Shaver Lake Fishing Report: Snowy Weather Slows Fishing, DF&W to Plant

Clovis resident Leo Jennings, was one happy man with this 10.2 pound rainbow trout. Photo was taken ten years ago after the draining of Shaver Lake. (Photo Contributed)

As I write this, it is snowing pretty hard. There are no boats on the lake partly due to coronavirus and the inclement weather. For the boats going out, two to five mixed trout and kokanee are possible. For some, no fish is possible. We have a few days coming up with abundant sunshine and my guess is that more will fish and possibly fish may be caught.

With that in mind, I want to talk a little bit about some of my topics in the fishing seminar that was supposed to be held at a Fresno sporting goods store last Thursday. It has been postponed to May 21st, god willing. One of my topics was where to fish when you first hit the lake. I can’t tell you how many times I have been fishing in front of Sierra Marina with great success and see boats launch and scream across the water at top speed to their favorite spot of two weeks ago. It’s funny, because had they taken their time and fished from the marina’s buoys, they would have jumped onto the fish.

That is not always the case, but I do recommend trolling out of both marinas. This year is an example of years before kokanee when we were super happy to trout fish. So, for you older guy’s, think how you fished for trout and use those same old skills this year. I will be! I am talking about dragging night crawlers behind flashers and fishing the lake. Let’s face it, the majority of this year’s fish will be planted by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, DF&W. They only plant from Sierra Marina ramp. So, on plant day, the fish run to the marina’s docks and hide underneath. Because they did not eat prior to their trip up the hill, they are hungry. So trolling inside the buoys the first day is good.

The next, inside the buoys to road one and to the dam. Fishing the triangle should work for another couple days. They will start scattering out toward the Point and island. From that point on they seem to work their way along the sunken Stevenson Creek that extends from the island to Black Rock to Eagle Point and to Stevenson Bay. With those things in mind, proper tackle and depth, I think you will improve your creel count.

The other thing is that fish hatchery fish live on processed fish pellets. Not wild small fish, crayfish or other wild trout food sources. That’s why my choice is a large nightcrawler carefully slithered up a hook and then broken off about an inch behind the hook. For years, I have found my Trout Busters to be the right tackle with the crawler attached. I also subscribe to the thermocline. That is the body of water that is rich in oxygen, food and at a temperature that is comfortable for trout. Trout seem to like 50 to 65 degree water temperatures. So I hook that Trout Buster to one of my weighted Mountain Flashers that can descend to 25 feet . I have found most of the warmer days the trout are at 20 feet down.

According to the DF&W biologists, the thermocline is 10 to 40 feet deep in Shaver.  If I fish 100 feet back with a monofilament line, I will be at a 20 foot level. That in my experience is where most of the fish will be this summer. I am not trying to sell you tackle, but, if you ask the folks who fish with me, I use my own tackle other than an occasional Apex.  We also need to remember that the natural spawn of kokanee up Stevenson Creeks two years ago, was pretty successful.  There will be some three year old kokanee out there. So one of your poles should be equipped for them. Last year was perhaps the finest overall kokanee fishing we have had. The fish stayed for the most part in the upper 35 feet. Hopefully, it will be that way this year. 

DF&W plans to plant a huge amount of trout this year. They also have the browns that were planted last winter at five inches and are now 10 inches as seen in the picture. DF&W says they will be catchable size at midsummer. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project will be planting about 1,400, three to four pounders in the spring or early summer and DF&W has a plant of two-plus pounders in one of their plants.

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.