2020. I am pretty sure that will happen under favorable weather conditions. As of this writing, rain and snow are in the 10 day forecast from the 22nd through the 26th of December.

As I have said several times before, I am very optimistic about Shaver Lake fishing for 2020. No, we will not have the normal third year kokanee, but we will have maybe 20 percent of the normal as many of us caught and released some second year fish last season. That indicates a good natural spawn in the creek a couple years ago. But good ole DF&W has allotted 17,000 pounds or about 34,000 catchable sized rainbows.

In addition, they plan to release about 2,000 two plus pounders. DF&W has also said that the 12,000 brown five inchers that were planted last winter will be of catchable size, 11 to 12 inches by mid summer. And then my fellow Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project, under the direction of long time planting director Bob Bernier, will be planting about 1,800 3 to 7 pound rainbows in the spring and early summer.

These rainbows are not your normal concrete pool raised fish. They are grown in natural sandy canals with water from the Tuolumne River flowing through them. These rainbows don’t have round tails. They are beautiful! Bob Bernier inspects them before delivery to ensure quality. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project (SLTTP) and Bernier have been planting the trophies for a decade with financial help from donors, businesses but mostly from the annual fundraising dinner each August.

The past four years, the dinners have been under the direction of Caroline Thompson, our local Physical Therapist. Thompson working very closely with SLTTP director, David Dungy and her crew have put on very profitable and fun steak dinners. They are always a sell out. This year SLTTP group are looking to moving the dinner to a larger venue on the shores of the lake. Announcements will come later. I can tell you from being out on the lake almost everyday during the season, half of every year’s plant are not caught, meaning there are holdovers each year.

I received a request for information on fishing at Pine Flat Lake from one of our readers. He wanted to know what to use and where to fish at Pine Flat. The answer is, I do not know. I have not fish Pine Flat for three years. It used to be my go-to place as at the time I lived on the Kings River just below the dam. I will be writing him tonight to provide a couple contacts that I think will provide good info for him. I hope that he will provide a report and a picture for the next paper for his experience at Pine Flat. I urge you all to write me at for your report and hopefully a photo to possibly be used in this wonderful paper.

Until our next edition in 2020, Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all of you.