Shaver Lake Fishing Report: Looking forward to the Spring season

The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project (SLTTP) has been planting trophy sized rainbows for the past seven years. Tom Cabezut of Fresno caught this 14.9 pound lunker on one of Dick’s Trout Busters back in 2012. Although the SLTTP does not always plant this size of fish often, there must be thousands of big fish in the lake that have not been caught over the seven years. (Contributed by Dick’s Fishing Charters)

The wind is blowing sideways as it  is raining heavily with periods of snow. What does this mean? No one is one the lake this week. It’s nasty out there. This Saturday, my good friend and fellow guide, Tom Oliveira of Tulare, will be on Shaver, braving the weather with his doctor and trying to locate some kokanee (I will fill you in on my next report on how he did). There are a couple more guys I know that will be out there too, and it should be interesting to see what they say.

The last week of fishing between storms has produced mixed results. Matt Berry, a Clovis Unified teacher, and his buddies Bobby, Rich, and Matthew, also local teachers, get together every now and then and attack a water hole to go fishing for two to three days. Shaver is a popular destination for them. These guys are good fishermen, but more importantly, they are four tough guys. They go out in 20-degree weather and troll all day for fish. The  four friends fished at Shaver recently, only catching about a limit for the boat of mixed fish each of the three days. But, just prior to that, they did very well in the Stevenson Bay area. A few other winter fishermen have been out there, too, and are catching a limit of mostly trout. Just recently, two guys fished Stevenson Bay and picked up eight trout. Soon enough, though, better weather will be here and more guys will be challenging the lake and its conditions.

Looking to the spring season, things look good for Shaver. California Department of Forest and Wildlife will most likely make their three or so plants of approximately 30,000 trout in the lake. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project will introduce about 2,000 rainbows, around three pounds each, in April and again in June. Bob Bernier, the trophy trout planting chairman, is stingy on his planting information, but he confided that this year’s stock are bigger. We also have the third-year crop of kokanee, which numbered about 50,000 at the time of plant three years ago. I gave the kokanee fishing an A this past year. They were hearty and plentiful, and I hope it continues into 2019. SLTTP has planted over 15,000 trophy-sized trout over the past eight years.

The great volunteers of SLTTP work all year on many projects besides planting big bruisers. They sponsor many Trout In The Classroom projects at the local mountain schools. We go to the CDFW Friant hatchery and collect trout eggs under the guidance of CDFW personnel who developed the program. We then take the eggs to various schools, including some Clovis schools. The eggs are given to a trained teacher, and he or she places them carefully into a refrigerated aquarium. The students feed and watch the eggs turn into fry and eventually plant them in to local waters where trout habitat. SLTTP provides all equipment for the mountain schools. They also host the fish plant with lunch and a program provided by SCE Chief of Forestry, Steve Byrd.

SLTTP partners with retired USPS Forester Greg Marks in producing the annual youth derby at Shaver. For more information check out SLTTP at www.shaverlaketrophytrout.com.

I invite you all to my next Shaver Lake fishing seminar at Turner’s Outdoorsman in Fresno on Feb. 28, at 5:30 p.m. Joining me will be my two friends and fellow Shaver guides Todd Wittwer and Tom Oliveira. A big raffle will follow the presentations. You will also learn how many fish are scheduled to be plant this year and SCE’s projection of the lake’s elevation for the season. Turner’s is located in the old Herb Bauer’s store on Blackstone, north of Bullard.

The fishing forecast will pick up for hold-over trout near inlets through the winter. Kokanee will return in front of Sierra Marina and the dam at 25 to 40 feet down. Those using weighted mountain flashers or lead line will be able to connect with the kokanee, as the water is cold and the fish are up in column. I open my 14th season guiding on Shaver Lake April 20. If you are interested in a day of fishing with me, contact Shaver Lake Sports at (559) 841-2740 for reservations.

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.