Shaver Lake Fishing Report: Recent DFW plant mixes rainbows with kokanee

Jan Kahn of Hanford (right), took his daughter Sarah Headrick and grandsons, Jenner and Tucker, out for a fishing trip with Dick Nichols. Sarah drove the boat, Jan and the boys caught their limits making it a 15 fish day. (Contributed by Dick’s Fishing Charters)

Following a winter-like May, June has been one of the best fishing months at Shaver in some time. And, the weather has been perfect!  Out of 19 charter trips we made in June, we caught limits for all but one trip. And, that trip was made up with an afternoon trip the following week, resulting in three limits for the family.

Finishing the first week of July hasn’t been any different with limits of mostly kokanee. Thanks to a recent Department of Fish and Wildlife trout plant, catchable sized rainbows are back in the mix with kokanee (I think we are running four kokes to one trout right now). The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project planted another 900, plus three- to seven-pound rainbows. They show up on a line every now and then, and they are great fighters.

We have released all the trophies we caught this past couple of weeks, thanks to some great folks fishing with me. I harp about parents and grandparents participating with the kids in taking them fishing. Granddad’s like attorney Jan Kahn of Hanford, Frank Esparza of Fresno, and LeRoy Cook of Clovis have brought their grandchildren out fishing this year and the kids all went home with great fishing experiences. These positive experiences will probably be a part of a successful foundation for these youngsters for life. My hat off to you guys. And, with Father’s Day, I enjoyed my annual trip with Kevin and Cade Sherrod of Madera and another trip with former professional baseball player Bill Mott, his 10-year-old son Colton, and his buddy Jackson Esparza, all of San Luis Obispo.

Cade Sherrod, a gifted football player, was so unfortunate to have what would have been a major college career cut short by three ACL surgeries. But, Cade graduated as a valedictorian of his 2019 Madera High School class and was the recipient of the academic athletic award. Cade and his dad have been fishing with me every year since he was 9. The Motts were at Clovis East for the Cal Ripken 10U baseball tournament. They fished with me between games with the boys, catching and releasing 18 kokanees. They went on to win that night and are now on their way to the next level in Hawaii. These kids are just a handful of those who have or will fish with me this year. I think fishing will make a good platform for their futures.

Now, the report. Kokanee fishing does not get any better than it is. Multiple limits each day. But tackle selection and depth is so important. The fish are spread out but some of my best locations are the Point to Black Rock and in front of Shaver Marina. However, yesterday the middle of the lake between the Point and the island to Road 2 was good. Tackle in pink or orange are working best. I am using my pink or orange Mountain Hoochies or the same colored Apex, all tipped with scented corn, behind my purple and silver Mountain Dodgers at 23 to 33 feet deep.  The side poles are rigged with my orange or pink Koke Busters tipped with scented corn behind the same dodger. We are trolling them at seven to 20 feet deep. All five of my poles are catching a ratio of about four kokanee to one trout.

I spoke to my good buddy this a.m. He was fishing near us one day and did not get a bite. I asked what he was using for tackle. I won’t mention the lures but red was his choice, Sadly, red is not the choice of the fish.

For my forecast, kokanee will continue to be great through the third week of July where, traditionally, they seem to slow as they began their biological change to a pre-spawn mode. Then, through the month of August, the kokes will be down in column to 80 and 100 feet deep. But, what a time to catch some bruiser kokanee in pre-spawn. We pull the side poles in and concentrate on our down riggers. For the trout, one here and one there until September. The fish have migrated by then to the back of the lake into Stevenson Bay.

In my 14 years as a guide on Shaver, you can normally go to the bank with fishing there. I will be fishing into the first of October, weather permitting, targeting multiple limits of trout each day. The fireworks spectacular on Shaver Lake on July 6 was just that: “spectacular!” Tons of boats and people. I do not fish the weekend of the fireworks because it is too congested. Have a great summer and think about the kids mom and dad.

On your way up to Shaver, stop by Shaver Lake Sports for the updated tackle choice for a successful trip. I have some days open before school starts, if your interested in fishing with me, contact the Shaver Lake Sports at 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.